PLACES DEAR TO ME
In 1987 I came to live and work in the Galapagos as a Naturalist Guide, licensed by the Galapagos National Park, I was a co-founder of AGIPA, the naturalist guide’s association, and have published 4 books on the islands (including one with a foreword by HRH Prince Philip). I have been involved with the islands since my arrival and have been fortunate to participate in many Galapagos National Park Service and Charles Darwin Research Station sponsored expeditions throughout the archipelago including; cormorant and penguin censusing, Galapagos hawk capture and tagging, camping at a waved albatross colony to band and measure the birds, camping in the Alcedo Volcano crater, satellite tagging of whale sharks and hammerhead sharks and capturing giant tortoises on Wolf Volcano to collect blood samples in the search for the closest living relatives of Lonesome George. There are two sides to the Galapagos and, although the islands are in pretty good shape, the threats today are greater and more menacing than they have ever been. Tourists per se are not a problem, however the massive support system, coupled with avarice, behind the industry is causing problems. I feel a deep sense of responsibility to make the threats and issues known.
I have been enamoured with the Yasuni National Park since my first visit in 1987. I have published 5 books on the region, continue to live in Ecuador (since 1985), speak Spanish and am an ex naturalist guide in the Ecuadorian Amazon. I love the rainforest, it is ALWAYS full of surprises. Rainforests, however, have to be one of the most challenging photographic environments on earth, especially with regard to the way humidity destroys expensive camera gear. Usually everything is either cryptic or very backlit which is a problem. In pursuit of my passion I have spent many hours dangling from ropes in the canopy, atop makeshift platforms and scaffolding towers and days on end in remote blinds deep in the forest. My rewards have been many. I am, for example, probably the first photographer to photograph directly a black panther in the rainforest – it was an incredible experience to be with the cat for about one hour at 6-8 meters distance! The Amazon rainforest is a hugely important ecosystem with regard to the planet’s balance and stability, not to mention the free eco-system services it provides, yet, it is being torn down at an alarming rate. We HAVE to protect the Amazon in general and Yasuni in particular! My rainforest images continue to be published widely with awareness and conservation in mind