Thursday, October 19, 2006

South America


Long over due post. Wrote this while on assignment to Chile.

I’m sitting in the airport waiting once again for a flight. This flight is a bit different than my most recent travels. My flight is headed to Atlanta and than to Santiago, Chile. I am starting out on an assignment which has actually blossomed into two.

Several months ago I was contacted by Krista Muhr, she use to be with North American Palladium company but now works with Meridian Gold out of Reno, Nevada. She asked if I could shoot their South America properties in Sept. 2006, I was available and here I am. When learning about a up coming trip overseas I usually look around for other clients to shoot for. At the last minute, Phelps Dodge has jumped in for some new photography. They have ask that I shoot their El Abra Mine near Calama, Chile. Calama is close to Antofagasta, Chile. A little bit south east of Antofagasta.

I have actually shot El Abra years ago when it was owned by another company. I believe I shot El Abra 10 years ago for Cyprus Minerals? El Abra is about 15.000 feet above sea level. I remember quite clearly how had it was to breathe. I’m not looking forward to that aspect of the trip, you get winded just climbing a set of stairs!

My flight to Atlanta has arrived in Denver and I am about to board, I’ll continue later.

I am now comfortably stetted in first class headed for Santiago. I’m flying Delta Airlines tonight, There are around 30 first class seats on this aircraft, fully reclining seats and wonderful service. Free cocktails and nuts to start, salad and than a nice chicken dinner. My flight from Atlanta will take around 9 hours, arrive time is about 7:30 am. I’m to be meet at the airport by an employee from Meridian Gold. I understand we have about a 2 hour drive south to the mine site, I’ll wait and see.

As it turned out, I was met at the airport by a driver sent by the mine. My name was not the only name this man had on his list. Their where 3 of us. Two other men from Meridian Gold. We dropped one of them off downtown Santiago before heading southwest to Florida mine. This is an underground mine in a very hilly area. It rain all day until sundown, I was underground all day... no matter. Tomorrow I’ll shoot haul trucks on these narrow roads as well as the plant. Management photos of course. I’m very tired and need some sleep. Good night Mr. Moon.

I’m now headed back. I was actually to busy to make any entrees during my assignment. I’ve been shooting late and having long drive have not provided me an opportunity to post. I’m sitting in the Delta VIP room in Santiago, Chile. I arrived here this morning from Antofagasta at 11 am. Delta apparently have only 2 flights a day and when I arrived here, their counter and VIP room were closed until 5 pm. I sat in the main lobby of the airport for about 5 1/2 hours waiting for the Delta room to open. I’m really looking forward to getting home, traveling to foreign countries is very stressful.

The Meridian portion of the shoot went well, I’m sure Krista will like the photos. In fact, I emailed her a few photos while in South America, and today received an email from her stating she indeed did get them and loved the ones I sent.

When I flew to Calama to shoot El Abra, I was driven to the Park Hotel near the airport. When the driver pulled up, I realized that I had stayed there 10 years earlier when I shot for Cyprus Minerals. It became clear to me that I had shot at El Abra back than 10 years earlier. It’s not age, just been to too many places shooting to remember all of my assignments. Heck, been shooting over 20 years, what do you expect?

My visit to El Abra was well organized, full schedule down to the minute. I was passed off to each department like a ping pong ball. I spent one day at the mine and the second at local pueblos’ where Phelps Dodge has provide community services and assitants.