Tokina 80-400mm lens

Balancing Act. Blue footed booby, Galapagos Islands

Well he’s got wings that he can start flapping if he falls but none the less,  this strikes me as a pretty good balancing act.   A blue footed booby (maybe that should read ‘sure footed booby’) tries to scratch himself whilst teetering on the edge of a cliff.

Blue-footed Booby, Galapagos Islands

Original image on colour negative film with Pentax SF7 and Tokina 80-400mm zoom lens.

Darwin's finches. Galapagos Islands.

I’ve entitled this post “Darwin’s finches” but let me immediately qualify that.   You see there are 13 different species of finches in the Galapagos Islands and I have no way of telling which one of the 13 this fellow is.     If there are any ornithologists out there who think they’ve got the answer, please let me know.    There are numerous interesting facts surrounding these birds which aren't true finches at all but belong to the Tanager family of birds.

In keeping with the Galapagos Islands reputation as one of nature's great evolutionary laboratories, the finches have adapted in some interesting ways dependant on the conditions that are peculiar it specific islands.   For example,  there are clear differences in beak shape dependant on the type of food available.   In one case the birds have a long narrow beak as it's adapted to poking holes in the tough outer layer of the cactus species that it encounters.   These variations are also noted in the different calls made by different species as well.

Darwin Finch, Galapagos Islands

Original image captured on colour negative film.    The photo was taken with the Pentax SF7 and Tokina 80-400mm lens at the long end of the zoom range.    Exact exposure details aren't recorded but a wide aperture was used to enable a narrow depth of field.  The selective focus renders the bird sharp whilst blurring the background.

Oystercatchers, Galapagos Islands


      Continuing the bird photography theme,  I’m pretty sure these birds are called oystercatchers,  if I’m wrong please let me know.   Photographed in the Galapagos Islands I recall we landed on a nice little beach one afternoon and it proved very nice for swimming and snorkelling but not before I’d done a little exploration.     Back from the beach was a small pond where these birds were happily poking around in the sand and shallow water looking for a feed.

Originally captured on 35mm colour negative film,  I was using the Pentax SF7 with a Tokina 80-400mm zoom plus a 1.5x teleconverter so a focal length of 600mm.    Getting a good angle on the birds meant getting down on my belly to get as low as possible.  Unfortunately the auto focus on the camera was broken due to an unfortunate mishap a few days earlier,  so all focusing was manual.    Not a huge problem in this instance as the birds weren't moving quickly.

American Oystercatcher, Galapagos Islands

American Oystercatcher at water's edge

Updated:   12.11.15   The American Oystercatcher (Haematopus palliatus) is a common species found throughout the coastal areas of both the Americas.   Indeed it appears that in North America their numbers have actually increased in recent years.   (An environmental good news story!  ~KD)   The birds shown here are the endemic subspecies galapagensis, with a population around 200 pairs, they are confined to rocky shores, sandy beaches and coastal lagoons.