Ecuador Day 5

Hi Everyone

Hope all is well. Olivia told me it rained all day in New York. I want to wish my beautiful wife and all other mothers and wives a very Happy Mothers Day.

Our day started at 6 AM in the lobby for coffee. We then boarded a van for a short ride to what has become my favorite place in the cloud forest. We were going back for a second time to take pictures of the hummingbirds. What beautiful creatures they are. They guides set up their feeders and put sugar water inside. They also hung some flowery branches on ropes near the feeders and used a syringe with sugar water to coat the flowers and branches with the sugar water. The hummingbirds started to appear. They had no fear of humans and it even seemed that they enjoyed our company as they buzzed around and past us. I loved hearing the sound of their buzzing. I couldn’t stop take pictures. My arms became tired. Taking pictures of hummingbirds is unique. Imagine the shutter speed you need to use and what focal point you choose and where to put that focal point. I decided to shoot in manual mode and create my own settings. This is a process of trial and error as you are adjusting all the settings of the camera. Furthermore, the light was constantly changing. A real photographic challenge. I had to be told to leave and could have spent hours there watching these beautiful birds.

After breakfast we packed. You go through clothes at a rapid pace in this environment. You are either sweating or rain is constantly starting and stopping. Brought my laundry in to do and luckily it came back in time.

At 10:30 it was time for our critique. I gave Andy three of my images. One image was of the cloud forest and the clouds interspersed in the vegetation. I love this image since it depicts the environment I had just spent four days in. The second image was of three hummingbirds hovering around a flowery branch. Two of the hummingbirds were perfectly focused. To get one hummingbird perfectly focused is hard enough, but two is much more difficult. The third image was one that was taken with the wrong exposure settings and I wanted to know if it could be saved. The answer was no.

We finally boarded our van and checked out of this beautiful Lodge and environment. I will always remember the four days I have spent in the cloud forest. I learned that you have to find the creatures here. They are hard to find, but once you find them, their beauty is extraordinary. Most of the creatures are small which makes it even harder. The uniqueness of the cloud forest should not be missed. As you already know, this unique environment is disappearing from our world. How sad it will be when the last cloud forest is gone. I pray that never happens and this beautiful ecosystem can be enjoyed by many future generations. I also experienced photography in a very challenging environment. From taking pictures of hummingbirds to night photography and trying to capture good images of tiny frogs, it was a real challenge. Also, having to use camera rain covers and always being extra careful with your gear. Imagine walking at night through a creek carrying cameras and lenses with the rain coming down. It was so easy to slip walking in creeks and mud.

The way back was the same way in. Four hours of driving over a long winding one lane road with about half the time no pavement. The roller coaster couldn’t end fast enough. We also crossed back the equatorial line from the northern hemisphere to the southern hemisphere.

We finally arrived at the airport in Quito for our forty five minute flight to Guayaquil. Guayaquil is located on the Pacific Ocean. We are spending the next two nights here and then taking a three hour flight to the Galapagos on Tuesday morning. We are being given a wildlife photography lecture tomorrow. Then having a local lunch. After lunch we will be walking on the Malacon. I understand the Malacon is beautiful.