An inside look at a trip to Patagonia by two friends Robert Bilos and Goran Jovic.
How did the idea to visit Patagonia come about?
Patagonia was a place that was very high on my list for many years. It was a magical place on the edge of our planet and I wanted to see it. It was through a documentary that I saw how untouched the magnificent land was and it drew me in. Goran and I started planning a year out prior to the trip becoming a reality. Goran is a long time friend of mine. He is a celebrated photographer and filmmaker that creates documentaries for TV and an extreme adventurer. We have been on a number of adventures where we were thirsty and hungry, sleep deprived and those situations only strengthened our bond. One was always there to push the other when the energy or moral was low, these kinds of relationships on adventure photography trips are vital when going to places like Patagonia.
Where did you go and how did you get there?
It took a long time to get our trip sorted. A destination like Patagonia requires a lot of planning. Planning for flights, accommodation, food, clothes, equipment and many other little things. We flew to Santiago de Chile, from there 3 hrs to Punta Arena where we rented a car and headed towards Torres del Paine National Park.
From there we camped 2 days at Camp Pehoe, then 5 days at Hotel Explora. During that time I did photography and Goran mostly captured video including interviews with local inhabitants.
After Chile we took a bus to El Calafate, Argentina and there we saw the most beautiful glaciers in the world. From there we traveled to El Chalten which was our base for planning the next 10 days of excursions to the surrounding areas. El Chalten is a small place in Los Glaciares National park which is close to one of the most beautiful mountains in the world, Fitz Roy and Cerro Torre. To get the most out of the location we opted to sleep in a tent close by to have the most time to see all the rivers and beautiful scenery of the surrounding area.
The most known campsites in that area are called Poincenot which is close to Fitz Roy and Agostina Laguna next to Cerro Torre. All the necessary items must be carried such as the tent, sleeping bag, food, first aid etc. From the camp you can hike and see a lot of beautiful spots towards Laguna del los Tres, dozens of small rivers, forests and lakes. The paths are very well marked but do not forget a map. One thing to definitely keep in mind the weather in Patagonia can change in an instant so be prepared for anything. From a beautiful clear day it can turn to high winds and rain in ten minutes.
Does Patagonia feel different than other scenic destinations around the globe?
Yes. It is a whole other world in its own right. It is difficult to describe the beauty, I believe no one comes back from Patagonia feeling the same as they have done before. The sights are just breathtaking.
What is the most unusual thing about your trip that you noticed or took away?
The most memorable experience was when a sudden turn of weather caught us off guard. We left camp Agostini towards camp Poincenot with beautiful weather. The distance we had to cover was 8km which is around a 3 hr hike. A third of the way there a strong rain and wind started seemingly out of nowhere. The wind was so strong that we just had to stop and make sure we had good balance and could not move forward.
One of our main priorities was to keep our sleeping bags dry as if they get wet the amount of time they take to dry is very long. Drenched from head to toe the sky finally cleared as we had eye contact with camp Poincenot.
Your favourite picture of the trip and why?
Hard to pick one favourite as there are so many different motifs one can capture there. Two that are memorable are one being right under Cerro Torre one morning with my NYA-EVO Fjord 36 backpack, as there were 2 days straight of clouds and mist and it was awesome to see it open up. The other one was when we did a hike through the night to watch the sunrise near the top of the mountain. The granite tops seemed to glow while it was still dark, I took a pic of this beautiful autumn red trees with mountains in the background.
What you shoot with and if you could only use one lens what would that be?
I shoot with a Sony Alpha 7 III. If I had to take one lens only it would be the 16-35 f4 ili f 2.8. I have to say that I get a lot of great shots with the 70-200.
If people would like to travel there, what is the one (of few) important things they need to take note of?
For people that are photographers and are planning to go to Patagonia I would recommend to spend a lot of time planning. The more you plan the more comfortable and relaxed your stay will be. A rental car came in handy for us in Chile but was not necessary in Argentina. If you know someone that has been there before get some advice. Be serious about your gear and a variety of clothing as the weather changes. I would say to plan for 3 weeks for a good adventure and study the areas and maps before arrival. Last thing to do is to get packed and set off on one of the greatest and most beautiful adventures you will ever have!
My name is Robert Bilos, I am Croatian that has been living in Germany for many years. My first interaction with photography occurred when I was in elementary school during a photography introduction class. Back in those days film was being developed and it made you think long and hard before you press the shutter button :-) I went on to follow other interests but the joy of photography stayed with me for decades until in 2013 when it was awakened. I got hooked on everything photography, tutorials, magazines, videos, social media, books, you name it, if it was about photography I was consuming it.
During that time I met a group of photographers in my hometown of Imotski, Croatia and from there I could not resist anymore, I bought myself proper gear and started photographing once again. I first started doing portraits, first friends, then models.
In 2016 when I flew to Iceland with my friend Goran Jovic marking another turning in my life of photography. Greenland magical natural land that is always changing. Because of that trip I began taking pics of nature and thus fell in love with a new photographic theme. I returned energised and ready to explore this new world of nature and landscape photography. I began taking longer and longer trips into nature, searching for that perfect combination light and location sleeping only 2 to 3 hrs a night from pure excitement.
In 2018 my devotion to the craft started paying off as National Geographic and GEO Magazine published my photographs and in 2019 I was ranked as one of the top 20 landscape photographers in Germany. As a result of this my instagram account grew and opened up important connections and feed with fellow global photographers. This connection of likeminded photographers made my love of photography and love of the outdoors grow even more.
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