THE TRAVELER Rupert Barrington, a producer for BBC wildlife programs who has spent 20 years traveling to places like the Namib Desert, the Komodo archipelago, and the island of Corfu to document the world's most interesting reptiles and insects.
THE PLACE Growing up in Dorset, on the south coast of England, Barrington raised butterflies and loved to search for insects and the odd snake. "My poor mum had to put up with that stuff, but her father was very into natural history, and he encouraged me," says Barrington. He completed a degree in zoology, which called for lots of time photographing animals, and began picking up projects with the BBC Natural History Unit.
In early 2010, Barrington produced two shows for the ambitious BBC/Discovery series Life, which took him to the Lakes District of Chile to film tree-dwelling Darwin's stag beetles. (In true Darwinian fashion, the males use their hugely elongated jaws to battle competitors for mating rights.) It was a 90-minute drive from the Puerto Montt airport to his base, the Petrohué Lodge, on the edge of Lago Todos los Santos. Barrington remembers that the landscape grew increasingly interesting as he approached the lake, passing chute-type waterfalls and dramatic black basaltic rock.
Lago Todos los Santos has steep wooded banks and, in the background, looming fantastically over the scene is a perfectly symmetrical, snowcapped, 8,730-foot volcano, Osorno, that's drawn comparisons to Mount Fuji. Barrington's verdict was nearly instantaneous: "I thought it was just the most beautiful place I'd ever been," he says. "I felt that I'd arrived at something quite special and wild."
Barrington and his crew took a daily boat ride out onto the clear emerald-green water to reach their filming location on the opposite side of the lake. A few secluded mansions with private docks line the shore—a kind of millionaire's row—and one owner, from a wealthy Chilean newspaper family, invited them all over for a drink one evening. "The front wall of his house was basically one huge glass window that provided an extraordinary view, like a painting," says Barrington. It was a rare down moment during a 10-day shoot that left little time for hiking or rafting in the surrounding Vicente Pérez Rosales National Park. For that, next time Barrington will have to produce a vacation.
THE DETAILS It's an hour and 45-minute flight from Santiago to Puerto Montt on Lan Airlines, lan.com, from $322; Petrohué Lodge, petrohue.com, doubles from $220, cabins that sleep four from $200, including breakfast.
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