Galapagos Photo Expedition – Day 6

28 Feb 2013

This day was spent on the island of Santa Cruz.  The highlight in terms of natural history and photography was a trip up into the uplands to visit a nature reserve where many of the Galapagos Giant Tortoises were roaming freely around the property.  It was overcast, and the light was nice and even for photographing these animals in their lush surroundings.

We fanned out and soon found several individuals, some feeding, some apparently just hanging out.  One male was particularly active, and several photo workshop members and I watched and followed him for some time.

First I got some nice tight shots of him feeding…

Galapagos Giant Tortoise feeding in the uplands of Santa Cruz Island, Galapagos.

Galapagos Giant Tortoise feeding in the uplands of Santa Cruz Island, Galapagos.

 

Then I experimented with a 45 mm Tilt-Shift lens I had brought along, shooting wide open and tilting the plane of the depth of field to throw the background out of focus severely.  Just as I was lying on the ground trying this out, I got a great big yawn from the tortoise which I captured here….

Galapagos Giant Tortoise Yawning.  Uplands of Santa Cruz Island, Galapagos.

Galapagos Giant Tortoise Yawning. Uplands of Santa Cruz Island, Galapagos.

 

Just before we were about to leave, the most active male suddenly started pursuing a nearby female.  It was the most action we had seen all day and it was great to see and capture this behavior…..

Galapagos Giant Tortoise male pursuing a female.

Galapagos Giant Tortoise male pursuing a female.

 

Finally the male attempted to mount and mate with the female.  An amazing sight for such ungainly large animals, and a fitting end to our afternoon of photographing these ancient creatures….

Galapagos Giant Tortoise male mounting a female and attempting to mate.

Galapagos Giant Tortoise male mounting a female and attempting to mate.

 

 

 

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