Horqueta: Skiing the giants of the Andes

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By Shanie Matthews

Editors note: The following is from Edition 4. 
 
 
The high pitched whinny scattered the baby goats. My horse pulled back on his reigns, chewing on his mouth piece. He impatiently scratched the dirt with his large hoof. Anxiousness seemed to be something my horse and I had in common. We were both excited to start the day’s journey. Was his stomach, like mine, doing back flips in exhilaration for the upcoming trip? Probably not, as this is his backyard. But I am a ready to saunter up the side of a windswept mountain on the back of a horse to ski a steep, backcountry chute.
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The winners of the 3rd Patagonia Photo Contest

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 Grand prize winner and 1st place in Travel & Culture category: Preparing for winter (Angel Adaro)
 
 
With his dramatic photo titled “Preparing for winter,” we would like to congratulate Angel Adaro, the winner of the grand prize in the Third Patagonia Photo Contest in addition to first place in the Travel & Culture category.
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“The colors of death and life of a whale,” by photographer Keri-Lee Pashuk

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Photo: Luciano InvernizziPhoto: Luciano Invernizzi

 

By Cristóbal Pérez R.
Translation by Brent Harlow
 
In 2015, in what is the single largest mortality event for cetaceans on record, more than 300 whales were found dead in Chilean Patagonia. Pashuk accompanied a team of scientists who, looking to discover the cause of the event, took two expeditions to the area between Golfo Tres Montes and Isla Madre de Dios between January and July of 2016. On these trips, they observed 367 beached sei whales that died “probably due to a toxic red tide caused by, among other factors, increased water temperatures,” according to the artist.
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Fly fishing photography: Interview with Brian O'Keefe

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Rio San Pedro, Chile. Photo: Brian O'KeefeRio San Pedro, Chile. Photo: Brian O'Keefe
 
 
By Jimmy Langman

One of the world’s top fly fishing photographers, Brian O’Keefe has been a fly fishing guide and instructor, fishing tackle rep, and for more than two decades has photographed around the globe for international media such as Fly FishermanFly Rod & Reel, Field & Stream, and Los Angeles Times. Based in Oregon, he is also co-founder of Catch Magazine (www.catchmagazine.net), a digital zine featuring fly fishing photography and videos. A frequent contributor to Patagon Journal (his photo is featured on the cover of edition 12 of the magazine) and a member of the panel of judges for the Third Patagonia Photo Contest, we recently chatted with Brian to learn more about his views about and longtime career in photography. Excerpts:

You have been a fly fishing photographer since you were 16-years-old. What led you to decide to make it a career? That made me chuckle! Personally, I have never considered photography a career or job. I call it a hobby out of control. When I was in my 20’s I started selling photos every month, but it is not high paying work. The rewards are in other things; travel, great fishing, meeting super skilled guides and eating well. I always had a real job. From 1980 to 2007, I was a sales rep in Washington State, Oregon and Alaska for companies like Orvis, Umpqua, Patagonia, Scott Rods, and Simms. From 2007 to 2014, I was co-owner of Catch Magazine.
 
What are your favorite places for fly fishing in Chilean and Argentine Patagonia? Patagonia River Guides (PRG) took me on a tour of Argentina for three weeks and it was awesome. The Middle Limay was incredible as we hit a hatch of small mayflies and we got big fish on light tippet. The Rio Pico area was great lake fishing and fishing out of Esquel, in a national park, was fantastic. In Chile, I have had so many amazing days. Fishing the big, dry dragonflies at Yelcho is epic. The water color of the San Pedro River is life changing. It is impossible to pick a favorite. When I miss a location it is usually the people I miss first. Like Hernan Lepeley with Rucapeley, Sebastian Galilea at Cinco Rios/Estancia del Zorro, everyone at Estancia Laguna Verde, and Marc at Rod and Gun in Santiago.
 
Of all the places you have traveled around the world to go fly fishing and shoot photos, what was your most memorable experience? Years ago, I would camp in the Bahamas, way out in the wilderness. I had a sea kayak, a cooler, water and a tent. We would get dropped off for a week. There were miles and miles of wade-able flats. Living off the land, eating fish and finding big bones was really fun.
 
 
We feature one of your photos on the cover of edition 12 of Patagon Journal. What’s the backstory for that amazing shot? That’s my buddy Marc Whittaker of Rod & Gun Fly Shop in Santiago. We were staying at Baker Lodge and that is a tributary of the Baker River near Cochrane. There are a few rainbows in the pockets. The photo was easy. It had the action of the waterfall, a nice silhouette and some wow factor.
 
What for you are the elements that make for a great photo?  Whether it is an action shot, a landscape or close up of a fish, I want sharp focus and good exposure. There are a million good shots, but I like them sharp with good light and color.
 
What advice do you have for photographers? Interesting angles, as in down low or up high, an original situation and elements that evoke humor or excitement or passion. And no fish torture.
 
How is outdoor sports photography like fly fishing photography different from other kinds of photography? And any tips for fly fishing photography? Any form of photography that includes a live animal/fish is just a lot harder. When that moment arrives when a good fish shot is available, the light may be bad or the background is boring, or a thousand other variables. Or, the big one gets away! In golf, if you miss a shot, there will be many more all day long. All photography takes practice and decent equipment. My best tip is to go to really pretty places and hold your camera still.
 
What are some of your current and future projects? I’m working on a Chile fly fishing book, just the photos. I’m updating all my PowerPoint shows that I show to fly fishing clubs. I also built a small aquatic insect photo studio. That is really fun. 
 
 
 

Gauchada Week: Diego Meier

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 For this Gauchada Week we have the pleasure to introduce you to Diego Meier, an Argentine mountain guide and biologist with a masters degree in ecotourism, who lives in Villa La Angostura. Diego is passionate about all things involving nature and the outdoors. He especially enjoys skiing, climbing, trekking, and mountain bike. He is also active in promoting conservation of native forests in Patagonia and helping rural communities develop sustainable tourism.

 

 

1. Getting to Caleta Condor on the Osorno coast is not easy, you must sail on a fishing boat for two hours on the ocean or walk an entire day and then sail up a river. Its landscape, the Huilliches rural families, and the native forest captivate you. We are currently working together with the local people on a plan to organize tourism in such a way that the beauty of the place will not be destroyed because of over-development. In the photo: paddling in a "chalupa" at Condor beach.

Place: Caleta Cóndor, Huilliche territory of Lafquen Mapu Lahual, Los Lagos Region, Chile.

 
2. The Mapuche life in Cholchol. I was fortunate to stay overnight and eat meals in a traditional ruca with the Paine-Catrin family. These traditional rucas, made out of a structure of sticks and reeds covered with a mat, almost always have a fire in the middle that seemingly never dies and leaves one entranced. 
 
 
 
3. This photo was taken during an ascent of Volcano Lanin. We set off before sunrise from the base of the volcano, using head torches. The hike wasn’t easy. The slope is 2,700 meters high, and we were carrying skis and heavy backpacks. The effort was worthwhile though because we enjoyed incredible skiing on the way down. 
 
 
 
4. Werner Diem is 78-years-old and as a kid he made his own wooden skis. Today, he still enjoys the mountains and together we have shared many adventures. He has passed on to me the most essential thing of all: to learn how to feel alive. I went up Osorno Volcano with him. In this photo, the peak is Puntiagudo Volcano and the clouds are coming in from the Pacific Ocean. 
 
 
 
5. It was cold, and the South Pacific was especially rocky, as the full moon made for a very special atmosphere in front of the island where the deity "El Abuelito Hueneteao” lives, according to Huilliche mythology. For me this photo transmits some of the magic of this place. 
 
 
 
6. Cerro Dormilón refuge is located in Nahuel Huapi National Park. To get there you need to cross the lake by boat and hike up the forest. My grandmother was here during the 1930s, during the first period of construction here. Years later we rebuilt this place practically replicating the original construction, in the blockhouse format. This photo was taken in autumn, when the colors in the larch forest are spectacular.
 

 

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