Nikon Learn & Explore

Photographic Expedition in Patagonia and Atacama 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.

Atacama, Chile, the driest desert in the world, is one of the most remote and hidden treasures in South America; another dream place for photography. You will photograph the sharp contrast between sun and shadow, extreme nature in the high altitude volcanic mountains, the desolate desert and soundless valleys deep in the Andes. Atacama also boasts some of the world’s clearest skies and is famous for the stargazing. You will also be able to try astrophotography.

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 bases are the 5 star resorts, explora. Both lodges in Patagonia and Atacama 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 Atacama is located in the Ayllu de Larache (initially a kin-based community of the ancient Atacameño people), near the village of San Pedro de Atacama. You are at the foothills of the Andes, surrounded by the vast desert.

© Katsuyoshi Tanaka

Photographic Expedition to Patagonia & Atacama, Chile - Photographic Expedition to Patagonia & Atacama, Chile with workshop instructor Katsuyoshi Tanaka

Program dates:

New dates to come!


Patagonia and Atacama, Chile (9 nights/10 days)

Room rates per person: double occupancy $8,647 or single occupancy $9,969

Rates are per person, U.S. Dollars. Program rates include airport transfers to and from the explora lodges, accomodations, meals, open bar, daily explorations, and the entrance to national parks and reserves. Airfare (International & domestic in Chile) and any hotel expenses in Santiago (night of April 19) are not included.


For more details and to make a reservation, please contact: Trips Away Travel., Inc. (, call Miriam at 201-569-1812 ext. 101 or email her at [email protected] or Josette at 201-569-1812 ext. 114 or email her at  [email protected]

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.

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 Atacama, 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 the Atacama Desert. 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 others key features of the area. All of the explora guides have advanced level Wilderness First Responder certification and always carry a radio and emergency kit with them.

Safety of the Program:

It is unique and challenging time for everyone to travel due to COVID-19. Our priority is the safety and health of the guests and we will take every necessary step to manage COVID-19. We will also follow the safety protocol from the Chilean government and the local communities in Patagonia & Atacama. For more information about the safety protocols in explora, please see the following link:

case of Nikon photo equipment on a dock, in Patagonia

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 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 culture 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 wildlife During the afternoon, we will venture into the Nordenskjold field. This is a 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.

Run, run, run!: 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 through the fields. If you are 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.

Atacama, Chile

Photo of a landscape in Atacama, Chile, by Katsuyoshi Tanaka

© Katsuyoshi Tanaka


Depart Santiago early morning to Atacama.

Transfer from the airport in Calama to explora Atacama’s Hotel de Larache, 1.5 hour drive by van. The explora Atacama team will welcome you to the lodge and show you the rooms. 

Sunset at Moon Valley: Program starts with the stunning view of the desert, mountains at Moon Valley, the best spot to photograph the sunset. Learn how to capture and control the changing light, color and ambience as the sun sets.

Dinner, welcome slide presentation and initial lecture.


Sunrise in the Cactus Field: Depart the hotel early, head to the valley with gigantic cactus and golden pampas grass, then capture the first rays of sunrise hitting the rugged hills. The narrow trail along the stream, will take you to the little waterfall, source of life and treasure in the desert. 

Town of San Pedro de Atacama: After breakfast, you will visit, San Pedro de Atacama, the oasis town filled with beautiful adobe houses and old style church; capture the local lives and practice street photography.

Lunch and break

Atacama Salt Flat: With 1 hour drive to Laguna Chaxa, the center of Atacama Salt Flat, you will see the unbelievable landscape with white salt crystals and deep blue water. At the end of the day, the whole area turns orange and presents a stunning sunset view. Perfect image will be completed with the bright pink flamingos flying over in your frame.

Photo of vegetation in Atacama, Chile, by Katsuyoshi Tanaka

© Katsuyoshi Tanaka


Geyser fields: Pre-dawn departure to the Tatio Geysers, highest altitude geyser in the world. Get a closer look at these incredible erupting springs and learn how to capture the back-lit vapor and the splash of the water.

Hot springs on your own: Lunch break at Puritama Hot Spring, the outdoor spa area operated by explora hotel in the middle of valley. Perfect spot to relax and enjoy the pristine moment after a demanding exploration.

Wildlife in High Plateau: The typical high plateau in the Andes is called Altiplano where you can capture breathtaking landscapes with extensive hills, mountains and volcanic lakes. You can also photograph wide variety of birds and wildlife along the way.

DAY 10

Altiplano Lakes: This is a full day exploration with fantastic opportunities for landscape photography. You will visit the volcanic lakes and salt flats in the Andes. You will learn how to position yourself to capture the vastness of the scenes and choose the right lens for high impact pictures.

DAY 11

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

“The itineraries are subject to being 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.

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. 

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