FAVORITE MOMENTS OF 2015

I've had the good fortune to participate in some epic photographic adventures in 2015. Here's a quick slideshow of some of my favorite moments of the past year.

Happy New Year everyone!

PANORAMIC MERGER IN DEPTH: TORRES DEL PAINE, CHILE

 

View in HD: The depth and enlargeability of an ultra-hi-rez panoramic-merger.

Panoramic Mergers. I stumbled across the technique a decade ago when I was wishing for a wider angle lens for my medium format film camera.

On an amazingly calm Patagonian morning last month this scene could have been easily captured with a single frame with my Nikon D810, but by instead making a panoramic-merger from 8 images I created this highly-enlargeable, 80-megapixel image. Have I mentioned that I love this stuff?

Check out this gallery of select panoramic mergers. You can view this image full screen there.

Patagonia Slideshow: Cerro Torre

 
 The legendary Cerro Torre in argentinian Patagonia

The legendary Cerro Torre in argentinian Patagonia

El Chalten, Argentina is the jumping off point for two of Patagonia's biggest and most famous mountains: Fitz Roy and Cerro Torre. A quaint little adventure town, El Chalten has more backpacker hostels than houses, only a few paved streets and no less than 4 outdoor gear shops and 2 microbreweries. Think Mos Eisley from Star Wars; this is a jumping off point for adventurers and climbers from all over the world. It's my kind of place.

Cerro Torre map.

As Stacey and I arrived, our rented VW van (a.k.a. Home) conveniently broke down. There's really no place I'd rather be stuck for a few days. The weather forecast was for a night of calm before the next storm rolled in, so we packed up the tent and stove and headed up the nine kilometer trail to Lago Torre at the base of Cerro Torre.

Any concern about Stacey being six months pregnant dissolved as we started the trek. What a trooper! It was a blast climbing alongside waterfalls, under high alpine forest with fresh spring leaves, through a burned section of woods and finally into the high alpine ice and snow below Cerro Torre.

If the surrounding peaks look like Patagonia's teeth, Cerro Torre is the fang. Standing at it's base you have no doubt why mountaineers believed it unclimbable for so long. The sheer granite walls rise thousands of feet only to be capped by a crazy ice mushroom formed from the relentless southern winds. One thing is for sure: it is spectacularly beautiful.

We had an incredible time. The mountain gave us a rare calm night up there. The lake reflected, the stars put on a show, clouds came in the morning, we met a Magelanic Woodpecker in the woods and got out right before the next storm rolled in. Perfect. 

PATAGONIA SLIDESHOW: 1) TIERRA DEL FUEGO TO TORRES DEL PAINE

 
 I've seen a lot of gorgeous mountains, but Torres Del Paine? It's something special... (self portrait @ dawn)

I've seen a lot of gorgeous mountains, but Torres Del Paine? It's something special... (self portrait @ dawn)

This first week here has been absolutely incredible. We flew into Punta Arenas with John & Yva, got our TDI VW vans, built makeshift mattress platforms out of plywood and plastic soda crates. To test the system out we hopped a ferry and road tripped south to see a new King Penguin colony on Tierra Del Fuego before heading north through Puerto Natales to the mind bending mountains, lakes and skies of Torres Del Paine (Pine-nee) National Park. We are in some very wild country here. Data is limited and I'll have few opportunities to write and upload. I'm putting a slideshow of a few favorite moments below and will try to do more of the same as access allows.

This is an incredible adventure in the early spring of these southern wilds. It's often cold and extremely windy. Sometimes it's tough to get out of the van at 5:30 for sunrise. But the hot coffee Stacey brews for me when I return is so amazing; it's those little things that I love most in life... Stacey is enjoying this trip to the hilt. We're a couple of days from the 3rd trimester and she's the worlds greatest trooper. Maybe a little slower than normal on the hikes (or a lot slower), but a total rockstar with nary a complaint despite sleeping in crazy mountains with sub-polar-freezing winds roaring outside our dusty uninsulated van.

I have nearly 200GB of panoramics and photos to edit just from this first week. We plan to move slowly northeast from Chile into Argentina to see the legendary mountains of Cerro Fitzroy, Cerro Torre and the towns and glaciers around them. Then we'll likely head back to Torres Del Paine to see baby Guanacos as they are born before heading home in 3 weeks. 

Did I ever mention that I love this stuff...???