Galapagos Day 14/July 19, Chinese Hat & Cerro Dragon, Santa Cruz Island

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This is the only image that I created on Day 14. It shows most of the group headed towards Dragon Hill without yours truly. I used the Canon 70-200mm f/4L IS lens handheld at 200mm with the EOS-1D Mark IV. ISO 400. Evaluative metering at zero: 1/5000 sec. at f/5. Read on for the explanation….

Galapagos Day 14/July 19, Chinese Hat & Cerro Dragon, Santa Cruz Island

Day 14 was pretty much a day of winding down after nearly two weeks of intense travel and nearly non-stop photography sessions. After sleeping in, some folks opted to stay on the boat, relax, and work on images. Others, myself included, opted for one last snorkeling session. Then it was more relaxing, working on images, and Photoshop lessons for those interested.

Exhausted on all counts, I opted to skip the afternoon landing at Cerro Dragon (Dragon Hill) on Santa Cruz Island. As you will see below, I lived to regret that decision…. Those who made the landing journeyed through a forest of Palo Santo trees and Opuntia cactus to several lagoons where there were Black-necked Stilts but no Great Flamingos. Past the lagoons there were lots of land iguanas that were easy to photograph because of the wide trails and the low vegetation as well as some finches and other landbirds. Denise, who was leading the group along with Juan, spotted the rare and shy Dark-billed Cuckoo. She created several decent images but was short on focal length with only the 500 f/4 lens and the 1.4X II TC. But it was Patrick Sparkman who made me regret not making the landing….

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Thanks again to Patrick Sparkman for allowing me to share his killer Dark-billed Cuckoo image with you here. He used the Canon 800mm f/5.6L IS lens with the 1.4X II TC and the EOS-1D Mark IV. ISO 800. Evaluative metering +1 stop: 1/125 sec. at f/8. I just love the sweet BKGR colors, the loverly lichen covered perch, and the perfect head angle. Way to go Patrick!

Denise and I each head home from Jackson Hole tomorrow. I will be back on Saturday with the final Galapagos journal blog post.

Shopper’s Guide

Below is a list of the gear used to create the two images in this blog post.

Canon 70-200mm f/4 l IS lens
Canon 800mm f/5.L IS lens
Canon EOS-1D Mark IV professional digital camera body
Canon EF Teleconverter 1.4X II

And from the BAA On-line Store:

Gitzo 3530 LS Tripod
Mongoose M3.6 Tripod Head

If you are considering the purchase of a major piece of photographic gear be it a new camera, a long lens, a tripod or a head, or some accessories be sure to check out our complete Shopper’s Guide.

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