Thinking about a first post for this new blog and organizing photos on my hard drives I realized that over the past 5 years I’ve photographed Cerro Torre in all possible light conditions. And given my obsession for that mountain I have no doubt that I’ll return to its foot many times more, in my quest for the ultimate image
That’s why I decided to write this post in 4 parts: The sunrise, The day, The sunset and The night, with a selection of some photographs taken in the aforementioned moments of light.
After 2 years of absence I could return to El Chaltén towards the end of March. The town received us with rain and wind, typical of El Chalten. After a couple of days of bad weather and tired of doing nothing and wander around the town, although the day was gray and raining at times, we decided to go to camp for a few days at Laguna Torre in search of those spectacular transition of light that occur when a storm dissipates. As it’s typical of this time of the year Laguna Torre was full of icebergs, many of them were stranded on the shore due to the high winds blowing almost always from the continental ice field, the Chalten’s popular “West wind”. I usually bivouac, but the weather remained very unstable the first night and we decided to set up the tent, good choice since it rained a lot that night
The next morning the sky was still completely covered, Cerro Torre was hidden behind a dense layer of clouds that came almost to the bottom of the mountain. After a short breakfast we went to the Mirador Maestri to enjoy the spectacular view of Galciar Grande that can be seen from that viewpoint. I took some photos in black and white film of the glacier. The wind was very strong and it’s difficult to keep firm the Pentax 67 in those situations, but luckily the frames turned out sharp.
Walking around the area we heard a stream in the woods and took advantage of the clouds to take some photos Water mooving + woods + cloudy day = Circular Polarizer Filter , a landscape photography recipe that never fails for this kind of shots.
It’s very common at Laguna Torre, and also at Laguna de los Tres, to see dozens or even hundreds of tourist passing by, disappointed by not to be able to see the Cerro Torre and Fitz Roy clear. It is understandable since many fans of mountain activities come from far away to see the two giants of Patagonia and returning to their homes without seeing them is frustraiting. But you know, that is nature, and you can’t deal with it. While today we have quite accurate online tools for weather prediction in mountain areas such as the windguru or mountainforecast, my advice for all who want to visit El Chalten it’s to do it with some time to spare, because the famous unpredictable weather of this part of Patagonia is not taken from a fiction tale, it’s real, and can be responsible for the tourist return to their country with the feeling of having visited just another town of Patagonia and not the most important thing about it, it’s wilderness and the mythical, epic, marvelous, giant, and I can name a lot more adjetives, CERRO TORRE and FITZ ROY.
The next morning we woke up before sunrise, on time as usual…. I left the tent and facing the sky to the East I realized that the storm had cleared enough and that during the Sunrise we had a chance to get good light over Cerro Torre. I ran to the shore of the lagoon, mounted the camera on the tripod and minutes later I got this photo, an image that I always dreamed about.
Some more photos at sunrise of other camp days at Laguna Torre:
Looking at the west, the Adela Range is just at the left of Cerro Torre. The next photo shows it’s two main peaks, Adela Sur (right) and El Ñato (left), both very similar shaped.