Patagonia April (Autumn) 2014


“A Patagonia Photo Safari… …Autumn in the Andes” April 14-29

Part 1: Unknown Patagonia, April 14-22 – $4,295

Part 2: Torres del Paine,  April 22-29 – $4,495






Patagonia in autumn is a landscape photgrapher’s dream come true. In the southern hemisphere, of course, autumn happens six months earlier—during northern hemisphere’s spring—in April! I first visited Patagonia in 2008, leading a workshop following an itinerary created by my friend and fellow landscape photographer, Linde Waidhofer, and guided by Salvaje Corazon, the Patagonia Guide Service. It was such a success that I led the trip in 2011, ’12 and ’13.

We explore the most varied locations in Chilean Patagonia at the most exciting time of the year. This is a two-part traveling workshop or, as we like to call it, a Photo Safari. Part I explores the central Patagonian region of Aysen, a zone of turquoise lakes and rivers, native beech forest and dramatic glaciated peaks —Unknown (and mostly unphotographed) Patagonia. For Part II we visit the Torres del Paine National Park, further south in Chile’s 12th region — a world famous collection of granite spires, glaciers and lakes. Here is the itinerary we will follow. And in the Portfolio section of this web site you can see many of the images I brought back from my first Patagonia Photo Safari.

A Day by Day Itinerary

Part I: Unknown Patagonia

Day 1 (Monday, April 14)

Arrive at Coyhaique’s airport (in the nearby town of Balmaceda) by air from Santiago. Transfer to Coyhaique, the capital of Chilean Patagonia, and our hotel. Evening orientation and welcome dinner.

Day 2 (Tuesday, April 15)


A warm-up day, in the form of a day-trip photo excursion from Coyhaique to one of several remarkable nearby locations — the choice depending in large measure on the intensity of the region’s fall colors.

Day 3 (Wednesday, April 16) photo

Early morning departure for Cerro Castillo and Rio Tranquilo. Cerro Castillo (or Castle Mountain) is one of the most photogenic and spectacular peaks in all of Patagonia. We continue along an impressive river valley, past reminders of a volcanic eruption, and over a mountain pass surrounded by glacier-clad peaks. In the afternoon we drive along the western shore of Lago General Carrera, the second largest lake in South America, to the little village of Puerto Tanquilo.

Day 4 (Thursday, April 17)

From our lodge in Puerto Tranquilo, we visit the Cavernas de Mármol (or Marble Caves) one of the most spectacular and surreal landscapes in all South America. Then we continue around Lago Carrera, photographing the glaciers above the delta of the Rio Leones beneath Patagoina’s highest summit, Cerro San Valentin. After a full day we arrive at the Green Baker Lodge on the banks of the Rio Baker.

Day 5 (Friday, April 18) photo

Today we photograph along the Rio Baker. The Baker river is known to anglers for its world-class trout fishing, but is irresistible to photographers for its otherworldly blue color. En route to the Chacabuco Valley, site of the future, Patagonia National Park, we visit the spectacular confluence (waterfall and rapids) of the Baker and Nef rivers. Valle Chacabuco is such a rich environment that this day we only begin our photographic exploration of it, returning in the late afternoon to the Green Baker Lodge.

Day 6 (Saturday, April 19) photo

This morning we returm to the Chacabuco valley. This valley, part of the last great private ranch or estancia in Patagonia, has recently been purchased by the Patagonia Land Trust and is the core area of a large conservation/park project. The landscape changes dramatically into a series of pampas, grasslands and wetland ponds or mallines. Here we always encounter herds of wild guanaco. In the evening we return to Lago General Carrera, and check into Terra Luna, a lovely lakeside lodge near the little town of Puerto Guadal.

Day 7 (Sunday, April 20) photo

After pre-dawn and dawn photography of the high icefield peaks across the lake, we head off to explore the southern shoreline of Lago Carrera: plunging cliffs, transparent turquoise water, enchanting fundos (farms) tributary rivers and deep red autumn trees provide constantly varying photographic stimulation. We spend a second night at Terra Luna.

Day 8 (Monday, April 21)

Return by road to Coyhaique, photographing the Rio Murta valley, the beautiful Rio Cajon or Box River, a valley of dead trees smothered by ash and lava from Volcán Hudson, and final evening photo opportunities around Cerro Castillo before reaching Coyhaique for a gala farewell dinner.

Day 9 (Tuesday, April 22)

Departure from Coyhaique for home. Or, for those continuing on with Part Two of our Patagonian Safari..

Part II, The Torres del Paine

Day 9 (Tuesday, April 22)

Basically a transportation and arrival day. Some participants from Part One may be heading home, Those joining us for both parts of this Patagonian adventure will fly on south with us, to Punta Arenas, the capital of Chile’s 12th region, right next to the Straits of Magellan and Tierra del Fuego. And those photographers who are only participating in this second segment, will join us this evening in Punta Arenas.

Day 10 (Wednesday, April 23) photo

From Punta Arenas we drive north by van, pausing for a fresh seafood lunch in Puerto Natales, to arrive at the Torres del Paine in the afternoon. Check into the Hosteria Pehoe, a classic hotel on a small island (reached by a footbridge) in Lago Pehoe, directly beneath the famous Cuernos or “Horns” of Paine

Day 11 (Thursday, April 24) photo

Our day begins with a dawn shoot of the Horns or Cuernos, directly across the lake from our hotel. After breakfast, we head off by van to explore the center of the national park. We will spend a second night at the Hosteria Pehoe.

Day 12 (Friday, April 25)

Another day devoted to the spectacular peaks and lakes near Lago Pehoe. In the evening we drive to a new inn, the Hosteria Grey on the shores of Lago Grey.

Day 13 (Saturday, April 26)photo

We focus on the floating icebergs or “témpanos” in Lago Grey; a boat excursion to the face of the giant glacier feeding this lake takes us right beneath the blue cliffs of thousand-year-old ice. We spend a second night at the Hosteria Grey.

Day 14 (Sunday, April 27) photo

Today, we once more change our base of operations, moving to the other side of the park, an area well known for its wildlife, especially guanacos and foxes that often seem to want to pose just beneath the most dramatic peaks. We spend the night at the Hosteria Los Torres.

Day 15 (Monday, April 28) photo

After a final dawn shoot, we pack up and head for Punta Arenas. An all-day trip to be sure, with more opportunities to photograph on the shores of Bitter Lake (Lago Amargo) as well as abundant wildlife, birds and dramatic beech forests en route to Punta Arenas.

Day 16 (Tuesday, April 39)

Departure by air from Punta Arenas.


These Patagonia photo safaris are limited to a maximum of eight photographer participants. In many ways six is the perfect number, but every year it seems, one or two participants have to drop out at the last minute for pressing family and personal reasons. So for that reason we have set our target number at from 6 to 8 participants — with a maximum of 8. (Other photo tours to this part of the world typically set their group size at 14, 16 or more) The only downside of limiting the size of our group is that we will need at least four participants for each segment to cover our expenses. In the past, we have always had enough signups, even waiting lists. The fact that more and more serious photographers are shooting digitally and using laptop computers to download and archive their images has made real image critiquing, editing and instruction an exciting option even far from photo labs, and Patagonia is about as far as one can get. Participants will be responsible for arranging their own flights from the US to Santiago Chile, as well as their connecting Chilean air reservations, continuing south from the capital, Santiago, to Patagonia. LAN Chile is the leading local Chilean airline, and offers an extensive schedule of in-Chile flights. (In this age of escalating fuel prices it may make sense to purchase your air fares well in advance to avoid fuel-related travel costs increases.) For photographers who can join us for both Part One and Part Two, we have discovered that it is easier (and cheaper} for our outfitter-guides at Salvaje Corazon, to book the connecting flight from Balmaceda to Punta Arenas for the whole group. Once in Patagonia, all your expenses on the ground are included (alcohol however is extra). The price of this Photo Safari is based on double-occupancy rooms; to guarantee a single room, we need to charge a single-room supplement of $400 for Part One (Central Ptagonia or the Aisén region) and $624 for Part Two (the Torres del Paine). Because this Patagonia Photo Safari is such a major commitment, I’d like to encourage any interested photographers to contact me directly, by phone, or by email for more detailed information. (see the contact info and links at the bottom of the page). In case I am traveling and temporarily out of contact, then you can also email our terrific guide/outfitters at Salvaje Corazon.


To sign up for this trip, please call or email me and send a check for your trip deposit of $600 to:

Bill Ellzey Photographs
Box 362 Crestone CO 81131

We always ask for final trip payment 60 days before the trip starts. Our cancellation policy is standard for the travel and photo-travel industry. If for any reason you need to withdraw from this Photo Safari, please notify us at least 60 days before the start of the trip. At that time we will refund your deposit, less a $250 cancellation fee. But if notification of cancellation is made between 30 and 60 days before the start of the trip, we must retain the whole $600 deposit. If notification of cancellation is made less than 30 days before the start of the workshop there will be no refund.


Bill Ellzey Photographs
PO Box 362 891 Camino Real [shipping]
Crestone, CO 81131,USA
Phone: 719-937-7787