Nature on Display: Tips for Shooting the Galapagos Wildlife
For wildlife lovers, a vacation in the Galapagos is often an old dream and a real “bucket list” experience. This remote island off the coast of Ecuador is home to some of the most unique wildlife on Earth, and offers the opportunity for some very close encounters. For those who want to take advantage of most opportunities to take animal photos, some specific tips from experts can help.
Tips for Photography at Holiday Galapagos Nature on Display: Tips for Shooting the Galapagos Wildlife
There are many generic tips for photographing wildlife (including the most basic, ie patient), but there are also some specific ones to capture great images of these remote island animals.
This suggestion has a double meaning: You need to be prepared in terms of equipment, but also at a situational level. Taking the right camera and accessories is essential, and SLRs with interchangeable lenses will produce far superior results to the iPhone, however up-to-date the model. The wildlife in the archipelago is unbelievably fearless, so there is no need for long focal length and long fixed lenses, but if you are serious, short and medium lens combinations are recommended. As a guide, consider (at least) the 18mm-70mm lens and the 100mm-400mm. Nature on Display: Tips for Shooting the Galapagos Wildlife
Another aspect of preparation is getting ready to get “money fired” without too much notice. Wild wildlife, however, and animals will not wait for you to focus, change openings and frame the scene perfectly – even though the Giant Tortoise Galapagos may be an exception. Read it every time and frankly, keeping your eyes peeled so you can take advantage of the situation as it appears.
Due to the geographical position of the archipelago at the equator, the sun rises and sets rapidly, spends much of its time just above the head. This results in harsh and top-lit conditions that are often less conducive to capturing wildlife images. What you should aim for is low-side lighting, which creates greater interest in texture and shaded contours. Without the benefits of an artificial studio lighting, the only real solution is to get up early before the sun reaches overhead, or later at night when it goes down. An added bonus of this is that you can get some spectacular and dramatic pictures by using sunrise or sunset to give the backlight on your subject. Nature on Display: Tips for Shooting the Galapagos Wildlife
Even if you set your SLR for automatic exposure, lighting and conditions in the archipelago are often beyond the reach of the most advanced camera metering system. For example, bright white plumage in Nazca Booby perched on black volcanic rocks will cause the camera to glow for darker areas, and then highlight it more deeply. A good tip is to use the +/- function on your camera, which will override the meter and fix one or two stops to expose the bird and not the rocks.
In addition to the technical aspects, the most important advice of the knowing experts is to think out of the box and actually take advantage of the incredible opportunities that you will encounter on Galapagos holidays. Do not just follow the crowd and photograph the animals from a static point of view – go down to the sand with Sally Lightfoot Crabs, ride high on rocks with the Marine Iguana, and cross into shallow rivers with weird Sea Lions (obviously keeping your camera protected). Being creative with angles is one of the surest ways to open up to this once-in-a-lifetime image.
Turned Good to Great
Meanwhile, for some people, the Galapagos holiday is quite a gift in itself, for others, catching amazing photographs is a very important aspect. Wildlife photography can, in essence, be a very challenging quest. And while being in the right place at the right time can reap amazing rewards, following a few tips to take advantage of those “timely, right place” moments can make the difference between good and good photos. Nature on Display: Tips for Shooting the Galapagos Wildlife