Sammon

Photographing Wildlife in Galapagos

Before we get going, keep in mind that you must stay on designated trails while hiking in Galapagos. Even though you can get close to the animals, that means you’ll need at least a medium telephoto zoom lens, as well as your wide-angle zoom lens. You can walk freely on the beaches, but ask your guide about how close you should get to the wildlife.

Pack a polarizing filter to reduce reflections on water, as well as to darken a blue sky and whiten white clouds.

Photographing Wildlife in Galapagos -Photo by Rick Sammon

Always be ready for action by having your camera ready. If it’s tucked away in your camera bag, you’ll miss some cool photo ops. This short-ear owl darted out of the shadows of a nearby bush and grabbed this dove in a split second.

Be careful when hiking with your camera. Make sure your camera strap is secure. To ensure that your camera can’t fall off your shoulder, use a strap like the Black Rapid strap. It fits over your shoulder and neck, rather than a standard camera strap can slip off your shoulder. Canon 100-400mm IS lens.

Photographing Wildlife in Galapagos -Photo by Rick Sammon

Sure, bring your medium telephoto zoom lens (and maybe even a telephoto zoom lens), but don’t forget your wide-angle zoom lens because you can get very close to the animals, including this masked booby.

Be sure to use a lens hood to shield your lens from direct sunlight. Direct light falling on the front element of your lens can ruin a picture. Canon 15mm lens.

Photographing Wildlife in Galapagos -Photo by Rick Sammon

Shoot eye-to-eye rather than standing straight up and shooting downward like a tourist. I shot eye-to-eye when I photographed this blue-footed booby.

Shoot at a wide aperture to blur the background. That will help your subject stand out in the frame against the background. Canon 25-105mm lens.

Photographing Wildlife in Galapagos -Photo by Rick Sammon

When possible and appropriate, get down on your belly to give the subject the feeling of power, which is what I did when I photographed these marine iguanas. Watch out! These guys “spit” salt water (sometimes called a “salt water sneeze”), which can harm your lens. Canon 15mm lens.

Photographing Wildlife in Galapagos -Photo by Rick Sammon

Stick like glue to the guide. He or she can help you get great shots. My guide got me up close and personal with this frigate bird and her chick. Canon 100-400mm IS lens.

Photographing Wildlife in Galapagos -Photo by Rick Sammon

Look for pictures that tell a story. You can almost feel the love between his mother sea lion and her pup. Canon 17-40mm lens.

Photographing Wildlife in Galapagos -Photo by Rick Sammon

Enjoy the wildlife experience. It’s like no other on the planet! Don’t miss these giant tortoises at the Charles Darwin Research Station. Canon 100-400mm IS lens.

You’ll find quick tips like this – and more Galapagos photographs – in my flagship app, Rick Sammon’s 24/7 Photo Buffet.

Well my fellow travelers, that’s it for now. Have fun making pictures on your next trip. Until then, stop by here from time to time for more photo tips and advice on where to go to make great photographs.

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Rick Sammon is our regular and intrepid photo columnist here on Adventure Collection. To see more of his work, and to learn about his photography workshops, check out his web site: www.ricksammon.info. You can send questions to Rick at ricksammon@mac.com.