Monday, 20 April 2015

Galápagos Day 4 (morning) - Puerto Egas, Isla Santiago

This morning we landed (again early) on the black sand beach of Puerto Egas (James Bay) on Isla Santiago to find Marine Iguanas on the beach right next to the landing site.


Marine Iguana, Puerto Egas, Isla Santiago, Galápagos
Pentax K-3, Sigma 300mm f/2.8, ISO 1600, f/11, 1/40
Marine Iguana, Puerto Egas, Isla Santiago, Galápagos
Pentax K-3, Sigma 300mm f/2.8, ISO 1600, f/5.6, 1/200

Brown Pelicans were equally as close on the rocks right next to us.

Brown Pelican, Puerto Egas, Isla Santiago, Galápagos
Pentax K-3, Sigma 300mm f/2.8, ISO 1600, f/5.6, 1/1600

and these two were standing sentinel on the nearby cliff.

Brown Pelican, Puerto Egas, Isla Santiago, Galápagos
Pentax K-3, Sigma 300mm f/2.8, ISO 1600, f/4, 1/1600

A Lava Heron was roosting conveniently in the arch beneath the cliffs

Lava Heron, Puerto Egas, Isla Santiago, Galápagos
Pentax K-3, Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 77.5mm, ISO 1600, f/5.6, 1/1600

and another was perched in perfect silhouette on a small rock stack along the beach.

Lava Heron, Puerto Egas, Isla Santiago, Galápagos
Pentax K-3, Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 160mm, ISO 1600, f/8, 1/8000

I took a few steps to the right and reshot the same bird, which had not moved, demonstrating that you can get very different results by making small changes to your shooting position.

Lava Heron, Puerto Egas, Isla Santiago, Galápagos
Pentax K-3, Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 170mm, ISO 1600, f/8, 1/400

The heron then jumped down to a lower part of the rock providing a different view again. I opened the aperture for this shot to blur out the otherwise distracting background and to make sure I 'froze' the bird. Despite its appearance here it was moving about quickly on the rock, seemingly looking for crabs (but I didn't manage to see it catch any).

Lava Heron, Puerto Egas, Isla Santiago, Galápagos
Pentax K-3, Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 200mm, ISO 1600, f/2.8, 1/6400

Most of the crabs clung to the vertical rock faces, out of reach of the herons.

Sally Lightfoot Crab, Puerto Egas, Isla Santiago, Galápagos
Pentax K-3, Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 87.5mm, ISO 1600, f/5.6, 1/60

The faster shutter speed also allowed me to catch this American Oystercatcher walking along the beach right next to the heron on the rock

American Oystercatcher, Puerto Egas, Isla Santiago, Galápagos
Pentax K-3, Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 200mm, ISO 1600, f/2.8, 1/1600

and this Galápagos Sea Lion galumphed up the beach only metres away from me.

Galápagos Sea Lion, Puerto Egas, Isla Santiago, Galápagos
Pentax K-3, Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 130mm, ISO 1600, f/5.6, 1/500

This was to be a common challenge throughout the trip - sometimes it was difficult to know where to look as there was so much going on so close and I never seem to have the right lens on at the time (if only someone would develop a 10-600mm f/2 lens that could be hand held!).

Having exhausted the immediate opportunities on the beach we headed inland along a flat trail to a rocky shore a little further south.


Several (somewhat unimaginatively named) birds were spotted along the trail.

Galápagos Dove, Puerto Egas, Isla Santiago, Galápagos
Pentax K-3, Sigma 300mm f/2.8, ISO 1600, f/2.8, 1/1000
Galápagos Hawk, Puerto Egas, Isla Santiago, Galápagos
Pentax K-3, Sigma 300mm f/2.8 (x2 adapter), ISO 1600, f/5.6, 1/1250
Galápagos Flycatcher, Puerto Egas, Isla Santiago, Galápagos
Pentax K-3, Sigma 300mm f/2.8, ISO 800, f/8, 1/500
Galápagos Flycatcher, Puerto Egas, Isla Santiago, Galápagos
Pentax K-3, Sigma 300mm f/2.8, ISO 800, f/11, 1/250
Galápagos Mockingbird, Puerto Egas, Isla Santiago, Galápagos
Pentax K-3, Sigma 300mm f/2.8, ISO 1600, f/2.8, 1/2000

One mockingbird walked (well, hopped) along the trail beside me

Galápagos Mockingbird, Puerto Egas, Isla Santiago, Galápagos
Pentax K-3, Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 200mm, ISO 800, f/5.6, 1/500

until it got distracted by a hermit crab.

Galápagos Mockingbird, Puerto Egas, Isla Santiago, Galápagos
Pentax K-3, Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 200mm, ISO 800, f/5.6, 1/500

The flycatchers typified the tame nature of the Galápagos wildlife.

Galápagos Flycatcher, Puerto Egas, Isla Santiago, Galápagos
Pentax K-3, Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 200mm, ISO 800, f/5.6, 1/2000

The trail ended at a beautiful rocky shore

 Puerto Egas, Isla Santiago, Galápagos
Pentax K-3, Pentax 16-50mm f/2.8 @ 16mm, ISO 800, f/11, 1/160

with herons allowing close-up shots...

Great Blue Heron, Puerto Egas, Isla Santiago, Galápagos
Pentax K-3, Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 115mm, ISO 400, f/5.6, 1/1600
Great Blue Heron, Puerto Egas, Isla Santiago, Galápagos
Pentax K-3, Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 77.5mm, ISO 400, f/5, 1/2000
Lava Heron, Puerto Egas, Isla Santiago, Galápagos
Pentax K-3, Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 200mm, ISO 400, f/5, 1/1250

and the flycatchers continued to provide super-close-up opportunities!

Galápagos Flycatcher up close, Puerto Egas, Isla Santiago, Galápagos
Photograph courtesy of Mark Overgaard

Galápagos Fur Seals frolicked in the rock pools

Galapagos Fur Seal, Puerto Egas, Isla Santiago, Galápagos
Pentax K-3, Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 70mm, ISO 800, f/5.6, 1/160

and some lazed on the rocks.

Galapagos Fur Seal, Puerto Egas, Isla Santiago, Galápagos
Pentax K-3, Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 200mm, ISO 800, f/5.6, 1/400

It wasn't just birds and mammals though. Reptiles made a significant contribution to the experience. There were plenty of Lava Lizards on rocks along the trail and on the beach.

Santiago Lava Lizard, Puerto Egas, Isla Santiago, Galápagos
Pentax K-3, Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 130mm, ISO 800, f/5.6, 1/500
Santiago Lava Lizard, Puerto Egas, Isla Santiago, Galápagos
Pentax K-3, Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 200mm, ISO 800, f/5.6, 1/1600

The stars of the morning, though, were the Marine Iguanas, which provided tripping hazards all over the rock platform. It is amazing how cryptic such large animals can be.

Marine Iguana, Puerto Egas, Isla Santiago, Galápagos
Pentax K-3, Pentax 16-50mm f/2.8 @ 16mm, ISO 800, f/11, 1/250 
Marine Iguana, Puerto Egas, Isla Santiago, Galápagos
Pentax K-3, Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 100mm, ISO 800, f/8, 1/250
Marine Iguana, Puerto Egas, Isla Santiago, Galápagos
Pentax K-3, Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 170mm, ISO 800, f/8, 1/200
Marine Iguana, Puerto Egas, Isla Santiago, Galápagos
Pentax K-3, Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 150mm, ISO 400, f/11, 1/160
Marine Iguana, Puerto Egas, Isla Santiago, Galápagos
Pentax K-3, Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 200mm, ISO 400, f/5.6, 1/1000
Marine Iguana, Puerto Egas, Isla Santiago, Galápagos
Pentax K-3, Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 70mm, ISO 400, f/4, 1/1000
Marine Iguana, Puerto Egas, Isla Santiago, Galápagos
Pentax K-3, Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 160mm, ISO 400, f/16, 1/160
Marine Iguana, Puerto Egas, Isla Santiago, Galápagos
Pentax K-3, Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 70mm, ISO 400, f/9, 1/400
Marine Iguana, Puerto Egas, Isla Santiago, Galápagos
Pentax K-3, Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 70mm, ISO 400, f/9, 1/500
Marine Iguana, Puerto Egas, Isla Santiago, Galápagos
Pentax K-3, Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 200mm, ISO 400, f/5.6, 1/1000

I spent a lot of time like this...

Photographing Marine Iguana, Puerto Egas, Isla Santiago, Galápagos
Photograph courtesy of Joanne Smissen

This afternoon - Buccaneer Cove

2 comments:

  1. HI Ian These are amazing shots. each one better than the one before. I loved the shots through the arch of rock and the closness that the birds came to you. All the birds adn critters images are brilliant adn certainly this is a trip I will have to seriously think about.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Margaret...stay tuned as there's plenty more to come :-)
      It was certainly a trip of a lifetime for us.

      Delete

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