I have started to do a little bit of splash photography in my spare time, Once you have the setup that you like, Backdrops, water value,Pluto trigger, and a flash, Camera and lens. using deferent food colors and water thickness, liquid additives like Xanthan Gum (found on Amazon) Milk, Rise aid and the list goes on.
After flying in from Peru and spending only 1 night in Quito, 1 or 2 full days would have been be nice, as it’s (be warned) an hour drive into town to accommodation from the new airport in good traffic, (tip) Next time we would fly into Guayaquil as accommodations are a lot closer to the airport,unless you were going to spend more time in Quito.
The Next day it was up early to catch the transport back to the airport, through quarantine with plenty of time to catch our flight over to the Galapagos with AeroGal (great airline) we won’t talk about American Airlines and their service and flight (never again comes to mind) Coming in to land we had a great view of some of the islands and the clear waters that surround them, with images of Great Tortoises in my mind, but alas I was to be disappointed on this day. Baltra Airport is very new and modern, a short time later we were through customs and waiting to board the bus for a 5 min ride down to the pier. As we waiting for the zodiacs to take us and our bags over to the ship, sea lions showing off around the pier and my first Marine Iguana making his way across the road, filled in the time. Once on board we were under way to Sullivan Bay on Santiago island for a afternoon walk on the lava field and our first Galapagos sunset.
Camera Gear that we took for the trip: Canon 7D sigma 50-500 (this lens is heavy)was my main lens that was on the camera most of the time(400mm would be just fine) for landscapes and some wildlife shots I use a Sigma 17-70 great lens,Tripod, Samsung NX300 with 200 zoom light and takes great photos also a GoPro hero3 for underwater videoand stills. One thing to remember is the Wildlife is not that afraid, making it easy to get close to them.
After a long 12 hour drive up from Southern California, I got into Crescent City to meet up with a friend that had driven south from Idaho and we were both glad to be out of our cars.
The next morning it was coffee in town for the morning heart starter and a look around Crescent city, first stop was Battery Point Lighthouse. Sitting on a small island just off shore. when the tide is in, the only way over would of been to swim, “note to self check tide table next time,” would of been nice to get across. Make time to check out the group of seals living in the harbor enjoying leftovers from the fishermen.
Battery Point Lighthouse – taken from the breakwater across from the island
After the trees of mystery. driving to Klamath was the next stop for fuel, just over the bridge going south. Make a right turn and take the Coastal Drive road that follows the coast for a few miles some great vistas of the coast. Also a great spot to watch the salmon fisherman and seals competing for fish. (when in season) Also check out the old WW2 radar station.
Elk Prairie was our camping spot for the next 2 nights, it’s great camping under the giant trees. Another good spot is Mill Creek. From Elk Prairie you can do the Cal-Barrel road, drive over to Gold Bluffs Beach (the road is dirt) and do the short hike to Fern Canyon and check out the Beach. There is also camping there.
Also close by is Lady Bird Johnson Grove on Bald Hills Rd (great view at the top of Bald Hills Rd) Elk Meadows, watch the Elk feed in the afternoon/evenings.
Two of the Hikes I enjoyed the most were Damnation creek trail and Boy Scout trail both about 3 miles each way, there are also loads of smaller walks around if you just want to take is easy. Remember to put your arms around a tree and give it a hug (probably have to be a group hug unless you find a small tree) enjoy. Now for that long drive back to work.
A Great way to spend the day around Los Angeles for Art Lovers and Botanical Garden fans.
Not far from Pasadena in San Marino you will find the the Huntington Library and Botanical Gardens on 120 acres of well keep grounds. not counting the work that is being done on the ground at the time. First off I’am not the library and art collection type of person, however I did walk through most of the indoor exhibits, but at a faster pace than most stopping at the more well know bits “Gainsborough’s Blue Boy and Lawrence’s Pinkie, Gutenberg Bible on Vellum. (well cultured now you say)
The Botanical Gardens part that I liked the most was the Chinese Garden and the Australian Garden, there was an abundance of wildlife to check out, from local resident birds to the hummingbirds buzzing around in front of us, and the lizards that were scurrying across the walkways and between the cactus, stopping for a quick look up and then carry on their way. Not a bad way to spend 4 hours or so.
Next time. I would go on a weekday with gates opening at 10am. Take a zoom lens for the hummingbirds and Lizard. Tripod and my Gopro for some time-lapse. the photos here were taken with a Sigma wide angle 17 – 70 that I was testing and using for the first time. (very pleased with it)
Over the last month we have had this Coyote coming into our back yard for the shade. As long as you are on the tractor or using the mower he just walks pass and takes his spot under the trees for the hottest part of the day.
Just off the coast of Tanzania. (Dar es Salaam) Zanzibar is one of my favorite spots to hang out in. You have the resorts in the North (Nungwi) or you can stay in Stone Town. Where ever you end up staying, swap around so you experience both places. You can catch the ferry from Dar es Salaam and enjoy a 1 1/2 ride across. Inside with Air/con or outside on a bean bag, once you get there fill out the paper work. Stamp the passport and you are in. To fly over it takes around 40 min great views of the islands. when we landed on this occasion they never looked at our Passports.
One of the Resorts Near Nungwi, Zanzibar
If you are going to be going to one of the Resorts in the north of the island you can catch a taxi van just out the front of the ferry terminal ask around. Prices can very. Once there you have beaches, diving, swimming, Cold beer and great food. Dinning next to the ocean you can look down and see lion fish in the clear water below. When you are tired of doing that GO AND DO a spice tour which I would recommend as this what Zanzibar is know for.
Staying only 10 min from the ferry Terminal at the Safari Lodge the place was clean handy to every thing and they do breakfast, With a Labyrinth of walk/bike ways, Stone Town was a great place to get lost in (in a good way) from the Spice market to the Fish and Meat markets too the Tinga Tinga paintings that can be found down every street.
Streets of Stone Town, Zanzibar
In the evenings you can find locals cooking seafood on the waterfront. Try the octopus. cooked as you watch. as you walk along the waterfront you will come across the road tunnel once through, there is a ATM to your left that can be used. if you take the next street to the right and walk down to the beach and you can find them making boats by hand. Taking the street to the left. You will pass Freddy Mercury’s birth place and some bigger shops. The little park on you right has a ATM in it also. At the end of the street there is Africa House great place to watch the Sunset and have a cold one, check out the smoking room.
Catching a boat on the beach in front of Mercury’s Bar. Out to one of the local islands. (Bawe Island) Were you can feed some of the Tortoises they have there, ranging from the young and small to the big and old.
Ladies look at what the local woman are wearing before you go out in your little shorts and tops it’s ok in the resorts but when in the towns cover up a little and you wont get the funny looks. Carry water. Enjoy the Local People their culture and the great food.
They are called Western Fence lizard. Pacific Fence lizard or California Fence Lizard. Whatever you like to call these guys. They make great subjects to photograph. As they sit on their tree stump or rock soaking up the the morning sun. The males do their pushups to impress the ladies. You can get quite close to them and over time they don’t seem to mine you being around.
On this particular day he was out sunning himself. Trying to impress everything that walked passed. After setting up the tripod and camera this little guy seem to get more friendlier and came out for longer periods of time enjoying the spotlight.
I was using a Canon 7D and Sigma 50 to 500 zoom lens for these shots, photos taken in the morning around 8am, Setting ISO 800 | 500mm | f/14 | 1/400
If there is one thing that should be on your bucket list it is seeing the Gorillas in Rwanda or Uganda. When you are sitting in the middle of a group of 25 Gorillas its the biggest buzz in the world. zoo’s will never be the same again.
Starting here at Volcanoes National Park, Kinigi HQ, Rwanda. After check in and a short talk, We were then divided up into groups of 8, put into 4WD’s and taken to the group of Gorillas that was assigned to us, our group were lucky in that our drive was only around 40min before we reached the start of our hike. some groups had an 1-1/2 hour drive. Walking through farm land until we arrived at Volcanoes National Park boundary fence, a very long hand built stone wall to stop the Elephants from crossing over on to the farm land.
Climbing over the fence you enter a dark and wet Bamboo forest, hiking up hill on a muddy, stinging nettle filled animal trail, we climbed steady for the next hour before we reached the armed guides that follow and protect the Gorillas every day. Stopping for a drink and a bit too eat we headed back into the Bamboo again, after about 10 min, rounding a corner there were 2 Gorillas sitting on the trail, walking pass them we come across the main group of adults with babies, feeding and playing, with one very big male Silverback in the middle.
Silverback Gorilla Checking Us Out
Once we started interacting with them they became very relaxed around us, coming in close and just sitting next to you, at one point a young female took a hold of my ankle and move may leg to one side so she could walk passed, a baby was playing up in the bamboo making it bend over above our heads for a closer look.
Taking photos in the Bamboo, The light was not the best due in part to the overcast day and the thickest of the bamboo, but every now and then the sun came through for us letting you get in come nice shots. When we first got there (you only have 1 hour with the Gorillas) taking photos was on every one’s mind which was great, but looking back now I wished I have spend more time just watching them “next time” After our 1 hour and 10min yes we got an extra 10min, it was nice down hill hike back out through the bamboo forest.
Bamboo Covered Hills Of Rwanda
Looking Up from the Trail
You can check out more photos of the Gorillaswe used Africa-in-focus to get us there and back, small groups only,they also did all the bookings/payments for the Gorillas etc which have to be done well in advanced.
Swimming in the Clear water’s off Zanzibar (fujifilm XP)
Small Cameras are the Best
Traveling for 6 months in Africa (Self drive and Tour Operator) We wanted a camera that you could carry everywhere, besides your main camera and this is what I came up with, a Fujifilm XP water/shock/dust and freeze proof, great for your pocket, I even carried it in my boot sock. walking around in towns/cities you stand out and scream rob me if you have a big DSLR hanging around your neck (with a group it’s safer ) and I have seen this happen on a number of occasions and even warned one guy not to take his camera into town, he came back without it and had only just started his trip.
With this camera we only used 2G cards just in case it did get taken, so we wouldn’t lose to many photos in one hit (cards are cheap)
The Sand Dunes of Sossusviei in the Namibia Desert (fujifilm XP)
Dune 45 in Sossusviei, part of the Namibia Desert was another great reason to have a camera of this type with you. SAND
Namibia / Angola river Float (fijifilm XP) What ever brand you choose it is a must have camera on any big or small trip, the benefits outweigh the negatives.
Keep it in your pocket, your sock, or down the front of your swimmers
It’s better to have something than nothing.
On my visits to Yuma Arizona. I alway take the time to find the burrowing owls that live close to were we stay and get some photos. In November the little family group that lived next door were doing fine. But by Christmas they had moved out due to the work that is taking over their living space.When I checked out another area close by, we found 8 birds happily standing in front of their holes. Willing to model. The only problem with this spot was the light. It would have to be an afternoon shoot.I prefer the mornings, something about the light at that time. The light was not strong on this day due to low cloud.
At this location they don’t seem to mind you been around if you move accordingly. After setting up my tripod and camera. I got around 40 mins of good light before the sun hit the clouds and it was over. If you can’t take photos Hang around and watch these little guys. It can also be just as rewarding, and give you ideas for the next time. When you are in Yuma Arizona or the state of Arizona. Keep an eye open for the Burrowing Owls.