Growing up, I can remember looking at photographs of these amazing mountains in National Geographic. Unlike anything we have in Australia (mind you, most of the world can say that compared to our hills), the Patagonian peaks were spectacularly carved and shaped. Torres del Paine was distinctive, whereas Monte Fitz Roy and Cerro Torre were classic.
This is Cerro Torre and one of the glacial lakes at its base. It is around a ten minute walk from our camping site, high above El Chalten. Now, before you feel too sorry for us, camping out in near freezing conditions, it wasn't nearly that bad! There are several commercial camping sites in this area, with tents, sleeping bags, mess tents and staff. All you have to do is walk there (some fitness is required), but you can also hire porters or older gentlemen with horses to carry your luggage. All you need to keep with you is your camera gear and tripod.
The previous day we had spent in cloud. Somewhere in the grey swirls above, we knew there was an amazing series of peaks, but all we could see were a few icebergs floating in a grey soup. Mind you, when it snowed, it was absolutely magical. I don't actually care what the weather is like because I took some of my favourite shots from the trip on that day.
But when it comes to encouraging people to come to Patagonia (and yes, I am planting the seeds for readers by revisiting my work from a trip there some years ago), it's photos like this that make people sit up and take notice. It's photos like this that made me want to visit.
And as long as you have clear sky out on the horizon, you have a very good chance of a spectacular sunrise. We had four mornings in these mountains and two good sunrises. No, two spectacular sunrises!
This is a three-frame stitch using Canon's 24mm TS-E tilt-shift lens. It really only needs to be a two-frame stitch as there is plenty of overlap. Instead of moving the camera, I simply moved the lens. For the first frame, I shifted the lens to the left, then shifted it to centre, then shifted it to the right. This gave me a wider angle of view, something I could have achieved with a wider lens, of course, but this way I didn't have to crop as many pixels off the top and bottom.
One of the things that wide-angle lenses do to mountain ranges is make the mountains look smaller, so I have squished the mountains just a little until they are the size and shape I remember. Just a little, not too much. However, the only real way to experience Cerro Torre is to go there! It was a magical morning watching one of nature's most amazing light shows: sunrise at Cerro Torre.
I am travelling with Ignacio Palacios and Pep Roig to Patagonia in March 2014. taking a group of 8 to 12 photographers. If you'd like to come along, take a look at the program on Ignacio's website: www.iptravelphotography.com.au/workshops.php
. Any queries, send me an email.