Top ten photography locations in Patagonia

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Lago Toro provides numerous opportunities for great photography.  Light quality in this region of the world is surreal, keeping the nature photographer in a state of disbelief.
Lago Toro provides numerous opportunities for great photography.  Light quality in this region of the world is surreal, keeping the nature photographer in a state of disbelief.
Lago Toro provides numerous opportunities for great photography. Light quality in this region of the world is surreal, keeping the nature photographer in a state of disbelief.

Patagonia adventure

So your idea of a Patagonia vacation has you feeling a bit overwhelmed? How does one decide on the best possible area for great photography? It is a vast region, with one spectacular highlight after another. Because of the size of the area and the impressive geographical barriers, you will be required to invest a sizable amount of time in travel activity. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, for chances are very good that you’ll do more stopping to grab the camera and tripod than you ever thought possible.

Your Patagonia adventure begins at the car rental agency. Forget the tours, the buses and the mini vans. If you are serious about beautiful photography, then put yourself on a photographer’s schedule. This means your photo sessions begin well before dawn’s first light and and end long after the sun sets. Organized tours get started about three hours after your first photograph of the day is dutifully recorded.


Better photography

A top ten list of anything is ridiculous by its very nature. If one takes on the concept of Patagonia, absurd starts setting in. Still, it's fun, and people have asked about my favorite places when visiting the region. It’s subjective, of course, simply because the area is so immense and pristine. One could easily spend an entire season in Parque Nacional Torres del Paine and consider it as the top ten photography locations on the entire planet. Such is its presence. Perhaps instead of a top ten, it should just be ten great places to consider for better photography, should you travel to Patagonia. There is so much more than what is offered here.


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The north shore of Lago Nahual Huapi, in Argentina, is the location for photographing great early morning light on the mountains behind Bariloche.  If your base is Bariloche, scout out a morning session the day before.  Otherwise, numerous possibilii
The north shore of Lago Nahual Huapi, in Argentina, is the location for photographing great early morning light on the mountains behind Bariloche.  If your base is Bariloche, scout out a morning session the day before.  Otherwise, numerous possibilii
The north shore of Lago Nahual Huapi, in Argentina, is the location for photographing great early morning light on the mountains behind Bariloche. If your base is Bariloche, scout out a morning session the day before. Otherwise, numerous possibilii

Light quality

Lago Nahual Huapi is an outdoor lover’s paradise. That translates into beautiful photography. The part of the lake near Bariloche is situated along a line that catches great morning and evening light. Consider the north shore across the lake from Bariloche for great morning shots.

More than anything else, the light quality in Patagonia will leave you speechless. A combination of factors play into this. The geography first and foremost determines the weather. There’s always the weather. Any time two massive bodies of water connect, as do the Pacific and Atlantic oceans, there’s bound to be a rumble or two. Patagonia will not disappoint. Mountains, wind, and oceans. What more could a photographer ask when searching for the quality of light?


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The area near Pucon offers dramatic photography opportunities.  From volcanoes to lakes to waterfalls to pastoral settings, it's all there.
The area near Pucon offers dramatic photography opportunities.  From volcanoes to lakes to waterfalls to pastoral settings, it's all there.
The area near Pucon offers dramatic photography opportunities. From volcanoes to lakes to waterfalls to pastoral settings, it's all there.

Travel about the countryside

It is easy to find a comfort zone, never straying far from it.  However, arm yourself with a quality map and then travel about the countryside.  A good local map will show elevations and locations of various landmarks, often times letting you know where the best photography possibilities are.  The area around Pucon holds a wealth of subject matter for nature photographers.  The road to Los Tres Saltos takes you through pastoral settings.  Late afternoon sunlight photography works well here, as the waterfalls are in the shade of the canyons.


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The cemetery of Punta Arenas offers exception photography ideas.  As with most all cemeteries in Latin America, there is a spiritual and colorful awareness about them.
The cemetery of Punta Arenas offers exception photography ideas.  As with most all cemeteries in Latin America, there is a spiritual and colorful awareness about them.
The cemetery of Punta Arenas offers exception photography ideas. As with most all cemeteries in Latin America, there is a spiritual and colorful awareness about them.

Punta Arenas travel

Patagonia Sur must be the most exciting part of the entire continent.  One can easily make this a base for as long as one chooses.  First on your list of good photography possibilities is the town’s cemetary, Cementario Municipal.  Chances are good you’ll visit it more than once.  Also from your Punta Arenas travel base, a visit to Pinguinera de Seno Otway is in order.  About an hour north of Punta Arenas, this colony of Magellanic penguins has a seasonal home on the south shore of Seno Otway.  Plan ahead for a timely visit.  The city itself is quite colorful, perhaps helping mask the sometimes dreary weather.  However, as many photographers will say, the weather is a bonus.  


Leaving Punta Arenas behind, head toward Puerto Natales and Parque Nacional Torres del Paine.  This will be your base unless you choose to stay in the park.  If your trip thus far has failed to make you feel as if civilization is gone, brace yourself.  Take the road leading to the southwest entrance of the park.  Approaching the park, Lago Toro comes into view.  There are several pullouts along the way and numerous photo opportunities. 

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Make sure to plan a morning with the penguins when in the Punta Arenas area.
Make sure to plan a morning with the penguins when in the Punta Arenas area.
Make sure to plan a morning with the penguins when in the Punta Arenas area.
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A hike on Glacier Grey is a great way to help understand the reality of global warming.
A hike on Glacier Grey is a great way to help understand the reality of global warming.
A hike on Glacier Grey is a great way to help understand the reality of global warming.

Glacier Grey

Yes, this is a must visit place.  Pay for the tour boat to take you up close to the glacier.  Better yet, pay for the glacier hike.  A transfer boat will meet the tour boat near the glacier, picking you up for what will be your personal confirmation on the reality of global warming.  


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Lago Pehoe in Parque Nacional Torres del Paine is front cover territory for nature photographers.
Lago Pehoe in Parque Nacional Torres del Paine is front cover territory for nature photographers.
Lago Pehoe in Parque Nacional Torres del Paine is front cover territory for nature photographers.

Lago Pehoe

Spend some time studying your map, as this area provides some of the classic Patagonia landscapes.  Pay special attention to the area around Hotel Pehoe, as there are several front cover possibilities.  


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Punta Vino was discovered through visual awareness and careful study of a good map.
Punta Vino was discovered through visual awareness and careful study of a good map.
Punta Vino was discovered through visual awareness and careful study of a good map.

All about photography

Punta Vino is unmarked on any map, in fact it is not marked anywhere. Sometimes our visual awareness leads us on the path of discovery. Armed with a camera, tripod, water, cheese, bread, and wine, a day was spent at this spot, from sunrise until dark. Four seasons were experienced during the course of the day.

Setting the tripod in one position for the entire day was the first step. A personal vision exercise followed. Only the camera’s angle or lens was changed during the course of the day, never moving the tripod. By day’s end the photo library had grown nicely.

Back to the issue of that map. This place was discovered as the result of visual observations combined with careful study of a very good map. The best photography is often the result of thorough research.


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Expect the unexpected in Patagonia, having your camera ready at all times.  You will be rewarded.
Expect the unexpected in Patagonia, having your camera ready at all times.  You will be rewarded.
Expect the unexpected in Patagonia, having your camera ready at all times. You will be rewarded.

Photography ideas

Sometimes the best photography ideas are unexpected. Heading back to the hotel late one evening I came upon  a couple of guachos, Argentine cowboys, driving a herd of cattle along the road. Taking one photo of the two of them together and then one of each of them garnered this image. A classic portrait evolved from a candid moment. Be prepared for the unexpected that can come at any time, from any location.


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Rio Olivia meanders along the main road for several miles.  Those willing to put on hiking shoes can be rewarded with several small waterfalls worthy of an image or two.  River shoes are essential for this part of the trip.
Rio Olivia meanders along the main road for several miles.  Those willing to put on hiking shoes can be rewarded with several small waterfalls worthy of an image or two.  River shoes are essential for this part of the trip.
Rio Olivia meanders along the main road for several miles. Those willing to put on hiking shoes can be rewarded with several small waterfalls worthy of an image or two. River shoes are essential for this part of the trip.

Travel Ushuaia

For those venturing as far south as Tierra del Fuego, Ushuaia will likely be your base.  Pay close attention to the Rio Olivia as it follows the road toward town.  Numerous opportunities await the photographer willing to exit the car for a few short hikes.  


Personal nature

Because of the strong spiritual nature of Patagonia, this part of the world is an ideal place for conducting work of a personal nature.  When a break from the trials and tribulations of society is needed, head south to this special land.  


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Comments 20 comments

Ralph Deeds profile image

Ralph Deeds 6 years ago

Nice Hub. I've always wanted to visit Patagonia. I have a college roommate in Santiago. I'll send him a link to the Hub. Maybe he'll comment. Ricardo, como estas, companero??


blue dog profile image

blue dog 6 years ago from texas hill country Author

thanks, ralph.

definitely go. it's wild. i spent all of my time south of santiago, with exception of a few days at isla negra. the country is absolutely amazing. one of life's great experiences.


prettydarkhorse profile image

prettydarkhorse 6 years ago from US

Patagonia--, thanks for the information bluedog, The pictures are wonderful and awesome too, I trust you when you say it is a good place for photographer, Maita


Ricardo 6 years ago

Hi Ralph,

Loved the Patagonian photos. Been lucky enough to personaly visit all those places decades ago and more recently. Remember that I told you my father was the CEO of 10 very large sheep ranches in the area, so I spent summer vacations there.

Greetings,

Ricardo


blue dog profile image

blue dog 6 years ago from texas hill country Author

hi pdh,

thanks for stopping in. glad you enjoyed the photos. it really is the perfect place for nature photography.

ralph & ricardo,

oh yes, the cordero. oh, yes...

now, about that job as ranch foreman. or cook. or dishwasher. or gardener...


nikki1 profile image

nikki1 6 years ago

cool hub/pic.s. Just rated u (up).


blue dog profile image

blue dog 6 years ago from texas hill country Author

hi nikki1,

thanks for checking in on patagonia, and the rating!

glad you enjoyed the visit.


Dale Mazurek profile image

Dale Mazurek 6 years ago from Canada

I never though anyplace as beautiful as this still existed.

Even the cemetary looks like a happy place.

This Hub most certainly deserves a spot on my blog and is officially on there now.

Happy New Year

Cheers

Dale


blue dog profile image

blue dog 6 years ago from texas hill country Author

hi dale,

yes, it is by far the most stunning landscape i've ever seen. each day, since returning from there, it haunts me.

a big thanks for including this in your blog, and for stopping by here.

happy new year back at you!!!


Nicks 6 years ago

I was in Patagonia years ago and I also thought that it was stunningly beautiful. Absolutely fabulous. Great photographs!!


blue dog profile image

blue dog 6 years ago from texas hill country Author

hi nick,

it is the most amazing of places!

thank you for coming by, glad you enjoyed it.


hubranger profile image

hubranger 6 years ago from Yorkshire, UK

Wow, that's quite inspirational stuff there. It's on my wish list of places to photograph for sure. Thanks for the info.


blue dog profile image

blue dog 6 years ago from texas hill country Author

hi hubranger,

thanks for coming by. yes, it's a very inspirational region. highly recommend it!


RosWebbART profile image

RosWebbART 6 years ago from Ireland

That's really interesting, thanks for sharing.


blue dog profile image

blue dog 6 years ago from texas hill country Author

thanks, rwa.


Michael Shane profile image

Michael Shane 6 years ago from Gadsden, Alabama

I would love to visit this one day! Great pictures & hub! Thanks

Gotta bookmark this for places to visit!


blue dog profile image

blue dog 6 years ago from texas hill country Author

hi michael,

highly recommend it! allow yourself some time - it's a vast area that will cause you to stop and ponder life. over and over.

thanks for stopping by!


dilafroza20 6 years ago

Wonderful Pictures


Charlinex 6 years ago

This is definitely on my to-shoot list. Thanks for sharing.


Allanknowhow profile image

Allanknowhow 6 years ago from Singapore

hi,

Very beautiful site and really make eye opening! thank you for the sharing! Cheers!

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