Weekly Photo Challenge: Forces of Nature


From Bartolomé.

These spatter cones make a fascinating landscape on Bartolomé, courtesy of previous volcanic activity.  I imagine they were pretty scary-looking when active; now they seem a bit surreal.

This was perfect theme for my pictures because everything about the Galápagos is defined by forces of nature: geology, climate, evolution, etc.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Forces of Nature

Weekly Photo Challenge: Descent

??????????From Bartolomé.

We had several steep hikes on this trip, but the most rewarding was climbing the volcanic cone on Bartolomé for a great view of the famous Pinnacle Rock.

On the way back down we were more at leisure to marvel at the volcanic spatter cones and other cool lava formations on Bartolomé, one of the younger islands in the Galápagos chain.  We could also see out over the water to other islands.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Cover Art


From Fernandina.

If I were making a photo album of my Galápagos photos (which I did), this is the one I’d use for the cover.  Not only does it capture a nice quintessential Galápagos landscape (La Cumbre volcano), but it shows my group doing what the whole trip was about: exploring.

In the foreground is our professor and fearless leader, Dr. Jed Burtt; he was one of my favorite professors in undergrad and inspired me to continue with scientific research as my career.  The trip would not have been nearly as amazing without him.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Signs


From Cotopaxi National Park, Ecuador.

This high altitude lagoon sits at the foot of Cotopaxi mountain, which was obscured by clouds the day we visited.  This sign proclaims it “Lga [Laguna] Limpiopungo” at an altitude of 3,830 msnm (metros sobre el nivel del mar, or meters above sea level), which is about 2.38 miles above sea level.  For comparison, Lake Titicaca, thought to be the world’s highest navigable lake, has a surface elevation of 3,812 m.

The name “Limpiopungo” is a compound of the Spanish word “limpio” (“clean”) and a Quechua word “pungo” that I don’t know the meaning of.  The sign also asks visitors to “Protejalo” or “Protect it.”


Weekly Photo Challenge: Texture


From Fernandina.

A field of aa lava at the foot of La Cumbre, an active shield volcano (it has actually erupted since this photo was taken in 2007).  Fernandina is one of the westernmost islands in the Galápagos, closest to the hot spot that created them, therefore is still quite volcanically active.

This sharp, jagged lava is called “aa” lava, pronounced “ah-ah.”  Like “pahoehoe,” this word comes a Hawaiian term used to describe this lava, sometimes translated as “stony rough lava” or “hard on the feet.”