Solar Eclipse Observing and Photography - Joseph Cali


The Atacama - 21 years on

Thursday 11th July, 2019.
I picked up another hitch hiker today, my third this week. The Argentine border patrol must be beginning to suspect I'm running a people smuggling operation.

Pablo Zamo Vargas is an artesano, making jewellry from precious stones.

He has just spent the past year travelling all over South America from Colombia to Ushuia in Patagonia. He comes from Missiones, the region where the famous  Iguazu Falls is located up in the north east of Argentina where the borders of Argentina, Paraguay and Brasil meet.

 After crossing the border, he will work and hitch his way across the country before finally ending his voyage and returning home.

We had a long conversation in Spanish for the whole of the 2 hour drive.

This was my longest and most challenging conversation of this entire trip.

Thanks for  your patience Pablo!

I really enjoyed the conversation. 

Para Espanol :  Recogí otro excursionista de enganche hoy, mi tercero esta semana. La patrulla fronteriza argentina debe comenzar a sospechar que estoy dirigiendo una operación de contrabando de personas. Pablo Zamo-Vargas es un artesano que elabora joyas de piedras preciosas.

Acaba de pasar un año viajando por toda América del Sur desde Colombia hasta Ushuia. Proviene de Missiones, la región donde se encuentran las famosas Cataratas del Iguazú en el noreste de Argentina, donde se encuentran las fronteras de Argentina, Paraguay y Brasil.

 Después de cruzar la frontera, trabajará y se abrirá camino a través del país antes de que finalmente termine su viaje y regrese a casa. Tuvimos una larga conversación en español durante todo el viaje de 2 horas. Esta fue mi conversación más larga y desafiante de todo este viaje. Gracias por tu paciencia Pablo. Disfruté la conversación.

After dropping Pablo at the border, sunset was approaching and I quickly headed back to the first location I had chosen during the drive to the border crossing.
Upon getting there and having a closer look, I thought it was ok but I decided I would take some pictures before sunset and be closer to the water at sunset.

I continued  west back towards San Pedro until I came to my next location, much lower down and close to the water and some cushion plants and native grasses. 


This was more like it and I decided to work this shoreline for a while

Still not quite the simplicity I was looking for but you've gotta love the light up here.

And nor was this. This was also the coldest shoot to date, temperature -6oC, wind in some locations (not here) was around 60-70km/hr.
All these shots were taken between 4200m and 4400m above sea level. I put on my full insulated outer shell for this and was pretty
comfortable despite the attrocious conditions.

This is it, this is what I was after ;-)

and one more slightly different aspect for good measure!

Ever heard the saying, "quit while you're ahead?" So I pull up to my last site in relative darkness. We're well into nautical twilight now. I know what the area looks like, I scoped the location on the drive in but I can't see much so I use live view to compose. My first hint that I shouldn't have tried this last site was that the wind was blowing so hard, I had to reorient the car, just so that I could open the door to get out.  In fact I couldn't open the door at the location I wanted to stop and had to settle on somewhere lower down. Then I set up the tripod, a 2kg Manfrotto 090 with 141 head, and it blew over.  So I pushed the legs into the sand and discovered that I was parked on very loose sand. The wind was blowing at about 70km/hr and the cars external thermometer was reading -6oC.  With wind chill that's equivalent to -37oC.

Then during the bracketed exposures, I used my body as a human wind shield to reduce the force of the wind on the camera and tripod. I also wrapped the neckstrap and cable release around the tripod to stop them blowing & flicking around and shaking the tripod. I tried holding onto the tripod at first until I realised that the wind was pushing me around so much that I was shaking the tripod.  The result was many shaky blurry images. But despite the bitterly cold conditions, my outer shell was protecting me and so I shot a number of rounds of bracketed images and this one turned out more or less how I wanted it.

This region is just magnificent, pure magic!

More soon

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