Making it sexy

ISO 500 | F/7.1 | 1/80 | Aperture Priority | +2/3 

OK, so your in the Galapagos islands and you find yourself confronted with a problem. Here are all of these unique species, you know, the ones you have been told about your whole life, the one as that are on all of the nature documentaries about the islands, and naturally there is no way in the world you are going to let yourself love here without photos of them. There is just one problem however, and that’s the fact that a lot of these weird and crazy animals are NOT photogenic.

This a problem that all photographer who visit the Galapagos islands face if they want photographs of anything other than birds.

One such species that I had my heart set on photographing was the land iguanas. Like the giant tortoises, these were very unique creatures and are found nowhere else in the world. Looking at these iguanas however your first reaction is to get up close and personal for a tight intimate shot of the head. Once accomplished you now have the same image that everyone who visits the islands with a telephoto lens has.

Of course, if your patient and you keep a watchful eye, you may also find the classic shot of the land iguana, again close up, with a prickly pear fruit in its mouth. And again, you will have now made a photograph that yet again thousands before you have made. So what do you do? How do you move beyond the cliche and standard shot of these or any other animals on Earth?

For me, I wanted something different. I wanted something out of the ordinary. And that opportunity finally came when we landed on the island of South Plaza

Given the time of the year, the island was awash in the crimson and golden hues of the sesuvium. These colors are unique to this time of year and gave the island a feel of fall on the Maine coast. These colors are what I had been waiting for – I just didn’t know that until landing on the island.

So with land iguanas virtually everywhere on this island, I waited until I found one crawling along through the vibrantly colored sesuvium. Laying down on the ancient lava that made up the geography of the island I crawled along with the lizard until I found an opening to shoot.

The result was a very unique photograph with an almost prehistoric feeling to it. Essentially, I was able to make one of the ugliest animals you have ever seen, sexy. And I was able to do so in a manner that I personally have never seen.

So the key to this photograph was wanting something more. Did I make the standard photographs of this lizards? Of course I did. The difference however was that I kept in mind that I was not here to document these animals. I was here to make art. So I knew that I had to move beyond the typical photograph and keep an open and constantly thinking mind along with a constantly searching eye as I waited for the right elements to come together.

This entry was posted in The Inner Game of Outdoor Photography, Uncategorized, Wildlife Photography and tagged , , , .