Best of… Argentina! – Stuck in Customs

Best of… Argentina!

Here are a few of my favorite photos of Argentina in continuing the “Can’t-wait-to-get-out-there-and-travel-again” series! 🙂

I've Made it to the Edge of the World This was shot in the final hours of daylight, near the southern tip of Argentina and the edge of Chile, just a glacier's throw from Antarctica.In the morning, we woke up at 4:30 AM in -7 degree cold. I hardly slept 30 minutes the whole night. I was in a tiny 2-man tent with Yuri. The noxious fumes of our tiny prison reminded me, if you will, of the inside of a tauntaun that had spent its life consuming cognac and cigarettes. Furthermore, his snore had the sonorous bass and carrying power of a humpback whale with none of the beauty.I started on one edge of these rugged peaks and moved around to this side, to get the view from the glacial lake. The spiked mountains there are Cerro Torre, and I was very lucky to see them without cloud cover. I understand they are covered up 90% of the time, so to have crystal clear air was fortunate. The glacier there, which presents on the right but really goes back behind many more mountains, is called "glacier grande".I did a lot of other things this day too, including a 45-minute 1500-foot ascent up an icy trail that was not really a trail at all. Dima and Vulva (Vulva is one of the other Russian gentleman who joined us on the trip -- it's hard to pronounce with a strange V-W sound, but he seemed to respond when I called him "Vulva") went up the mountain with me in the pitch black, using only headlamps. I'll have more on that story later because it was pretty sketchy. But, alas, we were able to see Fitz Roy as the sun turned the tips pink. After that, we began the long additional 10km hike that brought us to this location. I stayed here watching icebergs float by until the last morsels of dusk remained.- Trey RatcliffClick here to read the rest of this post at the Stuck in Customs blog.
The River Runs Through the Andes Getting to this position was not as long a hike as the others around Patagonia, but it was no cakewalk! It was one of those strange river-rock strewn areas where the rocks seemed to be the perfect size for spraining your ankles. I had the tripod extended to act like a walking stick, although it's not the most handy walking stick with a giant Nikon on one end of it!- Trey RatcliffClick here to read the rest of this post at the Stuck in Customs blog.
Adventuring Deeper into Patagonia 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.- Trey RatcliffClick here to read the rest of this post at the Stuck in Customs blog.
The Robot Flower Followed the White Sun
The Secret Crystal LakeThis remote lake was so icy cold.  You would think it's about 33 degrees or something, right?  It felt like absolute zero.  I dropped a little piece of my tripod in here and my hand almost froze off trying to retrieve it.In the distance you can see where the glacier comes into contact with the glassy lake; it gives a sense of the epic scale here.- Trey RatcliffClick here to read the rest of this post at the Stuck in Customs blog.

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