“Photography is the story we fail to put into words.” I came across this quote by renowned landscape photographer Destin Sparks and it really resonated with me. Throughout my life, I have always combined my love of travel with my passion for photography, so much so, that it eventually evolved into a career for me. And though it is, in fact, my job to find those words to tell the story, photography will always have the upper hand.
A picture really does paint a thousand words and with the incredible advances in digital photography, as well as the exponential rise in social media, more and more wanderlust travellers from around the world are telling their vivid and engaging travel stories through the evocative images they capture.
It’s no surprise that travel photography is on the rise, and by tailor-making bucket list journeys to the most breathtakingly iconic and photogenic destinations on three different continents, &Beyond really is a photographer’s dream.
Given that we are in the midst of a week-long South America takeover on our @andbeyondtravel Facebook and Instagram platforms, I thought I’d ask one of our Brand Managers, Andrew Nicholson, for some advice on the best landscapes to photograph in Chile. A former &Beyond guide and talented photographer himself, Andrew just returned from his own photographic exploration of the many natural wonders of Chile and he was quick to list off three iconic Chilean landscapes that are an absolute must for enthusiastic travel photographers.
1. Atacama Desert
Officially known as the driest desert on earth, the Atacama Desert is world famous for its clear, unpolluted night skies, enchanting lunar landscapes, fascinating geology, crystal clear lagoons, towering volcanoes, steamy hot springs, bursting geysers and mirage-like salt flats dotted with pink flamingoes. Atacama images courtesy of Andrew Nicholson.
2. Easter Island
West of the mainland and stretching far across into the depths of the Pacific Ocean lies the mysterious Easter Island, the world’s largest open-air museum and one of the most remote communities on the planet. The 800+ eerie moai – giant monolithic human figures carved by the Rapa Nui more than 800 years ago – continue to capture the eyes and lenses of photographers from around the world. Come and capture the golden sunrise as it gently rises behind the Ahu Tongariki, the largest and perhaps most famous ahu (stone platform) on the island.
Another photographic milestone on this seemingly other-worldly island is Rano Raraku, a vast volcanic crater and quarry that was once the moai-carving heart of the island. Take a step back in Polynesian time and stroll amongst this spooky graveyard of 397 moai in various stages of development. It feels as though the sculptors just up and left their work abruptly and without a trace.
3. Parque Nacional Torres del Paine, Patagonia
Patagonia is nature’s wonderland. Like a perfect painting, no words can truly do this pristine, rugged, untamed and astonishingly beautiful landscape any justice. In fact, not many photographs can either. Everywhere you look, jaw-dropping beauty abounds and photographers flock from across the globe to photograph this remote outdoor playground and attempt to capture its magnificence.
The highlight of Patagonia is arguably the Parque Nacional Torres del Paine. Adventurers, nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts travel from afar to explore its icy glaciers, picturesque icebergs, azure lakes, windswept pampas (treeless grasslands) and jagged, snow-capped mountain peaks in search of curious guanacos, soaring condors and the elusive puma.
Chile is a place that keeps photographers, both amateur and professional, constantly coming back for more. Besides the obvious and unmatched allure of the dramatic landscapes, wildlife photographers also venture to Chile to document its abundant marine wildlife (including sea lions, seals, otters, penguins, dolphins and whales), as well as its comical llamas, vicuñas, alpacas and guanacos (all indigenous species of the camelid) and the more obscure puma, mountain lion and grey fox.
Looking for some more inspiration? Check out our 12-day Best of Chile tour, which is an unforgettable and undeniably scenic journey through Chile’s most iconic landscapes. It is ideal for adventure seekers, families and photographers alike.