I went on a holiday a few months ago to the country I was born in, Chile.
I chose to go there because of the diverse landscapes I'd get the chance to shoot there and as a portrait photographer I thought it would be a great opportunity to get some portraits of all my cousins whom I always have a blast with. To be honest some good times where had but as most of you know family has a habit of driving you crazy.
So this is Santiago, the city I was born in. This particular vantage point is from Cerro Santa Lucia, I found funny that Santiago looks different from every angle, in the pictures below it looks like a city from the 80's, yet from other angles it looks a lot more modern.
My most immediate family just so happen to be located in Santiago, so I wound up spending a lot of time in the capital city. To be honest what I love about Santiago is how similar it is to Melbourne and Sydney, I guess all cities are the same. I have family all over the place in Chile some are well off and other not so well off. I had a lot of fun in the city I was born in it's changed a lot since I was chid, it's for the best but the locals still complain about how horrible it is, nothing could be further from the truth Santiago has become one of my favourite cities in the world.
However it wasn't all fun and games with my family, during family functions I'd find my self deep in conversation with my cousins to get told off by someone for not taking pictures. I heard of this happening to photographers, their friends and family consider their photography friend as their personal photographer. The fact of the matter is that I enjoy taking high end portraits and beautiful landscapes and I do not enjoy missing a deep and meaningful conversation with my cousins to take what are essentially are event photos. This is an issue that I've actually never encountered with my friends in Australia. Don't get me wrong I do enjoy taking pictures during my friends events but I don't feel like I'm missing out, I take pictures to remember the experience, I don't sit from a distance and watch other people enjoying themselves.
I found the landscapes in chile to be amazing so much so that I actually prefer the landscapes in Chile over the landscapes in Australia, however the cityscapes in Australia are better than Chile's. My favourite landscapes was located about an hour away from the capital city Santiago, a fact that I find amazing because to best landscapes we have close to Melbourne is four hours drive from my home town of Melbourne. This area was known as el cajon del Maipo it's a mountain and the higher up you go the more the landscapes change, whilst I didn't get to the top I reached a point called el embalse del yeso, I'm not to good at writing so I'll just leave some pictures to show you how amazing it was.
One thing that infuriated me is that I wanted a picture of myself at the location but no one was interested enough to take the time to look at the screen to make sure I was even facing the camera it was one click done and I'd either be on the edge of frame or not even looking at the camera, yet they all expected me to take pictures of them, I was furious.
The next location I wanted to talk about was San Pedro Atacama, the Atacama is know for being one of the driest places of earth. San Pedro was much to my surprise a tourist town, a detail that I failed to capture in my pictures, I found this place amazing because of it's diverse landscapes and amazing wildlife.
This area is also where you can see the most stars on earth, I took an astronomy tour and it was amazing! My biggest regret was not taking my camera and tripod, I just assumed they wouldn't let me take pictures, big mistake on my part.
The next stop from here was Arica, the most northern town in Chile. Arica is a relatively small town that doesn't really have much but I have family there and to be honest I've always enjoyed my time there. I enjoyed my time here, I didn't have to put up with being the family photographer around there. I have treasured childhood memories there and I loved catching up with some cousins whom I hadn't seen in up to 20 years.
It was in Arica where I learn't about Tomas (aka shanty towns). According to Chilean law if a group of homeless people get organised and build a shanty town on unoccupied land the Chilean government will build them a house and relocate them onto their new property. Whilst I was in Arica I also got to take a look at the oldest mummies in the world.
After all my family obligations ended I was able to visit all my favourite spots such as Val Paraiso and Viña Del Mar. Given that they're neighbouring costal towns I thought I'd check them out over the time period of a few days. I chose to stop by Val Paraiso first to visit my cousin Diego.
Melbourne coffee culture is something I take for granted the coffee in Chile was truly horrible, it wasn't until I went to this coffee shop in Val Paraiso, which was ironically named of Melbourne where I found satisfaction in some coffee.
Finally I went to visit my childhood friend Leandro in Viña Del Mar we went hiking and then he took me all over town. At one point while we where hiking I heard the sound of a didgeridoo, at this point I thought I was pretty out of it, I brought it up with Leandro and he said 'dude I thought I was going crazy I hear it too'. Further up the mountain we where hiking we ran into a group of young men one of which (much to my surprise) had a didgeridoo on him!
I had a lot of fun during my time in Chile and I hope to travel more in the future to find more amazing places to photograph.