Thursday, July 28, 2011

Chile DAY 6: Where am I?

The European Southern Observatory is breathtaking, but aside from the location-- check out the map-- their research is incredible, basically focusing on stars getting eaten by the black hole in the center of our galaxy.  If you think my Milky Way photo below is cool, then check out this link from their website.

View from the observatory of the Atacama Desert, looking West to the cloud covered Pacific Ocean. 

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Chile DAY 5: Long Days, Dark Nights

Cinematographer Jefferson Miller shoot the cloud covered Pacific at dusk.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Chile DAY 4: European Southern Observatory

That's a real laser folks. The ESO's Very Large Telescope (VLT) shoots a laser 90km into the sky aimed at the exact center of the Milky Way Galaxy where there is a black hole.  There are 4 identical VLT's (see three below) that use the laser point to re-calibrate focus which enables the massive lenses to see even further. 

Shot with my Canon 5D, f2.8 for 30sec @ ISO 1000

Three of four VLT's in the Atacama Desert, Chile.  

Monday, July 25, 2011

CHILE DAY 3: Atacama Desert

I feel like I'm on Mars. 

We are literally in the driest place on Earth.  Right now it's the end of winter so it's not boiling hot, but it is insanely dry and the day and night temperatures are extreme, but mild for the region. 70's during the day, 30's when the earth rotates away from the sun.  Not to mention we are at altitude.  I keep trying to compare this place to somewhere else but all I can think of is photos from the Mars Rover.  There is ZERO life here.  No plants, no birds, no snakes, no bugs under rocks. NOTHING.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

CHILE DAY 2: Wall of Mountains

View of the Andes from a Chilean airliner heading North.

The crew flew North 700 miles from the capitol city of Santiago to Chile's second biggest city, Antofagasta.  For the entire flight, the Andes were out to the right side and the Pacific Ocean out the left.  It was trance-like, I kept pinching myself. I think the mountain sticking up is Aconcagua, the tallest mountain in the Western Hemisphere, at 22,841 feet. 

Friday, July 22, 2011

Santiago, Chile DAY 1

Santiago from the top of my hotel.  

Back behind the city center, this urban drainage take you to the mountains.

Yes, in Chile you can have it your way.

Once the sun falls behind the mountains, the spring day turns back into a winter night.  Time to bundle up.

It was magical flying low over the Andes at dawn.  First a deep blue streak high across the sky and then a vibrant orange that silhouetted the mountains out of the deep darkness of a 10 hour red eye flight from Atlanta.  Santiago was 25 degrees out when we stepped off the plane and by 2PM it was 75.  Chile fumigates all checked luggage for bugs so don't check your pillow!