Pretty much all of the best pictures I’ve taken on this trip have been a result of a super nice little camera (Canon G11- this baby’s been around the world twice now and is hardly worse for wear), good advice on framing and lighting from my parents and my big sister, and an awful lot of waiting around ready to fire off a shot.
I spent, for example, two and a half hours sitting on a patch of mangrove roots over a murky estuary as the tide rose toward my feet, scanning the water and contemplating the science one could do if the crocodiles on the other bank would only come closer and stop being quite so bitey, waiting for this shot of a young bull shark come in with the tide.
I knew they’d be coming through, thanks to some good tips from our professor and the guides around the station. They follow the big predatory marine fish up into the brackish water to hunt the same, who are in turn hunting the smaller freshwater fish that by the time I got there were already cowering by the banks of the Río Sirena. All I needed was a bit of sunscreen, a sharp eye out for crocs, and the time and patience to match the tiger herons’.
This shot, on the other hand, wasn’t a sit-and-wait sort of experience. It was a run-and-get-ready. Squirrel monkeys are small, shy, and on the move, and I was fairly resigned to the possibility that I might not ever get a good photo of one on this trip. We’d spotted them a day or two before high in the canopy, and hadn’t managed to get more than a quick peek through our binoculars before they were gone. But some wonderful guide walking right in front of me spied them in the trees by the station, focused his telescope in the blink of an eye, and let me take this picture through that lens at the briefly resting mother and baby here.
It was waiting of a different kind- waiting to spring into action. I was suddenly very glad that I’d been carrying my camera all day, despite the strap cutting into my neck as I hiked and the sweat that dripped alarmingly close to its delicate electronics. I’ve resolved never to be without my trusty little friend through the rest of this trip, save possibly in the bathroom. You never know when that perseverance is going to land you a postcard-worthy opportunity… like this one.