Beginning the trek to Fitz Roy on the edge of Chile

This is the start of what would be a 40km backpacking trek through the Andes. And I mean THROUGH the Andes.

I have come with my friend Dima, who is ex-Soviet miltiary. He’s tough. At 23, he led a 3-week expedition through Siberia to find the rare Siberian Tiger. Now he is 43 and he hasn’t slowed down any.

If you look closely at this photo, over on the middle right you can see some very sharp vertical peaks. In there is Fitz Roy, one of the hardest places to reach in the world and even harder to photograph. That is our destination.

Beginning the trek to Fitz Roy on the edge of Chile

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Adventuring Deeper into Patagonia – the Perito Moreno glacier

After a four-hour plane ride deeper into the Andes, we started to get further into the wilds of Patagonia. Perhaps I should explain that I was on this trip with a very good Russian friend named Dima, who is also a photographer. He brought four other Russians with him. Despite our friendship, he had given me a non-English-speaking roommate named Yuri that never ceased to amaze. Within five minutes of dropping him off in my room, Yuri was in his underwear and I noticed his approximate size to be that of a smallish beluga whale. This ended up propagating many other problems For example, on the flight to El Calafate, our small plane had a bit of a hard landing because I was not sure the pilot was fully informed of Yuri’s weight.

After setting up camp in El Calafate, we went out to the edge of Lago Argentino tonight to shoot the sunset to shoot the Perito Moreno glacier. Every few minutes, you could hear giant shards of ice cleave off and drop into the lake below.

See all of the dark bits of ice floating in the water? Those are actually the clear bottoms that were once underwater, but recently flipped over. In the midst of all this, and from out of nowhere, Yuri produced a giant bottle of cognac, which seemed to keep the Russians happy in the freezing cold. When I posted this photo on the blog and across the various social networks, many of my Facebook and Twitter friends requested a photo of Yuri. That night, while he slumbered, I endeavored to take a panorama of him. I considered the glacier as practice, since it was also big, white, and cracked.

This was shot with the Nikon 14-24mm 2.8 lens. The second of the five exposures (the -1 EV shot) was at f/8.0 with a shutter speed of 0.033 secs and a 250 ISO. As for the coal length, I think I had it cranked all the way to 14mm to take this shot. I’m always flummoxed as to whether or not I should take a panorama of these places, which essentially means I’d have to map out an invisible grid and then take a photo in each cell for later stitching using post-processing software. For this photo, I did use a Nikon D3X, which already has a 24 megapixel sensor, making the final product a fairly detailed 6000 pixels across or so. There is some invisible point when enough is enough, and I never quite know what it is. One limiting factor is time-of-processing. Panos take a long time to both shoot and post-process, so that comes into the decision making tree fairly early on.

Adventuring Deeper into Patagonia

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