October 2023

Book Very Large Telescope by Gerhard Hüdepohl

In October my new book “Very Large Telescope – 25 Years VLT” has been published by the German editorial KOSMOS-Verlag. It is a large format book (30x30cm) with 228 pages, where I present 250 of the best and most interesting photos that I took during my over 20 years that I worked at the Paranal Observatory. It has views of the magnificent night sky of the Atacama desert and shows historic photos from the construction of the giant telescopes. There are chapters about science operation and discoveries, maintenance work on the delicate giant mirrors and modern telescope technology. It also shows the Atacama desert with its very specialized flora and fauna and unusual and extreme weather events. Finally the last chapter gives an introduction to the future project, the “Extremely Large Telescope” (ELT) of nearly 40 meters diameter, that is currently being built on a mountain close to Paranal.
The book is in German language and available at

November 2022
During last southern winter there were a few rain falls in the Atacama Desert. This happens only every 4-8 years and is related to the El Niño cycle. As a result the desert had a remarkable blooming this year. It was a bit later than usual, since there were a few weeks of lower than usual temperature. I went twice, once in the beginning of October and again at the end of October, when finally the famous red flower “Garra de Leon” was in full bloom. You can see more photos in the Desierto Florido gallery.
There are also some new photos in the galleries: Atacama Desert Flowers and Cactus of Atacama.

Atacama desierto florido Chile 2022

Garra de Leon (Bomarea ovallei) in full bloom at the coast of Carrizal.

Garra de Leon (Bomarea ovallei) in full bloom at the coast of Carrizal

Hope you like the new images. For any comment, please drop me a note on my email or on Instagram @atacamaphoto

May 2022
In April I traveled to Tierra del Fuego, Patagonia Chile to photograph the forest and trees in autumn, something that I wanted to do since a long time. We went across Isla Grande de Tierra del Fuego via caleta Camaron, caleta Maria and lago Fagnano and ended up close to the Cordillera Darwin. The timing was perfect, we saw very colorful lenga trees and could take incredible photos.
You can find new photos in the gallery of Patagonia Landscape.

There are also many new photos in the Costa Rica Gallery from a trip to the Osa Peninsula which I did last December. The Osa Peninsula is one of the wildest places in Costa Rica with an incredible biodiversity. Please visit the gallery here.

Hope you like the new images. For any comment, please drop me a note on my email or on Instagram @atacamaphoto

January 2022

I added a gallery of photos that I took during a trip to the Kamchatka Peninsula last September 2021. The trip took us to the Kronotsky protected area where we had the chance to watch bears at the Kronotskaya river and the coast of the Pacific Ocean. I had never seen bears fishing for salmon in the surf of the ocean, this was very special.

We continued and flew with a Mi-8 helicopter to the Tolbachik volcano. During an eruption a large forest area was destroyed by pyroclastic flow and ash clouds. The remains can be visited, it is a forest of dead black tree trunks on a black lava and ash soil. It is like visiting another planet.
We were also lucky with the timing of the trip. During September in many areas the trees put on an amazing color. Please visit the gallery here.

Hope you like the new images. For any comment, please drop me a note on my email or on Instagram @atacamaphoto

December 2021

New photo gallery from Iceland from a trip last October. Many photos of abstract patterns are taken from the air with a drone. They show thermal hot springs (see photo below) and glacial rivers. These amazing forms, shapes and colors can only be seen from the air. Please visit the gallery here.

Hope you like the new images. For any comment, please drop me a note on my email or on Instagram @atacamaphoto

July 2021

Due to the Pandemic my travel activities have been very limited. On the other hand this gave me time to review my archives. I played with black and white and after I discovered really beautiful images I decided to create a new page with just black and white photos. To view the new page, click here.

I take advantage to let you know, that I also added a number of photos to other galleries, in particular:
Atacama Desert
Atacama Wildlife and
South Georgia Island

Hope you like the new images. For any comment, please drop me a note on my email or on Instagram @atacamaphoto

March 2021

Today a new snake species was described, it was named “Inger’s Slug-eating Snake” (Asthenodipsas ingeri). Its habitat are the cool and wet mountain rainforests of Borneo and it feeds likely exclusively on snails.
The exciting part of this story is, that I was able to see and photograph this snake last year in the Kinabalu National Park, while I was exploring the jungle of Borneo on a trip with Chien C. Lee.
At that time we did not know that this was a new species, so it was a surprise when I learned today from Chien, that it was indeed a new species. You can find more photos here.

The new species: Inger’s Slug-eating snake (Asthenodipsas ingeri), Borneo

December 2020

To have two total solar eclipses within a bit over one year in the same country does not occur very often. In July 2019 there was a total eclipse in the north Chile with excellent conditions (see my blog below).
In December 2020 the second total eclipse was due. This time in the south of Chile with a much lower chance of good visibility. And Covid19 and the related travel restrictions made planning complicated. After rescheduling locations, reservations and travel dates 3 times and nearly giving up entirely, we actually made it there.
Weather forecast was good for the day before the eclipse and the day after. But for the actual eclipse day it was horrible, clouds and rain all day.
Around mid day before totality rain turned to drizzle and some small patches of thin clouds allowed short glimpses of the partially eclipsed sun. Till the last minute we did not know, if we would see totality. Then at the right moment it opened up a little bit, just enough to see the corona and beautiful solar prominence through very thin clouds!!!
Had to wipe of some small rain drops off the camera lens though.

The moment of totality

Very rainy day for watching a solar eclipse

The moment of totality begins, still with some thin clouds.

November 2020

My new book “Tambopata – a rainforest experience” is now finished. It shows a selection of photos that I took during an expedition to the Tambopata Reserve in the tropical rain forest of Peru. Tambopata is one of the most bio diverse locations of South America and has an abundance of wildlife.
You can preview the entire book here:
Tambopata – a rainforest experience, view book
It is also available as eBook.
I hope you will enjoy the travel experience to the jungle of the Amazon Basin.

November 2020

More than half a year has passed since I made it back from Antarctica with difficulties. Due to the lock down I was not able to travel since then. Now finally in October I had the opportunity to visit the northern Tarapacá Region of Chile to photograph ancient desert art. During 8 days we visited several sites with geoglyphs, petroglyphs and ancient ruins of settlements and prehispanic agricultural fields. One of the most impressive site is the Giant of Tarapacá, a more that 90 meter long anthropomorphic figure on a small hill in the middle of the Atacama. These figures date from 900 – 1400 AD and were landmarks and probably also ceremonial sites for the ancient lama caravans that crossed the desert between the Andes and the cost. The regional government of Tarapacá and the Chilean national park administration CONAF is now applying to UNESCO to declare some important sites (Cerros Pintados) a UNESCO World Heritage site.

You can see images of these amazing places and ancient desert art here and on Instagram @atacamaphoto

Geoglifos Cerro Mono

Some problems on the road

gerhard huedepohl