Tag Archives: Ecuador

Yellow Eyes, Blue Feet

Yellow Eyes, Blue Feet

In the Galapagos Island, this may be one of the more famous birds. It has a variety of reasons for its notoriety. Its name, for starters, contains every man’s friend. The other note about their name is it comes from the Spanish word for “bobo,” which means, well, “dumb.”

The birds are, however, fairly intelligent animals. They have tremendous vision and are fantastic shallow water divers. The boobies mating dance could get them made fun of, though.

The males flaunt their blue feet, dancing to impress the female boobies; they’ll spread their wings, stomp their feet and squawk. If she likes him, the mating process will take less then five seconds. Together mom and dad watch the eggs, keeping them warm by holding their webbed-feet over them. After nearly nine months of incubation, the eggs will hatch and the parents will walk around with the chicks on their feet getting around.

And they’re kinda cute, too.

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Posted in Nature Also tagged |

Resting Sea Lions

Resting Sea Lions

While in the Galapagos Islands, our catamaran was anchored just off shore from this beach. While we went kayaking and swam around, we noticed how many rocks were on the nearby shore.

After lunch, we jumped in the small raft and headed to shore. As we approached the sandy, boulder-filled beach, we realized the shore was full of sun bathing sea lions, not boulders.

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Posted in Nature Also tagged |

Punta Suarez Blowhole

Located on Española Island within the Galapagos Islands, Punta Suarez is a popular traveler destination for its variety of bird life. Among the sites — including a species of bird viewed nowhere else in the world — is a lava-created blowhole blasting water high into the air.

Centuries ago, the lava solidified and left an opening just right for waves from the ocean to crash into it. As the pressure from the waves hits the back wall of the tunnel, the water shoots the only direction it can go: high into the air.

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Posted in Scenic Also tagged |

Caterpillar on the Move

One of the marque items while exploring the Galapagos Islands is how docile the wildlife is. Most of the animals have no predators, so it is possible to get closer to the animals without them running away.

A lot closer to the animals.

While swimming near shore, an adult sea lion swam up and started to play around with me. The next day, a sea lion jumped up onto the back my my kayak and hitched a ride. It really is an incredible experience and I strongly encourage everyone to plan some time and set aside some money to go.

While exploring the fabled Galapagos Islands, it is easy to focus so much on the big-ticket items — century-old turtles, sea lions, sting rays, etc. — that it’s easy to forget about the smaller things. The caterpillar picture above is just wandering across the land. While hiking on one of the islands I saw him down by my feet and crouched down for a closer look.

He’s extremely colorful and I’m glad I was able to take pictures of him instead of unknowingly squish him beneath my feet.

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Posted in Nature Also tagged |

Feeding Flamingo

I’m primarily self-trained as a photographer. Some time back in my childhood my parents gave me a small film camera that, I think, took 110-style film. Later on I graduated to a 35mm camera and didn’t get very far with it. I remember exploring an extremely old cemetery in my teens, only to become very disappointed when I realized the camera was broken and after I took a picture it didn’t advance the film.

After purchasing a new camera, in high school I put together a small, monthly newspaper about whatever seemed super-important to a kid at the time. As our grade would go on field trips, I begun to travel my camera along with a roll of black and white film loaded in it (it was easier to print black and white images in my black and white newspaper). By high school I joined the yearbook club and attended all of one meeting. I did, however, enjoy the photography class in which we developed our own film in the lab.

Years later I didn’t do much of anything with photography. In college I had a Polaroid camera, which was the earliest form of Instagram. Beyond that, I didn’t do much until 2005 when I purchased a Nikon D70s before a trip to Italy. Since then, I’ve watched my photography grow from simply taking pictures while on vacation to taking specific vacations to take pictures. Those early images from 2005 through 2010 can be pretty rough. Sure, there are some things I’m proud of, but as the saying goes, “Every-now-and-then even a blind squirrel gets a nut.”

As the years progressed, my image-making improved. I’m pretty proud of some of the pictures in my portfolio. Additionally, some things not in the portfolio have been used in advertisements, travel brochures, newspaper articles and even hang on peoples’ walls.

Looking back at pictures through the years, like the above one of a flamingo in the Galapagos Islands, I’m amazed at how rough my photography was back then. As the years have progressed, so have my skills. If an overly-backlit flamingo in search of food helps me learn and advance my ability, then so be it. It all has to start somewhere.

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Posted in Nature Also tagged |

Island of Bartolome

I’ve seen this picture pop up around the internet lately.

I highly doubt there is some actual event going on which makes it the current thing to write about. More likely, I think it’s just a popular image and just a coincidence I’ve seen it around as much as I have.

While plundering the Galapagos Islands, we woke up early to start our accent to the Island of Bartolome. As we approached the dock in our eight person raft (six guests, one guide, one raft pilot), a giant National Geographic Adventure boat roared up. The few of us on our catamaran commented how we really liked our experience on the smaller boat better than the large, ominous boat. I remember only thinking how much I wanted to get to the top of the Island of Bartolome before the massive boat unloaded its swarm of passengers.

Luckily, that’s exactly what happened.

The National Geographic boat took a long time to offload all of it’s passengers that we were already on our way back to our boat when the hoards of tourists were just leaving their boat for the dock.

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Colorful Stained-Glass Reflections

Before heading to the Galapagos Islands, we decided to explore Quito, Ecuador for a bit (we also went to the famed market in Otavalo).  While we were exploring, we ended up spending a lot of time in the one of Quito’s churches.

I remember climbing a lot of stairs in this particular church.

The first thing was climbing a few flights of stairs to reach the back of the church. Later, we would continue climbing to the very top of the steeple, where my mom decided to ring the bell with everything she had. It may have been the most surprised I’ve ever been, for two reasons: The first, was the deafening blast of the bell ringing, and second was because my normally quiet mother decided to wake most of Quito with the clanging of the church bells.

At any rate, as we climbed to the top of the church, I really, really enjoyed the sun shining through the various colors of the stained-glass windows, thus reflecting them on the church’s floor.

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Posted in Travel Also tagged |

Sally Lightfoot Crab

It’s amusing to me that I have, as of this writing, about 270 blog entries. Of that, this is only my second post about Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands. I guess it’s good that I have so many pictures to pick from, but of all of the images taken over the years, 2,362 were taken in the Galapagos Islands.

You’d think I could have posted more Galapagos Island pictures then averaging just one image a year!

So this brings us to the above picture of a Sally Lightfoot Crab.  They’re all over the Galapagos Islands, and they’re a welcome sight because much of the archipelago is now hardened and centuries-old lava.  Clearly the crabs are bright, so it’s a nice contrast to the darkness of the lava rock.

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Posted in Scenic Also tagged |

Blue-footed Booby

Blue-footed Booby

In the Galapagos Island, this may be one of the more famous birds. It has a variety of reasons for its notoriety. Its name, for starters, contains every man’s friend. The other note about their name is it comes from the Spanish word for “bobo,” which means, well, “dumb.”

The birds are, however, fairly intelligent animals. They have tremendous vision and are fantastic shallow water divers. The boobies mating dance could get them made fun of, though.

The males flaunt their blue feet, dancing to impress the female boobies; they’ll spread their wings, stomp their feet and squawk. If she likes him, the mating process will take less then five seconds. Together mom and dad watch the eggs, keeping them warm by holding their webbed-feet over them. After nearly nine months of incubation, the eggs will hatch and the parents will walk around with the chicks on their feet getting around.

And they’re cute birds, too!

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Posted in Nature Also tagged |

Prepare for Lift-Off

Ready for Lift-Off

While in Quito, Ecuador, my wife got hit with a pretty swiftly moving bout of travelers sickness. Unfortunately for her, we also had a four-hour car ride on our schedule that we couldn’t re-book. Being the trooper she is, my wife gritted her teeth and hopped in the car for the drive to Otavalo.

We had no real agenda when we arrived; the equatorial sun was hot and bright, and the mountainous air wasn’t muggy and hot as other parts of Ecuador. It was perfect for her to lay in the sun under a blanket and rest. Between the hummingbirds, butterflies, flowers and llamas “cutting the grass,” I kept myself pretty busy while she was recovering.

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