Monday, January 28, 2013

Top photos and moments from Ecuador and Galapagos

As my trip to the Galapagos Islands and Ecuador has come to an end, so has my college career at Buena Vista University.

This J-term trip was my graduation present to myself as was my way of ending my college career on a high note! All things considered, it wasn’t a half bad way to do it (and having my 22nd birthday on the trip was just the cherry on top of the fantastically delicious sundae that was the Galapagos).

In addition to this trip being a gift to myself, it was also an opportunity to get some cool photos to expand my photography portfolio. Although I did get some great photos for my portfolio, I found myself being drawn to photos not because of their photographic qualities - but because of their subject matter.

Here are some of my favorite photos from the trip:

This photo is from dock in San Cristobal on our first day in the Galapagos. We were headed back to the Coral II after visiting a tortoise habitat, the sunsets were so breath taking I couldn’t help take photo after photo.

On my birthday we were woken up at sunrise to view this rock formation. After viewing it from the yacht we took a dingy ride around it to view the wildlife and caverns it hosts. This photo was taken upon our return to the boat when the sun rid the formation of dark shadows.

This photo was also taken on my birthday. This is the north side of San Cristobal where we saw sea lions up close for the first time. In this photo I love the contrast between the dark rocks and the crystal clear water.

One of the most publicized attractions to the Galapagos Islands are the boobies and this was the perfect set up for a close up shot of the red footed boobie.  I wanted so badly to capture a photo that showed the red feet! Luckily, we stumbled upon a nest and I was able to get a shot of red feet and an egg.
This is a marine iguana. We spent a lot of the time on the trip looking for marine iguanas. When finally we got to one of the volcanic islands, we found more iguanas than one could even register. This particular iguana is sunning himself on some rocks. The coolest thing about the iguanas is that they cannot absorb the copious amount of salt in the water so they have to sneeze out the salt.

Although not the most aesthetically pleasing photo - this is one of my favorites. The volcanic island that we found the iguanas on is also the same island where there are a lot of baby sea lions.  This little guy was taking a snooze in a tide pool. He would blow out bubbles under water and lift his head for air and back in the water continuing his snooze. I was so entranced by this little guy I couldn’t help but stare at him.
This was the only owl we found while on the islands. I believe it is a Galapagos owl. Jean (one of our naturalist guides) told us that owls choose this volcanic island because there is little competition for food. This island is where we walked over the lava fields, here it looked like moving water was petrified in mid motion.

 I also want to share some of my favorite moments from the trip! So although they're not particularly great photos, the moments were priceless:

This photo is from the last day on the Coral II. The crew was so excited to have a younger group on the ship that they allowed us to swim and jump off of the yacht. This was one of my jumps, it took a while to work up the courage but it was worth the thrill.

This was another one of my favorite moments. This is one of the first sea lions we got to see up close on the north side of San Cristobal. We took a walk on the white sandy beaches watching the sea lions and I took some time to chase the ghost crabs.
This was one of my favorite places. While in Ecuador we visited an orchid farm. After touring the farm and seeing the different stages of development of the orchids we visited their garden. This picture is on the bridge in front of the waterfall in the garden.

So long Ecuador and Galapagos...

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