Photography: Galapagos 2006
In early February 2006, I went to the Galapagos islands in Ecuador. I had been intending to go there as part of an organised tour, but Intrepid Travel (my tour operator) emailed me two days before I left to tell me that the trip dates had changed, and I was forced to cancel with them. Nevertheless, I resolved to see the Galapagos anyway, so I travelled there by air, and spent my time on the island of Santa Cruz.
The first two views show the principal town of Puerto Ayora at Dawn and Sunset respectively. The subsequent three show the beach at Tortuga bay where we went on my second day. The islands are of course primarily known for their wildlife. At the time I was there I didn't own a lens with a good zoom, which would normally have made wildlife photography effectively impossible. In the Galapagos, however, the local wildlife isn't shy.
The small port/fish shop in Puerto Ayora attracts flocks of birds. Most of these are either frigate birds (as shown above) or pelicans. Given that the above shots are crops of shots taken with a moderate to wide-angle lens, you can get some understanding of how close the birds are actually prepared to come! The frigate birds land on neither ground nor water, but will steal scraps from the pelicans, as well as catching them out of midair. Remarkably for such large birds, they are even capable of hovering.
The fish shop also attracts sealions, two of which are shown in the photo above.
The marine iguana is a species of iguana unique to the Galapagos islands. These iguanas live exclusively on marine algae, and aren't at all adverse to taking long swims in the sea. They can be up to 3 feet long, and seem to be absolutely everywhere you look. In the first two photos, marine iguanas warm up after their last swims. In the third photo, a Pelican - perhaps irritated at having lost its fish to a frigate bird - attacks an iguana.
Finally, no collection of photos of the Galapagos would be complete without at least one Giant Tortoise in its natural habitat.