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Galápagos Islands

Updated: Apr 20, 2022

Why a Wonder: Galápagos, home to approximately 9,000 species on the islands and surrounding waters, is a UNESCO World Heritage Center – and a wildlife photographer’s dream come true.

Where: Pacific Ocean about 626 miles off the coast of Ecuador. To visit, you'll need to fly from the mainland to the islands, where you'll board a boat for your adventure.

When: December to May, when the water is relatively calm. That is a welcome condition for those who get seasick – because you travel from island to island by boat.

Photography: You’ll need to stay on the paths with a guide (you must have a licensed guide) while visiting the islands. But getting close-ups (even with a wide-angle lens) of the animals is not a problem, because the animals are not hunted and not afraid of people.

Stick like glue to your guide, as a guide can spot animals and explain animal behavior, which makes your experience more interesting. Guides can often anticipate action, which will help you get interesting photographs.

Telephoto zoom lenses can come in handy for distant photographs, so it’s best to take at least two zoom lenses: a telephoto zoom and a wide-angle zoom.

Try to photograph eye-to-eye, so the person looking at your photograph feels as though the animal is looking at them. But also get down low for a creative angle.

Learn More: See this KelbyOne class, 20 Time-Proven Rules of Composition, and then break the rules.

Photographs © Rick Sammon

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