Galapagos Photography—An Addictive Pursuit

By Tui De Roy

I grew up in the Galapagos Islands, picked up my first camera when I was 12, and published my first cover story, in Audubon magazine, at the age of 19. Since then, I’ve traveled the world capturing wildlife images in the most remote and pristine locations on all seven continents. Yet like a giant magnet, Galapagos keeps pulling me back. Why, you might ask, focus so much attention on a relatively small group of islands, even if its wildlife is — by any standards — exceptional?

The answer lies not just in the extraordinary wildlife itself, but in the ever-changing scenes that present themselves at every turn and corner: a penguin sitting on top of an iguana, a playful sea lion pulling another iguana’s tail, a Darwin’s finch picking ticks off of a giant tortoise, etc, etc.

A couple of times a year I lead special photography workshops for California-based Galapagos Travel, and the first thing I tell people is that I have never, ever done a trip where we didn’t encounter something that I’ve never photographed before. It could be an underwater penguin feeding frenzy, a sea lion being born, an orca eating a stingray — you never know, but that something never fails to materialize.

Some people think that they can “see Galapagos” in three or four days; oh how wrong they are!  For me, fifty years and counting (see my latest book A Lifetime in Galapagos) isn’t long enough yet to capture all the magical facets of this bewitching archipelago.

The key is to take it slow and stay at each location long enough to discover how scenes evolve, and above all, to select a trip that allows you to see all of the major islands, as each one is very different, often with its own unique species. On my trips, every day we land at sunrise, return to our floating home for snorkeling and lunch, then stay ashore again until sunset. That’s why I love working with Galapagos Travel: they’re the only outfit dedicated to seeing Galapagos truly in-depth, the way I see it. Whether you’re a photographer, an artist, a poet or simply someone who loves wildlife, there are no better trips to immerse yourself, quite literally, in an unforgettable Galapagos experience.

Itineraries spend either 11 or 15 days aboard a 16-passenger yacht, exploring the archipelago thoroughly.
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