Atacama, an enchanted desert. By Ossian Lindholm

The Atacama Desert is a breathtaking plateau located in South America, Northern Chile between the Andes and the Pacific coast. It is considered the driest desert in the world as in some areas  there have been no record of rainfall in the last 500 years. The Atacama Desert is huge, covering an area of between 105,000 to 128,000 sq. KM. Photographers from around the world love it here as it is like a planet from paradise– the landscapes are surreal and the light is completely unique yet at the same time interestingly challenging.
Blue hour in Lagunas Baltinache, San Pedro de Atacama. Chile.
Nikon D810 with Sigma-Art 24mm   f/11  1 sec  ISO100 @24mm 
I have led trips in the Atacama several times and have recently returned from scouting our new photography adventure, Atacama Magica and wanted to share some of my latest photos with you.
The blue and the golden hours in Atacama
It is a practice among landscape photographers to wait for the golden hours, that magic moment after sunrise or before sunset during which daylight is warm giving the photos a reddish or yellowish hue. But there is another amazing moment called the blue hour which is the period just before sunrise or just after sunset when light is diffused and cold giving the photos a stunning bluish hue. The dim light after sunset, or before sunrise, forces you to use a long exposure time – slow shutter speeds- so you need to have a tripod. In the Atacama, these magical landscapes really come alive during these special photographic moments.
Blue hour in Lagunas Baltinache,
Nikon D810 with Sigma-Art 24mm   f/11  3 sec  ISO100 @24mm 
The photo below was taken about 15 minutes before sunset, it is possible to observe the typical warm tones of the golden hours.
Licancabur Volcano, San Pedro de Atacama. Chile.
Lumix GX8 with Vario Lens 7-14mm 24mm   f/16  1/60  ISO200 @14mm 
Night skies
For the ultimate stargazing experience, the The Atacama desert is perfect as it has the clearest night skies on Earth. It is high, dry and unpolluted. Several top-level observatories have set up home here, including the revolutionary ALMA (Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array) observatory, a fascinating project, captures star and planet formations billions of light years away, so you are viewing the dawn of the universe. Using an array of 66 antennae that together make up the equivalent of a 10-mile-long telescope, it can uncover details with at least 10 times more resolution than the Hubble space telescope.The climatological and geographic characteristics of this desert, which ensure the clarity of its skies, added to the high Andean mountain range provide unique conditions on Earth. In addition to this, it has the privileged southern sky that allows to observe many important objects at astronomical level, such as the center of the Milky Way and the Magellanic Clouds, among others.
The Milky Way, Atacama desert.
Photo: Dante Apaza 
Volcanos
Virtually all the mountains seen from San Pedro de Atacama are volcanoes, many of them with altitudes close to 6000 meters and some even higher.  A couple of them are active so that, depending on the weather conditions, it is possible to observe the typical fumaroles, or steam vents.
Volcanos in the Andes, from Lagunas Tebinquinche. San Pedro de Atacama. Chile.
Nikon D810 150-600 mm  f/6.3  1/200  ISO100 @240mm
Volcanos from left to right: Aguas Calientes or Simbad and Lascar ( active volcano ) 
Licancabur Volcano, from Lagunas Tebinquinche. San Pedro de Atacama. Chile.
Nikon D810 150-600 mm  f/9  1/125  ISO800 @150mm 
Volcanos in the Andes, from Lagunas Tebinquinche. San Pedro de Atacama. Chile.
Nikon D810 150-600 mm  f/6.3  1/200  ISO100 @240mm
Volcanos from left to right: Acamarachi, Colachi, Cerro Negro and Aguas Calientes or Simbad.
A consequence of the volcanic activity of this area of the Andes is the presence of the Tatio Geysers, one of the main attractions for Atacama visitors. The best time to visit them is early in the morning.
Tatio Geysers
Nikon D810  Sigma Art 24mm  f/16 1/250  ISO100 @24mm 
Tatio Geysers. A vicuna walks among the fumaroles.
Lumix GX8  Vario Lens 45-200mm  f/4.9 1/800  ISO100 @240mm 
It is possible to observe flamingos in some lagoons of Atacama.
Nikon D7100 Sigma 150-500   f/18 1/640  ISO800 @750mm 
San Pedro de Atacama
Is a picturesque town of 2,500 inhabitants located in a lovely oasis at the foot of the Andes overlooking the Licancabur Volcano. Founded in 1450, it grew over centuries around an Oasis in the Puna de Atacama. It rains less that 100 mm (4 inches) per year. It is a charming village with a great variety of offerings, hotels from 2 to 5 stars, restaurants, pubs and many craft shops.
The captivating blend of this exotic desert combined with excellent services, makes San Pedro de Atacama one of the most visited places in Chile. The closest airport is in Calama at 1 hour and 15 min.
Our four star in Hotel Cumbres is also the perfect base for our Atacama Mágica Photo adventure as well as to explore this fascinating region and enjoying the incredible adventures it has to offer. I hope you will join us here this November 27-December 3rd.
Join us on our next Atacama Photo Tour:
November 27 to December 5, 2018
I am convinced that to achieve good nature photographs, the first thing we must do is to learn the photographic technique.

To practice these techniques you also need lots of focused photographic opportunities, without them you will not be able to apply and practice the learned techniques. Together with Travel Vision Photo Journeys there will be both: I will teach the technique and provide opportunities to return to your home with spectacular photos. We not only want to take you to places of magnificent nature but also take you there at the best time of the day.

Photo by Lauren Hefferon

Ossian Lindholm
lindholm.ossian@gmail.com

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