Galapagos Day 13/July 18, Morning, North Seymour Island « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Galapagos Day 13/July 18, Morning, North Seymour Island

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This image of a Blue-footed Booby brooding two chicks—the one on our left just hatched minutes before, was created with the Canon 70-200mm f/4L IS lens hand held at 200mm with the EOS-7D. ISO 400. Evaluative metering +2/3 stop: 1/400 sec. at f/8. The 7D/70-200 combo is a great Galapagos rig; it yields an effective focal length range of 112-320mm and is as light as a feather.

Galapagos Day 12/July 17, Morning, North Seymour Island

We made the usual early dry landing on North Seymour and despite a slow start, the morning turned out to be one of the great highlights of the trip. We landed early and for one of the rare times on the trip, we needed to leave the very best early morning spot because this small rocky island is a last-morning stop for many of the tourist boats. Juan had no choice but to keep us moving as group after group landed behind us so we lost the opportunity to enjoy some great flight photography in the sweetest light with frigatebirds flying along the coast. But the rest of the morning turned out to be magical and made up for our loss in spades.

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We did have some good chances with the frigatebirds in flight with their bill pouches inflated. This one was created with the Canon 70-200mm f/4L IS lens and the 1.4X II TC (hand held at 215mm) with the EOS-7D. ISO 800. Evaluative metering +2/3 stop: 1/3200 sec. at f/5.6. And yes, the head angle police would be after me for this one….

Because we had to move along we had a great chance with a beautiful Blue-footed Booby sitting on a rock in gorgeous light with a blue water background. Several members of the group made nice images. I had a perfect vertical lined up and acquired focus, but as I sometimes do, I waited for a perfect image to become more perfect. I guess that it is actually a form of buck fever…. In any case, the bird flew before I made a single image. We walked about 1/ 2 mile until we came upon a concentration of frigatebird nests most of them right down sun angle. That was important as the morning started off clear.

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This preening male Great Frigatebird was photographed with the Canon 800mm f/5.6L IS lens, the 1.4X II TC, and the EOS-1D Mark IV. ISO 400. Evaluative metering at zero: 1/400 sec. at f/9. Note the careful framing and the fact that the bird’s head is perfectly parallel to the imaging sensor.

For the next hour or so we enjoyed some excellent flight photography and had a chance to photograph some large Great Frigatebird chicks in the nest in sweet light. Perhaps 15 minutes after we moved on we came upon an open area with about eight pairs of Blue-footed Boobies. Some were doing the courtship dance, some were on eggs, and some had a small chick or two in the nest. And unbeknownst to us, a single egg hatched while we were there. As happened so many times on the trip, we got lucky as the clouds rolled in. We stayed with the boobies for more than three hours. As is often the case in the Galapagos, it was possible to make great images with just about any lens.

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These displaying Blue-footed Boobies were photographed with the Canon 70-200mm f/4L IS lens hand held at 108m with the EOS-7D. ISO 800. Evaluative metering +1/3 stop: 1/640 sec. at f/10. Here I set ISO 800 to allow for some extra depth-of-field to ensure that I had both birds sharp with enough shutter speed to render both birds sharp.

As detailed in my 7D User’s Guide, I love to use Auto Select 19 point AF mode with the 7D. Basically, all of the AF points are selected and the camera chooses which points to make active. And best of all, when you are working in AI Servo AF as I was doing here, the activated points light up. (With EOS professional camera bodes, the activated sensors do not light up when you are working in AI Servo AF.)

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When I work in the Main Window with Breezebrowser Pro, I check Show Foucusing Points so that I can see which focusing points were active when the exposure was made. As you can see here, the 7D performed perfectly. I edit the images from each photography session quickly and easily while using Breezebrowser. To learn more about this great program and about Downloader Pro, click here.

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This dancing Blue-footed Booby image was created with the Canon 70-200mm f/4L IS lens with the 1.4X II TC (hand held at 202mm with the EOS-7D. ISO 800. Evaluative metering +1/3 stop: 1/500 sec. at f/10 set manually.

Before we knew it it was time to head back to the landing, board the pangas, and head back to the Beagle for lunch and the short navigation to Bartolome.

Shopper’s Guide

Here is the gear that I used on our great morning at Punta Suarez:

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
Canon EOS 7D

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.

1 comment to Galapagos Day 13/July 18, Morning, North Seymour Island

  • Lesley Kes

    The tiny Blue-footed Booby chick is very sweet. The shot of the preening male Great Frigatebird is fantastic and the lighting is beautiful.