Location: Galapagos Islands / Ecuador
Duration: 10 nights / 11 days
Group Size: Max 14
Level of fitness required: Easy
Tatra Photography is inviting you to join them on a photography tour you will never forget. Our planet is home to some extraordinary places, but none can quite compare to the Galapagos Islands. Located in the eastern Pacific Ocean, just off the west coast of South America, The Galapagos Islands are made-up of 18 volcanic islands and over 100 islets. The scenery is beautiful, characterized by volcanic peaks, lava fields, white sandy beaches and crystal clear waters. However, as stunning as it is, it’s not the Island’s scenery that is its main draw – instead, it is its extraordinary wildlife.
Due to their isolation, the wildlife on each of the remote islands evolved independently, adapting individually to their environment. The wildlife here is like nothing else on earth and inspired Darwin’s theory of evolution during the voyage of the Beagle. During this Tatra Photography workshop, we too will be able to visit and explore the different Islands, witnessing and photographing the unique wildlife – for example, marine iguanas, flightless cormorants, tiny penguins, graceful tropicbirds and the giant tortoise. The wildlife residing here have little fear of humans, meaning often you can get within touching distance – resulting in unique opportunities for photography. It really isn’t hard to understand why the Galapagos is on so many peoples ‘bucket list’ – visiting the Islands is quite literally the experience of a lifetime.
In the company of a local guide, we will explore the Galapagos’ archipelago Islands and take photos of its amazing natural history at every opportunity. We will tour the Galapagos on our own luxury cruise ship and when not on the Islands, there will be time to relax, swim and snorkel. During the workshop, you will be in the capable hands of two of the UK’s best professional natural history photographers – Ben Hall and Andrew Parkinson. Between them, they offer participants a wide, varying range of skills and expertise – perfectly suited to the range of subjects we will be seeing and photographing during the tour. With two tutors on one course, each guest is guaranteed lots of one-to-one tuition in the field and advice on how to produce wow-factor wildlife shots. It’s an opportunity too good to miss.
Your tutors for this workshop are Ben Hall & Andrew Parkinson Ben is one of Britain’s foremost wildlife photographers. His personal approach to nature photography lies in the creative art of ‘seeing’. His aim is to use his pictures to communicate his personal vision, to generate an emotional response and to excite the viewer’s aesthetic sensitivity. He is described by “Living Edge” magazine as ‘a passionate and experienced wildlife photographer, with a perfectionist’s eye for detail’. Ben’s work is represented by Getty images, RSPB Images and Naturepl and is sold worldwide.
Ben specialises in bird and mammal photography and has won numerous international awards including category wins in the British Wildlife Photography Awards and the Windland Smith Rice International Awards. In 2009 he was named ‘Geographical’ Photographer of the Year. He is a regular contributor to clients as diverse as BBC Wildlife, PhotoPlus magazine, Digital SLR User, Photography Monthly and many more. He has appeared on numerous radio and television programmes including BBC’s Walk on The Wild Side and is a member of the 2020VISION photo team. Ben has just finished writing his first book, Wildlife Photography Workshop, which he co-authored with Ross Hoddinott.
Andy is a feature contributor to National Geographic magazine and a multi-award winning wildlife photographer. His images have been awarded three times in Wildlife Photographer of the Year, three times in the European Wildlife Photographer of the Year and in 2016, as well as winning two categories he was also named as the overall winner in Bird Photographer of the Year. He is also the most successful photographer in the history of the British Wildlife Photography Awards with over 30 awarded images and three category wins. In 2012 he was named the Nature Photojournalist of the Year with a portfolio of 12 images captured whilst working on assignment for National Geographic.
Andy works exclusively with wild animals and birds and has also appeared on various TV and radio shows, most notably on Countryfile when he attempted to show comedian Jo Brand how to capture images of wildlife. He is also becoming known as much for his writing as he is for his images and among others he writes regularly on wildlife/environmental/ethical issues for his regular Opinion piece in Outdoor Photography magazine.
His images are marketed all over the world by a network of the world’s leading international agencies including Getty images, Nature Picture Library, RSPB Images, FLPA and NHPA/Photoshot and his images have been sold in more than 50 countries worldwide. He also produces regular photo features for some of the world’s most prestigious magazines including National Geographic, Audubon, Geo and Terre Sauvage. He is also the UK’s most prolific feature contributor to BBC Wildlife magazine having completed 9 photo stories for them, often on subjects which he finds close to his Derbyshire home. His images have also appeared in magazines such as New Scientist, National Geographic Traveller, Geographical and Natural History, newspapers such as the New York Times, Daily Telegraph, Times, the Guardian, Independent as well as online media such as HuffPostUS, on the home page of search engine Bing and on the Discovery Channel.
He lives in Derbyshire with his wife Claire and their two dogs.
The brand new Cormorant incorporates the very best of Galapagos Catamaran design providing a stable and comfortable cruising experience around the Galapagos Islands making it the newest and most luxurious boats in the Galapagos. We will have a dedicated cruise director and top naturalist guide for a personalised Galapagos cruise experience. The ship has eight twin/double staterooms located on two decks with extensive public areas. With the archipelago being such a dream destination for outdoor and nature enthusiasts there is plenty of outside space including a large sundeck, an open-air bar and an al fresco dining area where you can take in the islands’ spectacular scenery while enjoying a delicious meal. The sundeck is great for whale and dolphin spotting or relaxing in the Jacuzzi. In the evening there is no better place for stargazing.
Being a small and exclusive catamaran the Head Chef can cater to any special dietary requirements when advised in advance and according to the availability of products in Ecuador. His creative and individual approach to our group makes the culinary experience a special one.
The Cormorant has a spacious outside deck area at the stern of the vessel for relaxing breakfasts, lunches and dinners. You can enjoy the beautiful sites of the Galapagos while savouring carefully designed menus that can be tailored to your tastes and needs.
During short and long Galapagos cruises you will be able to enjoy BBQ’s with freshly caught fish and delicious meats and grilled vegetables. With perfectly prepared local and international dishes, you can sit back and take in the view.
Day 1 – SATURDAY- ARRIVAL IN GALAPAGOS
am: Baltra Island: Arrival in Baltra airport and transfer to the boat. Briefing onboard about the boat and the island.
pm: Santa Cruz – Bachas Beach: Located on the north shore of Santa Cruz, Las Bachas is a swimming beach. One of the few remnants of the U.S. World War II presence in the Galapagos, a floating pier, can be seen here. You may see flamingos, Sally Lightfoot crabs, hermit crabs, black necked stilts, and whimbrels. Sea turtles also nest off the beach.
Day 2 – SUNDAY
am: Bartholomew – Pinnacle Rock: Home of the famous Pinnacle Rock, Bartholomew consists of an extinct volcano with a variety of red, orange, black and even green volcanic formations. A trail of stairs leads to the summit of the volcano, boasting one o the best views of the islands. The beach is perfect for snorkeling and possible sightings of the Galapagos Penguin.
pm: Santiago – Sullivan Bay: Located southeast of Santiago Island, Sullivan Bay is of great geological interest. The area is covered by Pahoehoe lava flows combined with A’A lava. It was very active 200 years ago. This flow is geologically very young. The magma formed is flat, but the movement of underground lava, the rapid cooling and other eruptions led to the break in many places.
Day 3 – MONDAY
am: South Plaza Island: In the morning, you will head to South Plaza Island. This small island with steep cliffs was formed by rising lava and is now covered by Opuntia cacti. It is also home to one of the largest sea lion colonies as well as colorful yellow and red land iguanas. The most characteristic plant is the Sesuvium. During the rainy season its color is a greenish to yellowish tone and in the dry season (end of June through January) a bright red.
pm: Santa Fe Island: Santa Fe (Barrington) is home to the small picturesque bay and anchorage on the island’s northeast coast. The bay has two visitor trails, one leading to a scenic viewpoint atop a cliff, and the other spanning from a small beach to a tall prickly pear cactus forest.
Day 4 – TUESDAY
am: San Cristobal – Cerro Brujo: Located on the northern coast, this eroded hill and its surroundings present one of the most picturesque beaches in the Galapagos with its white powdery sand and the abundance of animals. Wildlife includes sea turtles, rays, and various types of Booby Birds. The clear water provides an excellent opportunity to enjoy swimming and snorkeling.
pm: San Cristobal – Pitt point: Pitt Point, situated on the north-eastern tip of the island, hosts frigatebirds, storm petrels, and all three types of Booby Birds: the Nazca, Blue-footed and Red-footed Boobies. A steep trail goes up a cliff and through a ravine leading visitors to an area with an abundance of birds. This site is also great for snorkeling and scuba diving.
Day 5 – WEDNESDAY
am: San Cristobal – Isla Lobos: Isla Lobos or Lobos Island is named after the sea lions that rest and play on its rocky shores. It is also home to blue-footed boobies, great frigate-birds, brown pelicans, lava gulls, common noddies, yellow warblers and small and medium ground finches. There is good snorkeling in the clear waters of the channel and this is one of the best sites at which to swim with sea lions underwater.
pm: San Cristobal – Leon Dormido: This striking rock formation is located a couple hours off the western shore of San Cristobal. Jutting out of the water, the rocks stand vertically at hundreds of feet above the ocean divided by a small channel. Although there are no landing areas, kayaking and scuba diving allow visitors to spot a variety of marine life.
Day 6 – THURSDAY
am: Española – Suárez Point: This area is great for spotting Blue-footed Boobies, albatrosses and Nazca Boobies. A beautiful site on the ocean front, the large Waved Albatrosses use the cliff as a launching pad. The famous attraction is the magnificent blowhole, spurting water high into the air. This site presents wonderful photograph opportunities.
pm: Española – Gardner Bay: Gardner Bay, on the eastern side of the island, is the breeding site of nearly all of the world´s 12,000 pairs of Waved Albatrosses. It has an ample white sandy beach with a myriad of sea lions, perfect for relaxing. Its rocky shores make this site a great place for diving and snorkeling.
Española – Osborn Islet: After landing, you can walk across a lovely white sand beach amongst a busy sea lion colony or dive into the water to swim with sea lion pups. This small island is a marine visit where you can enjoy fantastic snorkeling and swimming.
Day 7 – FRIDAY
am: Floreana – Cormorant Point: This site hosts a large flamingo lagoon where other birds such as common stilts, White-cheeked Pintails can also be seen. The beaches on this island are distinct: The “Green Beach” named so due to its green color, which comes from a high percentage of olivine crystals in the sand, and the “Four Sand Beach” composed of white coral.
Floreana – Champion Islet: A small island located very near Floreana, snorkeling and diving around Champion can be excellent. Champion Rock is a beautiful drift dive on a wall. The walls are covered with black coral bushes and yellow cup corals and if you take a close look you are likely to find a Pacific seahorse or some of several species of hawkfish, as well as green turtles, salema and surgeonfish.
pm: Floreana – Post Office Bay: In the 18th century whalers passing through the islands placed a wooden barrel on Floreana Island for use as an unofficial mail box. The tradition continues today as visitors leave addressed postcards in the barrel and sort through left mail to deliver at home.
Floreana – Baroness’ Observatory: Baroness Viewpoint is a fantastic place to absorb the environment of the Galapagos. Once inhabited by an indulgent Baroness and her three lovers, the history of this island is intriguing. The legends about this baroness are associated with a fascinating murder mystery. There are easy trails in this area for exploring the flora and fauna of Floreana.
Day 8 – SATURDAY – SANTA CRUZ & DEPARTURE
am: Santa Cruz – Charles Darwin Station: The Charles Darwin Research Station is home to turtles ranging from 3-inches (new hatchlings) to 4-feet long. Sub-species of turtles interact with one another and many of the older turtles are accustomed to humans, stretching out their heads for a pet. The babies are kept until they are about four years old and strong enough to survive on their own.
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