A wild Chilean land­scape in Photo Sto­ries

Cris­tián Pomés Cor­rea takes photos with sur­gi­cal pre­ci­sion, and loves to hike around the Chilean land­scape cap­tur­ing its var­ied beauty

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As a la­paro­scopic sur­geon, I am a per­fec­tion­ist in my work, and my choice of cam­era re­flects this; that’s why I chose Nikon for my sec­ond big pas­sion in life, pho­tog­ra­phy. My work as a sur­geon can be very in­volved and in­tense, so I try to get out into the Chilean land­scape to re­con­nect with this beau­ti­ful coun­try as of­ten as I can.

One week­end my wife and I went away for a ro­man­tic week­end to San Pe­dro de Ata­cama. I only took my Nikon D300 and a sin­gle lens, the Nikon 24-85mm f/2.8-4. Nor­mally I would take more lenses and a tri­pod, but this wasn’t re­ally a pho­tog­ra­phy trip. The Nikon 24-85mm f/2.8-4 is a ver­sa­tile lens though – it can cap­ture both wide land­scapes and tight tele­photo shots. I climbed a hill near Valle de la Luna, in the Ata­cama Desert, in an­tic­i­pa­tion of sun­set. De­spite the fall­ing light lev­els I man­aged to cap­ture a sharp hand-held im­age even at ISO200 [1]. I loved how the sun­set en­riched the al­ready red­dened sand.

Two years af­ter this trip with my wife I found my­self 50km east of San­ti­ago, in a moun­tain val­ley called Ca­jón del Maipo, 2000 me­tres above sea level. Tow­er­ing over me were the An­des Moun­tains. It was a sum­mer’s day with deep-blue skies and a hazy sheen on the hori­zon, but sud­denly the sky filled with black clouds. A strong wind came from the moun­tains and I hur­ried to take some pic­tures. I threw up my tri­pod and tried a com­po­si­tion with di­ag­o­nal lead­ing lines My in­ten­tion

Mis­sion: To cap­ture the var­ied land­scapes of Chile in all their glory Pho­tog­ra­pher: Cris­tián Pomés Cor­rea Age: 47

Lo­ca­tion: San­ti­ago de Chile Kit: D3S, D300, Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8, 18-35mm f/3.5-4.5, 24-85mm f/2.8-4, 50mm f/1.8, 70-200mm f/2.8, 200-500mm f/5.6

Tor­res del Paine Na­tional Park is so iso­lated from civ­i­liza­tion, and the land­scape is pris­tine

was for the lines to take the eye deep into the moun­tains. No sooner had I taken a few frames than a very pow­er­ful sum­mer storm came up, so I had to run. Thank­fully the weather seal­ing of my D3S pro­tected it from the tor­ren­tial rain.

To­wards the end of that year I de­cided to give my­self an even big­ger chal­lenge. This time I trav­elled 2000km south from San­ti­ago, to Tor­res del Paine Na­tional Park, in the ex­treme south of Chile’s Patag­o­nia re­gion. As soon as I got there I felt a strong feel­ing of iso­la­tion. It is so far away and so iso­lated from civ­i­liza­tion, and, pos­si­bly be­cause of this, the land­scape is spec­tac­u­lar and pris­tine. To take this photo [3] I had trek for four hours through a beau­ti­ful for­est, cross­ing small rivers and travers­ing cliffs, but it was worth all the ef­fort.

I was con­cerned that the wind was so strong that it would move my tri­pod dur­ing the ex­po­sure, so I pushed my ISO up to 800, to give me a fast shut­ter speed of 1/400 sec at f/16. It’s a dra­matic im­age of a dra­matic place!

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