THROUGH THE LENS

By: Bitinia Espinoza (Biti)

My name is Bitinia Espinoza (better known as BITI) and I am a Naturalists for the Galapagos Islands.

I grew up with my two parents, sisters and brother. One thing my father always did was, he took as out fishing sometimes we had the chance to sleep on the top of his boat which gave us the opportunity to watch the stars.

During my trips I soon notice that photography was my passion, wherever I went there was the opportunity to have the best shot.

At first I did not have any experience, I learned amongst groups of professional photographers, did not need much to do because Galapagos is a place where animals are so tame and you can have the best lights almost all year around. Even the rain makes it so especial! Giant tortoises come out of the forest to drink fresh water out of the little puddles they may even walk in front of you to give you their best side.

One of my favorite places is Punta Espinoza at Fernandina Island were thousands of marine iguanas roam along the volcanic rocks to the sea so they can feed on algae or simply bask on top of the rocks sneezing the salt off their bodies, not to be missed are the lava lizards which sometimes jump on top of the marine iguana´s heads making it a beautiful picture.

Orcas or killer whales may be encountered at a very close range, I used my pictures to collaborate within a group of scientist to identify them as individuals. They are so beautiful, intelligent and magnificent.

I continue taking pictures of all sea birds, Blue-footed Boobies, Red-footed Boobies, Nazca Boobies, Frigatebirds, gulls, Red-billed tropicbirds, Waved Albatrosses landing, taking off, doing their courtship displays, feeding their Youngs, gliding in the air. They continue enchanting me.

The contrasting landscapes are always an inspiration as if God was playing with a palette of colors, Islands covered of glassy black rocks, beaches of white, black, green/brown or red sand decorated with red, green plants framed by the blues of the ocean and sky.

Sea lions! Are the entertainers of the beaches I can just sit on the rocks or a boat or get into the water to watch them come and go, playing with the tails of marine iguanas, small rocks, shells or getting an octopus tangled around their mouths. You cannot leave anything unattended because they will get it. They love seeing you at a close distance so there are moments you think ¿who is watching whom?

I just hope that we, human beings keep this paradise from disappearing, free of big fishing fleets plundering our oceans, free of floating trash which can kill them and protect it for our future generations.

By seeing Galapagos through the lens and being able to share pictures we also transform and strengthen the view and love of wildlife of our visitors.

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