We spent great 10 days with perfect sunny weather in the Chilean Patagonia – this time mostly in the Aysén Region. We started with the ferry from Puerto Montt to Chaitén and traveled down the Carretera Austral. We passed through Puerto Puyuhuapi and the Queulat National Park, continued via Coyhaique and Villa Cerro Castillo and the Ibáñez River valley to reach our main goal, the General Carrera Lake. After an excursion to the new Parque Patagonia we continued along the south shore of the General Carrera Lake where the New Year Picture above was taken. We then crossed the windy lake with the ferry between Chile Chico and Puerto Ingeniero Ibáñez to return to Coyhaique. After a one-day catamaran trip to the San Rafael Lagoon and Glacier we returned to Puerto Montt with the ferry from Puerto Chacabuco. From Santiago a total round trip of 3862km without counting the ferry passages. Stay tuned for the picture gallery from this trip which will be published soon.
Have a look at some recent photospheres (360 degree x 180 degree panoramas) of the ESO Paranal Observatory featuring the Very Large Telescope (VLT) at day and night. In particular, don’t miss to have a look around the winter sky with the Milkyway stretching across the firmament at the beginning of the night. The heart of the Observatory are the four 8.2-m Unit Telescopes (UTs). The photosphere of UT1 ‘Antu’ (the Sun in native Mapuche language) allows you to look around inside the telescope enclosure from the gallery on the level of the main 8.2-m mirror.
All photospheres have a resolution of 170 mega pixels and allow to look in all directions and to zoom in to 100% magnification. Don’t miss to look up to the zenith and down to the nadir, best in full-screen mode.
The United Buddy Bears Exhibition reached on its world tour Santiago de Chile in 2015. The 140 life-sized Buddy Bears are shown at the Parque Bicentenario next to the Municipality of Vitacura until June 19. Ten small and two larger Buddy Bears have been crafted by local artists and were auctioned at the Galería ARTIUM for charity. We purchased the bear by the chilean artist María José Romero. Have a look at some impressions from the exhibition and the auction. And have a more detailed 360 degree look at M.J.R’s sculpture. The revenues of the auction are donated to Fundación Cristo Vive to support some 900 kids at its kindergartens and nursery schools.
Last weekend we did a beautiful hike to the top of Cerro El Roble, with 2222m the highest peak in the coastal mountains near Santiago de Chile. We started our hike at 1650m – just above the clouds with the first spectacular panoramic views to the West to the Pacific ocean and to Cerro La Campana sticking its peak through the clouds. To the East we could see at the horizon over a sea of clouds the Andes mountain range with its highest peak, the Aconcagua (6960m). The easy trail climbs up to Cerro El Roble and passes through the northernmost forest of Roble Beech trees (Nothofagus obliqua) which were still beautifully late-autumn coloured. The climb to the top was then rewarded by most impressive panoramic sights from the El Roble mountain.
End of March we visited together with our friend Guido from Switzerland the Laguna del Laja National Park near Antuco in the Bío-Bío Region some 500 km south of Santiago. We spent the long weekend at the Antucalhue Cottage right at the entrance to the park. On our first day we explored the park along the main dirt road that goes around the Antuco Volcano and along the Laja Lagoon. The volcano and its lava flows dominate the views of the park together with the massive mountains and glaciers of the Sierra Velluda. The natural Laja Lagoon itself, the Laja River and the waterfalls all suffer from the current drought in large parts of Chile. Nevertheless, we enjoyed the drive and small hikes through the sparse landscape. On the second day we first climbed part of the trail towards the Sierra Velluda which was mostly hidden in low hanging clouds on that day. The trail led through native Coigüe and Cedar forests to beautiful views of the Laja River valley. In the late afternoon we enjoyed observing two shy couples of torrent ducks in the rapids of the Laja River. Enjoy the picture galleries and the panoramic views!
I have added some panorama shots from the Antarctica, Spitsbergen, Southwest USA and the Pumalín Park tours. They are shown on dedicated pages using a panorama viewer that allows panning and zooming. The 360-degree panorama of the Chaitén Volcano is a 64 Megapixel image and provides high-resolution views. Have fun!
The A&A Photography webpage is now powered by The Turning Gate Core Elements 4 (TTG CE4) Web Publishing Suite. TTG CE4 is a collection of plugins for Adobe Photoshop Lightroom that allows high-quality publishing of web pages and photo galleries directly from Lightroom. I started using TTG in 2012 with version CE2. The latest version CE4 provides very powerful publishing tools for desktop and mobile devices, high-quality gallery slide shows and improved support to social networks. I took also the opportunity to upgrade the slide shows to 1024 pixel resolution and introduce an improved naming scheme for the images. Hope you like it!
Here comes the picture gallery behind the Happy New Year 2015 post. We visited the northern part of the Carretera Austral (Ruta 7) between Christmas and New Year. We spent most of our time in the Pumalín Park, a private natural sanctuary founded by Douglas Tompkins. We camped in the park and stayed a few nights in the beautiful cabins at Caleta Gonzalo where we also celebrated the New Year after having climbed the Chaitén Volcano in the morning. We knew the area from a visit in 2007 before the volcano erupted in 2008 and were impressed to see the transformation the volcano has brought to the environment and landscapes. We then continued along the Ruta 7 to the South, turned East to follow the Futaleufú River to Argentina and eventually turned North to return to Chile via the Ruta 40, the north shore of the Nahuel Huapi Lake and the Cardenal Antonio Samoré Pass.
This picture gallery is a selection of pictures from our three week-tour in the Southwest of the USA through the states of Arizona, Utah and Colorado in August and September last year. We did an amazing round trip of 3077 miles starting and ending in Phoenix and visited 28 national and state parks, national monuments and other landmarks. Among those the Grand Canyon, Bryce Canyon, Arches, and Petrified Forest National Parks and Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park were our favourites. Furthermore the spectacular sandstone rock formations of The Wave and the Secret Canyon near Page were the two absolute highlights of the trip. Enjoy the pictures and panoramas!
We spent a great week in northern Patagonia – mostly in the Pumalín Park. Despite a lot of rain we enjoyed the nature with camping and hiking but also stayed a few days at the beautiful cabins of Caleta Gonzalo. The picture was taken on the rim of the caldera of the Chaitén Volcano which had its last major eruption in May 2008. We knew the area from before and could witness the massive changes this unexpected eruption has introduced to the landscape and the nearby village of Chaitén. We continued on the northern part of the Carretera Austral, crossed to Argentina near Futaleufú, and used Route 40 on the east side of the Andes to return to the North.