September 22, 2023


How Art Works

Photographer Captures Attractive Photographs of Fall Colours in Patagonia

15 min read

OM SYSTEM Ambassador and journey photographer Frank Smith has been capturing the various fantastic thing about the world for many years. Whether or not or not it’s by his pictures of individuals, cultures, or nature, Smith is a passionate and completed storyteller. Nonetheless, documenting the autumn colours in Patagonia had been one story that had eluded Smith for years.

Full disclosure: This text was delivered to you by OM SYSTEM Cameras

All images have been captured with the OM SYSTEM OM-5 digicam until in any other case famous.

That each one modified in April of 2023 when the chance offered itself for the Pennsylvania based mostly photographer to hitch a final minute expedition to probably the most photogenic locations on the planet, throughout its most dramatic season.

Conscious of the rugged and onerous to entry terrain that Patagonia is thought for, Smith packed his compact OM SYSTEM OM-5 digicam and boarded a flight to the southern shores of South America.

Patagonia is just not a rustic, however quite a geographical area that spans over 400,000 sq. miles on the southern tip of South America. The realm consists of land that lies in each Argentina and Chile, because the southern Andes Mountains give solution to numerous lakes, fjords, glaciers, and temperate rainforests within the west and desert and steppes to the east.

M.Zuiko Digital ED 8-25mm F4.0 PRO, 17mm, 1/8, f/16, ISO 200, Excessive Res Shot Mode
M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-100mm F4.0 IS PRO, 12mm, .5 seconds, f/13, ISO 200, Excessive Res Shot Mode

Whereas all of Patagonia is worthy of an prolonged highway journey, most photographers and hikers flock to 2 particular places: Chile’s Torres del Paine Nationwide Park and the Argentinian village of El Chaltén. This small village serves because the basecamp for journey seekers who want to go to the Perito Moreno Glacier and the mountains of Cerro Torre and Fitz Roy, the latter of which the clothes firm Patagonia shows of their brand.

M.Zuiko Digital ED 8-25mm F4.0 PRO, 25mm, 1/60, f/8, ISO 200, Excessive Res Shot Mode

A 250 mile drive to the south leads guests to Torres del Paine Nationwide Park, which is thought to be probably the most beautiful Nationwide Parks on this planet. In 1978, the park was declared a biosphere reserve by UNESCO, and it’s straightforward to see why. The surroundings consists of huge vertical granite peaks, rivers and lakes full of vibrant blue water, and wildlife consisting of guanacos, foxes, and pumas.

Whereas nearly anybody can seize distinctive images from the park’s most important roads, essentially the most spectacular views require a good quantity of mountaineering, and that is the place Smith started his pictures journey.

OM SYSTEM OM-1, M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-100mm F4.0 IS PRO, 12mm, 1/640 seconds, f/8, ISO 200, HDR Pano

“I had by no means been to Patagonia earlier than, however I’ve studied the area extensively,” Smith tells PetaPixel. “I knew I ought to anticipate harsh climate, nevertheless it was much more loopy then I may have imagined. One minute it’s blue skies and sunshine, the subsequent minute you’re in a blizzard, earlier than it will definitely turns into sideways rain. And it looks like a continuing windstorm. However I realized shortly, in the event you lean into it, roll with the punches, and be affected person, the rewards are properly well worth the ache.”

M.Zuiko Digital ED 8-25mm F4.0 PRO, 8mm, 1/25, f/5.6, ISO 500, Excessive Res Shot Mode
M.Zuiko Digital ED 8-25mm F4.0 PRO, 14mm, 1/200, f/5, ISO 200, Excessive Res Shot Mode

For Smith, lots of these rewards got here in Torres del Paine. “Whereas it’s true you can journey to Patagonia in additional snug seasons, I had two targets in thoughts for my first go to to Patagonia,” Smith says. “The primary was fall colours, and the second was snow capped mountains. April is the right time to seek out each of those collectively.”

M.Zuiko Digital ED 8-25mm F4.0 PRO, 14mm, 1.3 seconds, f/14, ISO 200, Excessive Res Shot Mode

Smith arrived in Torres del Paine and checked in to his lodge, which might be dwelling for the subsequent 4 nights. As with most issues in Torres del Paine, even the lodge was unimaginable. “The very first thing that blew me away in the course of the journey was really strolling throughout a picket footbridge to test into that first lodge,” Smith describes. “There isn’t a lot on this distant nationwide park, however by some means there was this extremely charming lodge that sat proper on Lake Pehoé, with, arguably, probably the greatest views within the park. I knew proper then that this was going to be a particular expertise. Little did I do know that I used to be about to seize dozens of portfolio worthy photographs with my OM-5 camera in Torres del Paine”

OM SYSTEM OM-1, M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-100mm F4.0 IS PRO, 25mm, 1/12800 seconds, f/5.6, ISO 200, HDR Pano

For Smith, and most panorama photographers, dramatic climate results in higher photographs, and few places carry the drama fairly like Patagonia. “The distinction of climate that I skilled was nearly unimaginable,” Smith says. “Most traditional folks get up within the morning, look exterior, see darkish clouds and grumpily return to sleep. Us photographers soar off the bed and seize our gear, as we all know that these are the circumstances that may result in vibrant sunrises and shafts of early morning gentle that distinction in opposition to the shadows of the landscapes.”

OM SYSTEM OM-1, M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-100mm F4.0 IS PRO, 12mm, 20 seconds, f/11, ISO 200

It wasn’t simply the sunrises and sunsets that introduced Smith to Patagonia. Being so distant, your complete area has little or no gentle air pollution, which, on a transparent evening, can result in among the brightest evening skies on this planet. “We set our alarms for about 3am to test the cloud cowl. As is widespread in Patagonia, there have been certainly clouds, however not sufficient to discourage us from urgent our luck and heading out to {photograph} the Milky Method. After a hike at the hours of darkness, I arrange my tripod and stared up on the sky above. Seemingly on cue, the clouds started to disperse and the Milky Method appeared. Apart from Mongolia and the Atacama desert, I had by no means seen the Milky Method like this earlier than.”

OM SYSTEM OM-1, M.Zuiko Digital ED 7-14mm F2.8 PRO, 7mm, 50 seconds, f/2.8, ISO 2000

With a few of his favourite Milky Method images now embedded on his digicam’s reminiscence card, Smith started to pack up his backpack because the morning twilight started to beat the small group. “Rapidly, the native information that we had with us informed me that we weren’t going wherever,” he says. “At first, I didn’t know why. However as the sunshine continued to brighten, I shortly understood his reasoning. We have been standing on a seaside, seeing a jaw-dropping panorama seem in entrance of us. Being that he was a pictures information, he knew precisely what was about to come back. Because the solar started to crest unseen over the far horizon, the sky completely exploded right into a sea of pink and purple above the daylight that hit the dramatic peaks in entrance of us.”

M.Zuiko Digital ED 8-25mm F4.0 PRO, 8mm, 10 seconds, f/8, ISO 200, Excessive Res Shot Mode

“I used to be already excited to have some portfolio worthy Milky Method photographs, however to expertise that dawn from the identical actual spot instantly after was completely nuts. Pondering again over my panorama portfolio, I’ve images with dramatic mountains. I’ve images with dramatic skies. I’ve images with dramatic reflections. However to have all of them come collectively in a single scene was simply magical.”

M.Zuiko Digital ED 8-25mm F4.0 PRO, 8mm, 3.2 seconds, f/11, ISO 200, Pano

Smith got here to Torres del Paine with a selected purpose in thoughts for the way he needed to seize these postcard worthy landscapes. “Having scoured photographs of this area for years, I knew that the landscapes have been massive. There are such a lot of foreground parts to play with and big backgrounds of granite mountains and glaciers that rise 1000’s of toes above the place my digicam sat. So I needed to actually let my viewers see all of it. And one of the best ways to do that, I assumed, was by utilizing the in-built High Res Shot in my OM-5 digicam.”

OM SYSTEM OM-1, M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-100mm F4.0 IS PRO, 12mm, 1/80, f/11, ISO 200

OM SYSTEM cameras have numerous conceptual pictures instruments constructed proper into the physique. Pro Capture mode is right for photographing fast paced wildlife, Live ND mode replicates an exterior ND filter, and Live Composite Mode is a sport changer for capturing star trails, fireworks, and shifting clouds.

For his journey to Patagonia, Smith was targeted on utilizing the OM-5’s High Res Shot function, which creates 50 or 80 megapixel, extremely high-definition photographs by compositing eight or 16 uncooked recordsdata. Excessive Res Shot has two choices for the photographer to select from when initiated: handheld or tripod. Whereas on a tripod, the OM-5 can seize gigantic 80 megapixel photographs, however for these moments when a photographer can’t use a tripod, they’ll nonetheless seize 50 megapixel photographs utilizing the hand held mode.

M.Zuiko Digital ED 8-25mm F4.0 PRO, 8mm, 1/60, f/8, ISO 2500, Excessive Res Shot Mode

“As a high-quality artwork panorama photographer, I do promote numerous prints of my work,” Smith states. “So having these tremendous sized photographs permits me to print my work at nearly any measurement, and be assured that the readability and sharpness will look nice. Additionally, having that a lot actual property in a picture file permits me to make numerous compositions by utilizing cropping. For example, I cherished this huge, 80 megapixel picture of the purple hues within the sky because the morning solar lit up the mountains in Torres del Paine. Nonetheless, I used to be actually drawn to the 2 peaks and the reflection that they forged. By cropping in and eliminating nearly 50% of the picture, I used to be in a position to create a wholly new expertise for my viewers, whereas nonetheless having a crisp picture.”

M.Zuiko Digital ED 8-25mm F4.0 PRO, 13mm, .8 seconds, f/14, ISO 200, Excessive Res Shot Mode

Even with the flexibility to crop in tight, Smith says that one shouldn’t underestimate the necessity for a telephoto lens after they go to Patagonia.

“There have been so many scenes in Patagonia that basically got here alive after I put my M.Zuiko Digital ED 100-400mm F5.0-6.3 IS on the digicam,” Smith describes. “In fact, if time was restricted and the sunshine was shifting quick, I opted for capturing huge angle images with the M.Zuiko Digital ED 8-25mm F4.0 PRO and counting on the megapixels that I bought from the Excessive Res Shot to get in tighter. Nonetheless, if I had time, I might put the 100-400mm on to get a telephoto have a look at these unimaginable scenes. So as a substitute of getting a barely downsized picture of a tighter scene, I may keep the 80 megapixels I used to be getting by utilizing Excessive Res Shot on my tripod, however with a detailed up view of the topic.”

“Once I first noticed the way in which the clouds hovered over this mountain vary, I needed to seize the scene as I noticed it, so I used the huge angle lens,” he continues. “Nonetheless, I couldn’t cease trying on the approach the solar was lighting up the rock face because the shadows consumed the snow and ice-covered peaks in entrance, so I shortly modified to the telephoto. I used to be standing in the identical actual spot for each photographs, however they inform very completely different tales to the viewers.”

M.Zuiko Digital ED 8-25mm F4.0 PRO, 25mm, 1/160, f/11, ISO 200, Excessive Res Shot Mode
M.Zuiko Digital ED 100-400mm F5.0-6.3 IS, 100mm, 1/160, f/6.3, ISO 250, Excessive Res Shot Mode

Smith additionally says that the telephoto lens would come in useful whereas capturing timelapse clips in Torres del Paine. “Patagonia has among the most unimaginable clouds I’ve ever seen, so I knew that capturing timelapse clips would add movement to the tales I needed to seize. Whereas there was nothing mistaken with the huge angle timelapses that I captured, the telephoto clips appeared a lot extra dramatic. You possibly can actually really feel the chilly and the wind while you get in shut to those peaks and watch the clouds dance round them.”

Wildlife is just not one thing that Smith had anticipated to see whereas in Patagonia, however he was handled to some memorable sightings, even when the elusive puma by no means made an look. “These have been simply extra moments that I used to be completely satisfied that I had my M.Zuiko Digital ED 100-400mm F5.0-6.3 IS on the prepared in my backpack, like after I captured a guanaco posing for me within the setting solar. ”

OM SYSTEM OM-1, M.Zuiko Digital ED 100-400mm F5.0-6.3 IS, 227mm, 1/1000, f/6, ISO 500
OM SYSTEM OM-1, M.Zuiko Digital ED 100-400mm F5.0-6.3 IS, 292mm, 1/1600, f/8, ISO 200

Smith depends on particulars to inform tales of the landscapes he visits, and a day go to to the Perito Moreno Glacier supplied that chance. After crossing the border from Chile into Argentina, Smith arrived on the huge wall of ice that lies in Los Glaciares Nationwide Park. The ice formation is nineteen miles in size, covers 97 sq. miles, and is one in every of 48 glaciers that stretch from the Southern Patagonia Ice Discipline. The glacier is without doubt one of the most original on this planet, in that, as many of the world’s glaciers are retreating, the Perito Moreno Glacier is just not.

“The Perito Moreno Glacier was really outstanding,” Smith describes. “You actually can’t envision how massive it’s till you lay eyes on it. This was a type of occasions I needed to remind myself to follow endurance, as nearly all of the time that we have been there, the glacier was in deep shadows. I discovered the composition that I appreciated, had all of my settings dialed into my OM-5, and I waited. And waited. And waited. However ultimately, the clouds behind me broke for only a minute or two, basking the glacier in daylight as the encircling body was full of moody black clouds and shadows.”

“As quickly as I captured it, I knew I had the shot that I needed. Nonetheless, regardless that I like that shot, it will possibly’t actually convey the enormity of it. I knew there was extra to the story, and being that the glacier is without doubt one of the uncommon ones that isn’t retreating, I targeted my lens on the chunks of ice that had just lately separated from the glacier. Whereas it’s not possible to point out the glacier replenishing itself in a nonetheless {photograph}, I needed to inform not less than half the story of the circle of life that happens on this outstanding glacier.”

M.Zuiko Digital ED 100-400mm F5.0-6.3 IS, 100mm, 1/400, f/6.3, ISO 200

From the Perito Moreno Glacier, Smith traveled north to the village of El Chaltén, which sits on the foot of the imposing and awe-inspiring Mount Fitz Roy. Whereas some photographers who select to go to this legendary mountain in autumn by no means really see the mountain, Smith’s run of excellent fortune continued.

“I couldn’t imagine how lovely of a mountain it was the primary time I noticed Fitz Roy from the highway. I do know photographers who noticed nothing however a wall of clouds on their visits to El Chaltén, so I used to be shocked to not solely see the mountain, however there was not a cloud within the sky.”

Smith needed to convey the story of the adventure-filled rush that he was feeling, so he shortly stepped off the aspect of the highway along with his M.Zuiko Digital ED 8-25mm F4.0 PRO and captured a large angle {photograph} of the distant S-Curve highway resulting in the enduring mountain vary within the distance because the solar started to set.

M.Zuiko Digital ED 8-25mm F4.0 PRO, 16mm, 1/160, f/8, ISO 200, Excessive Res Shot Mode

Smith cherished the situation a lot, he returned the subsequent morning to seize the scene because the morning gentle lit up Fitz Roy.

“As soon as once more, I couldn’t imagine I had this view with out clouds masking Fitz Roy,” he says. “Usually, I need plenty of clouds for drama in my pictures, however since that is such a uncommon sight, I made a decision to embrace the just about cloud free sky. As I used to be organising nonetheless, I seen this attention-grabbing trying fence off the aspect of the highway, so I connected my M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-100mm F4.0 IS PRO and determined to inform a distinct story of Fitz Roy. Though I used to be standing near the identical place that I used to be the evening earlier than, merely altering my composition and focal size created a totally completely different view that informed a really completely different story than the highway photograph I had beforehand captured.”

OM SYSTEM OM-1, M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-100mm F4.0 IS PRO, 35mm, 1/50, f/8, ISO 200, Excessive Res Shot Mode

With many of the journey beneath his belt, Smith hoped he had saved the perfect for final, regardless that he knew it might not come straightforward.

“I personal each the OM-1 and the OM-5, nonetheless after I journey as of late, particularly to bodily intensive journeys like Patagonia, I discover myself packing the OM-5 in my day pack,” Smith says. “The lighter weight and extra compact measurement, particularly while you aren’t sacrificing high quality, makes a giant distinction. Particularly on the third or fourth hour of a grueling hike, like we had early one morning to {photograph} dawn at Fitz Roy.”

Like Torres Del Paine in Chile, Argentina’s Mount Fitz Roy and Cerro Torre are greatest photographed at dawn. This led to numerous early mornings, however none harder, or rewarding, than that 2:30 get up name to begin the hike from the village of El Chaltén.

“Our headlamps guided us as we slowly ascended the slender and rocky path,” Smith describes. “Having by no means been to this area or performed this hike, it was onerous for me to examine precisely the place we have been going, however we trusted our native information. Even when our information was going to get us to an incredible vantage level, it was so darkish, it was onerous to inform what the climate could be like when the solar lastly rose. Ultimately, our information had us cease, and we gladly took a a lot wanted relaxation earlier than organising our digicam gear.”

“Positive sufficient, when the solar did rise, I couldn’t imagine what I used to be seeing. The autumn colours that surrounded me have been vibrant reds, oranges and yellow. The river flowed strongly proper as much as our toes, creating this unimaginable main line that grabbed our eyes and directed them outward, to a wonderfully framed, snow and cloud coated Mount Fitz Roy within the distance. This was the precise shot that I had been after for therefore a few years.”

M.Zuiko Digital ED 8-25mm F4.0 PRO, 14mm, 1/13, f/8, ISO 200, Excessive Res Shot Mode
M.Zuiko Digital ED 8-25mm F4.0 PRO, 11mm, 1/20, f/7.1, ISO 200, Excessive Res Shot Mode
M.Zuiko Digital ED 8-25mm F4.0 PRO, 19mm, 1/320, f/8, ISO 200, Excessive Res Shot Mode

As Smith’s time in Patagonia got here to an finish, he couldn’t assist reflecting on the unimaginable expertise, and the as soon as in a lifetime pictures that he captured.

OM SYSTEM OM-1, M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-100mm F4.0 IS PRO, 12mm, 6 seconds, f/5.6, ISO 200, Excessive Res Shot Mode
M.Zuiko Digital ED 8-25mm F4.0 PRO, 8mm, 1/13, f/8, ISO 200, Excessive Res Shot Mode

“I’ve taught numerous pictures in my profession,” Smith explains. “Whether or not or not it’s a workshop or a neighborhood digicam membership, I’ve at all times informed fellow photographers about my basic lack of endurance. However I’ve come to be taught that, as a photographer, in the event you can’t be taught endurance, you’re not going to achieve success. You don’t have any selection. Whether or not it’s ready for a component to maneuver right into a scene or ready for Mom Nature to cooperate, it’s a must to be affected person.”

“Nonetheless, I additionally inform them that having a plan is equally as necessary,” Smith concludes. “All of the endurance on this planet doesn’t matter in the event you haven’t put the right plan into place to place your self in the correct place on the proper time. All of the endurance on this planet doesn’t matter in the event you don’t have the correct pictures gear and also you don’t know the best way to correctly use it. Fortunately for me, I had been planning for the moments that Patagonia graciously handed to me for many years. All it took was years of endurance to lastly make my dream pictures a actuality.”

M.Zuiko Digital ED 8-25mm F4.0 PRO, 11mm, 1/6, f/8, ISO 200, Excessive Res Shot Mode

Extra from Frank Smith may be discovered on his website, Facebook, and Instagram.

Full disclosure: This text was delivered to you by OM SYSTEM Cameras

Picture credit: All images by Frank Smith

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