Galapagos 2017 Pictures

Nisa and I took a cruise in the Galapagos Islands this summer.

Of course visiting the Galapagos is about wildlife photography, which I discovered is quite different from what I usually do. It also produces data at a rate I’m unaccustomed to, so sorting through the photos was a lot more work than usual, but after two months I did manage to get through them. I included a sunset photo for each day to punctuate the album.

For a few photos, I have some stories to tell.

In Puerto Ayora, the largest town in the Galapagos and our jumping off point, my favorite thing was the fish market.

Generally there are fairly strict rules about what you can do in the Galapagos with respect to the wildlife, you have to stay a couple meters away from the animals and absolutely can’t feed them. If you break the rules do it flagrantly I suppose, because here every day the morning’s catch is prepared for restaurants and stores, and the wildlife gets the scraps. The sea lion pictured here almost seems like a pet – it knows better than to eat the whole fish, and instead waits patiently for scraps. However he may bend the rules a bit by resting his head on the fish. The pelicans and frigate birds know no such discipline.

This juvenile blue footed booby was blocking the path and got a little aggressive. Most of the animals seem to regard humans as something between a curiosity to a harmless nuisance, but this young bird showed some moxy in solving the human problem.

Sea lions showed up every time we went snorkeling, and we went snorkeling every day. On land where we’re the mobiles ones and they can barely get around, they don’t like us so much. But in the water, they swam circles around us, doing acrobatics and blowing bubbles. Some baby fur seals were afraid of us, but it was as if their parents told them, “Stop being such babies, go out and play, it’s just humans. They just flail around uselessly in the water, they’re harmless.” I may be anthropomorphising a little bit but it seems the pups got the message and after we left the water, they came to see us off.

When snorkeling, I used my new Canon M5 with a soft underwater case. Underwater photography was also new for me.

Sea lions chase tuna into one particular shallow bay, allowing them to catch multiple big fish at the same time. It’s the only place sea lions behave in this way and the BBC has apparently been trying but unable to capture this on film. This time they had caught two or three tunas. Nisa and I were in kayaks at the time observing from a distance. Our guide had been careful to warn us to not get too close and make sure there was room for the sea lions to get between the feeding area and the bay as sea lions are known to jump onto kayaks if their route is blocked. I was shooting on the opposite side of the channel from Nisa while a fellow passenger, Thomas, held my kayak. At one point a big alpha male sea lion put his head onto Nisa’s kayak. Time froze, nobody knew what was about to happen and it seemed like even our guide didn’t know what to do (“Um, do something! Do something!”). Nothing actually happened, and after a tense moment he left. It seems the sea lion was just curious, I suspect he just wanted to know what we were doing there as we didn’t seem interested in eating. For the record he was mistaken, that tuna looked delicious.

Blue footed boobies awkwardly waddle around on land, but become stunt-pilot acrobats in the air and water. We were lucky enough to see a feeding. They dive into the water en-masse, come to the surface and circle around to drive in again. I had no idea how to shoot so I only got a few pictures, before I decided to just enjoy the moment.

Sea turtles are pretty great.

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Burma Trip Photos

The inside of one of the many Bagan temples. We recently went on a trip to Burma, and it was amazing. The country has only recently starting to open up and as a result it’s a really unique place. It was been my hardest working vacation yet and I hope you’ll agree the results are worth it.

wpid2209-IMG_6342.jpgIn Mandalay, the dusty second city of Burma, my favorite thing to shoot by a long shot were the markets. They’re nestled in back alleys, and the locals were very friendly and amused to see us there. Smiling and waving at anyone always got a great reaction. He was very smiley when I asked to take a picture, then adjusted his robe and settled into a more serious expression for the picture. All smiles again afterward.They were happy to talk, as much as it was possible, and made great photographic subjects.

We also visited some of the very pretty outlying areas, but they were generally less interesting to me than the city itself. One exception was the U Bein Bridge.wpid2265-IMG_6940.jpg The classic shots of it are with the sun setting behind it. We were there on a hazy morning instead, and those are some of my favorite shots.

A women visiting an ancient temple in Bagan. The walls of the temple are covered with murals, which I believe are original.The archeological city of Bagan is an amazing place that’s been photographed to death. My shots from the temples at sunrise and sunset are nice, but I feel better ones have been done. It’s a lot like shooting other monuments in that way. Still, I have many shots I’m proud of in and around the temples. While it’s more touristy, the locals were still very friendly and we had a lot of great times.

Sunrise in Bagan with a hot air balloon eclipsing the sun.
Burma is nothing like any place I’ve ever been. It’s safe and relatively easy to travel in. I’d recommend it to everyone.

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