On one of the mornings when we woke up in Patagonia, I came out of the tent to find everything covered in a soft blanket of snow. It was the middle of the autumn there, so the rich deep colors on the trees stood out in sharp contrast to white snow.
I grabbed this shot as quickly as I could before the snow started to cover everything up too much, which can tend make for a somewhat washed-out shot. I believe this photo was at f/2.8 with the 24-70 lens. That aperture helped the most interesting tree in the foreground to stay sharp while everything else stayed foggy and snowy (which it kinda was anyway).
I know some of you remember Natalia from El Chalten on the southern tip of Argentina, so I thought I would add another photo of her.
When we were walking back from the shoot, it got a little chilly, so she covered up a bit. I don’t know if you’ve experienced this or not… but she’s one of those gals that always seems to be posin’. Kinda like Angelina, I suppose, where you get the sense that she is always aware of the presence of a camera. So, since I had on the 50mm 1.4, I took a few quick ones like this while walking down the trail.
Here are two of my Russian friends frolicking in the snowy forest one morning. When you have a group of photographers tromping about the edge of the world, you end up taking photos of one another quite a bit.
This is the very deep-thinking Vova (I mistakenly called him Vulva) taking a photo of Irina, who is looking quite elf-like and innocent in the snow. Irina was responsible for making me borscht every single day and night of the hike. I ate more borscht than all the czars combined, although I can’t complain because a nice hot meal was always a welcome treat.
You can see Vova is using a Canon there. I didn’t hold that against him. These guys are currently on another photo expedition. I was invited, but I’m too covered up right now to join them… and it saddens me… Maybe I will have some borscht tomorrow in photographic mourning.
During the hike through the Andes, I would vacillate between sweating hot and frigid cold. Sometimes, things would be just about perfect and an idyllic waterfall like this one would emerge from the Eden-like trail. It was the perfect place to take a load off in the cool water for a break.
Well, there was enough negative feedback yesterday that I have decided to remove the ads. There were little ads that would appear whenever you “mouse over’ the photo. But some people found them annoying, and I have taken them off. The rates seemed to be better than google adwords and they were projected to bring in several hundred per month. But, alas, it’s not worth making the site ugly or upsetting the readers.
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Patagonia is marked with a change of terrain every half hour or so. The 40km hike took me from mountains to plains to rivers to forests to swamps the to rolling hills. All of these would be re-combined into interesting formations that kept my camera full and my backup system whirring away. I’m glad the 20 pound battery of the D3X lasts about 6 months (exaggeration… but not by much)!
This was a particularly dense area of forest that was fed by a nearby stream system that came tumbling down off the Andes. I came across this old bridge. There is no telling how long it had been there… I tried to imagine it was built by Fuegian Indians back in the day…
I thought this mountain and cloud formation was too perfect to ignore. Clouds always do strange things when they pass over mountains, but this one seemed particularly violent and unexpected.
This is not actually a volcano. it’s just a regular old mountain in the Andes that had a nice little volcanic shape. I skirted around it for a while (skirting is quite a trek at this radius), until the angle seemed about right… although I had to skirt fast before the clouds changed. I have always wanted to take a photo of a volcano that is erupting. I climbed up part of a volcano that was erupting in Costa Rica, and you could see the red rocks, but I got absolutely zero good shots. Oh well… some day!
I have put up a short Gigapan Review. The gigapan is a cool little machine that lets you make photos that are insanely huge.
This is the same photography tech that was used on the Mars rover, and I was able to jam it into my backpack during my hike in southern Argentina. Panoramas on the web are always a tough thing to show and share. The default size is always short and wide, and it loses a lot of the effect. Then scrolling and moving about seems to take away a little bit too. I think a lot about how people consume digital media on the web, and I’m not sure there is a great way to show off a panorama just yet. I’ve used dozens of GUIs, and they all seem a little bit clunky.
As you can see, it was a beautiful and rough place. I can’t believe I hiked for so long and didn’t twist my ankle once. The late afternoons heading into sunsets always had these clouds that were darker than the sky, making it all extra moody.
I saw the craziest and most unbelievable things in Patagonia. It was like nature rewrote its own rules to build this place. I’d like to make a reference to the ill-fated Genesis project in Star Trek II, the Wrath of Kahn, but I won’t.
I came across this shockingly clear and mysterious green lake. The water magnified the pure green algae that covered every strange underwater formation. There were also fish swimming around inside, but I kept the ISO so low on these shots, the fish got blurred out. I do have some higher ISO shots of the fish I will add at a later date. They were these little blue-colored fish. I think they were trout, but I’m not totally sure. Anyway, I felt lucky to be here in the Autumn, just after a small rainstorm, making all the trees nice and moist with a glistening glow.
Below that, I have posted a shot taken by my friend Dima. It is of yours truly with Yuri. He is looking particularly sour in this photo. If you’d like to see some other photos from Argentina, just click here.
Today I am on a radio show with Rodney Washington as the host. You can listen to it right here in the widget below at 2 PM CST. You can even call in – the number is (646) 716-4445. If you miss the show, it will be available for download (or podcast) after it is recorded. We are talking about photography, HDR, blogging, and all of that sorta thing.
I was in Patagonia as the leaves were turning colors for the fall, and on the edge of the glacial zone of the Andes, it could snow at any time.
I had camped in a very picturesque little forest to get away from the wind and the elements. We were pretty close to a river, which was nice to listen to while I slept. Note that I wasn’t in a tent since I had removed myself from Yuri’s tent for the sake of sanity and sleep. Luckily my sleeping bag was rated for negative 10 degrees, so I stayed snug.
The next morning when I woke up, a gentle snow was falling all around. The inner sanctum of the forest was green and warm while snow started piling up on the edges of the trees. It all looked too perfect, so of course I had to set up for a shot to bring it home to y’all!
As is the case with every day here, I have also included a photo. This is of the indomitable Fitz Roy at sunrise buried deep in the Andes, in the hinterland between Argentina and Chile. To get this shot, it was none too easy! First, I “woke” up after a sleepless night in a two-man tent with Yuri. It was perhaps the worst night of my life and I’ve never had a panic attack before, but I honestly felt like I was pretty close. The smell combined with the pitch black, the snoring, the freezing cold, and the tiny tent was almost more than I could bear!
I woke up around 4:30 AM with -7 Celsius temperatures. It was bitter cold. I got dressed QUICKLY in the pitch black cold and then headed off with two of my Russian friends to begin scaling the mountain. They had lights on their hats; I did not. I walked between them, trying not to slip on the icy “trail” between the dodging shadows cast by their headlights. I’ll never forget it for the rest of my life. We ascended 1,500 feet in less than 45 minutes so we could catch the pink rays of sunrise just as they hit the peaks.
Last, I have been interviewed about photography and more on the Pro Photo Show. It’s a free podcast that you can listen to if you want to know more about the process or just hear me ramble on about stuff you may or may not find interesting!
Announcement (and contest!) reminder: At midnight (Friday night, about 24 hours after this post), I’ll be releasing the short film called “Autumn in Patagonia”. It’s an experimental thing, and I hope you like it. I’ll be looking at Twitter for the next 24 hours to see who has the most clever Tweet of the event – mark it with @TreyRatcliff so I can find it! I’ll give the winner a free Textures Tutorial and perhaps even a hot tub weekend with Yuri, if I can talk Yuri into it.
As for this photo from Argentina below, this was found on the second day of hiking into the Andes. The landscape changes very quickly and we emerged from one forest and were suddenly facing another. The stark white roots reminded me of bones coming out of the ground and holding up old trees. In the distance, you can see the final destination of this hike – the mysterious peaks of Fitz Roy. These are covered by clouds 90% of the time, so to have them on a crystal clear day was lucky indeed. Tomorrow, in addition to posting the short film, I’ll show you a closer shot of Fitz Roy that was taken around 6 AM the next morning, after an icy hike of 1500 feet in pitch black. Will there be clouds at sunrise, or will it be visible?
Last, they are now taking votes for the 2009 Photoblog Awards. We have been nominated, so be one of the first to vote to help us get to the top! You will have to register and stuff – sorry for that, but thank you in advance!
This is about 20km into our backpacking. The fertile soil from recent glaciation sprang colorful life everywhere, even as the valley was changing colors for autumn. Little streams trickled here and there and fell into larger streams. Fording some of these was always a little sketchy when carrying a bunch of expensive camera equipment, but it was always worth it.
I can’t explain how often I stopped to take photos along this hike! I am sure it took about 4x as long as needed, but that was the point of the whole trip, after all…
If you zoom into the large or ( original size ), you can see the glowing blue glacier there, spilling out from between the edge of the Andes.