Sunrise Light on the Towers of Torres del Paine

(© Ian Plant) The Towers of Paine are the most famous feature of Chile’s Torres del Paine National Park (hence the park’s name), and for good reason. Although not quite as big as some of the surrounding mountains, the towers are sheer walls of granite, making them exceptionally photogenic, especially at sunrise when they catch the first light of the day. I was shooting reflections of the towers in nearby Laguna Amarga in the pre-dawn light, but as the sun rose, the wind picked up slightly, stirring up the water and ruining the perfect reflections. So I quickly switched from my wide angle lens to my Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 VC zoom, allowing me to zoom in tightly on the most exciting parts of the scene—the sunlit towers and the stunning diagonal cloud above them. As is often the case in Patagonia, the light didn’t last long, so I had to work fast, hand-holding the camera and relying on the lens’ vibration control feature and wide maximum aperture to ensure I got a sharp image. Although I don’t usually hand-hold my landscape shots, when shooting fast-changing light I often switch between a tripod-mounted camera with a wide-angle lens and a hand-held telephoto zoom on my secondary camera. This helps me maximize the number and variation of images I get, while also ensuring I don’t miss anything important.

About the image: “The Towers at Dawn”—Torres del Paine National Park, Chile (Patagonia). Canon EOS 5D Mark III Digital Camera, Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 SP Di VC USD Zoom Lens for Canon, ISO 400, f/2.8, 1/500 second.

P.S. Join me in 2014 on my Ultimate Patagonia Photo Tour!