Galapagos Day 9/Morning, July 14: Floreana Highlands « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Galapagos Day 9/Morning, July 14: Floreana Highlands

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This approximately 20 year old Galapagos Tortoise is a relative youngster; it is likely that many of these animals live to more than 150 years in the wild. I photographed this captive tortoise with the handheld Canon 70-200mm f/4L IS lens, the 1.4X II TC, and the EOS-1D MIV. ISO 800. Evaluative metering +1 stop: 1/160 sec. at f/6.3. Unless you are able to solidly brace your rig when handholding even a medium telephoto lens it is imperative to be in AI Servo AF (C for Nikon) rather than One-Shot (S for Nikon). Why? If you are using One-Shot AF and your position shifts just slightly your image will not be accurately focused.

Galapagos Day 9/July 14, Morning: Floreana Highlands

We sailed overnight to Floreana and made a dry landing on the northwestern shore of the island. We boarded a chiva, an open truck with four bench seats and drove up into the highlands. On our way to the Peace Asylum facility we made a stop for finches. We saw several species including Medium Tree Finch but photography was difficult at best. Once we arrived at the tortoise shelter we took a short hike up a hill and entered the concrete-walled enclosure; there were about 65 tortoises on the several acre plot. They are kept only for educational purposes only never to be bred or be released back into the wild. Why? Biologists are–at present–attempting to keep each island’s subspecies as pure as possible. The giant reptiles were much easier to approach than those living in the wild so we were able to make tight close-ups with even the 70-200 lenses.

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I used the fish eye lens and Live View to create this image of a captive tortoise at the Peace Asylum; though the animals are much more tame than those in the wild it was still important to get low and move very slowly. Canon 15mm fish eye lens handheld with the EOS-1D MIV. Live View. ISO 400. Evaluative metering -1/3 stop: 1/200 sec. at f/5.6. To learn to use Live View for nature photography with either the Mark IV or the EOS-7D check out our Mark IV and 7D User’s Guides.

After our photography session Juan gave a rather interesting history lesson on some of the early inhabitants of Floreana. Then it was lunch and a short navigation to our afternoon landing.

Shopper’s Guide

Here is the gear that I used that morning at the Peace Asylum Sanctuary:

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

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 Shopper’s Guide.

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