Photography lessons at the end of the earth: taking a photo tour

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Travel and photography just seem to go hand in hand. When you go off to see the wonders of the world, it’s only natural to want to preserve those once-in-a-lifetime moments with a camera. But there’s a way to take that experience to another level: by taking an organized photo tour.

Let’s face it: even though we love taking pictures, most of us could use a few pointers on how to get those eye-popping shots of the places we visit. Tips on using your camera, advice on getting the best angle, the tricks of capturing the action at its peak — we can all benefit from expert advice. And that’s what you get on a photo tour.

Typically, these tours take a small group of amateur photographers to one of the world’s most spectacular places and let them learn as they take the best photos of their lives. For example, I recently came across Patagonia Photography Tour, run by Photo Tours South America, a Florida-registered tour company founded by two Argentinians who love travel and photography.

Patagonia Photo_Tours

This tour takes place in November, 2018, and travels across one of the earth’s most exotic locales: Patagonia, the southern half of Argentina and Chile. The region was named by the explorer Magellan because he believed it was inhabited by giants. It’s not, but Patagonia is populated by an assortment of exotic creatures, like llamas, fur seals, penguins and countless bird species, including ostrich-like birds called rheas. It’s also a place filled with dramatic landscapes: wild grasslands, forests, mountains and glaciers.

“Patagonia has incredible places to visit,” says photographer and tour leader Diego Waisman. “We’ve organized this tour to maximize the photo opportunities for both landscape and wildlife photographers.”

The tour starts with three days photographing Argentina’s spectacular Perito Moreno Glacier — by land, by water and by foot, on the glacier itself. Then the action moves across the border into Chile, to explore the Torres del Paine National Park, a land of snow-capped peaks and mountain lakes.

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Finally, it’s back to Argentina and Monte Leon National Park, on the Atlantic Ocean. This is the place to photograph the Magellanic penguins, guanacos (a smaller version of a llama), and huge fur seals that are present here year-round. I have photographed these penguins and seals on a visit to South America, and it’s a wild scene.

Monte_Leon_National_Park_Patagonia_Photography_Tour_Penguins

Along the way, the tour members get instruction from Waisman on how to get the most out of each photo opportunity. At the Perito Moreno Glacier, for example, there are tips on photographing the glistening ice so it doesn’t come out looking like a ghost. At Torres del Paine, the subject is landscape photography: things like colour, light, composition and field of view. And at Monte Leon, it’s all about how to photograph wildlife from the best angles and catch the animals at the most dramatic moments.

Do you have to be an experienced photographer to take a trip like Patagonia Photography Tour? No, says Waisman: “It doesn’t matter if you’re just starting out — we love photography and we can help you improve your pictures.”

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To see the results of the instruction, he says, the group members share their favourite shots at the end of the tour and choose the best for a commemorative book.

For serious photographers, taking a photo tour is a lifelong dream. But almost all who have the experience come back reinvigorated, with a new passion for photography and new ideas to pursue. And for new photographers, or those who want to learn more, it’s a good way to accelerate their learning – a year’s worth of knowledge packed into a week.

And while these tours aren’t cheap, the cost could be comparable to a luxury cruise, with a trip to an exotic locale and expert instruction thrown in. And of course, you’ll come home with some memories to hang on the wall.

Photos courtesy of Photo Tours South America. This is a sponsored post

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About Author

Paul Marshman is a retired journalist who spent 30 years as a writer and editor on Canadian newspapers, while travelling to the ends of the earth. Now he continues to travel while passing on his travel experiences to you.

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