Travel blogger and photographer Brendan Van Son just left the Galapagos Islands where he spent four days as part of the Feel Again Project. The project brings artists from four countries visit Ecuador to document the diverse landscapes and people. The project, created by the Ecuador Tourism Board, invited four the artists to be on teams representing Canada, the United Kingdom, Germany, and the United States, which Van Son is a member of. The teams are each assigned a different region, and being from the United States was a lucky break for Van Son as Team USA was assigned the Galapagos Islands, a location he had dreamed of for years. Van Son told Resource Travel more about the project and the Galapagos Islands.
The Feel Again project was quite unique, for me. We had a film crew following us around as we worked, as they are putting together a documentary about our Ecuadorian adventure. I have to admit, it was strange being on the other end of the camera for a change. But, it was also really rewarding. Since we were all shooting video and imagery, I got a lot more time with each of my subjects than I would normally. That was the difference in creating photos that were more than just a simple snapshot, but rather a composed image.
One of the most amazing parts about the Galapagos Islands is that it seems like the only place in the world you can get so close to the animals without being behind a fence or enclose. The animals don’t really have all too many predators to worry about out on the islands, so they are pretty apathetic to our presence. And although we obviously have to respect the animals by not getting too close, I can’t think of another place in the world I’ve been where the animals are so easily viewed and photographed.
Van Son put together 20 of his favorite images from the adventure, but the real appeal of this opportunity for him was to help share the beauty and experiences that can be had on this small archipelago 563 miles off of the west coast of Ecuador.
When people think of the Galapagos, they obviously think about the animals. However, the landscapes are amazing too. And they’re so diverse. In fact, some of the islands have 10-20 micro-eco-systems on them. One island you’ll find lush green rain forest, and the next you’ll be in this barren colorful desert landscape. It’s fascinating.
I had two photography goals that I wanted to accomplish on my four days on the Galapagos Islands. For one, I really wanted to capture the details of the animals. I wanted more than just a headshot, or to fill the frame with a bird, I wanted to create an image that simplified things and focused on the details of the iguana’s skin, or the bird’s feathers, for example. The second goal I had was trying to incorporate the wildlife into the landscapes. That was a bit more of a tricky task. Not only do you need the animal, but you need it to be perched in a great location with the right light in the sky. Still, I think that considering I only had 4 days, I got a number of shots that filled both goals quite nicely.