Granite spires of Cerro Torre massif and mount Fitzroy erupted through the Southern Patagonia ice-cap
December 25, 2015
This image was taken on the way back from WildPhoto 2015 South Georgia Expedition on the flight from Falklands.
Every Saturday LAN Airlines operates a scheduled commercial flight from Mount Pleasant International Airport (Falkland Islands) to Santiago flying via the southern Chilean city of Punta Arenas. Once a month this flight stops at Río Gallegos (Argentina).
From my previous experience I knew that this particular flight from Río Gallegos to Punta Arenas has unique feature: it passes magnificent peaks of South American Andes on the way. It goes almost directly over mount Fitzroy and Cerro Torre massif on Argentinian side and then over Torres del Paine National Park on Chilean. And in late November it does it during sunset time!
In 2012 this fact took me by surprise. I was tired after long Southern Ocean crossing and was napping when captain announced that we can see mounts Fitzroy and Cerro Torre below. What the view it was! My cameras were in backpack in overhead compartment, packed carefully for long five days of traveling home and I was on the aisle seat. So, I had no chance to take a picture, but the view stuck deep in my head.
Last November I was lucky to go to Falklands and South Georgia again. And guess what? It was once-a-month flight landing at Río Gallegos again! This time I was not going to miss complimentary aerial photo-shoot over Andes. I went to the LAN website to choose the right seat – window on the right side and as far from the wing as possible. After take-off from Rio Gallegos I was seating by the window in full readiness. My camera was on my knees and I even had a lens-cleaning liquid and tissues in my pocket to wipe the window. It was cloudy all the way from Río Gallegos… I was losing my hope. I even decided that we already passed over the Andes. And then… clouds magically opened right over the gorgeous mountain peaks! And no clouds were blocking the setting sun either! I was shooting non-stop and was changing lenses from 24-70 to 70-200 and back. I ended up taken more than 250 frames in little more than 4.5 minutes. I even managed to get several decent panoramic images… I was exhausted and happy when it all ended…