“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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Remote landscapes and people: Interview with Céline Frers

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 Photo: Céline FrersPhoto: Céline Frers
 
 
By Clara Ribera
Translation: Rebecca Neal
 
Céline Frers' work is full of color and depth. With a personal touch in every photograph, she captures landscapes and people with visible affection. An Argentinian, Frers grew up in the countryside before living in Buenos Aires, where she went on to study at the Fundación Universidad del Cine film school. She later moved to New York to study photography at the New York Institute of Photography, and then travelled around the world doing a variety of jobs. She then moved back to Argentina to work in the commercial and film world. Her first book, Colores de Corrientes, marked a turning point in her career. Since then, she has focused almost exclusively on still photography, primarily shooting landscapes, people and culture in Argentina. One of three members of the panel of judges for the 3rd Patagonia Photo Contest, Frers spoke with Patagon Journal. Excerpts:

What are the key events in your life that have influenced you as a photographer?
One landmark moment for me was when I started my first professional photography work, with my book Colores de Corrientes. I loved the freedom that I felt and the fact that I could absorb myself in my work and get to know the remotest landscapes and their people. Photography allowed me to do much more intimate work, which was a big contrast with the world of cinema and advertising that I was coming from. There, you always work with a big team, which tends to distance you and limit your movement. It was also in this first work that I discovered a lot of good people, who have always welcomed me with open arms. This really touched me. Since then, thanks to the subjects I choose, I have met some incredibly kind and wise people.

All your pieces have a similar look. They define you as a photographer. How would you describe your photography?
Whether I am working in a commercial or a personal capacity, my photography is always closely linked to the landscape and to nature. It is an intimate style of photography, which tries to convey not only beauty but also an underlying strength and power.

You have spent much of your photography career in Patagonia. What do you like the most about this region in terms of photography?
I have spent quite a lot of time in Patagonia. I am fascinated by it because it is so unspoilt, solitary and remote, and because it has such beautiful and powerful landscapes. It is majestic.

Some of your most important photographic work has been with the gauchos. How has photography brought you and them together?
My affinity with the gauchos began when I was a child. I lived in the countryside for the first years of my life and then I spent all my holidays there. I spent whole summers going out horse riding morning and afternoon with the gauchos. I wanted to be one of them. All these experiences led me to take my photographs of gauchos and then to produce the book. When I am on the land and with the gauchos, I feel at home.
 
PHOTO GALLERY
 

As a member of the panel of judge for Patagon Journal’s photo contest this year, what are you going to look for when judging the participant’s photos?
I want to see photographs that make me feel something, that touch my heart. To do this, they need to have the right framing and lighting and create an atmosphere.

Do you have any advice for the participants in the photo contest?
Patagonia itself is incredibly beautiful, but sometimes this beauty is, paradoxically, a big challenge as it is difficult to convey it in a photograph. I would suggest that participants move away from the typical postcard scenes and look for those special, unique moments and the little details that convey Patagonia’s strength and spirit.

What are you working on right now?
I’m currently working on a book about Argentina and its people. It is about the people who are still deeply rooted in their culture, such as the Mennonites in La Pampa Province, the various colonies and communities, the Wichí, the Mapuche, the Qulla in the North, etc. At the same time, I’m also working on exhibitions and commercial projects.
 

Gauchada Week: Rodrigo Sandoval

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Rodrigo Sandoval is a Chilean photographer, fly fishing writer, and computer scientist. He is co-author of two books about fly fishing, and is a contributing editor to Patagon Journal. He and his wife, Isabel Margarita Anaya, also run NaturaStock.com, an image bank of nature and adventure photos, whose photos have been published in other media such as National Geographic, Outdoors, Revista Domingo, and El Mercurio, among others. As a computer engineer, he is founder and CEO of R:Solver, a software company focused on artificial intelligence, based in Santiago, Chile, and also is associate professor of engineering at Catholic University. Check out more of his work at  www.RodrigoSandoval.com 

 
 
 
"It even smells like Patagonia"
 
I know frequent visitors to Patagonia that fondly recall a big part of their trips were the “smells of the southern forest.”  That smell might come from the mist of the deep forest and the intensely pure air of the wild Patagonian places. Among the different plant species in the Patagonian forest, the nalca is one of the most representative ones. With a deep green, rather large leaf, called “Pangue,” the nalca gets only better with the blooming of the colorful and beautiful flower that appears at the end of the winter.
 
This photo was taken at Fundo Pillan, which was originally part of the original Pumalin Park project. 
 
 

 
 
"The best of the Cochrane River"  
 
The upper section of the Cochrane River carries its crystal clear waters downstream toward the famed Baker River, a real icon of the Aysen region in Chilean Patagonia. Along the way, especially in springtime, life seems to concentrate on the big trout that spawn here. This video aspires to give a glimpse of this magnificent event. 
 
 


 

"Always an open eye"  
 
Frans Lanting, one of the world’s finest nature photographers, says that “the biggest compliment an animal can give you is relaxing in your presence.”  Something like that happened when we ran into a couple of foxes that had recently fed from a guanaco carcass; I discovered them by the road that goes to Lago Sarmiento in Torres del Paine. With only one eye open, the fox never lost sight of me, but the rest of his relaxed, restful posture was the true highlight of the day, allowing us to shoot photos just a few meters away. 
 
 

 
 
"Super Green"
 
You don’t have to go very far from Coyhaique to find deep green scenes like this one. This is a view of the Coyhaique River. It’s a wonderful prize for the locals, at least it is from the perspective of people like me who must live in the bigger, darker cities. 
 
 

 
 
"The angler in the river" 
 
A typical and expressive fishing scene at the Picaflor River, not far from Villa Manihuales, in Aysen Patagonia. Even an alternative version of this photo, in black and white, may seem timeless; a moment that could have been captured yesterday or 50 years ago. Its because some things don’t ever change in the Patagonian fishing experience: pure water running in between the rocks, the surrounding green forest, and the adrenaline of fooling a trout with a well-presented imitation. 
 
 

 
 
"The Clouds and the Peaks"
 
The Cuernos del Paine can perfectly be the most recognizable and photographed peaks in Patagonia. But part of the experience of visiting this iconic section of the Torres del Paine National Park is being exposed to the harsh and variable climate. Just as a day can start with clear skies, it might change in just 20 minutes. Strong winds bring clouds and rain. Even snow can be part of a typical spring day. That’s why this photo features the complete Paine experience in a single frame: the Clouds and the Peaks.
 
 
 
 
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