Sunday, August 19, 2012

Life in the Atacama Desert

The Atacama Desert is the driest desert on Earth, and so claimed many sources, including the National Geographic. And so, when I visited it, I was just expecting fantastic and memorable landscapes. But I was pleasantly surprised by how much more Nature provided.

The access town to the Atacama Desert in Chile is San Pedro de Atacama. From there, there are tons of agencies that provide various tours to see the sights around the region. There are also information both in town, and online, that caters to the independent traveler.

I took one of the day tours that visit the 'Altiplanicas' lagoons as well as a salt flat. And at the very first stop (Chaxas Lagoon), I got my first wildlife in the Atacama - pink flamingoes amidst a surreal lagoon. It was indeed a photographic heaven, as these beautiful creatures not only make wonderful subjects themselves, they also add additional interest to the already wonderful landscape and backdrop behind!

As I go further into the Atacama, I soon realized that the inhospitable looking landscape holds many more creatures. And as I mentioned earlier, they can certainly make your images stronger if you can manage to spot them and include them! Guanacos and vicunas are aplenty, and should be easy, but the eagles and the rodents that I manage to see, are alot more difficult to capture, let alone on a shared vehicle day tour! For those on a photographic quest should hire a private vehicle!

Or sometimes,  you could just get lucky, like me. We spotted a South American gray fox who stopped to pose for us! Wonderful indeed. But nevertheless, wildlife or not, the Atacama desert is certainly one of the highlights of Chile and South America even!

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