Small Wonders of Latin America - Global Test Photo Essay

In nine months backpacking around Latin America, there was much grandeur to be seen, but there were also tiny treasures that required a closer look. Examine their petite beauty.

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by Kristin Tennessen with Danny Milks | 2011-02-15 00:05:00-07

Editor's Note: click here to see all the articles (and a brief synopsis of each) in this excellent series.

Introduction

As soon as I fall into my hiking stride, I enter a state of rhythmic and peaceful calm. I am only half aware of the nature that surrounds me, the texture of the trail changing underfoot, and the tempo of my inhalations. All I can sense is tranquility.

Rarely do I think about taking photos while hiking. No photo has ever been able to fully capture the joy I experience in nature. Photographs, however beautiful they might be of the landscape, fail to arouse the overwhelmingly positive sensory assault I have while hiking.

When I look back at photos taken during backcountry trips, my memories of the events are colored. Instead of recalling a variety of feelings and views, sounds and smells, my vibrant memories get intertwined with these static snapshots.

How I manage to backpack with Danny is somewhat of a mystery. His feeling about photography couldn’t be more opposite than mine. He is constantly breaking his stride to take photos, often asking me to stop with him and sometimes even pose. He can spend days organizing and editing photos once we return to civilization. Danny loves the wilderness just as much as I do, but also finds great joy in sharing our adventures with our friends and families.

Fifteen countries and more than a year later, I am grateful that Danny has encouraged me to be more open about photography. We have simply seen too much and experienced too much to store it all away in our fallible human memories. Every day of traveling is different, and the lack of monotony in daily life means we have little downtime to think, process, and store.

The photo collection below is a but a tiny sample of the many small wonders we saw during our nine months backpacking around Latin and South America. I am happy that Danny encouraged me to stop and examine the petite beauty contained on a continent that I might not ever visit again. I even admit, I might have taken one or two of the photos myself.

Small Wonders of Latin America - Global Test Photo Essay - 1
Rucu Pichincha Volcano (4,698m or 15,143ft), near Quito, Ecuador.

Small Wonders of Latin America - Global Test Photo Essay - 2
Cordillera Real, Bolivia.

Small Wonders of Latin America - Global Test Photo Essay - 3
Parque Nacional Corcovado, Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica.

Small Wonders of Latin America - Global Test Photo Essay - 4
Machu Picchu, Peru.

Small Wonders of Latin America - Global Test Photo Essay - 5
Ruki Pichincha Volcano, Ecuador.

Small Wonders of Latin America - Global Test Photo Essay - 6
Foz do Iguaçu, Parque Nacional do Iguaçu, Brasil.

Small Wonders of Latin America - Global Test Photo Essay - 7
Parque Nacional Chirripó, Costa Rica.

Small Wonders of Latin America - Global Test Photo Essay - 8
Illiniza Norte Volcano, near Machachi, Ecuador.

Small Wonders of Latin America - Global Test Photo Essay - 9
Washed-up coral on Playa Blanca, Parque Nacional Caroles del Rosario, Cartagena, Colombia.

Small Wonders of Latin America - Global Test Photo Essay - 10
Reserva Natural Dos Brazos, Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica.

Small Wonders of Latin America - Global Test Photo Essay - 11
Parque Municipal da Lagoinha do Leste, Florianopolis, Brasil.

Small Wonders of Latin America - Global Test Photo Essay - 12
Parque Nacional Corcovado, Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica.

Small Wonders of Latin America - Global Test Photo Essay - 13
Ruki Pichincha Volcano, Ecuador.

Small Wonders of Latin America - Global Test Photo Essay - 14
Near Glaciar Rio Tunel, Parque Nacional Los Glaciares, Argentina.

Small Wonders of Latin America - Global Test Photo Essay - 15
Cerro Morado, Andes, near Santiago, Chile.

Small Wonders of Latin America - Global Test Photo Essay - 16
Ruki Pichincha Volcano, Ecuador.

Small Wonders of Latin America - Global Test Photo Essay - 17
Scorpion near El Mirador, El Peten, Guatemala.

Small Wonders of Latin America - Global Test Photo Essay - 18
Concepción Volcano, Isla de Ometepe, Nicarauga.


Citation

"Small Wonders of Latin America - Global Test Photo Essay," by Kristin Tennessen with Danny Milks. BackpackingLight.com (ISSN 1537-0364).
http://backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/small_wonders_latin_america_global_test_photo_essay.html, 2011-02-15 00:05:00-07.

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Small Wonders of Latin America - Global Test Photo Essay
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Addie Bedford
(addiebedford) - MLife

Locale: Montana
Small Wonders of Latin America - Global Test Photo Essay on 02/15/2011 14:24:55 MST Print View

Companion forum thread to:

Small Wonders of Latin America - Global Test Photo Essay

Bradley Danyluk
(dasbin) - MLife
Gear on 02/15/2011 14:34:42 MST Print View

Lovely macros!
I'm curious as to the photo gear used for these.

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: Properties on 02/15/2011 15:44:15 MST Print View

"Other Button" click on the photos.

Scroll down to Properties.

Oh, and just for fun, click on Map Link.

Edit: I have been reminded that I have a FireFox Add-On that allows viewing the EXIF data. So, this probably won't work for you unless you have a similar "option".

Edited by greg23 on 02/15/2011 17:30:28 MST.

Kathy A Handyside
(earlymusicus) - M

Locale: Southeastern Michigan
Small Wonders of Latin America on 02/15/2011 15:46:15 MST Print View

Wow! These are beautiful! I especially love the hermit crab and whatever insect that is sitting on rock. National Geographic should be calling you.

Brandon Sanchez
(dharmabumpkin) - F

Locale: San Gabriel Mtns
Small Wonders of Latin America - Global Test Photo Essay on 02/15/2011 16:36:51 MST Print View

I love how in the description of a Latin American photo essay the word "petite" is used haha.

Bradley Danyluk
(dasbin) - MLife
Re: Re: Gear on 02/15/2011 16:37:05 MST Print View

Sorry to be a bother but... the right-click->properties thing only shows the image size, no other info, on both IE and Firefox (the Firefox equivilant is "View Image Info") on PC.
Unless I'm doing something wrong?

JJ Mathes
(JMathes) - F

Locale: Southeast US
Small Wonders of Latin America - Global Test Photo Essay on 02/15/2011 16:45:36 MST Print View

Beautiful, thank you for sharing

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: Re: Re: Gear on 02/15/2011 17:27:51 MST Print View

Bradley,
My apologies.
I forgot I've got the FxIF Add-On.

(FYI - Panasonic TS1, usually at 28mm.)

Warren Greer
(WarrenGreer) - F

Locale: SoCal
Photo's Delux on 02/15/2011 21:24:33 MST Print View

Really enjoyed that. Thanks for sharing. I'm gonna try to start taking a few photos on the trail this year. This was inspiring.

Christopher Holly
(climber72) - F

Locale: At my desk
Really cool! on 02/15/2011 22:12:14 MST Print View

So the pics are superb, thanks a million for sharing! That caterpillar is weird!!!

And I just sent the FxIF add-on info to a photog friend with whom I will be doing the JMT with this summer - he will be psyched as heck about this!!

Bradley Danyluk
(dasbin) - MLife
Nice on 02/16/2011 11:35:03 MST Print View

Wow. I'm really impressed by that tiny folded lens. I'm guessing it's stronger in macros than other use, but still, I thought this was SLR stuff for sure.

Composition and lighting are great.

Edited by dasbin on 02/16/2011 11:37:31 MST.

Kristin Tennessen
(ktenness) - MLife

Locale: Sierra Nevadas
Foz do Iguaçu on 02/17/2011 10:17:38 MST Print View

The critter in the photo taken at Foz do Iguaçu is an assassin bug (Hemiptera/Heteroptera: Reduviidae) in the genus Arilus. Learn more here.

James Marco
(jamesdmarco) - MLife

Locale: Finger Lakes
Small Wonders of Latin America - Global Test Photo Essay on 02/19/2011 06:45:26 MST Print View

Really excelent shots! WOW! And Thanks!

John L Collins
(WVCubDad) - MLife

Locale: Not too far off the Tuscarora Trail
Neat Link on 02/20/2011 06:05:12 MST Print View

Thanks for posting that link about the assassin bug Kristin. As I looked at the page, I thought Wow that looks really familiar and when I read Hillary's request I couldn't stop chuckling. How nice to have a world-wide support system that gives you quick answers!!!

Thank you both for the fantastic photos of really cool small stuff!

John

Edited by WVCubDad on 02/20/2011 06:06:19 MST.

James Schipper
(monospot) - MLife
Assassin bug on 02/20/2011 10:48:24 MST Print View

The assassin bug is also commonly called a Kissing bug. One thing I didn't see mentioned on the link is that they can be a vector for Chagas disease, one of the most widespread and devastating infectious diseases in Central and South America.

E J
(mountainwalker) - MLife

Locale: SF Bay Area & New England
beautiful, which camera/lens on 02/22/2011 20:44:14 MST Print View

Kristin and Danny, absolutely beautiful photos and most interesting subjects. Which make/model camera/lens were you shooting with, and did you use a tripod?

Danny Milks
(dannymilks) - MLife

Locale: Sierras
Camera Equipment on 03/04/2011 16:47:08 MST Print View

You might laugh, or cry. But the camera I used is the Panasonic TS1. It's Panasonic's first waterproof/crushproof/dustproof camera that I bought in June 2009. My tripod is the Joby Gorillapod. And the only additional equipment I have is a second battery.