Chile’s Volcan Villarrica


Every once in awhile, life throws you one of those curve-balls that punch you in the gut and take your breath away. And when you finally stand-up, catch your breath, brush off the dust, look around and see that yes indeed, you are still alive and kicking, you decide to make some changes. Combine an experience like that with one of those marquee birthdays coming up that you just DON’T want to face and blammo, everything changes.

That happened to me this year. And so, instead of putting my tail between my legs, closing my eyes and going to sleep forever or pretending it didn’t happen, I took my life by the horns, re-evaluated what was important to me and decided it was time for a major adventure. So I spontaneously took off and went to South America for a month and a half shooting photos and film, concentrating the majority of my trip on Chile and Central Patagonia.

Since I’ve been filming pretty much the entire year, my still photo creativity had been a bit lackluster and I used the trip as a great excuse to get shooting again. I also used it as an excuse to be alive, feel alive, make my heart beat a little faster.

Hence, Volcan Villarrica! Centered in the heart of Pucon, in the Los Lagos region, Volcan Villarrica is literally like the heart-beat of the city. A nearly un-regulated adventure capital of Chile at the northern tip of southern Patagonia, I would equate Pucon to Aspen, CO. It’s where locals and foreigners alike go to play in a big way! You can go white water rafting, backpacking, zip-lining, horseback riding, hiking etc. And then there is Volcan Villarrica. Considered a relatively “safe” mountaineering tourism adventure, it can still be fraught with risk. At nearly 3,000 meters or just under 10,000 ft, Villarrica is a mountain. And just like all mountains, she is a living being unto her own. If the weather changes quickly, people can die, as did several tourists in 2012.

While my mom thinks I have a subliminal death urge, I actually feel that I simply want to live my life as fully as possible. If we truly only have one-shot at it, we might as well make it the best shot possible. This was one of those shots of which I have shots to show for it!

I am so proud to have made this journey and taken these fabulous images of the Volcano Villarrica. And I give a truly special thanks to Sandra Naef for encouraging me to go and Geyson Fernando Millar Manriquez for his safe guiding of the journey and great pics he took of me.




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