Galápagos experience

June 11-21, 2019

 
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the experience

Join us on this photographic adventure of a lifetime to one of the world's most unique wildlife and landscape destinations; the Galápagos Islands. The islands are home to some of the highest levels of endemic species anywhere on the planet.  About 80% of the land birds, 97% of the reptiles and land mammals, 30% of the plants, and more than 20% of the marine species you will see in the Galápagos are found no place else on earth. Favorites include the giant Galápagos tortoise, marine iguanas, flightless cormorants, and the blue-footed boobie. Furthermore, since the animals of the islands have existed free from human contact until recent history, they show little  fear of people; it is as if you are invisible to them.

While the Galápagos are a biologically unique environment, our purpose is to do more than help you photograph animals. As with all of our workshops, our primary goal is to teach you the specific skills you need to convey your unique way of seeing the world. Whether the subjects are animals, landscapes or fisherman, we will show you the technical and artistic tools you need to create images that reflect your personal vision.  With a limit of 14 participants, lunchtime critique sessions, and evening talks about the next days assignment, you will have unlimited access to David and Leonardo's expertise. 

We will have six days and five nights aboard our own private  yacht, the 16-passenger M/Y Millenium from which we will have access to areas that the big boats can't get to. Most importantly (as long as we follow the rules of the Galápagos National Park), we will have the ability to go ashore on our own schedule so we won't miss the best light. And while photography is our priority, we’ll make sure that you find time to relax. There will be opportunities to snorkel (gear will be available on our yacht), swim or just watch the waves. If you want to combine snorkeling and photography with a GoPro, there is even more marine wildlife to capture, such as Galapagos sharks, rays, sea turtles, Galápagos penguins, and countless fish. 

The time aboard the yacht will be bookended by four days on shore; two days on the island of San Cristobal at the beginning and two days on Santa Cruz at the end. Here we will focus on Galapagueño  culture and the interaction of people and this unique environment.  While we will still give you specific assignments to think about, you will have a little bit more freedom to explore than the boat allows so you can search out exactly what interests you. 

This is a photography workshop but non-photographer spouses, partners, and friends are welcome (in fact, whether a photographer or not, the second attendee receives a $250 discount). And since the boat is double occupancy, it is perfect workshop to bring them along!  And remember, from tips to the yacht crew to your plane tickets from Guayaquil and back, everything is included so you don't have to worry about anything but creating memorable images. With a small group (limit of 14 participants), a newly refurbished  yacht, and experienced teachers, this trip is sure to fill up fast, so click the "Sign Me Up!" button and we'll see you in The Galápagos!

 

 

INCLUDES

  • Double occupancy lodging and amenities for six nights aboard yacht.  A limited number of suites are also available for an additional fee
  • Double occupancy lodging in hotels in Guayaquil and Galápagos Islands for five nights. Single rooms available for an additional fee
  • Airfare from Guayaquil-Galápagos-Guayaquil
  • Breakfast in Guayaquil on June 12, 2019
  • Transfer to airport from hotel on June 12, 2018
  • All meals in workshop from June 12-June 21, 2018. 
  • Tips for the Yacht Crew
  • Galápagos National Park Fees and Transit Control Card
  • Photographic guiding and instruction from two pros including location-specific assignments. 
  • Image critiques and post-processing tips

does not INCLUDE

 

scroll down for itinerary

 

10 days / 10 nights

$7949

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night 1

One of our representatives will meet you at the airport and transport you to the four-star Gran Hotel Guayaquil. Relax by the pool or go out and explore this beautiful coastal city.  Because of the challenges of international air-travel, we do not plan for a group dinner on this night but will encourage informal socializing. 

day 1

After a brief introductory breakfast in the hotel restaurant, we will head to the airport for our 90 minute flight to San Cristóbal, the first stop on our Galápagos adventure. This was the landing spot of Charles Darwin in 1830, where he collected his first specie, the San Cristóbal mockingbird, that would later inform his Theory of Evolution. After checking into the hotel and a bite to eat we will head to La Loberia beach where we will see lots of frolicking sea lions as well lava lizards, sea iguanas, frigate birds, yellow warblers, and maybe a blue-footed boobie or two. After a short hike, we will work on different techniques to capture the sunset at this picturesque location. 

day 2

San Cristóbal is the capital of the archipelago and Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, with a population of about 7 thousand people, its largest settlement.  This quaint city offers a wonderful opportunity to work on street-shooting techniques; capturing fisherman painting their boats among the sea lions or a shopkeeper preparing a traditional meal of bolon.  In the afternoon we will visit the Tijeretas visitor site, the very first point  Darwin stopped on his exploration of the island, and hike up Tijeretas Hill, named for the multitudes of frigate birds that nest above its rocky bay. 

day 3

 

In the morning we will transfer to the Millennium to begin our cruise. Our first landing spot will be at the northern end of San Cristobal on "Lobos  Island," which translates as "Sea Lion Island." This aptly named spot is full of  noisy, jolly sea lions who will entertain you with their vocalization and seemingly never-ending quest for a comfortable position to lounge. This island also offers great snorkeling opportunities as well as the chance to see blue-footed and Nazca boobies.

 

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day 4

This morning brings us to Punta Pitt,  one of only two places where one can see a nesting colony of the Red Footed Boobies.  For even more color, the spot offers an amazing landscape full of red Sesuvium, a very special specie of endemic plant that turns color depending on the season, while the beach consists Peridot, a sparkly mineral creation that shines green with sunlight.  In the afternoon we will head back to the mainland of San Cristobal to a location that no other tour offers. We will be visiting the Centro Cultural Galápagos from which the villages co-operatively grows, harvests and roasts coffee beans.  Here we will work on narrative storytelling and techniques to create meaningful portraits. 

day 5

In the morning we visit the gorgeous beach of Cerro Brujo, the only place in the archipelago where Red Footed Boobies, Nasca Boobies and Blue Footed Boobies are found nesting together. We will have stunning views of Leon Dormido or Kicker Rock. This striking formation off the western shore of San Cristobal extends vertically hundreds of feet above the ocean and is divided by a small channel. In the afternoon we will visit the formation and, if you choose, snorkel with the incredible marine life that surround it. We may see sea turtles, manta rays, Sea lions, blue-footed boobies, Nazca boobies, frigate birds, and perhaps the hammer-head sharks that divers flock to the area to spot.

day 6

 

Española Island is one of our favorite spots in the islands. Our first stop,  Suarez Point, is a great for spotting blue-footed boobies, marine iguanas, albatrosses and Nazca boobies and if we are lucky, the Galápagos Hawk. This island is also home to the Punta Suárez blowhole; a magnificent photographic opportunity to experiment with various techniques to capture water spouting high into the air. In the afternoon we will visit Gardner Bay.  A beautiful site on the ocean front, this is the only nesting site for the Galapagos Waved Albatross.  Thanks to the cold waters from the Humboldt current and the upwelling created on its flow, this endemic animal nests on the flat grounds of this island. Their mating ritual is one of the funniest and most beautiful scenes in nature, the beginning of a life-long love story. This is the only nesting population in the world with about thirty thousand individuals. 

 
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day 7

On Floreana Island, we'll stop at Post Office Bay. In the 18th century, whalers passing through the islands placed a wooden barrel here as an unofficial mail box. The tradition continues today as visitors leave addressed postcards in the barrel, while others sort through mail to deliver at home. Afterwards, we will head to Cormorant Point which hosts a large flamingo lagoon where other birds such as common stilts and white-cheeked pintails can also be seen. The beaches on this island are distinct: The “Green Beach” named for the color of vine crystals that make up the sand, while “Four Sand Beach” is composed entirely of white coral. Our last stop this day is Champion Islet, named after the whaler Andrew Champion, a small island located just offshore Floreana Island in the southern part of the Archipelago, considered as one of the most beautiful places on Galápagos for all snorkeling and diving fans and an excellent opportunity for dolphin watching.

day 8

Our last island is Santa Cruz, This island has six vegetation zones, each one with its one ecosystem. The contrast of the arid or littoral zone located on the base of the island just a few meters from the ocean, from the scalesia and miconia zones, found only here and  San Cristobal, is dramatic. One of the rarest bush forests stands here in the center of the island, spread on top of the Twin Craters.  In fact, the highlands of Santa Cruz are one of the biggest green areas of the archipelago and agricultural activities started here in early 1940s. One of those was El Porvenir farm. Another location not offered by any other tour, El Porvenir is not only a working farm, but is home to dozens of wild giant Galapagos tortoise which coexist with the free-range livestock. By law, fences on the property must allow the tortoises to come and go as they please. As you will see, however, they are very happy to bask in the small pond at El Porvenir. Unlike at the oft-crowded Reserva El Chato, we will have the tortoises all to ourselves. In evening we will transfer to the beautiful boutique hotel, Ikala Galapagos.  

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day 9

On the morning of our final full day, we will return to street-shooting so that you can explore the bustling town of Puerto Ayora. You can visit the Charles Darwin Research Station or photograph boats loading and unloading in Academy Bay.  If you haven't had enough wildlife, the harbor is filled with  brown pelicans, golden rays, marine iguanas, herons, lava gulls, frigate birds, Galápagos sea lions, and large numbers of blue-footed boobies.  A contingent may also decide to walk or take a water taxi to the gorgeous Tortuga Bay where you can spot white tip reef sharks, along with all of the other usual suspects.  An evening slideshow of the weeks work will accompany our final dinner. 

day 10

After a final breakfast the Ikala Hotel (and perhaps a dip in the pool) we will transport you to the Baltra airport to catch the flight back to the mainland. 

 

NOTE: This itinerary is subject to change due to park rules, weather conditions or other reasons.