Bolivian Altiplano

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Bolivian Altiplano

Postby Gordon Laing » Sun Jan 20, 2008 8:34 am

Hi everyone, forum member Telexstar's forthcoming round the world trip reminded me how much I enjoyed a similar trip a couple of years back. One of the more spectacular places I visited during that trip was the Bolivian Altiplano where you can take a 4WD tour around some pretty amazing scenery.

This trip typically starts at Uyuni where your bus (normally from La Paz) arrives very early in the morning. You're met by a load of tour operators, but it's not a hard sell and easy to get away for a think... Most offer the same thing: 1, 2, 3 or 4 day tours around the altiplano in a 4WD with about 6 passengers.

You pay a fixed fee which includes transport, fuel, food (basic) and accommodation (very basic! And cold too as you're very high up). We paid $55 USD for three days / two nights, dropping us off with a connection to San Pedro in Chile. An absolute bargain - and here's the photos to say why!

But one quick note - if you do find yourself in Uyuni, you must check out the legendary Minuteman pizza restaurant, where Chris from Masachusets will cook you an incredibly tasty pizza - or breakfast.

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Above: Canon EOS 5D with 17-40mm at 17mm. These salt flats are only half an hour from Uyuni, and the conditions are probably brighter than anywhere I've ever been. Big mistake: I had no sunglasses. Big escape: only visiting the Salt hotel, not staying at it!


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Above: Canon EOS 5D with 17-40mm at 17mm. Crazy rock formations, and - ahem - perhaps a little over-use of the old polarising filter!


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Above: Canon EOS 5D with 17-40mm at 17mm. Crazy vegetation! And er, more polarising...


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Above: Canon EOS 5D with 17-40mm at 27mm. Now this place is just mad. It really is that colour, not the white balance going crazy. if the BBC were in Bolivia, you can bet all those early episodes of Doctor Who and Blakes Seven would have been filmed here...


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Above: Canon EOS 5D with 70-300mm DO at 70mm. Amazing at it seems, this is the same place a bit further on - a series of mountain lakes with perfect reflections and stacks of flamingos wandering around.

Those three days have to be some of the most photogenic I've ever experienced, and if you're not affected by high elevations (up to 15,500 feet) and don't mind roughing it for a couple of nights, I can't recommend it highly enough.

Just don't forget the sunscreen - this place has just about the highest UV levels in the world - even worse than New Zealand!

Gordon
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Postby Drazen Gal » Sun Jan 20, 2008 9:00 am

WOW! Those are great photographs Gordon! I really like them all, but as favorite I'll pick #3. I like the colors. If is not secret, which software do U use when converting RAW to JPEG.

Cheers!
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Postby grahamnp » Sun Jan 20, 2008 10:04 am

Nice photos Gordon, I quite like the effect of the polarising filter.
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Postby marzy » Sun Jan 20, 2008 10:38 am

Same with me, I like number 3 as well I think the sky looks great but the first photo... My mind just can't understand what that is? Like i know it's salt and the salt looks real but everything else just doesn't look right. At first I thought it was one of thoes computer done picture but gees odd looking picture.
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Postby Gordon Laing » Sun Jan 20, 2008 10:39 am

Thanks guys!

Drazen Gal, I normally use ACR, but these are JPEGs straight from the camera with no processing.

Grahamnp, I like the polarising effect too, but I do it too often, so most of my photos are big ultra-wides which almost turn black in the corners!

I'm a repeat offendor too - just see pics 2 and 5 in this gallery!

http://www.cameralabs.com/reviews/Canon ... age5.shtml
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Postby grahamnp » Sun Jan 20, 2008 10:56 am

I like those too!
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Postby Drazen Gal » Sun Jan 20, 2008 11:22 am

Gordon Laing wrote:Drazen Gal, I normally use ACR, but these are JPEGs straight from the camera with no processing.


JPEG straight from camera and no processing! I have no words! Excellent job, excellent!!!
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Postby seattlesteve » Sun Jan 20, 2008 11:45 am

Looks like a photographer's paradise. The vibrant colors (#4) and the reflection (#5) are fantastic. I guess going off the beaten track really pays off.
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Postby zorro » Sun Jan 20, 2008 12:27 pm

What a stunning place. Great photos mate. No problems with the polarizer either, if it works so be it.

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Postby Markh » Sun Jan 20, 2008 12:36 pm

Stunning place Gordon!!! Amazingly vivid colours and great shots.

Mark
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Postby ChinaMark » Sun Jan 20, 2008 12:44 pm

Stunning photos Gordon, thanks for sharing them with us. I've been saying for years that South America is one of those places I'd love to go to...still haven't got there! Going to Peru and visiting Macchu Picchu is my dream.....maybe one day :)
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Postby TelexStar » Sun Jan 20, 2008 2:14 pm

Stunning photos Gordon. The polarised ones are my favourite of the lot. You've definitely sold me on that 4WD trip too! I'll look into that when we're there. Thanks!
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Postby Gordon Laing » Sun Jan 20, 2008 7:14 pm

Thanks everyone! The amazing thing about that place is you really could have closed your eyes, pointed the camera anywhere and still got a decent shot. It was incredibly photogenic.

South America has some wonderful sights. I'd also recommend the very bottom in Patagonia (the Glaciers park and Torres del Paine being highlights!), and if you're doing a round the world trip, you can often add a stop-over to Easter Island at relatively low cost between your Santiago and Auckland leg... and that place is something else!

But anyway I'm glad you guys didn't punish me for over-using the polariser! I find the effect addictive and do get kind of carried away with it at times. On my most recent trip, I deliberately took shots with and without it in case the ones with were a bit too much!

Telexstar, glad you're looking into the Altiplano trip - it's really good, and three days / two nights was sufficient - and remember they can also drop you at a connection to Chile if required.
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Postby stevesayskanpai » Mon Jan 21, 2008 5:29 am

Absolutely amazing Gordon! What a place...I'll definately put it on to "to visit" list!
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Postby stevesayskanpai » Mon Jan 21, 2008 5:30 am

Absolutely amazing Gordon! What a place...I'll definately put it on to "to visit" list!
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