Thursday, October 13, 2011

Journey to Ecuador: Day 10

Our last full day of shooting begins with clear skies and warm temps. First light is the best time for the larger birds and I am able to capture my best photos of the Inca Jay as a pair of them call raucously from the tree tops. They seldom hold still for a portrait, flitting from branch to branch, always with a visual obstruction in the way of a decent photo. But what colorful birds they are with their green and yellow feathers shining in the sun.

Potential paperwork disaster appeared imminent when one of group, John, announced at the breakfast table that he had lost his passport. Having read horror stories of such things, I had the utmost sympathy for my travelling companion. We peppered John with questions; when did you see it last, where were you carrying it, did you have it at the last lodge? John couldn’t remember where he’d last seen the document. One of our group volunteered to go through his luggage with the efficiency and thoroughness of a TSA inspector but John was emphatic that it was not in any of his personal possessions. Our lodge manager, Alejandra , suggested the American Embassy but shook his head as he did so, not a good sign.

A few hours later and to our great relief (not to mention John’s), the passport was found. Somehow, it had fallen from its home in his laptop computer case to the floor and was leaning upright in a vertical position between the bed and the wall making it almost impossible to see from above.

By mid-morning most of the birds had moved on or were taking naps somewhere. I used the time to put on a macro lens and wander about in search of bugs or flowers. Ecuador has not only a great variety of birds, but many species of breathtaking wildflowers as well. Ignorant of their official names, I simply took photos and enjoyed their beauty as I leisurely walked the trails and explored the areas around the cabins.

Toward evening, Colin and I opened a bottle of wine previously purchased at the dining area the night before. We sat on our little veranda and were joined from time to time by other members of our group as they came in from their own personal photo endeavors where we swapped stories of what we had seen during the day. To me, this is one of the most pleasant aspects of group photography, sharing sights and sounds, the excitement of capturing a new species, and now, in this amazing digital world, having the ability to see the immediate results on the back of a camera or a laptop.

What a relief to have hot water and plenty of it for a shower that night. Of course, and as with the other lodges, there was that nasty little inconvenience with the toilet paper problem. There was that.

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