Patagonia is one of those places that I’ve wanted to visit for quite some time now, and I was finally able to make the journey to Argentina and Chile to see the beauty of this incredible place firsthand. The landscapes and mountain peaks are simply incredible, and although Patagonia photography is a bit challenging at times, it’s quite the paradise for photographers. It’s by far my favorite place that I have traveled.
The Challenges of Patagonia Photography
All of the things that I heard and read about from others, were true; including the notorious, un-predictable weather. Normally I don’t mention it, but Patagonia photography is not very easy; I encountered several days of VERY strong winds, drove hundreds of miles, camped in the snow, waited out a few big storms, and did a bunch of trekking. Due to the weather, I wasn’t able to see and photograph everything that I wished to, but I made memories that will last a lifetime. Some of the mountains were clouded in for days at a time, but I’m grateful for what I was able to experience.
Initially, I was going to write about my day to day encounters of the journey, but that’s getting boring for me, and it’s something you really should just go experience for yourself if you are able to make it happen. I do recommend that you avoid shelling out thousands of dollars for one of the several “Epic Patagonia” photo tours available. Instead, just do some simple research online, buy a plane ticket, rent a car, and make your own adventure along the way. Spend the “EPIC” amount of extra money you saved, on some good photography books, some new gear, or another plane ticket. Most of these workshops and photo tours are a complete scam, and a huge waste of money in my opinion… (See my Bigtimers rant for more on this).
These tours/workshops remind me of the circus that happens on Mount Everest every year. These days anyone with some good luck, and $60,000, can pay for a guided trip to the summit. BUT with the help of several Sherpas, and guides making it as luxurious as possible, is that really an adventure? I don’t think so… To me, the adventure starts as soon as something goes wrong, or not as planned. That’s when the fun really begins, when you have to improvise and make things work…
When I was in my mid 20′s, my mother was diagnosed with terminal cancer, and my brother and I took care of her for 8 months as she slowly withered away. She was bed ridden for most of those 8 months, and she had a lot of regrets when she looked back on her life. One of the things that she wished for the most, was just to be able to take a walk outside again. She wanted to smell the fresh air, enjoy the warm afternoon sun, see the autumn colors, etc. She wanted the little things, that most of us, including myself, can sometimes easily take for granted. I learned a ton of lessons during those 8 long months, but the most valuable thing I learned along the way, was too live everyday to the fullest, and to try my best to enjoy the small things along the way.
Contrary to what some people may believe, I travel because I love the adventure first and foremost. It’s not because I’m dying to make photos of places that others can not. Of course I also love to make photographs of these places, but it’s the sense of being on a journey far away from everyday life that grabs me, and draws me in the most; the chance to see new places, meet new people, try different foods, and just wander around endlessly exploring, is something I will never take for granted. I want to be able to sit in my rocker when I’m old and grey, and reminisce about all the great adventures I had, all the great people I met, and all the wonderful friends I made along the way. The photos are also nice to have, but they are just a material thing after all. The memories, on the other hand, will always stay with me; unless I happen to come down with Alzheimer someday…
I read a quote recently that really gets it right. The Dalai Lama, when asked what surprised him most about humanity, answered “Man. Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then, he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then, he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived.”
Thanks for reading my random thoughts, and hopefully it didn’t come off like one big giant fortune cookie… I wish all of you the best adventures.
And here’s a tune…