Chile’s landscape is a diverse patchwork of soaring mountains, rugged coastline and stunning valleys but one man has managed to capture one of the country’s most iconic natural landmarks as never seen before.
British Columbia-based Canadian web designer and photographer Owen Perry has perfectly frozen the alien landscape of the El Tatio Geyser Field, found high in the Atacama Desert, in a series of blindingly colorful and textural shots that are attracting serious critical acclaim.
Nestled within the Andean mountain range to the north of Chile at a staggering 4,320 meters above sea-level, El Tatio — meaning “The Grandfather” — is most elevated geyser field in the southern hemisphere. It is also the third largest in the world with over 80 geysers erupting an average of 75 centimetres, with the highest reaching six meters.
“I’m always searching for new and interesting places to shoot, places where people may never think of going or are hard to access for whatever reason,” Perry told This Is Chile. “The journey to this place is quite surreal and I had never photographed geysers or a geologically active area like this previously, so it was totally new for me. The atmosphere there was like nothing I had ever experienced. The textures and color were amazing, very primordial.”
Perry’s images look surreal and hostile in equal measure, exposing the rock formations, steam and pools in all their biological glory.
“I’ve been really surprised by the publicity I’ve received from the images since publishing them on my site. People from around the world have shared the images with millions of others. It’s humbling and something I look forward to doing once again, perhaps next time in Patagonia,” said Perry.
As a major tourism site, the geysers receive around 100,000 visitors a year, most of whom arrive at sunrise when each geyser spouts a column of steam which condenses into the cold air. Bathing in the warm water pools nearby is also a favorite attraction. The area is considered an indigenous zone and in 2009 the ecological impact of a mining exploration in the region was widely condemned by Chileans who wish to preserve the geyser fields as part of the country’s history.
Perry’s images of El Tatio can be viewed on his website, as well as his other photographic projects.