Ellen Henke: LNPSNZ (Natural Environment and Wildlife) 2020

I first visited Galapagos Islands on the equator in the Pacific Ocean, approximately 1000 kilometres west of Ecuador, in 1979. Never having been threatened, the unique animals of this stark volcanic landscape are somewhat tame. They ignored me, allowing close up encounters. I walked and sat amongst prehistoric tortoises and animated blue footed boobies. Primeval marine iguanas mimicked recently cooled lava they shared with Lava Cacti and other pioneer plants which initiate the transition to soil. This was an exhilarating first attempt at photographing wildlife in their environment. I returned in 2019 to make digital images. Due to increased numbers of visitors, combined with significant conservation efforts, the Ecuadorian National Park Guides now significantly confined my activities. Photographing was from walking tracks and zodiacs. Nevertheless, I enjoyed excellent wildlife viewing and photography. Thankfully this fragile archipelago is being protected.