The best of 2012? well I am not sure about the best, but the best for me is not loads of likes or shares on Facebook, or on various other social media websites, but the ones that mean the most to me for what ever reason that maybe.
The coast of Ecuador is long and there are plenty of places to spend a few days relaxing on the beach but the local Quiteños favourite beach is probably Atacames. A long walk along the beach before I was able to get this photo one of my favourites. Such a stunning sunset. You might ask where are all people, well there are some times of the year and certain days when the beach is less populated, not empty but at less poeple at least and thats the times we like to visit.
The Boliche National Park on the road from Quito to Latacunga is a great place for am overnight stay, bbq or simply a walk in the woods. It has a wide area covered with pines introduced many years ago. The newly recovered train travels along the Panamerican Highway and there is a station at the Boliche NP. The park is adjacent to the Cotopaxi NP although there is no joining route. There are various families of alpacas living freely here and this one decided he/wanted to view the train.
Oh this was a fun shoot, we were asked to visit a ranch in Morona Santiago province as they have just had a notable birth: the first jaguar born in captivity in Ecuador, her name is Tiara. We had the best time and she is the cutest little jaguar I have ever meet, no I have not met many jaguars at all, so I am a little biased.
My hubby is one of my best models and a most patient one at that, I was sitting at my desk and he was eating an orange, the light was coming through the window and it was beautiful, I wouldn´t allow him to eat the segment of orange until I was happy with the photo.
I took this on a trip to Otavalo, there is a superb bird park close by, where the photography is excellent and you can get some great close ups, this is my favourite of the lot. I wonder if I am being yelled at to stop taking photos or to attract my attention to take more. Anyhow it was a great day to remember.
Ah what a beautiful sight, this is the Atillo Lake on the highest part of the journey from Riobamba to Macas, what a stunning journey, with a newly paved road (ok the last or the first 30 kms are still to be finished) and there is some of the best views of the páramo to be seen in the whole of Ecuador. Just remember to wrap up warm as it is a bit chilly up there.
Wildlife in Ecuador is plentiful, this fox was taken a high altitude on the Chimborazo Volcano, and allowed us to get close, well sort of close, at least close enough to get some beautiful photos, and he/she was quite unfazed by our presence, well, I imagine there are plenty of hikers so it must be used to it.
Just a photo of the Chimborazo snow, each year there is less and less snow, but it is still one of the best places to reach it. I would imagine that the person in the photo is going for the summit, I wonder it he made it.
Ecuador is a religous country, although not as much as it used to be, but still, each year there is a parade in Quito, (the capital) to walk through the streets with no shoes, carrying crosses, even with barbed wire attached to the body. For most it can be barbaric but for these people it is a way to pay for their sins. You can even see children alongside the adults. The walk is quite long, and with the added extra of discomfort it is not something I will be doing in the near future or the far future. These are the things that make Ecuador the country it is.
One of the many achievements of the President Correa is to rebuild the railroad, a huge undertaking, but after a couple of years there is now 500kms from north to south and they all have some stunning views. They are restoring a couple of the old steam engines with plans to restore around 5 more in the near future. How cool is that. One of the hardest routes to build was the Nariz del Diablo from Alausi to Sibambi an unique zig-zag route built over 100 years ago to join the highlands with the coast.
One of the most active volcanoes in Ecuador, the Tungurahua Volcano, at 5,023 masl it is very active, and offers a quite a spectacle. As it is over 2 hours drive from us we don´t often rush there when it is active, but on this occasion we happen to be staying at friends and managed to get these stunning photos in the early hours of the morning. Not long after we had taken these the cloud covered the crater and that was the end of the photos.
One of the many views of the highlands in Ecuador, wet is not so frequent but it does happen, any trip to the highlands require adecuate clothing as it is cold, very cold, and these local people live from the land and their animals and it make you glad of what you have. Taken from the warmth of the car as we drove along. Even though it is cold the highlands have some of the stunning views any country can offer and are well worth a visit, even better if you can get off of the beaten track as we like to do frequently.
Ecuador is a delight for orchid lovers. The Orchid is a flower so beautiful and varied that it is renowned and treasured across the globe. Ecuador is generally considered to have the highest biodiversity of plant and animal species in the world and about 4000 species of orchid have been found here. Thanks for the quote Robin
This photo was taken handheld with extension tubes, with very good light I was able to get this photo, one of my overall favourites. Taken at the Hosteria Las Orquideas where they have a small but well stocked garden.
This is the Agoyan Waterfall very close to the Agoyan Dam 7 kms from Baños de Agua Santa, Tunguahua province, many water photos are taken with slow shutter speed to show the dreamy water, but I decided to take this photo on a fast shutter speed to show the force of the water, it is impressive. The waterfall is at the beginning of the Route of the Waterfalls with takes you around 30kms towards Puyo, the capital of the Pastaza province. It is one of many waterfalls along with many places to enjoy adrenaline adventures like canyoning, white water rafting, cable cars crossing the river and many other activities.
The vicuñas are of the same family as the llama & alpaca, but smaller and more delicate producing a fine wool that is made into jumpers, scarfs, gloves, etc, and costs a pretty penny also. The vicuñas have been introduced to Ecuador. (they are native to Peru) and these live on the Nature Reserve of Chimborazo They live at around an altitude of 3,200 to 4,800 metres. They are a little skittish but this group was taken from the car window with a long lens (It was too cold to get out of the car).
Ambato has a wonderful history and this arch is part of the Juan Leon Mera´s Quinta located in the city. It is part of the botanical gardens and only cost .50 cents to enter so it is also a cheap day out for the family.
A day on the Farm, in Ecuador there are still plenty of people living from the land, we get to see this loads of times on our travels, the above photo for the bright colours and representation of people living in the highlands of Ecuador.
This is the crater of the Pululahua Volcano, to the north of Quito taken as sunrise, this is the only inhabited volcano crater in Ecuador (I think, please don´t quote me on this though) it is a dormant volcano and there is some interesting history here and here. It is pretty amazing to look down on a volcano crater.
(I have no connection the the hostel in the link, I just though they had the best info on the website.)
The new 7 wonders of the world were provisionally chosen today 11-11-11. I say provisional because the final winners will be announced in early 2012. Ecuador has a large section of the Amazon, one of the winners. http://www.new7wonders.com/
The Amazon or jungle region, it is an accessible area., the biologically richest area anywhere on earth. There are innumerable varieties of flora, including many of Ecuador’s 4,500 species of orchids, and many plants with medicinal value. Wildlife such as butterflies, bats, monkeys, sloths, parrots, macaws, river dolphins and caimans are all relatively easy to view.
The Ecuadorian Amazon offers a wide range of activities including swimming, canoe journeys, rain forest walks, bird watching, animal spotting and visits to local jungle communities. The Amazon accounts for little more than 5% of the total population but here there are small communities of Indians such as the Huaorani, Cofan, Shuar, and Siona-Secoya who live in jungle villages and carry on with many of their ancient traditions. The Amazon also has some of the finest white water rafting routes in the country.
The Amazon rainforest also known as Amazonia or Amazon jungle is a moist broadleaf forest that covers most of the Amazon Basin of South America. This basin encompasses seven million square kilometers (1.7 billion acres), of which five and a half million square kilometers (1.4 billion acres) are covered by the rainforest.
This region includes territory belonging to nine nations. The majority of the forest is contained within Brazil, followed by Peru and with smaller amounts in Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia, Guyana, Suriname and French Guiana. The Amazon represents over half of the planet’s remaining rainforests, and it comprises the largest and most species-rich tract of tropical rainforest in the world.
The name Amazon is said to arise from a war Francisco de Orellana fought with a tribe of Tapuyas and other tribes from South America. The women of the tribe fought alongside the men, as was the custom among the entire tribe. Orellana’s descriptions may have been accurate, but a few historians speculate that Orellana could have been mistaking indigenous men wearing “grass skirts” for women. Orellana derived the name Amazonas from the ancient Amazons of Asia and Africa described by Herodotus and Diodorus in Greek legends.
Another etymology for the word suggests that it came originally from a native word amazona (Spanish spelling) or amassona (Portuguese spelling), meaning “destroyer (of) boats”, in reference to the destructive nature of the root system possessed by some riparian plants.
The first European to travel the length of the Amazon River was Francisco de Orellana in 1542.
One in ten known species in the world live in the Amazon Rainforest. This constitutes the largest collection of living plants and animal species in the world.
The region is home to about 2.5 million insect species, tens of thousands of plants, and some 2,000 birds and mammals. To date, at least 40,000 plant species, 3,000 fish, 1,294 birds, 427 mammals, 428 amphibians, and 378 reptiles have been scientifically classified in the region.
One in five of all the birds in the world live in the rainforests of the Amazon. Scientists have described between 96,660 and 128,843 invertebrate species in Brazil alone.
The diversity of plant species is the highest on Earth with some experts estimating that one square kilometer may contain more than a thousand types of trees and thousands of species of other higher plants. A quarter of square kilometer of Ecuadorian rainforest supports more than 1,100 tree species.
One square kilometer of Amazon rainforest can contain about 90,790 tonnes of living plants.
Macas is the capital of Morona Santiago province in southeastern Ecuador Macas lies in the Upano Valley overlooking the Upano river. Founded by the spanish in 1538 it was originally called Sevilla del Oro, but ´refounded´ Macas in 1599.
The city has a population of around 14,000 inhabitants and along with Tena and Puyo serves as one of Ecuador’s main staging points for the colonization of the Amazon and the subjugation of its indigenous people. Plenty of tourist activities are available here. The Sangay Volcano provides and trekking. The communities of Shuar and Macabea live close by. You can visit these communities to get an insiders view of life.
The active and mighty Sangay volcano overlooks the city with an altitude of 5230 masl.
The name of the city comes from the Macas tribe, the Cañari, who alongside the Huamboyas were the first to establish a friendship with the Spaniards.
Tena is the capital of the Napo province in the orient of Ecuador. At 420 metres above sea level and with around 35,000 habitants it is a small but delightful city.
It is known as the Cinnamon capital of Ecuador and originally founded by missionary explorers. It is a popular place to organize trips into the jungle, rafting and kayaking trips.
At the confluence of the Tena and Pano rivers in the center of town lies a popular pedestrian bridge.
The rivers become the Tena River, which soon joins with the Misahualli and eventually flows into the Napo River. The Napo winds its way south into Peru, and is in effect the 9th largest tributary to the Amazon River.
Close to Tena is Misahualli a small village and the first Amazonic port in Ecuador. From here you can visit the community of Shiripuno. Where you can learn the ways of the local women of the community.
There are eco-cabins to stay overnight, handicrafts, dance and music, you can learn how to make chocolate, eat local food, pay a visit to the local shaman at the sacred stone.
Learn how to hunt and fish in the traditional ways of the kichwa people. If you have more than just a few days why not consider volunteering. It is a well worth place to visit if you decide to take a trip to the Amazon region of Ecuador.
Click here for information on the Travel agency of Teorumi
Click here for information on the community of Shiripuno
The monkeys is the main square of Misahualli are mischievous and funny, frequently stealing bottles of water, keys and anything else that catches their eye.
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Yanacocha is an animal rescue center on the outskirts of the City of Puyo, Province of Pastaza, on the road to Tena. Owned and maintained by Ing. Jorge Flores who has converted his home into a special place for rescued animals.
He has a variety of species some of which are lucky enough to be returned to the wild once the animal has recovered. Others aren´t so lucky, they have to stay in captivity for the rest of their lives, but at least living at Yanacocha they can be assured of the best possible future.
Some of the animals have been rescued from the local Indians who often have kept the animals as pets who often mistreat them, these are often the ones that can never be released into the wild.
He has the only chorongo baby monkey that has been born in captivity in the whole of the country. There is also a baby tigrillo recently born.
You can also volunteer at Yanacocha. If you have a few months to spare then check them out. Click here to visit their web page.
Directions to Yanacocha. From Puyo take the Puyo – Tena road. and the turn off is only a few kms. from Puyo, it´s well signed.
Leading lines in photography can be a powerful compositional tool. This simple technique helps a photographer bring the viewer’s eye to a focal point, and gives a picture an overall structure in terms of layout.
Basically, any time there is a strong line in a photograph, the spectator’s eye will naturally follow along it. This can be anything from a man-made object like a telephone pole or a road, to a natural object such as a tree or even a dark shadow. You can also pose people so that their posture creates this kind of focal point.
You can use this technique to control the viewer’s experience in a way that creates harmony or symmetry, by using one line to create a peaceful narrative. Or, you can create tension and drama by having intersecting or competing lines that fight for a spectator’s focus. When you master this compositional trick, you have vastly more control over how the emotional content of your photos will be perceived.
You can use them to give a picture a feeling of motion, by creating a visual narrative that leads the eye on a dynamic journey. Some photographers use them as guideposts that actually draw the viewer’s attention across the photo to the edge of the image, and suggests a focal point beyond the picture’s frame.
Baños in the province of Tungurahua is a small town, in the skirts of the Tungurahua volcano, an active volcano, a touristy place with loads of activities for all. 30 mins away in Rio Verde an amazing waterfall crashing through a small canyon. It´s easy to get to from Baños or Puyo by bus or car. There are various different short walks to view the Pailon and on this occasion we decided to view it from the top. Walking only 5 or so mins from the bridge of Rio Verde, through the rich vegetation of the area to view this powerful sight. Here I am viewing the top of the waterfall.