Posts tagged “Guiding

Guiding in Patagonia…. The Rules!

Guiding in Patagonia 2017 and the Rules of Commercial Photography

Photographers are routinely being stopped and questioned in Los Glaciers National Park (LGNP). The Rangers assume that anyone carrying a tripod is a professional. It’s against park rules to sell photographs without a permit, in this day and age a rule like this might seem impossible to enforce. I’m pretty sure whoever made this ruling is unable to distinguish the difference between someone selling images for a few dollars via a stock agency and someone photographing for a major advertising agency. This rule cannot realistically be enforced; certainly, the park would struggle to set their lawyers on one-time visitors who return to a foreign country.

Those intending to guide photographers next year are going to come under a lot more scrutiny by the Rangers. The rules In LGNP have not changed; they are just going to be more thoroughly enforced.

This year has been the first year that Rangers have placed themselves at the start of the main trails in Los Glaciers N.P. They also regularly patrol along the trails; clearly, a group of photographers with tripods are not hard to spot.

Anyone guiding a commercial workshop in Torres del Paine must employ a local guide, who’s job it will be to make sure nobody breaks park rules. Most importantly for photographers, this means – within reason – you will not be allowed to stray off the trail, this also applies to LGNP.

Los Glaciers National Park goes one step further, workshops must have a permit. This permit is available from Rosana Rivarola her email address is

I’m told the application process takes at least three months.

For local guiding in LGNP, I recommend Fitz Roy Expeditions, I can’t personally recommend an outfit in Torres del Paine.

Fitz Roy Expeditions

Finally please don’t break the rules, the park is there for everyone to enjoy.

It’s no use telling the rangers you’re just a bunch of friends photographing together, they’re not stupid.



About a year ago I started putting together plans to guide photographers in the El Chalten area. I wanted to get some experience guiding people without too much pressure, essentially I wanted to get a feel for what it’s like to manage a group and actually see if I enjoyed doing it. I’m not one to jump in at the deep end so I created a plan to guide photographers entirely for free. It was my hope that by inviting reputable photographers I might get some free publicity when they uploaded images to social media.

By mid-March with only weeks before I was due to leave I got emails telling me that several members of the group had to cancel.

Fortunately, I was put in touch with two groups of photographers who already had bookings to fly to Patagonia. It was agreed almost overnight that I would guide each group for a week. The first group were from Thailand and the second from Vietnam, I would also keep a Chinese photographer from my original group; Jiqing Fan was the only member to stick with me right through from the start. Of all the people I thought most likely to pull out I thought it would be him. Only a few months earlier Jiqing had been in a car accident up in Canada during the winter. He’d been driving on a snow covered road had missed a bend and drove straight into a river. Forced to swim to shore the car was submerged for almost a day and all Jiqings camera and computer gear was ruined.

The Vietnamese Group, notice the lenticular clouds building in the background

The Vietnamese Group, notice the lenticular clouds building in the background

From the moment the Thai’ and Vietnamese groups agreed to let me guide them I felt extremely positive. They were wonderful people and all were extremely grateful for my help. The Thai group enjoyed some excellent hiking and some great conditions; I think it’s true to say that they were in the park during peak fall color.

The Vietnamese group arrived late in the afternoon of the 16th April. We were able to rush straight out and get a great sunset. The lenticular clouds had been building throughout the afternoon and it looked to be a killer sunset. I took the group to the gorge about 7km out of town. There are several spots to shoot from along the Rio de las Vueltas and I’m convinced we were at the best location. The sky didn’t light up as I’d hoped but there was still great color under the clouds and of course amazing detail in the lenticulars. I spoke later to other photographers who shot within the park and it would seem that we’d got to just the right location. I would later meet Marc Adamus, he himself had never seen this composition and liked it very much.

With bad weather forecast for the El Chalten area, we decided to rush to Torres del Paine. For me, this provided a welcoming break and an opportunity to scout some new areas. I was also able to meet up with Mark Metternich and Greg Boratyn who were both leading their workshop in the area.

That strange backpack sure has its uses.

That strange backpack sure has its uses.