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Discovering the Galapagos Islands

My grandfather had a big collection of nature encyclopedia. As a child, I couldn’t stop looking at all the pictures in these books. And of all the places described, it was always most enchanted by the islands of the Galapagos. They seemed otherworldly, and definitely not a destination you could get to. Ever.

Fast forward to 2016, when I was offered the possibility to go and explore the Galapagos in autumn! Needless to say, I did not hesitate for a moment. This was going to be my first trip to South-America, and the destination was a childhood dream. With the beautiful ship the Samba and the greatest crew and nature guide ever, we were to sail around most of the islands during a two-week-long trip.

Pleasure and gear overload

I struggled to choose the right gear, as I wanted to photograph everything above ánd below the water surface. I ended up traveling with two fully loaded duffle bags weighing just up to the limits, a stuffed Mr Jan Gear Boris backpack and a big, overloaded laptop bag. It all fitted nicely in the plane, but since I was sharing a cabin on the boat, it was impossible to get all my gear inside. So I ended up having all my gear spread out all over the boat.

Our days were very well organized: landings or boat excursions during the first hours of the day, snorkeling during midday when the light is too hard for photography, and some more excursions in the late afternoon. We were at the equator, where the sun rises and sets really fast!

Although the animals are quite tame and you get very close to them, I still decided to bring my 600mm Nikon lens. I love the lightweight of this new lens and the bokeh it creates. I knew we would follow paths, so it was going to be difficult at times to choose the right background. With a 600mm lens, you can zoom into the landscape and exclude disturbing backgrounds easier. So I switched between wide-angles and telelenses, and cameras such as the Nikon D5, D810 and D500. For snorkeling, I used my Nikon D810 in a Hugyfot POM-house fitted with the new Hugyfot 9″ glass dome. A beast to pack and walk around with, but indispensable for sharp, wide-angle photography and split images.

I’m looking so much forward to guiding this trip to the Galapagos next year with my buddy Jeffrey in November 2018! It will be a trip dedicated to photography, and it will be a blast! So happy we can offer this destination to our photographers!

Thanks again for such a wonderful trip to the Samba crew, and in particular Juan. I never met such an excellent guide!


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