Located in Torres Del Paine National Park, in Chile’s Patagonia region, the Grey Glacier is a stunning place to visit. Blue and white pillars of ice stand silent in a line as they wait their turn to plunge into the ice lagoon below. Once calved, large icebergs catch the wind and sail 14 miles across the lagoon to the beach. They make their final stand for weeks, melting slowly, too stubborn to let go.
The “Grey” in the name doesn’t describe the glacier, but rather the large amounts of sediment from melted ice in the lagoon that stretches from its face. The glacier gets its deep blue color when sunlight hits its surface scattering the blue wavelength and absorbing the red wavelength.
Getting to Grey Glacier is an hour boat ride from Hotel Largo Grey that operates four times a day. It’s a sturdy, 50-passenger boat with plenty of room to maneuver into place for great shots. While on board you get a detailed history of the park and enjoy their signature drink, a Pisco Sour chilled with glacial ice. On the trip you visit the three faces of the glacier each more spectacular then the last. The third face stands over 50 meters tall and looks as if it could calve at any time.
On this day, beautiful lenticular clouds formed over the ancient ice. The clouds added a mystical quality to the landscape. As we rounded the final corner, two slits in the ice caught my eye. They shone with an amazing blue color and ultimately added a place for the eye to rest in an otherwise chaotic scene. The glaciers of the southern Patagonian ice field lose about 20 billion tons of ice annually due to climate change, so if you’re compelled to visit, you better do it soon!
Equipment & Settings: Nikon D800, Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 44mm, f2.8, 1/2000 sec., ISO 100