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Thread: Quito, Equador

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    BradS's Avatar
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    Quito, Equador

    Anybody in Quito?
    Last edited by BradS; 12-09-2005 at 08:17 PM. Click to view previous post history.

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    jeroldharter's Avatar
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    Not right now but my wife and I spent 6 months in South America several years ago including 3 months in Ecuador and a trip to the Galapagos. You should save some of your film for portraits of wildlife. You should be able to get so close that 4x5 portraits are possible, especially for larger birds like pelicans and boobies. Loading film should not be that bad. I don't remember it being nearly as humid as the Eastern side of Ecuador. Take lots of film. Remember that you go to each island from a boat and you cannot easily go back and forth. Therefore you need to take all of the filmholders with you on the small boat to the islands. We did not get too wet but you have to hop out of a rubber raft and do a little wading in salt water so be prepared.
    Jerold Harter MD

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    BradS's Avatar
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    Jerald, Thanks. You came so perfectly to the point of my quandry. You must have read my blog....Thanks for taking the time to look (there's more of the story posted there now).

    Well, I'm still torn between 4x5 and 35mm....I guess I need to talk to the professor leading the trip to find out what to expect.

    Do I understand correctly that one must stay with the "naturalist" guide while on the islands? If so, it seems that 35mm is the only option - as I doubt the Biology students will be too pleased to constantly wait for "the geek with the big camera".

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    MattCarey's Avatar
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    I just read an article on the Galapagos--it may have been in outdoor photographer. The article mentioned that you do have to stay with a guide and you are somewhat pressed for time. It was noted that a monopod may be more handy than a tripod as it is quicker.

    Matt

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    Aggie's Avatar
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    Brad, I haven't been to Equador, but I have been to Venezuela. My son in law lived there at the time working at the American Embassy. One thing I am glad he did do was talk me out of taking a big camera. I used a 35 with 3 lenses for the trip and from some of the places we went, I could see why. It is not the size of the camera, but the opportunity for the less scrupulous to snatch it all. The one time I was seperated from him and the others, I had gotten caught up taking pictures of a catherdral. He luckily came around the corner to watch me punch one of the two guys trying to steal my camera. I don't think they had expected an old fat lady to fight back and sucker punch them. Joao just laughed at all, and the two guys ran. If I had had a big camera it might not have been such a funny outcome.
    Non Digital Diva

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    MattCarey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aggie
    If I had had a big camera it might not have been such a funny outcome.
    Why do I see a guy with a 2" diameter dent in his forhead who cann read "Schneider Super Angulon" in the mirror?

    Great Story!

    Matt

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    BradS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aggie
    It is not the size of the camera, but the opportunity for the less scrupulous to snatch it all. The one time I was seperated from him and the others, I had gotten caught up taking pictures of a catherdral. He luckily came around the corner to watch me punch one of the two guys trying to steal my camera. I don't think they had expected an old fat lady to fight back and sucker punch them. Joao just laughed at all, and the two guys ran. If I had had a big camera it might not have been such a funny outcome.

    LOL...I'm thinking a Nikon F3HP on a sturdy neck strap makes a pretty effective weapon at close range - no?

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    jeroldharter's Avatar
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    I was in South America for 6 months and lugged around a big Tunra case with a large Canon EOS outfit. That was before I moved up in format. I think medium format (Pentax 67 with 45/90/165 mm) and my Canon 35 mm with some type of zoom and a 400 5.6 would be ideal. It is a hard choice. Take the largest format that you can manage, ideally in something like a Tundra case which is waterproof and dustproof. I also took a Bogen monopod which is cheap and makes a good walking stick/weapon while wandering the streets and fending off stray dogs.

    You must stay with the naturalist but not hip-to-hip. You can wander up the trails. They are pretty good about not letting people trample the place off trail or get offensively close to wildlife but I suppose there could be variability. I was with a small group. I did not feel limited by the group.

    For shoes in the Galapagos, I would take Keen sandals. Think about packing your own snorkel if you are fussy about fit, etc. I would get a fairly cheap one here and just leave it behind.

    If you have time, go to the Eastern part of Ecuador. I never find the tropics to be very photogenic. Too damn hot for me. But the birdwatching and the experience is worth it. A lodge called La Selva is very nice. It is cheaper (a little) if you set it up in Quito. If you go to the buggy parts, I recommend:

    http://www.longroad.com/cgi-local/So...exe/?E+scstore

    It packs up very small and light and greatly improves sleep.

    I don't know if it is still there, but the South American Explorers Club in Quito was a safe place to leave pieces of luggage while moving from one climate to another.

    http://www.samexplo.org/

    Make sure you have the Lonely Planet for Ecuador:

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/174...books&v=glance
    Jerold Harter MD

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    BradS's Avatar
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    Jerold, Thanks again for sharing so much of your experience. I'm really vacillating on whether to go with a minimalist LF kit or a full blown 35mm kit (I have no MF gear). A few days ago, I was totally convinced that 35mm was the only practical option. Now, I'm swinging back to the 4x5 wood field. I think I could manage the LF kit in a Pelican case. Perhaps, the 1550 - I believe that is about the largest Pelican than can legally be carried on to a commercial flight these days.

    My first instinct was to go with the LF gear...how many times have I looked back on a decision and said to myself "I should have trusted my instincts". I just need to gather up the intestinal fortitude to go for it!

    (got my shots today)

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    jeroldharter's Avatar
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    One more thing. If yougo to the Indian markets in the mountains, they are very photogenic. However, I would not want to spend very long under a darkcloth - you might find yourself naked when you peaked out from people stealing you blind. For the markets, I would stick with a very compact outfit that does not leave your hands. At the time, I used a Canon EOS1 with a 24 mm lens an a separate 35-135mm zoom.

    If I went back, I would use my Pentax 67 with a 45 mm lens. I would use 400 speed B&W film. Pre-focus the lens using the distance scale and then activate the mirror lockup. Use a cable release. Sidle up to a group of locals who are often sitting on the ground, pause, hold the camera by the strap against your waist (or on the low monopod), and activate the cable release without looking at the people. That way you can get some candid shots without alarming them. I would use 220 film to avoid frequent changes. Never use a wallet. Keep your valuables in a pouch under your shirt. I lost an American Express card before my eyes. Those women are about eye level with my waist so they are crafty pick pockets (I am only 5'10").
    Jerold Harter MD

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