Autumn is definitely the most amazing time in Patagonia, especially in the area of the iconic Fitz Roy (Chalten) Mountain.
In the middle of April forests beneath Fitz Roy turn into colorful painting. Red colors mix with orange and green. The season is very calm, almost no tourists visit Fitz Roy this time of the year, so we can enjoy the Autumn splendor in solitude and harmony with nature.
We scouted some wonderful spots for sunrise, sunset and even astrophotography. The journey will be organized in the maximum comfortable way possible. We will camp in our private camping ground with tents, covered kitchen, toilet. Our chef will prepare gourmet meal for us, including steaks, cordero, wine and yummi desserts for dinner. You will always have hot water, tea, coffee or hot chocolate. There is no need to carry camping gear up the trail as our guides and porters will arrange everything for us, including warm sleeping bags. We have 2 professional local mountain guides and 2 professional photography guides in the crew, chef and porters per group (1 porter per 2 persons, 20 kg maximum) which will help you to carry your tripods, extra wear and spare gear from camp to camp.
The hike is easy by the well marked prepared trail.
First day we have ascend 200 m from the village, per 10 km of hike. Our guides will have a very slow pace, and we can make travel shots on the way to the camp.
Both camps are located in amazing Patagonia forests with awesome views even from tents. All beautiful locations are within 20-30 minutes easy hike from the camp almost without climbing. The third day we have another ascend around 200 m (per 3 km) and then 6 km of hike through the plain valley. The fifth day we descend 300 m hiking 10 km to the El Chalten village. The difficulty could be also with low temperatures. If you did not get used to sleep in tents with 0 C outside, please bring your own very warm sleeping bag (-5 – -10 C comfort). We have +5 C sleeping bags in the camp. It is also possible to use 2 sleeping bags if needed.
Weather conditions may be very unstable, Patagonia is famous for its ever-changing weather. So please prepare for the worst conditions possible as temperature drop to minus 5 in the night (in average it’s +10 at the daytime and 0 C in the night). Snow and rain is possible, so good shoes, waterproof pants and jacket are essential. Down jacket, gloves, hat are essential as well.
There is no power supply, as we hike in national park with very strict rules. So please take at least 4 spare batteries or battery grip for your camera.
We will photograph even in the night weather permitting.
Day 1 – 16 April
We pick you up at 14:00 from your hotel in El Calafate. We recommend to stay at Kosten Aike hotel. There is also a pick up option from the airport at 3 4 p.m. this day. But we recommend you to arrive one day before the start of adventure. The road to El Chalten is 2,5 hours drive.
We arrive to El Chalten by our private bus and photograph sunset from the Fitz Roy river canyon with views toward wonderful Andes ridge. After check in to our comfortable hotel, we have dinner together. During the dinner we meet with our local mountain guides to instruct you about the upcoming adventure.
We photograph sunrise from the road towards El Chalten or from the canyon.
We have breakfast and get ready for hiking. You may leave your suitcases in hotel lobby. You hike only with your camera gear, and with some spare clothes. 3 porters will help us to carry 60 kg of wear and gear from hotel to camp. If we are lucky enough, in 40-50 minutes of hike the awesome Cerro Torre peak will show himself first time on horizon like a huge lighthouse guiding our way. The hike usually take up to 4 hours by easy trail with numerous viewpoints through the Autumn Patagonia forest. The hike is 10 km long with 200 m ascend. The thorwood camp is located on the height around 600 m above the sea level.
We have lunch on the way, you’ll have your own lunch boxes with you, so please leave some space in your backpack for a bottle of water and lunchbox. On checking in to our tents we have some rest and then depart to sunset location. We may split in 2 small groups of 6 photographers with one photography guide and one mountain guide to ensure you have your own space at location.
Main spots for photography at Thorwood camp are
– Laguna Torre with amazing icebergs, the infield and clear views to Cerro Torre
– Fitz Roy river framed by autumn leaves with cascades and nice bends
We spend 1 nights in the camp to wait for the weather, changing locations both 1 sunset session and 1 sunrise session. Night photography is also possible if skies will be clear.
After sunset session this day we have gourmet dinner with meat and wine.
Sunrise session in one of wonderful locations in the area.
After the breakfast we are ready to hike 10 km to the next private camp, Poincenot. The hike is with 200 m ascend through Patagonia forest and valley with lagoons. Usually it takes around 3 hours to hike from one camp to another. We’ll have lunch on the way if the weather will be nice to us (lunchbox).
We check in to our second camp, it’s called Poincenot. From here, we can see magnificent Fitz Roy (Chalten) mountain. The area provides fantastic photography opportunities: forests, rivers, waterfalls, small pools – so many spots to shoot from! We will pick up some amazing locations for our sessions according to the weather conditions.
After sunset session, we have gourmet dinner. Possible night session (if skies are clear).
Sunrise sessions at one of our favorite locations.
We live in the Poincenot camp during the day discussing photography topics with optional hike in the area. This morning adventurous hikers can ascend to the famous Laguna Los Tres with incredible view towards Fitz Roy. We need to start this hike 2,5 – 3 hours before sunrise to be at lagoon 40 minutes before sunrise. It’s an average hike with 2 km of trail and 600 m ascend. We may split in 2 groups and those who don’t feel bold enough to go, can photograph not so far from the camp at river cascades. It’s an optional hike, we can offer many more beautiful locations to visit as alternative.
We have lunch at the camp.
Sunset session and gourmet dinner.
Sunrise sessions at locations mentioned above.
Breakfast (I hope we will deserve it!)
We live in the Poincenot camp during the day discussing photography topics with optional hike along the river.
We have lunch at the camp.
Sunset session and gourmet dinner.
After the breakfast we are ready to descend to El Chalten. On the way down we may stop in different places to take some travel shots.
We are finally in civilization! Ready to depart to el Calafate from El Chalten (2,5 h drive). Drop off to our hotel at el Calafate around 6-7 p.m. and final dinner together in amazing parilla with traditional patagonia lamb. Well deserved after a wonderful autumn hike in the most majestic mountains of the world!
Day 7 – 22 April
Departure on ~1 p.m. flight from El Calafate
Included in the price:
- Accommodation in double tents (single supplement fee is applicable).
- Services of 2 professional mountain guides.
- Services of 2 professional photography guides
- Chef services
- Full board: breakfast, box lunch and gourmet dinner with wine and meat
- Transportation from El Calafate to el Chalten and back
- Services of porters
- Hotel accommodation on day 1
Price: 4200 USD
Not included in the price:
- Dinner day 6
What to bring
– DSLR camera with tripod and remote shutter release
– A wide angle lens. For example, Nikkor 14-24 or Canon 17-40. Best lens for use in wide-angle scenes or architecture photography
– A middle-zoom lens such as a 24-70 mm
– A telephoto zoom lens, such as a 70-200 mm
– Waterproof and windproof jacket (consider the average temperatures 0 – 10 C)
– Waterproof pants
– Warm down-jacket and thermal pants
Full list of recommended wear will be sent to participants.
Daniel was born in Moscow area. In his childhood he graduated the art school. After that, he is studied in Moscow institute of Physics and Technology and became an optics physicist. During the study he gain experience not only in physics, but also in mountain climbing and hiking, guiding tourist groups in winter and in summer in Russian mountains. Right after graduation he became a guide of photo-workshops and chief editor of “Continent expedition” magazine. This magazine is about travel and adventures all over the world. He has got several awards in photography: Golden Turtle’ 13 Nature nomination winner, National Geographic Russia contest 2013 and 2014 finalist, Best of Russia’13 and ’14 winner, best photographer’13 finalist and others. He is spending most of his time in Norway, Lofoten islands and in Tuscany at villa Gaia, guiding groups of photographers.
I consider Baikal lake as top place for photographers from all over the world. I will help you to reveal its beauty.