Friday, May 29, 2009

Perito Moreno Glacier

A few times during my travels I am overwhelmed by what I find. Even though I know where I am going and what I am going to see, I find myself not prepared for what I encounter. During my recent travels to Argentina I found myself in this situation when I first arrived at the Perito Moreno Glacier near the city of Calafate. I have seen glaciers previously in Iceland, Alaska, Mongolia and Chile but not of the magnitude and scenery of this one. It is located at the Glaciers National Park where there are other glaciers but Perito Moreno is the master. It is about 3 miles wide and the ice walls about 200 feet high. The ice mass advances about 6 feet per day and is one of the few glaciers that is still advancing; it has not been told about the green house effect yet. I took a boat tour and got real close to the ice wall but at a safe distance. The walls are shedding blocks of ice continuously and when they fall into the water, create great waves and noise. The noise sounds as the crack of a high powered rifle but by the time you hear it, the block of ice is already fallen. One is able to photograph the splash and waves created by the fallen block of ice but it is very difficult to capture one falling.

This photo was taken from the boat and gives a good perspective of the ice wall height and its blue color. But there is no image that can capture all the hue of blues visible to the eye. In some areas the ice seem fluorescent.
I mentioned the intense sounds before but these are heard very frequent also due to the moving ice blocks. There were hikers over the glacier but they do not get into areas as the ones to the right. I would be really wonderful to get inside of those spaces in between the spikes of blue ice.

This image shows a narrow area between the glacier and a point of land of the Peninsula de Magallanes. At times the glacier grows an blocks the southern branch of the Lago Argentino. This does not happens every year but when it does, thousands of tourists arrive to see the collapse of the bridge due to the pressure of the water rising in the bloked lake. This view is from the southern branch of the Lago Argentino looking north.

This view gives a panoramic view of the whole glacier and the mountains are to the West. You can see the tree leaves changing into red and yellows since I was there in the fall. The seasons are reversed from the northen to the southern hemispheres.
The park has a brand new system of elevated metal trails that provide for easy walking and great views. These trails lead to various vantage points to just observe the spectacle, watch for birds or hunting for the opportunity to see the glacier calving.

This image was taken with a 16 mm lens set at a 45 degrees angle to get the diagonal of a full frame digital camera. Then I Photoshop it and cropped it to get the widest dimension cutting off the corners. No image of this place can really capture its magnificence.


SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

All I can say is WOW!! What beautiful photgraphs Jose. In a way I guess one needs to be very careful there with chunks falling off all the time. I have heard the noise made by the cracking of the ice but only on film of course and I can imaging what it must be like to be there to hear it yourself.

I have seen pictures from inside those tunnels and they are magnificent.

The second photo does well in giving a height perspective of the wall as in the last two, it seems to be only three feet in height. :)

It is nice to hear it is still growing. Some are fast disappearing unfortunaely.

What a fantastic experience this must have been Jose. Thank you for sharing.

Tim Rucci said...

Wow Jose, this has been an awesome diversion from the normal birding topic, and you have captured it extremely well. Your photographs of the ice are amazing!

I have only seen glaciers in Alaska (not as well traveled as you are) but I can relate to how difficult it is to capture the falling ice, since you see it before you hear it. In Glacier Bay I shot some video instead of stills and basically got lucky. I was already filming when some ice just happened to calve off within my view. The video shows it falling and hitting the water, then being submerged for a couple seconds before bobbing back up above the surface of the water creating a huge wave.

I would have loved to have gotten some photos as good as yours, but did not. I was shooting film then so I did not know what I captured until after the trip.

Great shots here. That diagonal capture was very clever.

Jose's World said...

Joan: As you can see, I have not learned your lessons well. I have big wide space at the bottom of the blog before it gets to the "Post a Comment" and don't know how to remove it.

Tim: I have used that trick a few times, when the 16 will not do; I also have 15 mm fisheye that would have been ideal for this place but it stayed home due to airline size and weight restrictions. The diagonal trick gives me about the same angle of view of the 15 mm without the distortion althought are now easy to correct with Photoshop.

Glad you all liked this one.

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

Hello Jose. I love the way you have centered the pictures and used the croping on the last to give it that panoramic view. To delete the spaces, go back into 'edit', go to where the spaces start and press the delete button enough times to delete the open lines. On the right you will see the blue slider moving and it will show you when you have no more lies to delete. Then just click on 'publish again. The lines are sometimes put in when you load the photographs and juggle the text around. Don't worry, you are getting better and better at this. :) I still wish I had a week to spend showing you how to do all this.

Ken Conger Photography said...

Certainly a spectacular post. You have really captured the essence of this glacier. 2 & 4 are my favs. From your posts looks like a super trip. Blue Skies.

Unknown said...

What an awesome set of shots. The ice is amazing. I like the creativity of how you got the "panoramic". I'll have to try that sometime. ;) I am in agreeance with Ken...I like shots 2 and 4 as well. well done!

Juan C. Aguero said...

Impresionantes fotos y pienso que muy buena experiencia para usted.

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