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Total Solar Eclipse Photography Workshop in Chile 2020

Event Details

  • From: December 9, 2020
  • To: December 15, 2020
  • Starting at: 04:00 PM
  • Finishing at: 12:00 PM

Cancelled due to Covid-19

Join me, professional photographer Loren Fisher, for the trip of a lifetime as we photograph a total solar eclipse and the beauty of southern Chile’s lake region. The workshop is from Wednesday, Dec. 9 to Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2020.

I have experienced many things in my 40 years as a professional photographer but nothing more memorable than the first total solar eclipse I photographed in the desert of Oregon in 2017. I can’t put into words the experience and the photos don’t do it justice. As the sun disappears behind the moon the world around you changes, the light becomes a strange dim color and for a short time you are transported to another place. This will be my third total solar eclipse and I may be more excited than the first.

We will be based in Villarrica, Chile, a small town on the shore of the large Villarrica Lake. The active Villarrica volcano is on the other side of the lake and we’ll make great images of it from our hotel and the nearby beach. The center of eclipse’s path is right over our hotel guaranteeing us the longest possible time of totality.

The larger and well known town of Pucon is on the other side of the lake. It is the epicenter for adventure in southern Chile. The town is filled with outfitters and stores catering to mountain climbing, ice climbing, white water rafting, hiking, cycling and other outdoor sports. It has many very good restaurants, plenty of hotels and cabanas and tourist shops. I found Villarrica to be better suited to our adventure, although we will take in everything that is Pucon.

I scouted the Villarrica and Pucon area in December, 2018 (see blog posts). Through extensive research and talking with many people, I located many great locations for photography in the region. I am working with a friend who now lives in the U.S. He grew up and has relatives in the area, visits frequently, owns property in Pucon and will be our driver and translator, although I’m working hard to improve my Spanish.

You’ll fly into Santiago, Chile, and then take an 1.5 hour flight to Temuco, Chile. It is a smaller airport but modern and if you take Latam Airlines you’ll be on a large jet, not a small commuter prop plane. We’ll meet you at the Temuco airport and take you to the hotel. We’ll be traveling in a large Sprinter type van. If you like, I’ll help you make travel arrangements.

While the eclipse will be the highlight of the trip, you’ll make many great images of southern Chile. It is an area that is about as far from the south pole as Atlantic City is from the north pole. The Villarrica volcano dominates the landscape, the snow covered peak is iconic and we’ll photograph it from many angles, including our hotel’s roof. The volcano last erupted in 2016 and there is stream coming out from the crater. We’ll be far enough away that we’ll be out of harm’s way if it erupts again but it would make for great photos! Because of volcanoes from years past there are many other peaks and large lakes created by glaciers and eruptions. The pristine lakes are beautiful and nestled into the edge of the Andes.

We’ll go to a thermal spa that has an amazing red boardwalk leading through a steep, lush green canyon past 19 hot pools to a stunning waterfall at the end. You’ll want to bring your bathing suit and take the time to soak in the natural hot springs. You’ll love the photos you make there too!

We’ll spend a day driving along Lake Panguipulli, which is 8.5 miles wide and 19 miles long. At the north end is the town of Panguipulli, which has a mesmerizing church with three steeples. This part of Chile has a strong German influence and you’ll see it in the architecture. The church is a prime example, it looks like it could be in Bavaria. We’ll go high on a hill above town and explore one of the most unique cemeteries you’ll see anywhere, it overlooks the town and the lake and the grave sites are immaculately decorated.

We’ll then drive along to the lake’s southern end stopping along the way at beautiful overlooks. We’ll actually be driving in the Andes, but the elevation isn’t very high. We’ll arrive in the quaint village of Choshuenco, which is anything but a tourist trap. While you won’t see dusty villages with donkeys pulling carts, you will see how real Chileans live. The scenery is just marvelous and you’ll be making special photos.

We’ll photograph waterfalls, lakes and rivers around the Villarrica volcano. It is interesting that all the waterfalls are either privately owned or privately managed and you have to pay to get into them. But don’t worry, all entrance fees are included in your registration. The good part of the waterfalls being managed is they have nice paths, boardwalks and overlooks making access easy.

We’ll also spend a day along Chile’s Pacific coast where you’ll photograph quaint fishing villages, large black sand beaches, rugged coastline and unusual sea stacks.

This is where many of the world’s eclipse chasers will be, which tells me that is the best place to see the eclipse. December is summer and there is a chance there will be some clouds but the forecasts say it is about 30% in December. I have tapped into websites created by eclipse freaks and they have the most amazing and detailed weather forecast you can imagine. I do have Plan B and Plan C if it is overcast and that is to run to the Chilean coast where the weather tends to change or drive less than three hours over the Andes to Argentina where it is desert. I initially looked into basing the workshop in that part of Argentina but there are few hotels and there is nothing else there to shoot!

There are several ways to photograph the eclipse and I’ll work with each participant before we leave to assure you have everything you need to make this an unforgettable experience. You’ll need special filters to protect your eyes and your camera. This is a must! I’ll provide both glasses for your eyes and custom made filters for your lenses. During the total eclipse, the filter comes off and then quickly back on once the totality is done. There are lots of tips like this we will talk about once you register and long before we gather in Chile.

If you want tight photos of the sun, then you’ll need a big telephoto or a telescope. Think about how big the full moon is when you look through your camera. That is the size the eclipse will be, so you can practice using your camera and tripod. The sun’s corona is visible during totality and it is much larger than you think, so the absolute maximum you need is about 600mm to 800mm on a full frame camera. The eclipse photos above were shot with a 600mm lens.

Who should Attend

Anyone who wants to be awed by photographing a total solar eclipse and the beauty of southern Chile’s lake region – your photographic experience doesn’t matter. I will be working with you to help you improve your photography, no matter your level. I will help with mastering your camera settings, using the proper lens, composition and how to capture what you are seeing with your camera. Exposures during the eclipse will be tricky and I’ll be helping you make sure you are getting a great shot. Most of our shooting locations will near our van, some walking will be required, including wandering in towns. There won’t be long, strenuous hiking.

What is included:

  • Seven days of photography
  • Lodging for six nights (Single occupancy)
  • Breakfast daily
  • Workshop Adventure
  • Small group size of 10 participants
  • Hotel close to photography locations
  • Local transportation, including from and to airport
  • Professional photography instruction including how to photograph the eclipse.

What isn’t included:

  • Travel to Chile
  • Meals
  • Alcoholic drinks
  • Gratuities
  • Non-meal time snacks and soft drinks

Rates

Registration is $4200.
Previous clients and Premium Members: $3800.
Registration fee includes lodging (single occupancy) and ground transportation. It does not include airfare to Chile or meals other than breakfast or gratuities. Rates are net, per person, in U.S. dollars.

Maximum group size: 10

Weather

We will be there during Chile’s summer, although it is early in the season. Expect highs in the 80s and lows could dip into the 50s. Even though it is lush, there is little humidity, making for very pleasant days. We’ll be going along the ocean and into the mountains, with the wind it could get chilly. You should have shorts and comfortable clothes, a hat or cap and some casual clothes for night. I wear pants from North Face and other adventure companies that have zip off legs, so if it is cool in the morning or I go to a place where shorts aren’t appropriate, I can put on the legs. I stay away from cotton clothes like blue jeans that get wet and stay wet. We could encounter some rain, so be prepared for yourself and your camera gear.  I’ll send you more detailed clothing suggestions after you register.

Dining

You are responsible for dining expenses other than breakfast. The food is good, fresh and not expensive. This is cattle country and I had one of the best steaks ever in Pucon. Fresh fish is also abundant. We will be on the move but taking breaks to enjoy the scenery and dining.

Hotels

Single occupancy hotel accommodation costs are included. You may want to tip the friendly service.

Photo Equipment

You’ll want to have a wide angle, telephoto and possibly a macro lens. Depending on how you plan to photograph the eclipse, you may want a large telephoto lens (600mm or longer) or a telescope with a camera attachment. If you bring a telescope, make sure you have used it several times, there won’t be time to learn how to shoot with it while you are in Chile. A SOLAR ECLIPSE FILTER IS MANDATORY unless you want to go blind and ruin your camera’s sensor. Traditional ND filters aren’t good enough to protect your camera or eyes during an eclipse. Make sure you have lots of memory cards, spare batteries and charger and maybe a polarizer filter. You’ll need a sturdy tripod, don’t skimp here either on quality or size. I suggest staying away from light “travel tripods” since we are going be shooting things you probably won’t see again in your lifetime and getting a fuzzy photo because of shaky tripod would be criminal. I also suggest bringing a laptop to download your photos or have a way to backup your cards. If you aren’t absolutely sure of everything that your camera does, bring your instruction manual so I can help you fix any problems. Once you register we will talk about how to approach the eclipse shoot and what equipment you will need.

Deposits and Cancellations

A $750 deposit must be paid in order to secure your space in the workshop. Full payment must be received 120 days prior to the workshop.

Notice of your cancellation must be made in writing, at which time the following refunds are offered:

120 days or more before workshop: Full workshop refund minus the deposit.

119 to 60 days before workshop: 50% of workshop cost. Your payment, minus the deposit, will be refunded if your spot can be filled.

59 or fewer days before workshop: no refund. Your payment, minus the deposit, will be refunded if your spot can be filled.

No partial refunds are made for unused portions or services of a workshop. Workshops are sold as a package only.

If a workshop is cancelled, you will receive a full refund of any money paid, but I’d have to be on my deathbed before I’d cancel. But if I’m on my deathbed and need to cancel the workshop, I will not be held responsible for your other expenses, such as airline ticket, that may be associated with the canceled workshop. I’ve never cancelled a destination workshop and it would take a major catastrophe before I cancel. I highly recommend trip insurance that covers travel expenses and, more importantly, medical expenses including getting back home if you become ill.

About Loren Fisher

This workshop is being led by Loren Fisher, who has been a professional photographer since 1978. He worked at seven newspapers including USA Today, is a past president of the New Jersey chapter of ASMP, is an adjunct professor at Rutgers University and sells his fine art photography at juried art shows from Florida to Vermont. He has lead dozens of workshops in places like Iceland, Chile, Italy, Guatemala, Florida, Oregon, New York, Vermont, Maine, Maryland, New Jersey, Boston and Washington, D.C. He has published two photography books “Pope John Paul II: An American Celebration” and “Branson Backstage.” Loren has been to 50 states and over 20 countries.

Questions? Email Loren at Loren@LorenPhotos.com or call 802-332-6611.

This workshop will sell out fast, register now!


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