Whether you’re a hobbyist or a professional photographer, nothing beats shooting that moment of perfection when stunning scenery and optimum light conditions align. In many places, this can be difficult to find, but in Patagonia, one of the wildest, most beautiful and photogenic places on the planet, prepare to be struck by how impossible it seems to take a bad picture.
So here are the six reasons why professionals and amateurs should be grabbing their cameras and heading out to capture stunning Patagonia.
Wildlife at Peninsula Valdes
Southern elephant seals fighting for territory and the splash of southern right whales and orcas as they breach the churning waters of the Atlantic are just some of the ways that the Valdes Peninsula in Argentina is a photographer’s dream.
Further along the shore, Punta Tombo, a one-million strong Magellanic penguin colony, offers ample additional opportunities to capture South American wildlife in all its splashing and noisy glory.
Patagonia’s most famous landmarks: Torres del Paine
The indisputable poster child of Patagonia, few photographers can visit Torres del Paine National Park and its eponymous granite towers without taking a serious number of incredible photographs.
The money shot is dawn at the Paine Towers themselves, but the view across Lake Pehoé to a backdrop of the brooding Cuernos del Paine Mountains is another unmissable capture.
Remember that weather changes rapidly in the park, so be sure to read up on the conditions before planning your trip.
The shimmering blue of the ice of Glacier Perito Moreno
Across the Andes Mountains dividing the eastern and western sides of Patagonia stands the formidable blue bulk of Glacier Perito Moreno.
The ultimate photograph of this majestic expanse of ice pouring down from the South Patagonian Ice Field is at its foot. Here, wooden walkways provide excellent vantage points from which to stand mesmerized as blocks of ice thunder into the lake below.
The Ends of the Earth at Cape Horn
While the legendary passage around Cape Horn may not lend itself to photographs – the extreme winds and lashing rain are not ideal – the views from the albatross-shaped memorial across the churning waters of the Drake Passage below is one few ever get to see. Photographers are enthralled by the brooding clouds and tumultuous waters that surround this historic landmark.
The Queulat Hanging Glacier
While Glacier Perito Moreno makes an impression due to its size, tucked away further north along Chile’s Carretera Austral is Queulat National Park and its dazzling main attraction: the Queulat Hanging Glacier.
Wedged into the space between two ridges, the ice at the foot of the glacier seems ready to crash down at any moment and the meltwater indeed does this, splitting into two tumbling waterfalls. A viewpoint across the valley is the ideal spot for photographs – you’ll want to prove that this strange place of natural beauty really does exist.
Untouched wilderness in Alberto Agostini National Park
Transitioning in hue between the green of the subpolar Magellanic forest that lines the channels and fjords of this region and the blanketing white of the snow that sits atop the Darwin Mountains, the hidden Alberto Agostini National Park is a true photographer’s fantasy.
Untouched and barely-explored by any humans, this remote park is an awe-inspiring kaleidoscope of tidewater glaciers and unique wildlife. Lucky visitors might snap an image of the southern pudú, an Andean condor or even an endangered southern river otter.