Reading the abstract in Puerto Montt

An empty berthing in Puerto Montt, Chile. Canon 5D Mark II camera and Canon 24-105mm f4L IS USM lens. Exposure Details: 1/125 seconds @ f8 ISO 400

Puerto Montt, capital of the Chilean Lakes district, is possibly the grimiest city I’ve ever visited. It is perpetually drizzling, blanketed with sea mist, the streets are lined with a kind of dirty, greasy residue and the smell of sea-decay blows in from the fishing port that dominates the city. Yet I dug the vibe, it had a genuine air about it lacking totally in pretension. Stocky fisherman straight out of Herman Melville’s imagination shuffled down the narrow streets and crammed themselves into tiny awkward bars and restaurants for seafood and beer served by buxom curt Chilenas. Down at the market old fishing hands worked fast with a vast array of shellfish, crabs and crays. Bagging and bottling an impressive variety of sea-life, their mouths worked even faster than their hands, ribbing each other between hawking their catch and sending the occasional diner upstairs to their family restaurant for a fresh meal.

I spent a few days in and out of Puerto Montt as it is the home port of Agartha, aboard which I roamed the northern patagonian fjords with Carlos Lonza of Sailing Patagonia. In my spare time I managed to do a few photo-walks in town. Whilst I don’t normally shoot abstracts, this scene caught my attention. It was low tide and I had descended to the pebble beach from the concrete retaining wall protecting the city for a low angle view of the passing fishing vessels. Unfortunately the light was ugly for shooting the boats out on the water so I started poking around for something else when I noticed these improvised fenders hanging into an empty berthing. Something about the griminess of the wall, the pebble beach, the ship’s title painted in complementary colours and the hanging tyres caught my attention. They gave just enough clues to illicit the grimy seaside ‘vibe’ I was contemplating at the time. It was glary and overcast too, so it was perfect lighting to focus in on some detail and the colours came out nicely as a result.

Hope you enjoy, more coming shortly!

Cam.

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