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.)