Photos From the Atacama Desert

The Atacama Desert of southern Peru and northern Chile is the driest place on Earth according to scientists, with less than four inches of rain per every one thousand years. That’s dry. That’s not to say there isn’t water in the Atacama, the Andes mountains feed many underground rivers and springs (some thermal), but many are brackish and non-potable. When the scientists say the driest I think they’re alluding to the lack of rainfall, not necessarily to the lack of water. It’s also a high and cold desert, reaching altitudes of 14,000 feet and subfreezing temperatures at night of -5°F to -10°F (with daytime temperatures of 30°F to 72°F).

The desert is extremely beautiful especially at sunrise and sunset, and the scenic landscape is a photographer’s paradise. I accessed the desert via Arica on the coast to Calama, and then from Calama to San Pedro de Atacama. My base of operations was the small desert town (5,000 local residents) of San Pedro, and I spent a week venturing out into the desert everyday to photograph its wonders. The altitude could be challenging at 14,000 feet (the air is mighty thin at that altitude), and the morning and evening temperatures were very cold especially when the wind was blowing at 30 to 35 mph. Pushing a shutter-button with gloves on is not an option so off they came. I was still cold with my fleece beanie, down vest, and parka.

To view these images from the beautiful Atacama Desert of Peru and Chile please visit my website Indochine Photography at While you’re there you might as well take a moment (or two, or three) to browse my other images. In fact, why don’t you pour yourself a large cup of coffee (or a glass of your favorite wine), turn on some relaxing music and spend some quality time (for yourself) escaping the rat-race of daily living. Be my guest, whether you buy anything or not. I escaped from the corporate meat grinder five years ago, and now spend my time travelling to (and photographing) these wonders of the world. SUBSCRIBE TO MY FREE NEWSLETTER.


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