Marine Iguana, Galapagos Islands

Marine iguana, Espanola Island, Galapagos Islands. Canon 1Ds Mark III, 17-40mm f/4L, (36mm) 1/125 sec @ f/13, ISO 100

The Galapagos Islands are the only place in the world you will find a marine iguana. The color variation differs from island to island among the archipelago, and on Espanola Island, the iguanas have a red and green hue. They are as bizarre to watch as they look, and like most reptiles, don’t move unless there is some efficient reason for doing so. Our guide told us that the internal body temperature is less than one degree different than the outside temperature, which is one reason they like to bask in the sun. Due to abundant rains, the background green is a bonus color for this often dry and brown landscape. I laid on my stomach to get this shot in order to grab some of the nice sky and clouds, which meant indenting the body with coral sand, especially the elbows and knees. It was often in the 90′s, and under the hot sun, I’m sure much warmer, not to mention the humidity. Add a little sun screen and you turn into a sticky epidermis that collects sand like a sugar coated doughnut.  The temperatures alone was a challenge for a body akin to the northern climate. I found the red, green and blue color combination of this image intriguing, along with  the elements of land, water and sky. Plus, the creature looks fresh out of Lord of the Rings, but its real.