Fotoeins Fotografie

questions of home & place

Posts tagged ‘Atacama Desert’

Ruta 5, Carretera Panamericana, Panamerican Highway, Region de Antofagasta, Chile, fotoeins.com

Under the desert sun (LAPC)

Above/featured: Ruta 5 (highway 5), a ribbon-like cut through the desert in Región de Atacama, Chile – 24 Nov 2009 (450D).

It’s an interesting question: how does one consider, view, or photograph what’s under the sun? There’s a lot of room for interpretation. Modifying the theme for the desert sun, I examine the “quality of sunlight” within the Atacama Desert in northern and north-central Chile, and within the Sonoran Desert in southwest United States.


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Cerro Tololo Interamerican Observatory, Cerro Tololo, Region de Coquimbo, Chile, fotoeins.com

Fotoeins Friday: Andes in winter, a June day in Chile

23 June 2007.

A few days past the June winter solstice, the view to the Andes is illuminated by the afternoon sun to the northwest. It’s almost one year since I’ve moved to Chile to work at the Gemini South astronomical observatory, and part of my job includes shifts observing at the telescope for a duration between two and six nights at a stretch. For the time being, we’re sleeping in the dormitories at the neighbouring Cerro Tololo Observatory, and driving to and from Cerro Pachón where Gemini South resides. With less oxygen at altitude between 2500 and 2800 metres, it can be a little rough to sleep and work, but the views are always worth the temporary discomfort.

More about my past life

•   What it was like to be “up top”
•   What it meant to leave, both astronomy and Chile
•   My past research


I made the above photo 10 years ago today on 23 June 2007. This post appears on Fotoeins Fotografie at fotoeins.com as http://wp.me/p1BIdT-9To.

ANF airport, Aeropuerto Nacional Cerro Moreno, Region de Antofagasta, Atacama desert, Desierto de Atacama, Antofagasta, Chile, fotoeins.com

Fotoeins Friday: Into the Atacama from ANF

We left the last traces of green behind in La Serena. After the 90-minute flight from LSC to ANF Antofagasta airport, it’s abundantly clear anything green has a tough-tough-go, and has to hold on to every hint of moisture. Here in the Atacama desert, shades of dust scatter across the barren landscape, switching quickly from plain brown to copper, from rust to sienna. Our vehicle turns gently south onto Ruta-1, towards the city of Antofagasta. Through traffic, we wind our way through the city, eventually onto the Ruta-28 spur, and beyond to the Panamerican Highway, which in Chile is known as “la ruta cinco” (Ruta-5).

ANF airport, Aeropuerto Nacional Cerro Moreno, Region de Antofagasta, Atacama desert, Desierto de Atacama, Antofagasta, Chile, fotoeins.com

Leaving ANF airport towards Ruta 5

ANF airport, Aeropuerto Nacional Cerro Moreno, Region de Antofagasta, Atacama desert, Desierto de Atacama, Antofagasta, Chile, fotoeins.com

Leaving ANF airport towards Ruta 5.

Ruta 1, Atacama desert, Region de Antofagasta, Antofagasta, Chile, fotoeins.com

Ruta 1, approaching Antofagasta from the north.

Ruta 1, Antofagasta, Region de Antofagasta, Chile, fotoeins.com

Ruta 1, heading south through Antofagasta.

I made the above photos on 24 November 2009 with the Canon 450D camera, EF 70-300 zoom-lens, and the following settings: f/11, ISO200, and 70-140mm focal lengths (112-224mm full-frame). This post appears on Fotoeins Fotopress at fotoeins.com as http://wp.me/p1BIdT-6SU.

Chilean Andes, Cerro Tololo, Cerro Pachón, astronomical observatories, Chile, fotoeins.com

Fotoeins Friday: Chile from 10000 feet, summer light on the Andes

20 February 2006.

With the light of the setting summer sun striking the foothills and the mountains in the Chilean Andes, this was the view east outside the plane from about 10000 feet (3000 metres) prior to approach and descent to LSC La Serena airport. This place was already familiar: I’d been coming here for astronomy research semi-regularly over the last ten years (since 1995), and it’s where I would live for the next five years (to 2011). It’s a fascinating individual experience to internalize the day-to-day surroundings which eventually become routine over a period of weeks, months, and years. On occasion, I still have difficulty grasping my own history.

At a latitude of 30 degrees south, the area shown here is near the southern limit of the Atacama desert in Región de Coquimbo. A group of white domes (telescopes) is clustered at the summit of Cerro Tololo (centre-left); the domes for the SOAR Telescope and Gemini South sit along the ridge of Cerro Pachón (centre-right). The mail-drop or “buzón” for the observatories is at the bottom of the ridge where the unpaved graded dirt road splits to Tololo and Pachón. To the east in the background are the north-south spine or ‘cord’ (Cordillera) marked by the Andes mountain range, and towering thunderstorms looming over the Argentina-Chile border. Directions to the nearest cities are marked: Vicuña (north), La Serena (northwest), Andacollo (west), and Ovalle (southwest).

I made the photo above with a Canon Powershot A510 camera on-board the LAN 1-hour flight from Santiago to La Serena. This post appears on Fotoeins Fotopress at fotoeins.com as http://wp.me/p1BIdT-6Rq.

Southern Atacama desert, between Cerro Tololo and Cerro Pachon, Region de Coquimbo, Chile, fotoeins.com

Standing on the tall shoulders of the Chilean Andes

It’s a long road to a latitude of 30 degrees South to stand at an elevation of 9000 feet up on the mountainous spine of South America.

Over a period of 11 years, I visited telescopes in Chile to collect research data, before I moved to Chile to live and work there for 5 years. This is a brief look at the journey an astronomer makes to telescopes in Chile.

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