The Galapagos Islands are a nature lover's paradise: the multi-island ecosystem is comprised of several microclimates, each offering a wide array of landscapes with ample opportunities for animal watching. I recently explored the Galapagos aboard Pikaia Lodge's private yacht, which is a relatively new offering in the often cruise-laden destination. With just a short flight from Quito, you can be transported to a South American haven, where evolution is on full display and animals exhibit no fear. Learn more about documenting the Galapagos experience below.
Documenting Your Lodge
During my trip to the Galapagos Islands, I had the opportunity to stay at Pikaia Lodge, an eco-friendly sanctuary located in the hills of Santa Cruz Island. With sustainability serving as a paramount pillar, Pikaia Lodge is a design wonder. It's easy to document the resort from the foothills of the property, as the lodge sits adjacent to a wild giant tortoise reserve, perfect for wildlife spotting in between dips in the infinity pool.
Capturing Life on a Yacht
Pikaia Lodge operates on a private yacht system, which allows the establishment to take travelers throughout the Galapagos Islands, offering unprecedented access to some of the world's most exotic wildlife sanctuaries along the way. Pikaia I, pictured here, is Pikaia Lodge's largest yacht, ringing in at over 100 feet. With this much space to move about, it's easy to capture the beauty of the islands from the yacht's ample outdoor decks.
The Variety of Birds You will See
In order to best capture the birds in the Galapagos, make sure your camera is on automatic focus. But more so than anywhere else on earth, you actually have time to focus in manual if you wish to do so, as none of the species in the Galapagos exhibit fear towards humans. This means that birds will stay in their position without instinctively flying away, even when human's are near. Although it's important to maintain a safe distance from the animals to make sure this way of life is maintained, it's easy to get in close for the perfect shot.
Spotting Lizards and Iguanas
Lizards and Iguanas may be some of the hardest animals to spot in the Galapagos, as they tend to blend seamlessly with their surroundings. When on land, stay on the lookout for bright yellow land iguanas; when near water, look for the marine iguanas that often blend with the coal black lava rock.
Views from an Infinity Pool
If you're staying in one of the premiere lodges in the Galapagos, odds are you'll have a beautiful pool to enjoy during downtime between expeditions. At Pikaia Lodge, the infinity pool is the epitome of perfection. Acres of wildlife reserve can be seen in the distance, while the dotted cloud coverage offers a multi-hued green landscape. Photograph this shot head one, as to not separate the infinity pool from the landscape, making it appear to flow into the landscape.
Photographing Water Creatures
Sea lions often come to shore, offering the perfect opportunity to document these wild, docile creatures. During the Pikaia Lodge expedition to North Seymour Island, a baby sea lion made its way towards shore in the search for shade underneath a thin tree.
Capture Birds in Flight
On North Seymour Island, birds are constantly in flight. Keep your focus on automatic, making you ready to document the birds as they make their way to the next tree perch. Pictured here is the male frigatebird, which grows a large red gular pouch to attract a female during mating season.
At the close of my last expedition with Pikaia Lodge, a beautiful sunset beckoned our yacht back to shore. Sunsets are the perfect way to capture the ending of a voyage, evoking emotion as they represent the end of a joyous journey.