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  • Writer's pictureJenna Dixon

Patagonia Meets Lume Cube Lights

Updated: Jun 13



I often think about what my greatest motivation is surrounding the pull I feel towards documenting quiet moments within wild places. It’s as though there is this special kind of clarity in the stillness of a landscape, an interconnectedness I feel within myself and with nature.  The world slows allowing the time and the space to strip away any outside noise in order to ask the deeper questions to better understand ourselves and our dreams.
 

While photography and personal travel have taken me across the globe, Patagonia has always remained a mystery.  The jagged peaks juxtaposed by the brilliance of autumn colours and glacier lakes in the valleys below hold this sense of wonder and mystery that I’ve longed to explore.


When the opportunity came to work with Lume Cube Lights trekking across Argentina and Chile I jumped at the chance.  Equipped with the Tubelight Mini, and RGB panel pro 2.0, my partner and I booked a one way ticket with one goal in mind! To capture an image using Lume Cube lights showcasing the grandiosity and vastness of the Patagonian landscape while using a human element within frame to capture its scale.



Our journey began in Chile in the Lake Pehoe Region of Torres del Paine National Park.   Its rugged beauty is a photographer’s paradise and we really took our time exploring and experiencing the towerous peaks under different light while we tested our lumecube lights. We found the tubelight mini especially complimentary to our workflow given its versatility and packability in the field over multi days. I also found the lights ease in function, special effects modes and the ability to dial in specific exposures and colour temperatures extremely helpful in low light situations which is the timeframe in which the bulk of my landscape images are executed.



Although we primarily used the RGB Panel Pro 2.0 to film bts stills and video close ups, I can see this light in particular being apart of our main gear lineup.   



After 4 days camped lakeshore and under the stars with a good understanding of our lights, we set out on the world famous W Trek. We trekked for the next 5 days in complete self sufficiency covering a distance of over 70km amongst the rugged beauty and striking variety of landscapes the region had to offer. 


For those interested in trekking either the W or the O trek, theres a myriad of sites and information that can be found online, but we chose to book all of our campsites through Torreshike.com.  


We caught a 3 hour bus from Peurto Natales, followed by a catamaran to the Paine Grande trailhead where we trekked our first 12 km to our campsite situtated on the incerdible southern Patagonia Icefield. Glacier ice is one of our favourite things to capture in the Canadian Rockies, so there’s no surprise we were instantly drawn to the Grey Glacier.




We scouted compositions for the majority of our first day looking for a scene that not only provided the depth and scale of landscape we were looking for, but the perfect opportunity to showcase the human element dwarfed amongst ice and mountainous peaks.  We returned in the evening for blue hour to execute the final image. I set up my tripod and interval timer before heading down the steep scree and up the rock face to find my position. I placed the tube light mini in a crack along the rock face, setting the exposure to 25 % with a calvin of 7500. The result was a perfect cascade of light across the scene.



From the Grey Glacier it took another 3 days of trekking to reach our final campsite called Chileno, where we made one final push to reach Base Torres. These iconic granite towers are often used to represent Chiles natural beauty and wilderness of Patagonia and are instantly recognizable for their sheer size. I had been dreaming of photgraphing this specific landscape for years and couldnt wait to see what we could capture with Lume Cube.


We trekked through the night to arrive at the towers in order to capture the tubelight mini with the stars.  We enjoyed a few hours of solitude before the heavy crowds arrived and the sun began to rise. It was incredible experience and perfect way to end our adventure in Chile.



 

While I was a little reluctant to say goodbye to Torres del Paine, I couldn’t help but feel the excitement building for the next chapter of our trip.


We took two separate buses from Chile to Argentina totalling around 10 hours with a short layover in El Calefete before finally arriving in El Chalten. I suppose what I forgot to mention is that Patagonia is known for its volatility in weather especially wind! Our first 5 days in El Chalten we experienced 120km winds, rain, snow and heavy cloud coverage hanging low in the valleys. It was impossible not to feel discouraged, especially hearing from the locals that the peaks of Fitzroy and Cerro Torre rarely make an appearance.  But landscape photography requires such a great deal of scouting and preparation so our only option given the short time frame we had was to go into the mountains in hopes we’d be prepared for when a weather window presented itself. We didn’t see the peaks once for the entire week.


So we waited. We booked an apartment for a few days and scoured the region mapping out locations along the Fitzroy Trail we felt held promise for the type of image we were looking to achieve. And finally, the weather finally began to turn in our favour.


We set out for another 5 nights of camp scouting the locations we had planned under the incredible peaks of Mount Fitzroy and Cerro Torre. When you're fully immersed in the wild, the landscapes truly begin to reveal themsleves. One reacurring theme I absolutely fell in love with was the otherwordly alpine glow that lit the peaks just before blue hour. Where generally this period in the rockies lasts a mere minutes, this orange hue that casts a glow on the moutnains in Argentina lingered for nearly an hour and well into sunrise. It was catpivating...mesmerizing and truly unforgettable.





I therefore began to obsess over one particular lake in the region I spotted from a top a neighbouring peak on one of our sunrise missions. It was a little off the beaten path and not as heavily trafficked as some of the surrounding areas. The brilliant blue hues of the water and direct line to the incredible peaks of Mount Fitzroy seemed like the perfect fit for the idea I had in mind. So we regrouped at camp and set out early the final morning in order to hike up to the lake before sunrise to capture the peaks at blue hour under the stunning alpine glow.


The Night was cold clocking in at -1 degrees celsius as we trekked over frost covered, rugged rock terrain until we reached the lake. Blue hour was just beginning and a beautiful orange pre alpine glow lit the peaks of Fitzroy.  Not another soul was in sight.


The stars sparkled overhead while the water reflected the peaks below. I could feel my sense of excitement building. Finally, the elements I had been searching for were beginning to align. But I had to be quick. My favourite period of time to capture a blue hour scene typically lasts around 15 minutes so I quickly set up my tripod and dialled in the settings on my cameras internal interval timer before positioning myself in frame. Using the tube light mini I focused on day light setting as to not compete with other colours within the scene, dialing in a Calvin of 7500 and a brightness of 10%.  I took a series of images and poses deciding on this final image!  A human subject in frame amidst a stunning landscape lit with Lume Cube's tube light mini!



In the world of landscape photography, what meets the eye as a final polished image is just the tip of the iceberg. Behind each image lies a hidden narrative and untold story of dedication and perseverance. Hundreds of kms trekked and hours of time vanish into the quiet pursuit of scouting the perfect location only to be humbled by natures elements which are indifferent to our aspirations.  Yet we persist repeating these rituals driven by the hope of that one elusive moment.


In truth, there were countless times on this trip where I felt unsure of whether I'd come home with an image I was happy with. In the outdoors you can never predict or control the weather or what is going to happen next, but I think that's what in fact draws me to the art of landcape photography. It requires patience, to go into nature without expectation and to be present and intentional within each fleeting moment.  Landscape photography has taught me to find the joy and the beauty in not only the destination, but the journey in itself. For if you learn to put the experience ahead of everything else, I’m not sure you ever lose.




 

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Written by Jenna Dixon in Partnership with Lume Cube Lights

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