Hi, I’m back! As you might have seen from Instagram I am finally back in New York City and boy is it chilly! Anything below 30 degrees is too cold in my book but going from 93 to 27 in one day was certainly a shock to the system. All in all I now have 4,300 photos and 272 separate video clips to dig through from our ten days in South America, a task I am very much looking forward to, but alas, I must go back to work. Hopefully I will have some additional travel pictures to share with you later this week but until then my Galapagos photography tips:
(1) Bring the Right Equipment. For this trip I brought my Canon EOS Rebel T5i for shooting animals, people, sunsets, and our adventures on dry land. For underwater scenes or for instances where my equipment could have gotten wet (rides on inflatable boats or in rain storms) I brought the Nikon Coolpix AW130 Shock & Waterproof Digital Camera and to film I brought the GoPro HERO5 with various cases and attachments. Both the waterproof camera and the GoPro were new for this trip as research told me I would be remiss not to have them and in fact, we rented the GoPro, let me know if you would want a post about that!
(2) Learn to Shoot on Manual. Sure most cameras, especially DSLRs, have Auto settings that work quite well and in fact, I was guilty of using them for years, but knowing how to shoot manually opens up a whole new world of possibilities and really saved me on this trip as you are not allowed to use flash when shooting wildlife by law in the Galapagos.
(3) Compose Your Photos for Less Editing. One of my favorite photo tips is the rule of thirds. I was taught this rule when I learned photography shooting on film and developing in a dark room in high school but now you have probably all seen this rule even if you do not know what it is, as even Instagram now has a grid box when resizing photos – the usual tip is that placing the subject off center will create a more aesthetically composed photograph, particularly when the subject is shifted 1/3 right or 1/3 left as opposed to dead center like I did here or here.
(4) Find the Light. Knowing where the light is, the light’s relationship to your subject, and your positioning to the light can make the world of difference. Sometimes you have absolutely no choice – like when chasing orcas on a moving jet boat and just trying your best to capture them in the split second they break the surface – but in most cases you do have some control. Be willing to move yourself, not just your feet but also your height to incorporate the light in the best way.
(5) Bring All of the Extra Backups. There is absolutely nothing worse than when you are in the moment and you get one of the two fatal warnings – the first that your camera battery is running low or the second, that your SD card is almost out of space. To resolve these I brought seven SD cards between my three cameras on this trip including a card reader to transfer to my laptop every day or two, and at least three batteries per camera with at least two charged ones per excursion!
(6) Practice! Even before you travel, play with your camera at home! We live in a wonderful digital age where you can mess around taking hundreds of photos and easily delete them to make room for the ones that count. I even saw a man on this trip taking pictures of a shell on the beach at many different angles and distances as he wanted to make sure he was ready with the right settings when it came time to take photos of an animal, practice makes perfect!
While of these Galapagos photography tips do you think is the most helpful?