Trip Reports: Islands Trip Report Photos

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Tortola as seen from the plane. The beach on the top right is Long Bay, where I spent a lot of time taking photos. On the other side of the mountain at Long Bay is Smugglers Cove, and amazing beach to swim at.

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Another aerial view of Tortola.

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On a plane again, headed back to the snowy mountains. It was a great trip, and wonderful to be out of the snow for a while!

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Here is the bird I was really after. My main goal for my time in the rainforest was to photograph one. It is a Puerto Rican Tody. A tiny bird endemic to the island. These little birds only weigh 4-5 grams. They fly about the forest in pairs calling to each other along the way. They aren't a rare bird, I saw many while hiking. However, due to their small size, their speed, their tendency to not sit still and the general thickness of the rainforest, photographing them was very hard for me. This was the best shot that I got. 

** This image is available as a limited edition fine art print. **

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In wildlife photography, it is a rare occasion when you can conceptualize and carry out a specific image you have in your mind. This is obviously due to the fact that wild animals do what they want. A wildlife photographer usually has no control over a particular shot. Animal photos come down to making the best of what nature, and the particular creature being photographed gives you. Every now and again though, you find a perfect scene where all the pieces fall together that enable you to truly compose a photo exactly the way you see it in your head. Such was the case with this little ghost crab I found on a beautiful day in Tortola. While relaxing on the beach one afternoon this tiny crab popped out of the sand about 20 feet in front of me. It was incredibly shy and shot back down into its hole any time I tried to stand up and look at it. As I lay there and watched this little sand crab excavating, I started to conjure up an image in my head. If I could get my fisheye lens close enough to the hole at sand level, while still keeping the beautiful landscape, sky and ocean in the frame, then I could get an image that conveyed what the world might look like through this little crabs eye. I didn't have a tripod with me so I dug a small pit a few inches away from the crab's hole, so that I could sink my camera lens to the beach level. I then stuck a towel in the hole to attempt to prevent getting any sand on my equipment. I laid on my stomach and looked through the viewfinder and lined up everything just how I wanted. In my dreams the crab would come out of its hole and I would capture this image I had in my head. I really had no hopes that it would work after seeing how shy the crab was, but hey, I was just laying on the beach as it was, so what did I have to lose. Once I had my shot set up just how I wanted I attached my shutter release cord and moved back as far away from my camera as the cord would allow. In only a matter of moments the crab peaked out of the hole, but disappeared before even his legs made it onto the beach. This went on for a matter of minutes, but to my surprise after a bit of sitting still, the brave little crab came all the way out of its hole and went about its business of excavating. I shot off a few frames and then removed my camera so that I wouldn't disturb the crab any longer. I still wasnt sure if I got the image I wanted but when I reviewed my shots later I was delighted to see this photo that I had conjured up in my head had been perfectly realized through my camera.

** This image is available as a limited edition fine art print **

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We barely made it to our place before sunset and I was eager to get taking photos. I took this within an hour of making it to our place. Turns out it was the best sunset of the trip!

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This lone palm tree appeared to be stretching over the beach to get a better view of the setting sun. A tree after my own heart to be sure. 

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The crystal clear waters of White Bay on the Island of Jost Van Dyke as seen from the deck of a sailboat. The perfect Caribbean water and immaculate white sand lures thirsty sailors from all over. Just jump overboard, and swim to shore and you will find yourself at the world Famous Soggy Dollar Bar, which got its name for obvious reasons.

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The beautiful blue waters of the Caribbean Sea. 

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Fort San Felipe del Morro, and its iconic garitas, have been standing proudly over the shores of Old San Juan since the 16th Century. Puerto Rico was the first large Island in this part of the world with food, supplies, fresh water and shelter. San Juan was also a mid way point between Europe and the New World. It's course on the Eastern Trade Winds and it's easily defended harbor made this the most important strategical place in the history of the Western Hemishphere. To have control of San Juan meant control of all the riches of the New World. El Morro, and San Juan, which were under Spanish Occupation from the 1500's until the late 1800's, Survived many serious attacks from foreign powers, who desperately wanted to control San Juan Harbor. Sir Francis Drake attacked the fort from the sea with his British fleet, but was unsuccessful after taking canon fire from the Spanish. England attacked once again, this time from land, but were once again unsuccessful at breaching the walls of El Morro. Other serious attacks came from the Dutch, who sacked the city but were forced off the island by the cannons of El Morro. It wasn't until 1898 during the Spanish - American War when a naval bombardment by the United States Navy, caused San Juan and the island of Puerto Rico to fall out of Spanish hands. The fort played a role in both World War 1 and and World War 2 for the United States. In 1961 the fortress was retired from service and became part of the National Park Service. In 1983 El Morro was delcared a UNESCO World Heritage Site by the United Nations.

** This image is available as a limited edition fine art print. **

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Looking out toward the Island of St. Thomas, in the USVI. If you look closely you can see that its by far the most populated of all the Virgin Islands. I believe Captain Paul called it the Manhattan of the Caribbean. Taken from White Bay on Jost Van Dyke.