It was the first night on the W-Trek and I had already buried my hopes for a sunset shoot when we were cooking dinner (noodles in vegetable soup). The last clouds had disappeared and my legs felt too tired to climb up to the Torres del Paine again (I knew this was a sunrise location and didn’t want to exhaust myself on the first evening). We went to sleep soon and I set my alarm clock to 4am. It would take me about an hour to reach the Laguna below the Torres and I wanted to be first.

When I woke up I could see lights in a few other tents and I even spotted a few headlamps on the trail to the Torres. I hurried to get up there myself, as not to lose the spot I had scouted the day before to someone else, but it turned out that most people going up there were mostly no photo geeks (just regular tourists that must have read about the opportunity to watch a great sunrise in their guidebooks). After I reached the Mirador I went down to the water and had the little lake to myself.

Long exposure of a sunrise at Torres del Paine

Torres del Paine

The view up there was just stunning. I enjoyed it for about half an hour before the sun began to spill the first pink light onto the clouds above the towers. It was still pretty dark and at f/11 I didn’t need a lot of ND power to bring the exposure times to about two minutes. Yesterdays wind was gone and the reflection was crystal clear.

Canon EOS 5D Mark III
Canon EF 17-40mm f/4 USM
ISO 50, f/11, 110 seconds

9. February 2011