Ecoventura was lucky to have wildlife photographer Renato Granieri spend a week exploring the Galapagos Islands on board the MV Origin. We’re delighted to share his expert tips for capturing the best moments from your Galapagos cruise. We hope you take a moment to enjoy Renato’s guest post and photo essay of his Ecoventura vacation below!
Taking pictures in the Galapagos Islands is an absolute dream for wildlife photographers. A variety of species co-exist in diverse eco-systems and animals can often be encountered at close quarters.
This was my second visit to the archipelago made famous by Charles Darwin, and I was eager to return with as gentle an environmental footprint as possible. The Galapagos Islands are a fragile paradise and visiting is a privilege – that’s something every tourist should consider.
I chose to travel with Ecoventura and MV Origin because of their green ethos, and also because of the small group numbers (max 20 guests) – ideal if you want to take photographs without too much disturbance.
Meet the islands’ A-listers
Giant tortoise at a study centre in San Cristobal – Photo Credit via Renato Granieri
The giant tortoise is a poster boy for the islands where subspecies have adapted to their surroundings. One of the best ways to photograph these majestic creatures is with a wide angle lens (a 14-24mm is ideal) from a low perspective, depicting them as mighty prehistoric creatures.
Look out for mini monsters
Black iguana in Fernandina – Photo Credit via Renato Granieri
Another favorite reptile of mine is the marine iguana. We encountered hundreds of these sun-seeking sea and land animals on the youngest island Fernandina. Shooting against the sun, I slightly underexposed my shot to silhouette this iguana with the MV Origin in the background.
Boobies are perfect posers
Blue-footed booby in flight at Black Turtle Cove, Santa Cruz – Photo Credit via Renato Granieri
Nazca booby courtship; a male is offering a stone to its partner as a gift, Genovesa – Photo Credit via Renato Granieri
Red-footed booby in Genovesa – Photo Credit via Renato Granieri
There are three types of booby birds in the Galapagos: the red-footed, blue-footed and Nazca. One island where you can see all three is Genovesa, a very important stop on our seven-day itinerary.
Before even picking up your camera, it’s worth sitting down and observing behavior. The courtship displays are charming and often humorous. Pro tip: be bold with pictures; I was fascinated by the striking webbed feet of the red-footed booby, so decided to use them to fill my frame.
There’s just as much to see underwater
Green turtles in Isabela – Photo Credit via Renato Granieri
Galapagos sea lions in Isabela – Photo Credit via Renato Granieri
The treasures of the Galapagos aren’t just on land – underwater encounters are also wonderful. The MV Origin itinerary offers plenty of opportunities to swim and snorkel at various sites around the archipelago. Invest in an underwater camera to take some memorable shots of green turtles and playful Galapagos sea lions.
People are important too!
A guest enjoying a cooking lesson by the head chef on board – Photo Credit via Renato Granieri
Kayaking and standing paddle are regular activities offered – Photo Credit via Renato Granieri
Zodiac cruising under the guidance of experienced local guides is one of the best ways to learn about wildlife – Photo Credit via Renato Granieri
We learned about the geology of the islands during a hike – Photo Credit via Renato Granieri
Yes, wildlife is undoubtedly the star of the Galapagos Islands, but don’t forget to capture images of that other charismatic species – homo sapiens! Taking pictures of activities will help tell the story of your trip to friends and family. The beauty of this destination is, after all, the interaction between humans and nature.
To book your Galapagos cruise with Ecoventura on the luxurious MV ORIGIN, please visit ORIGIN’s website for more details on our departure dates and special offers!