Photographing A Sunrise In Ushuaia, Argentina

Waves crashing on rocks at sunrise near Ushuaia in Southern Argentina.

Ushuaia, located in Tierra del Fuego province, Argentina is the southern most city in the world and a starting place for cruises to the Antarctic Peninsular from the South American mainland. I was in Ushuaia for a few days prior to co-running a tour with my friend David Burren to the Falkland Islands, South Georgia and the Antarctic Peninsular.

A golden sunrise beneath a stormy sky in Ushuaia, Argentina.

Ushuaia, Then Down To Antarctica

It was an awesome trip during which time I met a load of great people and made some very close friends. There were, in fact, three separate tour groups on the Polar Pioneer, a ship manufactured in Finland, crewed by Russians and operated by the great folks from Aurora Expeditions.

As well as photographers there was also a group of kayakers and a team of underwater divers. The photographers and kayakers came from a variety of countries. The divers were all Russian and a great bunch of people. It was after meeting some of these folks, particularly the group leader Vladimir, that I decided I wanted to travel to Russia, which I did the following year.

Two seagulls, perched on a rock, as the tide comes on a lonely beach near Ushuaia, Argentina.

A Photo Walk On The Edge Of The World

Some of us photographers had arranged to meet in town a few days prior to the tour beginning. Being such a long way away from home, it was good to have a few days to recover from the long flights and to re-acquaint ourselves with our gear prior to the tour starting in earnest.

Frankly, I'd had a very tough year and a terribly hectic time prior to leaving home. What’s more I didn’t sleep a wink on the long flight from Australia. Needless to say I really struggled getting out of bed on that first morning in Ushuaia. But, ultimately, how and when we get out of bed largely determines what we make of the opportunities that come our way during the day.

With that in mind, and after prompts from my room mate David, I made the effort and, with some of my newly found friends, was rewarded with beautiful warm light amidst rain-bearing clouds. The dramatic light didn't last all that long and was replaced with an eerie, mournful light that was harder to photography but, nevertheless, compelling.

Sunrise at De la Estancia on the outskirts of Ushuaia, Argentina.

Photographing The Breaker In Ushuaia

From a compositional point of view the L shape of the rock-constructed breaker at De la Estancia provides a strong foreground element and a graphic shape. It's relatively easy for the eye to jump from this foreground element to the tongue of land extending through the mid ground and onto the mountains in the distant background.

Although it could be argued that the other photographers kind of get in the way, they do add a sense of scale to the image. (Note to other photography tutors - I wouldn't be the one arguing that point as they are, of course, paying customers).

The Advantage Of Visual Tension In A Photograph

The repeating patterns of warm and cool colors add a sense of disquiet to the image that contrast the calm and quiet, associated with the color blue, with the frenzy and drama of the hot pinkish red light. This disquiet is an example of the kind of visual tension that often contributes to the success of an image.

Glenn Guy, Travel Photography Guru