So, starting from the top...
1) Donkey by the roadside. Straddling the fine line between pest and point of national pride, these creatures inhabit all of the island. There are even donkey crossing signs in Dutch, which I'm not sure has anything to do with the text "overkstande ezels." Anyhoo, here's one of them critters (or is that kritteren?):
(proper credit/copyright to my darling wife - J.C.W.)
2) A whiptail lizard, having a little hand-feeding. I was surprised by how tame they were:
3) Detail of the lizard:
...and more detail...
4) The ever-so-cheerful tropical mockingbird at the resort. Beautiful songsters, these are:
5) This is a Venezuelan troupial, a close relative of the oriole. The picture doesn't come close to capturing how brilliantly colorful that these birds are:
6) A pair of wading flamingo. Any photographers out there have hints for shooting these? I had a devil of a time at the tippy-top of my focal range on a Nikon D70 outfitted with an 80-400VR lens. The birds are so light in tone that in direct sun, you get almost total washout. And they like to stay at a respectable distance, too. If memory serves, I was shooting in spot focus mode, A priority, somewhere between f8 and f16. (Any SKBers that hang here can feed me back on the Bubba Blab, OK?)
7) The winner of the best in show among the participants in the Splash photo contest. The judge said it was the first time he'd given this award to a non-diver. I won a Suunto dive watch! Back story to this photo: I'd been shooting these birds relentlessly for about an hour. I was frustrated by what I was seeing in the LCD on the camera, so I went back to the truck to get my f3.5 24-120VR Nikkor, and put the 80-400VR away. I set the mode to "action," and wandered back towards the birds. Sure enough, they took off when I got a bit too close. I just kept my finger on the shutter and tried to follow them as best I could through the viewfinder, BLAM BLAM BLAM. I got two useful shots out of about 20. This was the best composed, even if the other shot had better detail.
8) Now, if the contest had been later, this would have been my submission:
Taken at a distance of about 2' through a Nikkor f2.8 105mm micro with flash. The iguana was cavorting around the swimming pool deck as we were wrapping up and getting ready to have a group photo taken. I managed to shinny up pretty close, and then that unmistakeable bit of felicity appeared in the form of a dragonfly. A rather thrill-seeking dragonfly, to boot.
So that's a bit of the trip in photos. Hope you enjoy!
(Almost redundant here, but all photos are (c) 2005 Andy W. Please secure permission before use.)