Mike Bell • Photographing Torres del Paine

Torres del Paine National Park in Chilean Patagonia is one of the most spectacular places on Earth. Mike Bell visited this extraordinary place and shares his story

After receiving 5 million votes earlier this year on VirtualTourist.com, the Torres del Paine national park has been named the ‘8th Wonder of the World’ by the website, beating out more than 300 entries from 50 countries. Apart from the Cerro Paine mountain range with its unique 'Horns' (Cuernos), its 935 square miles contain several beautiful lakes and a number of glaciers descending from the Southern Patagonian Ice Field. Most of its 150,000 annual visitors come for the trekking trails around the mountains but it is one of the finest photographic destinations I have ever visited.

This year I was there for five days in late June and early July as part of a photo tour group. Having visited Patagonia many times over the years, the tutor had selected midwinter for this trip, explaining that the relatively calm weather in winter might give us the best conditions for capturing great images. We were all well aware that chance would still play a big part as Patagonia is notorious for the fickle nature of its weather. At any time of year there can be sudden ferocious winds and also periods when the mountains are shrouded in cloud for days or even weeks. In the event, the tutor's decision proved correct. Not only did we have views of the mountains every day but the lakes were so calm, especially in the early morning, that on occasions we were able to include reflections in our compositions. The sometimes present cloud proved to be invaluable. Most of the mountain views in Torres del Paine are from the ...

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About Author

Mike Bell

Mike is a landscape photographer based in Perthshire, Scotland where his photographs have been used by Perth and Kinross Countryside Trust, Visit Scotland, Forestry Commission Scotland and local tourist associations.

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