At the end of 2016, I was contacted by my friend, mentor and professional photographer Karine Aigner about a Summer photography trip she was looking to organize. A few months later, it was confirmed: I would be heading to Ecuador for two weeks for a youth conservation photography workshop, led by Karine and Lucas Bustamente, both ILCP fellows, with help from Jorge, Diana and the rest of the Tropical Herping team!
Participating in the workshop were myself and five other young photographers: Anna, Carolina, Emma, Sam and Zach. I flew into Ecuador on a cool July evening, excited for the two weeks ahead!
Over the trip, I learned what conservation photography truly was. As a conservation photographer, you have a duty to photograph the world and share the stories that you see with others. The world needs to see environmental photographs and stories if conservation is to be done. A conservation photographer must includes the entire picture in the their stories, not just wildlife portraits and scenics, but also the human behaviors and interactions that may have positive or negative effects on the world.
The photo story that I worked on during the trip was about the education, research and conservation of Herps in Ecuador:
"Beautiful in a Slight Way"
Hover your cursor over the images to read the corresponding caption.
Scattered throughout the Amazon basin are hundreds of clay licks, where parrots, parakeets and macaws come to neutralize the acidic fruits that they eat. To get this photo, I waited for hours three days in a row in a blind in the hot and humid rainforest of Yasuni National Park in Ecuador. Each day at the site, hundreds of Cobalt-winged Parakeets would fly into the canopy, and spend hours slowly descending the tree branches towards the mineral-rich water and clay below. They would nervously descend one branch at a time, coming closer and closer towards the ground. However, for two days, something kept scaring the birds away before they made it all the way to the earth. There was likely a snake or a hawk in the area that we couldn’t see. Finally, on the third day, hours of waiting paid off! Over four-hundred Cobalt-winged Parakeets rained on the forest floor. I used a slower shutter speed to create a more artistic effect. Seeing them and hearing the deafening roar of parakeet chatter was an experience I don’t think I’ll ever forget.
Here is a random selection of some more of my favorite images from this trip. Enjoy!
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Here are a few more photos, showcasing the people, culture and city life that we witnessed.