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Atacama Expedition

Its has taken some time to get around to writing about my trip to the Atacama, as the ‘Antarctica’ exhibition opened in the few days after arriving back in Melbourne, followed directly by the Epson Pano awards, sickness, preparation for the BIFB Fringe Festival and the APPAs. So, finally, here it is!

The trip began with my wife and me flying from Melbourne to Sydney to Santiago to Calama, then hiring a ute/truck (depending on where you come from) and heading finally to our base, San Pedro de Atacama. The scenery on our flights had been spectacular, with the Southern Aurora streaking across the night sky as we skirted Antarctic waters, and the Andes were of course breath-takingly spectacular as we landed among the mountains in Calama. But we were totally unprepared for the flat and barren landscape that unfolded before us as we left Calama. However, as we approached San Pedro, the ground suddenly sprang up into mountains and formations of such different shapes to anything we had seen before, wild guanacos stood by the side of the road, and salt scattered across the earth as if some recent snow-fall had just dusted the landscape.

San Pedro itself, is a strange a mix of twisting dusty roads, back packer digs and an overpopulation of stray dogs alongside numerous restaurants, tourist goods stores and luxury spa resorts. Just to the east of the town are the mountains and volcanoes that lead into Bolivia and Argentina, and to the south a great many salt flats and salt lakes. We started with a visit to Luguna Chaxa, where a population of flamingos is in permanent residence. Their gorgeous  feeding shuffle and amusing honk and the surrounding scenery is a spectacle to see. However, the Andes were calling to us and so the allure was too strong and we rushed towards the top. Quickly, however, we realised why people acclimatise themselves to the height before making these trips, as we began to feel out of breath, dizzy and the headaches started. On the bright side, we used this opportunity to further explore areas which we might never have otherwise come across such as the wonderful and aptly named ‘Valle del Arcoiris’ (vally of rainbows). The rock formations are rainbow coloured, with vivid reds, browns, whites and green. As an enthusiast of all aspects of the natural world, I was also very much looking forward to seeing the wildlife of Chile – the type we just don’t see I Australia. And it didn’t take long for us to happen across llamas, guanaco and desert foxes, but the vicuña and viscacha seemed to allude us to this point. With further research and local knowledge, we learned that we needed to head up the mountains again to see the vicuna, as they prefer the higher altitude. We made the long and tricky trip to Piedras Rojas (red stones) which was beautiful (but perhaps best left for warmer months when the stones aren’t covered in snow) when the highlight of our trip occurred – we came across a large herd of vicuña, and unexpectedly, a rhea as well! The next few days were spent happily travelling through the mountains (now that we had properly acclimatised), the salt lagoons bordering Argentina, and exploring the semi-active volcanoes. But still, no viscacha, and it was nearly the end of the trip. Further inquiries with locals led us, on our last day, to heading up the mountains again to the greater altitude - this time to rocky cliffs where they are able to hide in crevices. Upon finding a suitable location to pull over, it didn’t take more than ten minutes of waiting (silently) and slowly looking around to see a greyish fluffy shape sunning itself, followed by two more. It was a great way to spend our last day, yet it was a very sad day as we prepared to leave a place that had become so special to us. The Atacama, Chile or even this small region cannot possibly be fully explored in two weeks, and thus a return visit must be made - though next time in the warmer months where we hope to see a greater number of flamingos and the landscape with less snow covering.

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Ballarat International Foto Biennale

I'm pleased to announce a new showing of my Antarctica work to follow on the heels of my exhibition at Voltaire Gallery, in the Ballarat International Foto Biennale, as part of the fringe festival. The festival is one of Australia's largest photography events, attracting visitors from all over the world, and it is predicted that around 30,000 Melbournians will be heading west to see it this year - particularly with the centrepiece of the Biennale being the exclusive exhibition by David LaChapelle;  one of the most important photographers of our time. So I'm very excited to be a part of it! Photography of every style will be exhibited, from abstract portraiture to documentary landscape and everything in between. You will see David LaChapelle's work in the Main Hall of Ballarat, and exhibitions from many other photographers all around the city: in cafes, libraries, hospitals, shops and restaurants - such as Catfish Thai, where you can see my work (ask to be seated upstairs to see my exhibition!). Click the following link to go to the Ballarat International Foto Biennale page: https://ballaratfoto.org.

To see my exhibition, as well as the many other photographers showing this year, ensure you head out to Ballarat between the 19th of August and the17th of September, 2017. Have a look around the city, get inspired from all the amazing artwork, and enjoy a delicious Thai meal at: http://catfishthai.com.au.

For more details about my exhibition in the Ballarat International Foto Biennale, head to the Events page, or click the link below. 

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New Trip - The Atacama Desert, Chile

I am very excited to announce my next international photography expedition: in July I will be visiting the Atacama desert in Chile. The Atacama is the driest non-polar desert in the world, receiving just 15mm of rain per year. It is an incredibly vast area of desert with salt flats on either side of the altiplano - the mountains that reach up to a (literally) breath-taking 6887m. While in the summer the heat is inescapable, in winter it is numbingly cold, with temperatures ranging between 4 and -20 degrees each day.

So why go to such an inhospitable place? This will be my second time in Chile (two brief stops in Santiago on my way to and from Antarctica), but my first time to the Atacama. The scale and variation of the landscape look amazing, and I can't wait to see it, and shoot it, for myself. Despite the freezing temperatures, parts of the Atacama are a constant home to flamingoes. The elusive viscacha and the protected vicuna are also high on the list of animals I hope to spot, along with the desert fox, however the mountains, colours and even penitentes (snow formations) excite my photographer's brain.

Looking forward to coming back and writing all about it!

Welcome

After a year of planning, I'm pleased to welcome everybody to this new website dedicated to my adventures, and the photographs I've taken along the way. It's wonderful that you've come here to share in my experiences.

A huge thank you must go to my wife, Tamsin, without whom this website may likely have never existed and my photos would have probably continued cluttering my home and those of close relatives.

In addition to this website launch, I'm also pleased to announce my first solo exhibition for my Antarctica series. This has been a series I've worked on for many years, and I'm pleased to finally be able to show the scenes I've captured while in the most amazing place I've ever been.

Many of these works, and more, are available to view in the Collections page, and to purchase as well in the Purchase page. All prints are limited runs of 100 and printed on high quality archival paper with the option of framing.

If you're in the Melbourne area during late July, I invite you to visit the exhibition at Voltaire Gallery, North Melbourne. Details may be found in the Upcoming Events section.

Kagetsu Buic.