Expedition Galapagos 2023 – Photography In Nature’s Foremost Destination

Updated: 31 Aug 2022

 

The foremost destination for any adventurer who has a passion for wildlife and nature photography has to be the natures most unique and diverse “melting pot” – The Galapagos Islands.

 

In 2023, I will be leading a small group photography and conservation expedition to the islands with assistance from local natural world experts.

 

For many people a trip to the Galapagos Islands will be a once in a lifetime experience which we intend to make perfect for your visit. I will be the expedition leader and photography tutor for the visit and I want you to have the very best possible photography experience.

 

Map – Galapagos Islands

 

This really is an exciting and rewarding opportunity to explore the very best of the natural world in all its glory. During the expedition you will experience, research and photograph, a diverse range of wildlife and the natural world both on land and sea.

 

We will work with local partners that we know and trust to give you the excellent service and the back-up that we plan for you. We care about the protection of the Galapagos Islands and all its wildlife and habitats.

 

“is considered one of the world’s foremost destinations for wildlife-viewing”

 

The Galápagos Islands is a volcanic archipelago in the Pacific Ocean and is considered one of the world’s foremost destinations for wildlife-viewing. The islands are situated in the Pacific Ocean some 1,000 km west of the South American Ecuadorian coast.

 

 

 

This video is an introduction to the Galapagos Conservation Trust and their conservation work conducted in the Galapagos Islands.

 

The Galápagos Archipelago is composed of 127 islands, islets and rocks, of which 19 are large and 4 are inhabited. Around 30,000 people live on the islands, and approximately 170,000 tourists visit the islands each year. Human settlements are restricted to 3% of the islands in specifically zoned rural and urban areas situated on four of the islands.

 

Galapagos Islands

 

 

Its isolated terrain shelters a diversity of plant and animal species, many found nowhere else on earth. This inspired Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection following his visit in 1835.

 

So what is so special about the Galapagos Islands?

 

The Galapagos Islands is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

 

Located at the confluence of three ocean currents, the Galápagos are a ‘melting pot’ of marine species. Ongoing seismic and volcanic activity reflects the processes that formed the islands and is one the most volcanically active areas in the world.

 

“unique living museum and showcase of evolution”

 

This archipelago and its immense marine reserve is known as the unique ‘living museum and showcase of evolution’. Its geographical location at the confluence of three ocean currents makes it one of the richest marine ecosystems in the world.

 

Photo Credit: Tui De Roy

 

Ongoing seismic and volcanic activity reflects the processes that formed the islands. These processes, together with the extreme isolation of the islands, led to the development of unusual plant and animal life – such as marine iguanas, flightless cormorants, giant tortoises, huge cacti, endemic trees and the many different subspecies of mockingbirds and finches – all of which inspired Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution.

 

 

Photo Credit: New Atlas

 

 

The islands are surrounded by the Galapagos Marine Reserve which was created in 1986 and extended to its current area (133,000 km2) in 1998, making it one of the largest marine reserves in the world.

 

“an underwater wildlife spectacle”

 

The Galapagos Marine Reserve is an underwater wildlife spectacle with abundant life ranging from corals to sharks to penguins to marine mammals. No other site in the world can offer the experience of diving with such a diversity of marine life forms that are so familiar with human beings, that they accompany divers.

 

 Whale Shark – Photo Credit: Sebastien Pena Lambarri

 

The diversity of underwater geomorphological forms is an added value to the site producing a unique display, which cannot be found anywhere else in the world.

 

The archipelago´s geology begins at the sea floor and emerges above sea level where biological processes continue. Three major tectonic plates—Nazca, Cocos and Pacific— meet at the basis of the ocean, which are of significant geological interest.

 

In comparison with most oceanic archipelagos, the Galapagos are relatively young with the largest and youngest islands, Isabela and Fernandina, with less than one million years of existence, and the oldest islands, Española and San Cristóbal, somewhere between three to five million years.

 

The site demonstrates the evolution of the younger volcanic areas in the west and the older islands in the east. On-going geological and geomorphological processes, including recent volcanic eruptions, small seismic movements, and erosion provide key insights to the puzzle of the origin of the Galapagos Islands.

 

Almost no other site in the world offers protection of such a complete continuum of geological and geomorphological features.

 

The origin of the flora and fauna of the Galapagos has been of great interest to people ever since the publication of the “Voyage of the Beagle” by Charles Darwin in 1839.

 

The islands constitute an almost unique example of how ecological, evolutionary and biogeographic processes influence the flora and fauna on both specific islands as well as the entire archipelago.

 

Darwin’s finches, mockingbirds, land snails, giant tortoises and a number of plant and insect groups represent some of the best examples of adaptive radiation which still continues today.

 

Likewise, the Marine Reserve, situated at the confluence of 3 major eastern Pacific currents and influenced by climatic phenomena such as El Niño, has had major evolutionary consequences and provides important clues about species evolution under changing conditions.

 

The direct dependence on the sea for much of the island’s wildlife (e.g. seabirds, marine iguanas, sea lions) is abundantly evident and provides an inseparable link between the terrestrial and marine worlds.

 

The islands have relatively high species diversity for such young oceanic islands and contain emblematic taxa such as giant tortoises and land iguanas, the most northerly species of penguin in the world, flightless cormorants as well as the historically important Darwin’s finches and Galapagos mockingbirds.

 

Endemic flora such as the giant daisy trees and many other genera have also radiated on the islands, part of a native flora including about 500 vascular plant species of which about 180 are endemic.

 

Examples of endemic and threatened species include 12 native terrestrial mammal species (11 endemic, with 10 threatened or extinct) and 36 reptile species (all endemic and most considered threatened or extinct), including the only marine iguana in the world.

 

Likewise the marine fauna has an unusually high level of diversity and endemism, with 2,909 marine species identified with 18.2% endemism. High profile marine species include sharks, whale sharks, rays and cetaceans.

 

The interactions between the marine and terrestrial biotas (e.g. sea lions, marine and terrestrial iguanas, and seabirds) are also exceptional. Recent exploration of deep sea communities continues to produce new additions to science.

 

Protection and management requirements

 

The main threats to the Galapagos are the introduction of invasive species, increased tourism, demographic growth, illegal fishing and governance issues (i.e. who takes responsibility for decisions given the large number of stakeholders with conflicting interests involved in managing the islands). These issues are constantly analysed and monitored to adequately manage them and reinforce strategies to minimise their impact.

 

Expedition Galapagos 2023 will allow the best photographic experience both on land and sea. The opportunity to view, research and take photographic images within natures diverse melting pot which can only be found in this one global location.

 

A fully detailed travel itinerary and costings will be posted in the near future.

 

As always, many thanks for your time,

 

Mark

 

Related Information: https://markbrion.com/photography-expeditions-and-workshops/

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