So much depends……

an accumulation of things

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A user commented on a Chile Lake District post of mine asking for more photos of Germany. This is striking, because German traveler who visited have made note of parallels between this area and Europe. In this series I will share photography taken from the tour bus window as we traveled to the Lake District and returned to Puerto Montt. I used a handheld Canon EOS 1Ds Mark III SLR with the Canon lens EF 70-300 f 4-5.6LIS. This is the fourth post of this series. Click me for “Swiss Chalet,” the first post in this series.

Click any photograph for a larger view.

……on cut grass rolled into hay below the volcano

Here is a comforting sight for a dairy farmer: well cured fodder ready for the winter. This landscape is linked to the view from “Where are the Alerces?. Apologies to William Carlos Williams. “So much/ depends/upon a red wheel /barrow/glazed with rain/water/besides the white /chickens.” (XXII, “Spring and All”, 1923).

A home surrounded by carefully tended gardens. Flowers and sweet corn, yum! Compare the style of the house this that of my first post. The lighting was better and this photograph captures the detail of the Alerce shingles.

On one side was Calbuco Volcano, seen across hay fields and hills……

……on the other is the lower slopes of Osorno, the cone hidden by clouds.

On the east side of where the waters of Rio Pescado flow into Lake Llanquihue the Holy Cross Chapel serves silent testimony to the influence of German immigrants who, fleeing war and chaos, settled these lands.

Copyright 2019 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

“We’re not in Kansas Anymore, Toto”

Fertile land

A user commented on a Chile Lake District post of mine asking for more photos of Germany. This is striking, because German traveler who visited have made note of parallels between this area and Europe. In this series I will share photography taken from the tour bus window as we traveled to the Lake District and returned to Puerto Montt. I used a handheld Canon EOS 1Ds Mark III SLR with the Canon lens EF 70-300 f 4-5.6LIS. This is the third post of this series. Click me for “Swiss Chalet,” the first post of this series.

Click photograph for a larger view.
Orsorno Volcano, Lakes
District, Chile
Copyright 2019 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Where Are The Alerces?

Chipped into Shingles?

A user commented on a Chile Lake District post of mine asking for more photos of Germany. This is striking, because German traveler who visited have made note of parallels between this area and Europe. In this series I will share photography taken from the tour bus window as we traveled to the Lake District and returned to Puerto Montt. I used a handheld Canon EOS 1Ds Mark III SLR with the Canon lens EF 70-300 f 4-5.6LIS. This is the second post of this series. Click me for “Swiss Chalet,” the first post of this series.

Click any photograph for a larger view.

Chipped into Shingles?

Wood is a building material the German pioneers had in abundance. They went to work clearing the forests, tilling the land and building structures such as this, a house in the town of Puento Varas on Lake Llanquihue. In face, those windows face the lake. I have our guide to thank for these photographs of the houses, early on as we drove through Puerto Montt she shared the significance of the shingles with us.

The shape is identical to that used in Germany and Switzerland wooden frame homes. It was the wood of a tree native to Chile and western Argentina that made these possible and in the course of surviving in a new land, a good portion of their natural patrimony was spent. Since the late 1960’s Chile has backed away from this and conservation of the slow growing Alerce is now paramount.

We can intuit how difficult the winters are from the view into this house provided by the window. There is a room outside the living area, sealed by a second door to prevent the escape of warmth. The use of metal embedded into the low concrete wall is common in the South American countries we visited.

Close by, also facing the lake in Puerto Varas, is this police station, the “Civil Police,” whatever than means. It is a small, apparently historic, building. Rising around it are modern hotels.

This large rural shed, on the outskirts of the town, appears to be a structure from the original 19th century settlers, a testimony to the durability of Alerce shingles covering the siding and the large, steeply sloped roof.

Open Country

Suddenly we were graced with these cleared farm fields, here and there large modern homes high on the hill for a sweeping view of the lake.

In the distance is Calbuco, the volcano whose eruption broke the peace ten months before our trip. The wind spared these lands the destructive effect of falling ash.

Copyright 2019 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Swiss Chalet?

cone under the moon

A user commented on a Chile Lake District post of mine asking for more photos of Germany. This is striking, because German traveler who visited have made note of parallels between this area and Europe. In this series I will share photography taken from the tour bus window as we traveled to the Lake District and returned to Puerto Montt. I used a handheld Canon EOS 1Ds Mark III SLR with the Canon lens EF 70-300 f 4-5.6LIS. This is the first post of this series. Click me for “Orsorno Volcano and Tourists,” the first post in that series.

Click any photograph for a larger view.

House on a Hill

Wood is a building material the German pioneers had in abundance. They went to work clearing the forests, tilling the land and building structures such as this, the steeply sloping roof to shed snow, gabled dormers for more living space on the top floor.

This has a tin roof, but many roofs are shingles made from magnificent Alerce trees. The government banned the export of Alerce wood in 1976. It is a slow growing tree, the fine grained wood is in demand. I believe the tall tree towering over the roof is a Monkey Puzzle, scientific name Araucaria araucana, an ancient evergreen, the national tree of Chile and one of the unique differences the early Germans came to recognize and love as their own South American identify.

I will have some great examples of shingled homes in a later post. The roof of this restaurant is Alerce shingles.

The Orsorno Volcano, somehow reminiscent of the Alps and very different. Here a half moon, high above and shining brightly on a summer evening, February 2016. These are some of the touches European travelers name “Chilean Swiss.”

Copyright 2019 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Selfie Sticks and Petrohué Waterfalls

the selfie and me, me, me

Petrohué Waterfalls are on the tourist track, traffic on the walkway was heavy on the southern hemisphere summer day, February 2016, of our visit. People were relaxed and friendly, the walkway well designed and safe. The wide angle lens was mounted on my Canon dslr, with a circular graduated neutral density filter. This is a filter with the upper third restrictive to light fading gradually to clear and mounted on a ring to rotated to cover the bright portion of the view. I used this successfully in the previous postings to obtain an exposure of the bright sky and darker land (for example, “Orsorno Volcano and Tourists.”). I could not resist capturing our fellow tourists. With a wide angle lens it is easy to do candid shots, such as the following. Most people are unaware of the capability of the 24 mm wide angle lens.

Click any photograph for a larger view.

Unfortunately, in the rush of the crowd and moment the dual use of a configuration for landscape and (candid) street photography lead to mistakes. I did not have the lens hood attached correctly, you can see the hood in each corner. Then there is the circular, graduated filter. In the above photograph, the shaded portion runs across the lower left to the upper right. The subject is watching me photograph the water.

Here, I turned around from photographing the Orsorno Volcano to capture these selfie fans leaning against the railing to capture themselves and the volcano through they are in the minority. The trail is a “dead end”, rising to the point above the falls, where I am standing.

Selfie Stick

We started back down towards the point over the incredible emerald green water. There were three teenagers having fun with a selfie stick. Around them are people entranced by the water, as we werel.

Smile!! You’re on Candid Camera

Headed back, I thought that curving tree was a good subject. Turned out, a fellow tourist heightened the interest of the shot. You see him, leaning against the railing next to the tree in the mid-distance of the following shot.

Here I am, looking back toward the child of Orsorno and the entire length of the observation walkway filled with people.

Click me for the first South American post in this series.
Copyright 2019 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills

Valparaiso Connections VIII

Captain Arturo Prat and Chilean Naval Tradition

Captain Arturo Prat and the Esmeralda

After reading my last post “Valparaiso Connections VII” why Captain Pratt was so honored by the nation?  

From the starboard side of the Regatta while docking at Valparaiso. On the right is the port with shipping containers, beyond are the Chilean Navy frigates 
Almirante Blanco Encalada and
Almirante Latorre at anchor.

On that morning, May 21, 1879 the two Chilean ships blockading Iquique port were surprised by two Peruvian warships from the port of Callao, the monitor Huáscar and armored frigate Independencia.

View west from La Sebastiana, former residence of Neruda, on Florida Hill.  We look over the city, docks and Chilean Naval Vessels to the Pacific Ocean.


Arturo Prat commanded the Chilean corvette Esmeralda. 
 Carlos Condell de la Haza  was Covadonga’s commander.

CS Almirante Blanco Encalada (FF-15), a modern frigate of the Chilean Navy at anchor.  With the Durante Point lighthouse, several fast fishing boats returning with their catch. 

The Chileans are outgunned by the Peruvians in armored ships.  Condell fled in the Convadonga, pursued by the Independencia.  This was the wiser course and most militarily effective because, following the Convadonga into shallow waters the deeper draft Independencia lost advantage when it ran aground and was lost. 

We did not have time to explore the National Maritime Museum.

Prat stood ground in the middle of the bay, any canon shots simply bounced off the heavily armored Huascar.  The Esmeralda suffered shot after shot until the command of the Huascar, Captain Graf, decided to ram the Esmeralda to force a surrender and safe useless death.

Naval Cadet with friend viewing the ships at anchor.

At the first ram to the stern, as the ships were in contact, Prat ordered an attack, “Let’s board, boys.”  In the confusion only two seamen joined   Prat.  One failed to board, Prat and Petty Officer Juan de Dios Aldea attacked.  Dios Aldea was mortally wounded.  Prat continued to advance alone, to the amazement of the Peruvians, awed at his courage.  Prat was gunned down on the deck of the Huascar. 

He crew watched in horror.  When the Esmeralda was rammed again, this time in the bow, Sublieutenant Ignacio Serrano lead  of 10 Chileans to board for an attack with machetes and rifles.  They were massacred by the mounted Gatling gun, only Serrano survived.  

The example of Prat and his crew is taught today.  Arturo Pratt is the most common street name, as well as plazas, buildings.  Four major warships were named after him.  The current active ship is the frigate FFG 11, the Capitan Prat.  The Chilean naval academy is named 
Escuela Naval Arturo Prat.  His portrait is on the 10,000 peso Chilean note.

Lighthouse on Punta Duprat

Click this link for the first post in this Valparaiso Connections series.

Valparaiso Connections VII

Fertile Land and Saltpeter, spoils of war

Plaza Victoria

This is an answer for those of who responded to my last post Valparaiso Connections VI with “what does that desert in Peru have to do with Valparaiso?”  It starts with the Plaza Victoria at the end of Pedro Montt Avenue.  Victoria, as in victory not Queen Victoria.   At the beginning of the 19thcentury this was a beach, the site of several ship wrecks.  It was set aside as a gathering place by the Mayor, named Plaza Nueva (New Plaza), for a bullring until bullfights a law banned bullfighting on September 1823. The plaza became a place of public executions and, after Chile’s victory in the Battle of Yungay, a place of celebration, formally renamed for the victory.

The Central Valley of Chile is an exception to the topology north through Lima where agriculture and population centers follow river valleys watered by the Andes and surrounded by waterless wastes.  Yungay, is among one of those watered desert valleys.  Located 120 miles north of Lima, Peru at about 8,000 feet just below a summit of the Western Andes, remnants of cultures from 10,000 B.C. are proof of agriculture and human settlement. It was near Yungay, on January 20, 1839 (summer in the southern hemisphere) a force of Chilean and Peruvian dissidents called the United Restorative Army defeated a Peru-Bolivian Confederation Army to end the War of Confederation. The resulting split into different countries of Peru and Bolivia weakened a threat to Chile and Argentina, aimed in large part toward the broad and fertile Central Valley of Chile. The desperation in view in my post Valparaiso Connections VI was in large measure a motivation war, this motivation is still powerful today.

 The subsequent prosperity allowed reclamation of the land of Plaza Victoria from the sea.  For example, in my post Valparaiso Connections V we learned how French immigrants arrived and developed Central Valley wineries in the 19th century.   Around the time of the victory Chacobuco Street was built adjacent to the plaza on reclaimed land, the Plaza Victoria was pulled from the sea.  

The concrete Lions and bronze statue captured in the above gallery, were elements of a round of enhancements to Plaza Victoria begun 1870.

Monument to the Heroes of Iquique

Here we see from the Regatta bridge a monument to the Heroes of Iquique.   The Battle of Iquique, May 21, 1879, is remembered annually as Naval Glories Day (Dia de las Glorias Navales) .

  Click this Link for the Fine Art Photography Gallery.

This monument commemorates the destruction of the Chilean warship Esmeralda.  At the monument peak is Arturo Prat Chacón, captain of the Esmeralda who perished with his wooden ship.  He and the crew were blockading the then Peruvian port of Iquique along with another ship, the Covadonga.

May 1879 was in the initial phase of the War of the Pacific, fought over rich mineral deposits of the Atacama desert.  Today, the Chilean flag is over these barren wastes, seen here flying over a roadside memorial to an automobile accident victim.  The desert is the backdrop, there are no animals or plants here, only red dirt.  NASA uses the Atacama in simulations of the Martian environment. 

There are deposits of the mineral saltpeter, mined by large operations.  Here is the entrance of a World Heritate site we visited while docked at Iquique. 

The mining operation was literally scraping the deposits lying on the ground and processing it into, among other products, nitrogen
fertilizer.  At that time the operation was hugely lucrative, employing thousands in very difficult conditions.  That is a different story. 

Captain Prat faced two armored Peruvian warships, one the iron clad Huáscar.  Over the course of four hours the Esmeralda was overpowered and sunk.  The Huascar and the 22,500 mountain peak at Yungay, Huascarán, are named for an Inca chief.  

The monument honors the bravery of Captain Prat and his crew, all of whom are named on plaques.

After the Huáscar rammed Esmeralda a third time to sink it, the Huáscar captain, Miguel Grau Seminario, rescued Chilean survivors in danger of drowning.  In the meantime, the armored Peruvian warship was lured into the shallows and destroyed.  Although the blockage on Iquique was lifted Peru lost one of its most powerful ships at the cost to Chile of an older wooden ship.

The defeat and examples of the Esmerelda crew and captain brought a wave of recruits to the Chilean forces.  Chile was the victor of the War of the Pacific, vast tracks of the Atacama desert were taken from Bolivia, including the Saltpeter mines, shutting that country off from the Pacific Ocean.  There is a connection between these memories and the Training Ship anchored in the harbor, the sixth ship to carry the name, Esmeralda (BE-43). 

See my posting Valparaiso Connections V for the more recent history of the Esmeralda.


Click this link for the first of the Valparaiso Connections 

Copyright 2018 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills