Galapagos Day 3/July 8: Puerto Egas. And Shopper’s Guide « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Galapagos Day 3/July 8: Puerto Egas. And Shopper’s Guide

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After seeing an Andy Rouse image of a Sally Lightfoot crab on black lava rock surrounded by a blurred wave (in his book, Concepts of Nature), I was determined to try something similar on my next Galapagos visit. This image was created with the tripod-mounted Canon 800mm f/5.6L IS lens and the EOS-1D MIV. ISO 50. Evaluative metering -2 stops off the crab on the black rock alone: 1/30 sec. at f/9. (I knew that I would need to underexpose quite a bit to avoid losing detail in the white water of the breaking waves; I needed to check the histogram a few times to get it right.)

Puerto Egas

After a wet landing on a black volcanic sand beach at James Bay, Peurto Egas, Santiago, we enjoyed a coast walk in cloudy bright conditions. The best photography was afforded by the numerous Sally Lightfoot crabs and the plentiful marine iguanas. In addition we got to photograph Small Ground Finches, Galapagos Flycatcher, Galapagos Mockingbird, and lots of Striated Heron (this species and Lava Heron have recently been lumped even though the two forms are somewhat distinct). At the underwater grotto at the end of the walk we encountered more than half a dozen Galapagos Fur Seal Lions. Though they were cooperative subjects they were quite difficult to photograph even in the ideal light.

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This image was originally a two-frame stitched pano but I was not happy with is so I cropped tighter on the face of the Marine Iguana that was resting its head on the back of the other one. Much better. The image was created with the
Canon 800mm f/5.6L IS lens and the EOS-1D MIV. ISO 800. Evaluative metering at zero: 1/60 sec. at f/10.
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I was intrigued by the dessicated carcass of a Marine Iguana so I grabbed the 70-200f/4L IS lens (handheld at 200mm) with the Mark IV attached and added a 25mm Extension tube for close focus. ISO 800. Evaluative metering +2/3 stop: 1/100 sec. at f/6.3. Better technique would have found the lens on a tripod so that I could gone to a smaller aperture for more depth-of-field.
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Setting the White Balance to shade rendered the color of this Galapagos Fur Sea Lion’s thick coat accurately. This tropical species is the world’s third most heavily insulated mammal. It is easily separated from Galapagos Sea Lion by its shorter snout. The photograph was created with the tripod-mounted Canon 800mm f/5.6L IS lens and the EOS-1D MIV. ISO 400. Evaluative metering + 1/3 stop: 1/80 sec. at f/5.6.
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This Small Ground Finch was photographed with the Canon 800mm f/5.6L IS lens, a 25mm Extension tube, and the EOS-1D Mark IV. ISO 800. Evaluative metering + 2/3 stop: 1/200 sec. at f/6.3. With its 19 foot plus minimum focusing distance I keep a 25 tube on the lens whenever small landbirds are the expected subjects; this allows me to focus down to approximately 16 feet. The combination of having the birds on a rocky shelf at eye level and a distant background yielded a pleasing image in the BAA style.

That afternoon we sailed around the northern tip of Isabella and stopped for our first snorkeling session at Cape Marshall, Isabella. Though the water was on the cold side–heck, it was way cold even with a wet suit–we enjoyed our swim with the sea lions, sea turtles, and a huge school of colorful Yellow-tailed Surgeon. With the Beagle peacefully anchored that night, we all slept long and well.

Shopper’s Guide

  1. I have been doing telephoto photography for almost three decades now. My knowledge in the area of equipment for long lens nature photography is quite specialized and I am opinionated. But I know what works and what does not and for more than 20 years I have been willing and eager to share. And have done just that.
  2. If you are looking to spend some money on photography gear and have checked the BAA Store, the Bulletin Archives and the Blog, chatted with friends, posted questions on line and are still confused, feel free to e-mail me at for advice. I have helped thousands of folks over the past two plus decades and would be glad to help you. I will always—depending on my travel schedule—strive to get back to you in a timely fashion. And my first concern will always be to help you get the right gear in your hands. In my absence my right-hand man, Jim Litzenberg, will likely be able help.
  3. BIRDS AS ART has recently added B&H Photo as a sponsor joining Hunt’s whose Gary Farber has been a big supporter for years not only of BAA but of NANPA, the NANPA scholarship students, and many other worthy photographic causes. Eagle-eyed visitors will have noted that recent Bulletins and Blog posts have included active links to the B&H web site for most mentioned equipment. I have always urged folks ready to spend many thousands of dollars on a new lens or the latest camera body to comparison shop, to price an item at Hunt’s and to price it at B&H and to be sure to get a complete quote that includes the shipping charges and any tax. I urge you to do the same today.
  4. BIRDS AS ART does not sell cameras or lenses, but we do carry a wide range of photographic accessories and educational materials. We offer only the very best tripods and tripod heads. We will not sell you junk as pretty much every other specialized mail order operation will. We sell what I use every day and what I believe in. Everything that we sell is competitively priced; we try to sell all of our tripods and heads for “one cent less than B & H or Hunts. As a thank you for the information that we provide via e-mail, Bulletins, and the Blog, was do ask for your business. Know that it is greatly appreciated.
  5. Hunt’s does not offer a click-through program similar to that offered by B&H but you can always check their prices at on the website. Gary will continue running his great BAA Specials in selected Bulletins. In a recent Hunt’s Special he was selling Canon EOS-1D Mark IV bodies at a lower price than B&H. It always pays to compare. And best of all, you can contact Gary personally to ensure that you will be getting Hunt’s very best price: by calling his direct line at 1-617-462-2332 or by e-mail to He will do his best to get you a low price and great customer service.
  6. We ask the following. Once you have comparison shopped:
    • If you decide to order through Hunt’s, please let them know that you were referred by BIRDS AS ART.
    • If you decide to purchase from B&H, please either click on a direct product link in a Bulletin, a Blog post, or in Gear Bag or on the general B&H shopping link immediately below. If you opt for B&H, do know that a small percentage of your purchase price helps to fund production of both the BAA Bulletins and blog posts and is a great way to thank us for 15 years of equipment advice. Your purchase price will be unchanged.
  7. Please don’t forget to e-mail me with your equipment questions. Spending a lot of money on the wrong gear gets old fast. I see it every day…. We are in a better position to answer your equipment questions than the folks at any camera store. As above, we do appreciate your continued patronage of the BAA On-Line Store for your tripod, tripod head, photographic accessory, and educational material needs.

4 comments to Galapagos Day 3/July 8: Puerto Egas. And Shopper’s Guide

  • Art, I love both the crab and the Iguana resting. Both very artistic and captivating.


  • Beautiful shots. I especially like the crab. The flowing water is fantastic.
    I also love the finch. Very cute bird. I just finished two books on evolution and they both mention the Galapagos Darwin Finches a lot. This are extremely interesting birds and also beautiful photographic subjects!

  • The two Iguana shots are priceless. The first tells it all, how peaceful they live. The second, how life ends peacefully. The crab is wonderful as well, the image could be named ‘Ambush’.