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Exploring Equador Olympus Exhibition

Stuart Fawcett went along to Olympus' latest exhibition, showcasing the amazing photos taken by 5 photographers in the Galapagos and Equador.

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Kyle Miller

 

Five photographers kitted out with Olympus cameras were sent to Ecuador, and supported by Metropolitan Touring, they have brought back an amazing collection of photographs of the Galapagos and Ecuador. The Photographs are now on show at the After Nyne gallery in Holland Park. Stuart Fawcett went along for ePHOTOzine to see the opening night of this exhibition which is on until 21 June.


Photographers, Tommy Clarke, Kyle Miller (shown above), Elke Frotscher, Jack Anstey and Olympus ambassador Jay McLaughlin were chosen for this 13-day excursion to Ecuador, half of the trip was spent visiting the Galapagos Islands. It’s a beautiful place and to keep it that way travel guides accompany all visitors in maximum parties of 12. Predetermined routes are followed unless animals are on the paths and then you are allowed to deviate so as not to disturb them. Visitors also have to leave by 6pm so as not to disturb the animal's sleep.

The Galapagos has a particularly strong eco-friendly approach to the environment, so plastics are banned and rubbish controlled to such a tight level that scientists use the islands as a test bed for proving environmental protection programs that they want to then export to other archipelagos.

In fact, Olympus Ambassador Jay McLaughlin says the environmental fever is so contagious that he finds himself now spotting and picking up plastic seen floating around. It's not all about just throwing rubbish away though, some plastics are so unbiodegradable that they are instead just repurposed, such as with bottle crates that can be filled with soil and made into steps up the side of a mountain.

 

Olympus Exploring Equador

 

The Photographers also visited Quito, the capital of Ecuador. It's over 2800 metres above sea level and it’s so high up that walking upstairs quickly leaves you out of breath. Quito was built on the ruins of an Inca city and has the best-preserved, least altered historic centre in Latin America – perfect for photography.

Jay McLaughlin has been an Olympus user since the first Olympus PEN E-PL1 in 2010 and stayed with them ever since. Coming from an art and graphic design background he mostly finds himself shooting fashion photography and more recently stylish models and classic car tours. Often, he says he does not even need to post process for his own shots. He says that he favours the M4/3 systems for their close-up working capability; and how it’s possible to shoot beautiful shots even in small spaces like elevators. Using wider angle lenses with the model's face and body in the middle of the shot then naturally lengthens the model’s legs. Also, the smaller camera bodies mean you get more visual face contact with your model to put them at ease. Jay’s favourite fashion lens is the 12mm f/2 or the 12-40mm. Both are moderately priced lenses. For the Galapagos Jay mostly liked a 1.4 teleconverter with the Olympus 40-150mm f/2.8 lens, which I can also vouch for as a lovely lens to use. Others at the event also mentioned the weight savings of the M4/3 system.

 

Equadorian embassy

 

Also at the event were representatives from the Ecuadorian embassy, From Right to left - Deputy Ambassador Leopoldo Rovayo, Ambassador Jaime Marchán Romero, and Trade commissioner Juan Carlos Yépez. Ecuador certainly seems to be strongly reaching out to Britain and the world for greater economic ties and the consulate members were certainly very friendly.

 

Metropolitan Travel

 

Short talks were also given by Francisco (Pancho) Dousdebes, Galapagos Product Manager at Metropolitan Touring Ecuador, who sees tourism as a driver for the conservation initiatives. He thanked the Olympus photographers for capturing the essence of Ecuador so well in their photographs – especially his favourite of the Red-footed Booby birds’ waterproof claws.

Also, Sharon Johnson, CEO of the Galapagos conservation trust spoke to confirm how well the book accompanying the exhibition captured the beauty of the whole of Ecuador. She talked about how the sustainability of the Galapagos islands was of paramount importance to Ecuador as well as the thirty thousand residents of the group of islands that form the Galapagos. Plastics is a key concern and they are working to produce reusable plastic free protection models to transport to other island groups around the world. And also how since Charles Darwin’s initial visit they are now planning the reintroduction of 12 previously extinct species back into the Galapagos as well as removing invasive species that reduce habitat.

 

Olympus Exploring Equador Gallery shots

 

For more information on the exhibition see the After Nyne Gallery Exploring Ecuador events page or the Olympus Sponsor page.

For the Galapagos conservation trust see their website and the same for Metropolitan Touring.

Words and pictures by Stuart Fawcett.

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