Patagonia: Road near Climber's Hell, El Chalten

Photos: Jakub Polomski

With its looming mountain ranges, sweeping grassland steppes and enormous glaciers, Patagonia is one of those grand, magical places on Earth that will leave you wondering, "Is this place even real?"

Polish photographer Jakub Polomski, 29, spent a month exploring this scenic yet vulnerable region of South America, and judging by the photos he brought back, it's safe to say this was the adventure of a lifetime.

Polomski began his journey in Santiago, Chile and logged nearly 5,000 miles of driving before finally wrapping up the journey in Ushuaia, Argentina — the southernmost city in the world. Along the way, he traveled primarily through the Patagonian Desert while also making stops at some of the most scenic places the region has to offer, including the mountains of El Chaltén (above), the Perito Moreno glacier (below) and the craggy peaks of Torres del Paine.

He captured a whopping 5,000 images during his travels, but it took him nearly a year to edit them down to just 5 percent of the original batch. The diligent post-processing work clearly paid off, though — the resulting collection of images (which can viewed in its entirety on his website, or on Polomski's Facebook page) is stunning.

Patagonia: Perito Moreno glacier surrounded by greenery
Patagonia: Boat at sunset
Patagonia: Perito Moreno glacier
Patagonia: Landscape of Perito Moreno
Patagonia: Gnarled trees of Torres del Paine
Patagonia: Purple water
Patagonia: Torres del Paine
Patagonia: Plains
Patagonia: Sun through clouds
Patagonia: Perito Moreno by boat
Patagonia: On the road
Patagonia: Golden hour
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Catie Leary is a photo editor at Mother Nature Network. Follow her on Twitter and Google+.

Catie Leary ( @catieleary ) writes about science, travel, animals and the arts.

Better than a T-shirt: Visual souvenirs of Patagonia will make your jaw drop
With its uniquely beautiful geography, Patagonia is a place that will have you wondering, "Is this place even real?"