#103 Patagonia’s “carrera austral”, so much beauty for so few…. (4)

By philberphoto | News

May 15

Patagonia is vast. So not showing this vastness would be unfortunate, wouldn’t it? Problem is, though, that this is not the easiest type of photography, and even more so when high contrast makes the camera cringe…

Now you think that you’ve seen this picture already in the first instalment, right? Well, not quite, because Boris insisted on shooting this site 3 times. One morning, when we discovered it. On the way back when driving North, we enjoyed a sunset, shown here. And he wanted to have yet another chance the last morning of getting a perfect light for a perfect shot. That is the sort of dedication that makes his photography captivating…

Not far from, there, just the other side of the first ridge, it already looked very different:This shows that not only North America has a wonderful Indian Summer, and that not all trees along the Carretera are dead…:-)

Now these two shots were taken with Canon 5D. No such thing as full frame and wide angle lenses to do large landscapes in RAW in order to handle high contrast, right?Well, not quite. The above shot is with NEX 7 and Zeiss ZM 35mm, equivalent to a 52mm on full frame, and not only is it shot in JPEG, but it is an example of the in-camera HDR that the midget Sony offers. Very helpful in this case: just point, shoot, and let the camera do the rest; Yes. I know, not very artsy. Well, artsy schmartsy I say…

Other examples of the camera mouse that roared:Thse two pictures above are very close. Same site, just shot a bit differently, seconds apart; but with different lighting conditions on the bottom part. And the PP is not the same. The second one has an electronic ND grad filter applied in Lightroom. It really helps to tame some of those highlights…This time, the “favorite” spot at Cerro Castillo, but looking at the other side, and with the “humble” NEX 5N, with the superlative Zeiss ZM 18…Now you’ve heard me lament the “too-high contrast” many times, meaning that, when it was no longer sunup and not yet sunrise, Boris flat-out refused to shoot. That is, unless there was a solid cloud cover to cap the light and the contrast. But I had no such inhibitions, as this shot shows, on one of the few occasions when we actually enjoyed a bright blue sky…Other types of Patagonian vistas are open to the almost-ever-present ocean, since the coast has almost lace-like minute delineation. First, sunset in Puyuhuapi:Then, sunrise in Puhuhuapi:and the same, just minutes later:And sunset in Pumalin:

Now, this last photo post (there will be one more, dealing with equipment issues) deals with great vistas, but there are a couple of topics that I just can’t pass, just because they don’t fit a segment neatly.

One is a strange, almost other-wordly white elephant. Who could have had the strange, even bizarre idea to build a 5-star resort that is so far removed from anywhere as to be almost inaccessible? One needs to get to Santiago, then onwards to Balmaceda, then another 4-5 hours’ drive, then 15 minutes in a launch across a fjord. Not surprisingly, there were very few guests there, despite the hot baths, sauna, spa, and all other amenites of a quality resort, and the total lack of any competition within at least 1000km… But also not surprisingly, the place was in a clear state of disrepair. Missing tiles in the roof, dirty, dingy walkways. Definitely not the class resort that one expects at such lofty prices and which is depicted in glowing terms in TripAdvisor. But nice photo opportunities nonetheless:Which looked like this at night, with the NEX 7 Well, this last shot is a night shot, as befits a show that nears its end. But, from day 1, I haven’t shown a single animal. That reflects the fact that there are actually very few, except for the ubiquitous cows that farmers raise. Even in the rainforests, we heard rather than saw a few birds singing, and that was all. So, as a last image of this trip, for which I wish to express my thanks yet again to Boris, at last, one animal. NEX 7, with 60mm Makro Elmarit