Galapagos Photo Expedition – Day 3

Galapagos Marine Iguana crosses the lava floes of Fernandina Island to head out to the ocean for its morning feed.

Galapagos Marine Iguana crosses the lava floes of Fernandina Island to head out to the ocean for its morning feed.

 

25 Feb 2014

We had an otherworldly morning on Fernandina Island.  We landed at dawn, in a hazy, humid overcast onto bare lava rock.  Piles of ancient, primitive looking Marine Iguanas were everywhere on the fresh black lava.  A truly prehistoric feeling, like being dropped into a primeval world.

I worked on some ideas of how to capture that feeling.  First I concentrated on very slow shutter pan blurs of iguanas moving over the lava as they went out to the ocean for their morning feed.  It seemed to be working and you can see one example above.

 

Galapagos Marine Iguana grazing on algae on the sea bed.  These are the only lizards in the world that feed in the ocean.

Galapagos Marine Iguana grazing on algae on the sea bed. These are the only lizards in the world that feed in the ocean.

 

After over three hours of working the lava terrain and its wildlife, including sea lions, Flightless Cormorants, Blue-footed Boobies, and Sally Lightfoot Crabs, we headed back to the boat for a quick switch to snorkeling gear, and headed back to the coast of Fernandina by Zodiac.  The shoreline was again black lava, covered in iguanas. The water was rich in plankton and basically like green soup (these are the rich colder waters of the western Galapagos, and area of upwelling sea), but no sooner had I jumped in than I saw three sea turtles right below me.  I spent my snorkeling time searching for the Marine Iguanas in the water, and eventually had some luck.  I was able to follow one foraging iguana and approach and photograph it as it grazed on algae.  I was excited to be able to capture this unique behavior.

Truly a great morning with in this amazing place.

Galapagos Marine Iguana swimming in the sea off Fernandina Island.

Galapagos Marine Iguana swimming in the sea off Fernandina Island.

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