The second in our series of insider tips on Argentina’s most photogenic places looks at our favourite destinations in the south, dominated by the wild vistas of Patagonia. As a photographer I have travelled through this vast wilderness from the south east coast to the Andean peaks and lakes of the south west, following in the footsteps of Bruce Chatwin and Charles Darwin. Here are some of my favourite places:

Gaucho with horse, El Calafate, Patagonia (Raymond Forbes/Robert Harding)

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The glaciers, Santa Cruz Province, Patagonia

The star attractions of the Patagonian wilderness are the glaciers of Parque Nacional los Glaciares, including Perito Moreno, one of the world’s last advancing glaciers. These huge landscapes of ice give you a sense of the formation of the earth and the sheer power of nature. Head to the relaxed tourist town of El Calafate, a great base to visit the astounding natural wonders all around and to return in the evening for a Swiss style fondue or a barbecued lamb, gaucho style.

From there it’s easy to book a trip to the Glaciers National Park where you can take a full day boat trip around the turquoise lake Argentino to photograph glaciers like Upsala and Spegazzini that have worked their way down from the immense Hielo Continental Sur icecap. You can also see icebergs in a shade of blue so intense that it seems unreal, and stop on a shore where delicate ice formations, remnants of the icebergs, bob around like swans.

Upsala Glacier, Lago Argentino, Los Glaciares National Park, Argentina (Konrad Wothe/Robert Harding)

Upsala Glacier, Lago Argentino, Los Glaciares Nationalpark, Argentina

Leave another day to view Perito Moreno glacier, where huge chunks of ice crack and fall dramatically into the lake below. Take a walking tour on the ice in order to escape the crowds and get some truly immersive photos of the ice formations. .

Photo tips: When photographing a scene that is predominantly white, such as the glaciers, your camera’s automatic settings may under-expose the scene. Make sure you learn to use your exposure compensation dial, allowing you to set the exposure to +1.

Walking tour over Perito Moreno Glacier, one of the world’s last advancing glaciers (Cornelia Doerr/Robert Harding)

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Lago Argentino, near Upsala Glacier, Patagonia, Los Glaciares National Park (Raga Jose Fuste/Robert Harding)

Argentina, Sudamerika, Amerika, March 2009, Patagonia, Los Glaciares National Park, Lago Argentino, Lake, Near Upsala Glacier, scenery, ice, landscape, nature, water, mountains. Argentina, Sudamerika, Amerika, March 2009, Patagonia, Los Glaciares National

Lago Argentino, near Upsala Glacier, Patagonia, Los Glaciares National Park (Raga Jose Fuste/Robert Harding)

Argentina, Sudamerika, Amerika, March 2009, Patagonia, Los Glaciares National Park, Lago Argentino, Lake, Near Upsala Glacier, scenery, ice, landscape, nature, water, mountains. Argentina, Sudamerika, Amerika, March 2009, Patagonia, Los Glaciares National

Peninsula Valdes, Chubut Province

Peninsula Valdes is one of the world’s most important nature reserves, an outcrop of sandy coloured land, packed full of unique flora and fauna. A 20 hour bus ride, or a two hour flight from Buenos Aires will take you across endless flat pampas to Puerto Madryn, a perfect base for visiting the reserve. The star attractions are the southern right whales that jump and frolic off the coast of Puerto Pirámides between June and mid-December, when you can take one of the regular boat trips from the tiny port. These gigantic animals often approach the boat – which is both thrilling and slightly terrifying – flicking their tails above water as they dive under to hunt.

Southern Right Whale, Peninsula Valdes, Patagonia (Pablo Cersosimo/Robert Harding)

Southern Right Whale (Eubalaena Australis), Peninsula Valdes, Patagonia, Argentina, South Atlantic Ocean, South America

You can also visit the sea-lion colony around the headland from the port, where between February and May Orcas approach the shore to try and pick-off their babies (if you can bear it!). You can also take a day tour in a minibus to see the many land animals that grace this rich natural reserve, including guanaco, grey foxes, armadillos and rheas (a type of ostrich).

Photo tips: Use your zoom lens to capture the wildlife from a respectful distance, and have all your camera settings ready beforehand to capture the split second when the whales flick their tales above the water, or the guanacos turn their heads towards you.

Orca (killer whale), south American sea lion, Peninsula Valdes, Patagonia (Pablo Cersosimo/Robert Harding)

Orca (killer whale) (Orcinus orca), South American sea lion (Otaria flavescens), Peninsula Valdes, Patagonia, Argentina, South America

Armadillo, peninsula Valdes, Patagonia (Christian Heinrich/Robert Harding)

Amadillo (Dasypodidae), peninsula Valdes, Patagonia, east coast, Atlantic Ozean, Argentina, South America

South American sea lions, Peninsula Valdes, Patagonia (Christian GUY/Robert Harding)

South American sea lions (Otaria flavescens), Peninsula Valdes, Chubut province, Patagonia, Argentina, South America

Guanaco pod over dunes, Peninsula Valdes, Patagonia, Argentina (Pablo Cersosimo/Robert Harding)

Guanaco (Lama guanicoide) pod over dunes, Peninsula Valdes, Patagonia, Argentina, South America

Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego Province

The port city at the end of the world is rightly considered one of Argentina’s best attractions, with its  fascinating history, mountain scenery and incredible wildlife. Rarely do you get to see such a landscape where city, mountains and sea meet, against skies that are often dramatic.

A boat trip along the Beagle Channel, named after Darwin’s ship from which he observed the region’s incredible wildlife, is a must. Sea lion colonies and penguins populate the banks of these chilly waters. A stay in the city also affords trips are to the dramatic Tierra del Fuego national park and visits to nearby indigenous communities.

For those with the time and money, the port is a gateway to Antarctica, perhaps the ultimate destination for avid wildlife and landscape photographers.

Photo tips: Capture the city and surrounding mountains at dawn or dusk, when the light, reflecting in the water, will be at its most dramatic. If you have a tripod you can capture the city in lower light and experiment with long exposure images.

Ushuaia at sunset, Tierra de Fuego, Patagonia (Sergio Pitamitz/Robert Harding)

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Tierra del Fuego, The city of Ushuaia in the night (Angelo Cavalli/Robert Harding)

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Beagle Channel, Ushuaia (Dan Leffel/Robert Harding)

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Beagle Channel, Ushuaia (Dan Leffel/Robert Harding)

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