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Patagonia: A Photographer’s Guide to an Inspirational Wonder

glacier in Los Glaciares National Park, Santa Cruz Province, Patagonia, Argentina

It took us a while to get the link between the clothing brand ‘Patagonia’ and the actual region of Patagonia in the countries of Chile and Argentina. It might sound obvious now – duh, the logo literally shows the mountain of Monte Fitz Roy! – but we always just assumed Patagonia was named after a Greek god of some kind – a la Nike, Athena, or Hercules Incorporated. It wasn’t until we really looked into Patagonia from a photography perspective that we realised the connection. 

Apparently, the founders of the brand, Yvon Chouinard and Douglas Tompkins were inspired by the rugged beauty and wild spirit of the region, and it’s not hard to see why. Spanning two countries, Patagonia is a vast and gorgeous piece of land, recognised for its towering mountains, ancient forests and icy glaciers. Just a single visit – as exemplified by Chouinard and Tompkins – is enough to fill you to the brim with inspiration, and while you might not turn that inspiration into a million-dollar brand, you can certainly turn it into a million-dollar photo book. So let’s take a look at Patagonia and what makes it so special. Below is our full guide on all the best photography spots in the region and how you can take advantage of them.

Torres del Paine National Park, Chile

As a photographer, just as you’ll want to upload your pictures to the best photo book maker, you’ll want to take the best pictures possible in the best location you can find. In our opinion, this would have to be Torres del Paine National Park – one of the most visited spots in all of Chile. Complete with the jagged peaks of the Curernos del Paine and the iconic Torres del Paine themselves, this is a breathtaking park that seems specifically crafted for dramatic, landscape photography.

It also doesn’t require a lot of work for you as a photographer. So long as you know how to adjust your exposure, use HDR mode, and blah, you can come away with some stunning photographs that will look right at home in the National Geographic magazine. Here’s a top tip, though: shoot during the golden hour. When the sun is just disappearing or appearing behind the furthest peak, the entire landscape lights up with stunning colors, giving your photos that extra bit of edge.

Los Glaciares National Park, Argentina

If you want more of a Game of Thrones, fantasy-esque collection for your portfolio book, then you can’t miss out on Los Glaciares National Park. Located in the southern Patagonian region of Argentina, this is a UNESCO World Heritage site renowned for – you guessed it! – its range of incredible glaciers. While the hikes might be slightly challenging – at least compared to your typical hikes to the local shopping mall – they’re more than worth it if you want to come away with some mind-bending photographs. 

And we mean mind-bending. One of the most popular spots is the iconic Perito Moreno Glacier, which is a massive ice wall that rises several feet above the surface of Lake Argentino. Surrounding it is calm, crystal-clear water, almost there to juxtapose the jagged, almighty tower of ice that disturbs the serenity right in the centre. In terms of picture taking, you’ll want to photograph this one from multiple angles, experimenting with perspectives and using gridlines to carefully position the shot for the best impact. 

The Marble Caves, Chile

Speaking of mind-bending, the marble caves are one of the most mesmerising natural wonders in the world. These caves have been formed by thousands of years of erosion from the turquoise waters of General Carrera Lake, which has resulted in an intricate and almost otherworldly maze of marble formations – interesting for any vacation-goer, and absolute dynamite for a travelling photographer! 

While here, you can explore the caves' different sculptures, taking in the changing colors – the caves are known to change from blue, to green, to turquoise – and capturing the gorgeous reflections that dance off the water at every turn. Light and shadows will be a big factor here. The reason the caves display a kaleidoscope of colours is because of the sunlight that filters through the surface of the water – by observing and following this light, you can experiment with the contrast of light vs dark. Whether that’s to master your silhouette photography or to play with your exposure photography, it’s entirely up to you. That’s the thing about the marble caves, and Patagonia in general that is. Whatever you want to achieve, it gives it to you on a silver platter. Perhaps that’s why it’s so inspirational!


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