It was our third morning out there and we had already been thinking about not even getting out of the car. All that we could see in the west was a thick layer of low lying clouds. A few curtains of rain were hauled around by the wind. After two cloudless sunrises it seemed like this time we wouldn’t even get to see the Fitz Roy range at all.

The wind and slight rain outside where clearly trying to convince us to return to the comfort of our beds. After six weeks in Patagonia we had already become accustomed to the weather, so this alone wouldn’t have stopped us. It was rather the feeling of once again wasting time and energy for a shot that was just not meant to be taken. For the third time we had set our alarm way before sunrise and driven out there to give it a chance. We had been there on a couple of evenings as well. Whenever we spent the night in El Chaltén we went out there. So far all of our trips had been of little success – all  we took home were growing disappointment and shrinking expectations.

It all added up. The weather, low expectations, the past weeks sleep deprivation and the accompaning temptation of going back to bed had me stuck in the car. Still half asleep I wasn’t able to move. Getting out of the car was no option, but neither was starting the engine and driving back. For a few minutes I just sat there watching the wind blow around rain and dust. I probably would have sat there for an hour if it wasn’t for the appearance of a slight glimmer of light touching the clouds in the east. When I saw that distant glow, all of a sudden, my mind was back on track.

Looking the Cañadon del Rio de las Vueltas in Parque Nacional los Glaciares

The Far Side

It still took me a few moments, before I could grab my gear and stepped out, where I was welcomed by a gust of patagonian wind and swirling dust. Like in front of a big stop-sign I paused for a second, but a quick look to the intensifying light in the east reassured me, I shouldn’t let anything stop me. Minutes later I was standing on the edge of the impressive canyon that the Rio de las Vueltas had carved into the argentinian pampas. The view of Fitz Roy and Cerro Torre was still blocked by clouds and fog, but the subtle glimmer in the east had turned into a blaze that illuminated the dark sky. I knew that, again, I would not get the shot that I was there for, but it seemed as if this time there was something even more compelling in store. I turned my back on the iconic vista without contemplation, for this time I wouldn’t come home empty handed…

Cañadon del Rio de las Vueltas
El Chaltén
Parque Nacional los Glaciares

Canon EOS 5D Mark II
Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L USM @ 30mm
ISO 100, f/11, 1 second
Gitzo GT1541T

22. March 2012