Nikon Learn & Explore

A Photographic Expedition in Patagonia and Easter Island Chile

Katsu Tanaka photo of a glacier in Patagonia

© Katsuyoshi Tanaka

Patagonia, Chile, the southernmost tip of the world, is the ideal place for photography. In every corner, you’ll find an unimaginable landscape and with every passing minute, you will see dramatic changes of color and light. This workshop will take us to the rugged mountains, gigantic glaciers and crystal clear volcanic lakes of Patagonia where we will also encounter iconic local figures, the gauchos, riding horses on the vast prairie.

Easter Island, Chile, the world’s most remote inhabited island located in the South Pacific Ocean, is a photographer’s dream. Famous for its large stone Moai statues, the island is filled with mystery and history. You will venture into the natural wonder of a volcanic crater and lava-made caves; and encounter the pride and heritage of the local Rapa Nui people. We will also experiment with a variety of night photography, capturing incredible stars with light-painted Moai. Immerse yourself in the program on this tranquil and mystical island.

This program is possible through a collaboration between Photographer Katsuyoshi Tanaka (, Nikon, and explora (, the 5 star resort group in Chile.

This "once in a lifetime" experience will provide you with the opportunity to capture amazing images. The program is designed for photographers of all skills and experience—anyone who has passion for photography, nature and adventure.

Our journey is not only with photography and adventure. It is also with absolute comfort and luxury. Our daily base is 5 star resort, explora. Both lodges in Patagonia and Easter Island are surrounded by astonishing nature.

explora Patagonia is located at the center of the Torres del Paine National Park, the heart of Patagonia, on the shores of Lake Pehoé. The massive mountains of Paine are right in front of you.

explora Rapa Nui in Easter Island is located on a tranquil spot from which the island´s mysteries and dramatic isolation are in full view. Its award winning architecture blends the island’s unique geography and heritage, with a vibrant present.

NEW Program dates:

September 9 - 19, 2024

Five nights will be spent in Patagonia, from September 9 - 14 and four nights will be spent on Easter Island, from September 15 - 19.


Easter Island and Patagonia, Chile (9 nights/10 days)

Room rates per person: double occupancy $8,847 or single occupancy $9,969

Rates are per person, U.S. Dollars. Program rates include airport transfers to and from the explora lodges, accommodations, meals, open bar, daily explorations, and the entrance to national parks and reserves.

Airfare (international and domestic in Chile) and any hotel expenses in Santiago (night of September 14) are not included.

Reservation & payment, cancellation & changes:  We have tried to improve our reservation & payment, cancellation & change policies, to make them as easy and flexible as possible for our guests during this period:

All reservations must be made through the official travel agency, Trips Away Travel., Inc. (, call Miriam Czernek at 201-569-1812 ext. 101 or email Miriam at [email protected].

35% of the program fee is required as a deposit to secure your spot, made at the time of the reservation.  The balance needs to be made 30 days prior to departure.


  • Guests may cancel a booking up to 30 days before the check-in without penalties.
  • If cancellation is made after that period, the following penalties apply:
    • 29 to 15 days before the arrival, 50% of the total fee.
    • 14 to 0 days before the arrival, 100% of the total fee.

Recommended clothing:

Multiple layers of clothing are recommended, including a base layer of clothing: thick socks, warm underwear, short or long sleeved thermal t-shirts; a second layer of clothing: trekking pants and a thin fleece shirt; a third layer of clothing: a windbreaker; a fourth layer of clothing: waterproof pants and jacket (recommended for Patagonia); comfortable trekking shoes, gloves, sunglasses with UV filter with a strap and side protection, sun hat to protect your face and ears from the sun and wind, sunblock and a daypack.

case of Nikon photo equipment on a dock, in Patagonia

Equipment and further recommendations:

These expeditions are designed for photographers of any level that are passionate for photography, nature and adventure. We highly recommend that participants bring a digital camera, tripod and their own laptop computer with software for organizing and submitting photos as we will have daily critique sessions. Both in Patagonia and Easter Island, we will have Nikon camera equipment available for your use upon request. Please contact us for details.


Our expeditions are led by NY based photographer and Latin America specialist Katsuyoshi Tanaka, who has traveled extensively in both Patagonia and Easter Island. In addition to Katsuyoshi Tanaka, one of explora’s bilingual guides will accompany you on each exploration, introducing you the history, flora & fauna, geography and other key features of each area. All of the explora guides have advanced level Wilderness First Responder certification and always carry a radio and emergency kit with them.

Patagonia, Chile

Katsu Tanaka photo of Patagonia

© Katsuyoshi Tanaka


Depart Santiago early morning to Punta Arenas. 

Transfer from the airport in Punta Arenas to explora Patagonia’s Hotel Salto Chico, situated in the heart of the Torres del Paine National Park. The explora Patagonia team will welcome you to the lodge and show you the rooms.

You'll meet the photographer and leader of the expedition, Katsuyoshi Tanaka, along with the explora’s guide to discuss the program.

Late afternoon, we will start photographing the massive mountains in the park. 

Welcome slide presentation and lecture at night.


Sunrise and lakes: The finest landscapes in Torres del Paine National Park, with an astonishing array of mountains and lakes, can be found right in front of the lodge. Wake up early in the morning and you will be able to appreciate the spectacle of the sun rising in Patagonia. During this session, you will learn how to capture the changing light, color and ambience as the sun rises.

In the morning you'll photograph the magnificent color of the lakes surrounding the lodge and will learn how to frame images with various natural elements to add patterns, shapes and colors (Lakes Pehoe and/or Nordenskjold).

Grey Glacier: This exploration will take you by boat to Grey Glacier, at the southern end of the Southern Patagonian Ice Field, one of the world’s largest freshwater reserves. (Please note: the boat trip is dependent on weather conditions).


Quincho & Gaucho: In the morning you will head to the explora Quincho to get a closer look at the local gauchos. This is a perfect opportunity to learn how to take portraits and interactive photos.

Encounter the wildlife: During the afternoon, we will venture into the Nordenskjold field and do some trekking. Great opportunity to photograph wildlife including herds of Guanaco and wild birds.


French Valley: This is a full day exploration that combines both adventure and photography. We will leave explora by boat (30 min.) and then walk along the undulating trail that borders Lakes Pehoe and Skottsberg. There are spectacular views of the two lakes, Paine Grande Mountain and the Paine Horns. We then cross the hanging bridge over the French River for a view of the French Glacier.
Katsuyoshi Tanaka photo of flowers in Patagonia

© Katsuyoshi Tanaka


Micro nature: In the morning, we will head to the wetland area to capture the variety of vegetation, learning micro photography. Other choice of trekking is available depending on the weather condition and guests’ interest. 

Horses will be your best companions in Patagonia and they will certainly add a graceful touch to landscape photography. During this exploration, you will be able to capture them while riding though the fields. If you’re up to it, you can even ride yourself!


Leaving the hotel in the morning, we will take the flight back to Santiago, and stay overnight at a hotel in Santiago airport.

Easter Island, Chile

Katsuyoshi Tanaka photo of Moai statues on Easter Island at night with star trails in the sky

© Katsuyoshi Tanaka


Depart Santiago early morning, to Easter Island.

Transfer from the airport in Easter Island to explora Rapa Nui, 10 minute drive from the main town, Hanga Roa. The explora Rapa Nui team will welcome you to the lodge and show you to your rooms.

Welcome slide presentation and lecture. 

First encounter with Moai: The program starts with the incredible sunset shoot at Ahu Tahai, where line of famous Moai statues stand on the hill. The sun goes down behind them and it makes impressive silhouette figures.



Sunrise at Ahu Tangariki: Ahu are the sacred stone platforms for Moai statues. Tangariki has the biggest Ahu on the island with 15 massive Moai. You will try to capture the dramatic sunrise with the statues, learning how to control the changing light, color and ambience.

Crushing waves along the coast: One of the fascinating landscapes on the island is the majestic coast with crushing waves. The water looks incredibly blue and the gigantic waves constantly crush into the cliff. You will capture this dynamic scenery.

You will also venture into the volcanic high island, photographing the lava-made caves, the rounded hills and mountains with the wild horses running around.   

Quarry: birthplace of Moai: Most Moais on the island remain at Rano Raralku, the quarry where they were carved. You will learn the history and mystery of Moai making, horn your skill of how to compose the strong images. 

Katsu Tanaka photo of a native Easter Islander

© Katsuyoshi Tanaka


Portrait shoot with locals: Meet the locals with the pride of their heritage. He or she will present their tattoo and body painting, the artistic and cultural manifestation on the island. Portrait shoot will be arranged with the models.

Volcano and Bridman Village: Largest volcanic crater, Rano Kau, is the most spectacular natural wonder on the island. Walking along the massive crater, you will learn how to position yourself and how to choose the right lens for high impact pictures. You will visit the archaeological site, Orongo, where people used to celebrate the rituals of “Birdman Competition” 

Night shoot with Moai: One of the highlights of this program is experiencing various night photography. There is no other place in the world where you can experiment in making such unique photos with light painting on Moai and long exposure shot of the Milky Way. 


DAY 10

Leaving the hotel around noon, we will take the flight back to Santiago, then connecting the flight back home.

The itineraries are subject to be modified and changed. We will try all our effort to operate programs as planned, but alterations may still occur based on the weather and other conditions.


"It's a five star program filled with adventure, the best instructor, personal attention, and some of the most beautiful places on earth! It is an opportunity to do what you dream of."

— James Martellotti, Tustin, CA

"Our instructor is a master in his art of teaching through advise while shooting and daily critique. The program was very well planned and executed!"

— Pierre Debbane, Beirut, Lebanon

 "Yes, it was a once in a life time opportunity! A great field instructor with real passion and commitment to teaching."

— Jerry Cooper, Atlanta, GA

“Katsu is not just a master photographer, but a great passionate teacher. I have been taking pictures all my life and I learned more in 10 days with him than I learned in decades."

— Hakam Kayasseh, TX

“My wife and I did this photographic learning adventure. He is not only a master coach but also a master human being. We thoroughly enjoyed every day of the interaction and learning new things. A wonderful adventure!"

— Graham Smith, Australia

“ Anyone who is seriously interested in taking their photography to the next level should not waste a minute and book this trip. The scenery is incredible, the lodges are fantastic, the instructor is amazing – it truly was magical!"

— Erica Keller, Detroit, MI

“ Katsu is a professional teacher who has the whole program tailored to learn and have fun. He is skilled at learning who the guests are and how to interact them."

— Noel Cilker, Berkeley, CA

 “I rate the whole experience A+A+A+. Thank you to Nikon, explora and Katsu!"

— Barbara Coburn, Detroit, MI

Katsuyoshi Tanaka’s Bio:

A native of Japan, Katsuyoshi Tanaka, relocated to New York in 1993. After working as an assistant for a National Geographic photographer, he began his freelance career in 1995. Since then he has been involved in various projects for magazines, books and exhibitions in the U.S., Japan and many other countries.

He travels extensively in Europe and South America where he has been documenting traditional cultures and lifestyles such as bullfighters in Spain, Inca descendants in Peru, and mixed races and cultures in Brazil. He has also documented social issues such as School Reform in the United States and America’s Prison System.

In recent years, he has photographed various performing arts such as classical ballet, modern dance companies and opera theaters. He held a series of photo exhibitions of American Ballet Theatre (in Tokyo, New York, and Alexandria, Virginia). He also held an exhibit on Tango Argentina at the Ronald Reagan National Airport in Washington D.C. in 2007 with full support from the American Red Cross. 

In 2008, he was assigned to photograph Cirque du Soleil, the world-famous performance group based in Canada, when they opened their residential show in Tokyo.

Tanaka started taking photos of people and nature throughout Brazil in 2001. In February 2011, he published the photography book, BRAZIL – The Poetry of Diversity with full sponsorship from Nikon Inc.

Tanaka started documenting Chile in 2005. He was fascinated by the grandeur of the landscape and has been frequently traveling to Patagonia, Atacama Desert, Easter Island and the high plateau in the Andes with the support from explora.

He has published a new photography book, ACROSS THE ANDES—journey  to the farthest corner of the world, October, 2022.

Learn more about these workshops by reading these Learn & Explore articles:

Field Trip: Tips for Choosing the Photo Workshop That Works Best For You and Boot Camp Vacation: The Give and Take of a Photo Workshop.

To view his work, visit his website:

portrait of Katsu Tanaka, photographer

Katsuyoshi Tanaka began his freelance career in 1995. He travels extensively in Europe and South America where he has been documenting traditional cultures and lifestyles. In recent years, he has photographed various performing arts such as classical ballet, modern dance companies and opera theaters. 

More articles by this contributor