Patagonia — Far More Than Just Stunning Landscapes

Famous to photographers the world over for its incredible mountain scenery, Patagonia is on every serious landscape photographer’s hit list, and for very good reason.  However, it should most certainly not be overlooked that the region also offers many wonderful opportunities for unique wildlife and interesting culture.

Patagonia—Far More Than Just Stunning Landscapes
The Paine Massif at sunrise

Recently word has gotten out that Patagonia is perhaps the very best place in the world to photograph wild Pumas (mountain lions) in their native habitat.  This is surely an amazing photographic experience but, just one of the many wildlife opportunities that abound.

Patagonia—Far More Than Just Stunning Landscapes
The intense gaze of Puma in springtime

Patagonia is also known for Condors and Penguins but it is also home to several other species of beautiful birds.  Chilean Flamingoes and the gorgeous Black-necked Swan are two that are worth mentioning.

Patagonia—Far More Than Just Stunning Landscapes
Andean Condors thrive in the little known Aysen region of Patagonia

Several species of Owls may also be encountered, especially if one travels with an experienced naturalist guide with the eyes and knowledge of where to find them.

Patagonia—Far More Than Just Stunning Landscapes
Austral Pygmy Owls are often active during daylight hours

Several species of birds of prey are also commonly encountered.

Patagonia—Far More Than Just Stunning Landscapes
A female Cinereous Harrier during nesting season

There is a wide variety of lovely songbirds and several endemic bird species in Patagonia such as the endearing Chucao Tapaculo with its exotic jungle call.

Patagonia—Far More Than Just Stunning Landscapes
The Chucao Tapaculo is very curious and commonly approaches quite closely

Apart from the spectacular birds and mammals, Patagonia is also a place where the Old West is still very much alive.  It is quite common to come across authentic Gauchos on horseback and who still live a simple rural lifestyle that has long vanished from the rest of the western world.

Patagonia—Far More Than Just Stunning Landscapes
A Gaucho moves his herd along the road to Torres del Paine

The real magic happens when one manages to capture an image that combines any of the beautiful creatures with the amazing mountain scenery as a backdrop.

Patagonia—Far More Than Just Stunning Landscapes
Playful Guanaco “Chulengos” in springtime

Therefore, when planning for a trip to Patagonia, one needs to consider coming prepared for much more than just fantastic scenic photo ops.  Be sure to bring a long lens in the 400-500mm range, preferably one that can be reasonably handheld allowing one to react quickly when a great wildlife opportunity suddenly arises.

Patagonia Is Far More Than Just Stunning Landscapes
Navigating Class V whitewater is nothing for the endemic Torrent Duck

If one wishes to best take advantage of Patagonia’s vast wildlife opportunities, it is recommended to visit during the springtime months of November and December.  This is when most of the birds and mammals will be found caring for their newborn offspring.   This is also a time when blooming plants and shrubs are in abundance adding a colorful accent to both scenic and wildlife images.

Patagonia Is Far More Than Just Stunning Landscapes
A wild Puma with the 3,000-foot granite Torres del Paine looming in the background specializes in small group tours and offers an annual Springtime workshop that is specifically timed to coincide with the absolute peak window for wildlife activity.  Also offered in springtime is a dedicated Puma photography workshop that is limited to just 4 participants.

Contact for more information about their unique tour offerings throughout Patagonia and beyond. [email protected]

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