Islas Marietas National Park

The excitement was building as soon as we booked the excursion. Little did we know how it would turn into a huge disappointment for our family.

Looking at photos of the Marietas, I couldn’t help but eagerly sign us up to head out on a sailboat for whale watching, snorkeling and checking out the beaches. These islands are home to the blue-footed boobies which I thought were only on the Galapagos! We didn’t tell the kids until the night before. They weren’t nearly as excited as we thought they would be.

Unfortunately, I was overcome with a bout of food-poisoning from some pork I ate at supper. This made for a bad start in the morning. Apparently, my step-son had the same problem as we had to get the cab driver to pull over on our way to the marina for him to empty his stomach contents. Wish it was just too much tequila.

We boarded the boat. Mike and I were starting to feel better. Any sickness was forgotten as soon as we saw the first few humpbacks and a sea turtle. Then Mike’s sister wasn’t responding well to the rough seas. The waves were average but our mid-sized sailboat definitely made them seem bigger than they actually were. Can’t complain about the staff of the Eco-Sail tour; they were fantastic. Gus was entertaining and informative. The food was satisfactory for the day trip….continental breakfast and sandwiches made to order along with open bar. Gus made room for my step-daughter to lay down after she got sick.

Blue-footed Booby

One important thing we were not informed of when booking: there was no docking a boat on the islands. We would be taken as close as possible but then would be getting into water that could be as deep as 5′. My daughter wasn’t feeling up to swimming that day and did not wear a swimsuit. She thought she could just hangout on the beach without going in the water. Therefore, I stayed on the sailboat with her while the others explored the beach. I captured the best I could get from the bobbing boat while feeling nauseous.

My step-son was the only one to go snorkeling and thoroughly enjoyed it. He even got to hold a sea cucumber. Thankfully the Eco-Sail photographer got photos of my family on the beach. It was disappointing for me but I was still able to capture some photos of the islands from the sailboat.

One of the other guests and his daughter had reservations to check out the hidden beach. The hidden beach is the inside of a collapsed stone “roof”. It is said to have been created by the combination of volcanic activity and military testing in the early 1900s. Visitation of the hidden beach is regulated and you must reserve your spot with one of the limited companies able to offer this experience. Since this father/daughter couple were visiting the beach, we got a good look of the entrance from the boat.

Even though 4 out of 6 of us got sick on this adventure, it definitely had the potential to be a wonderful experience. If I venture out there again, I will be sure to pack a dry bag for my camera to be able to take it onto the islands, and I will most definitely be taking an anti-nauseant before boarding a boat. Always prepare yourself and do your own research when embarking on any excursion while travelling.

Triple D Wildlife

Calling ALL photographers! If you are interested in capturing some great wildlife photos in natural settings, check out the Triple D Game Farm in Kalispell, Montana. We had a warm greeting from Glenda and with the instructions to meet back at the main office for 6:30am. We then went to check out our living quarters for the next few days…..a beautiful log cabin on site! With 7 photographers, there was plenty of room for all.

The next morning we met with Jay Deist, owner of Triple D. Established in 1972, Triple D was the first of it’s kind to offer their trained animal models for wildlife photography and cinematography. In 1972, Triple D was owned and operated for the purpose of propagating wild animal species common to the Northwest. With safety, of the animals and guests alike, being their highest priority, Jay reviewed safety regulations with us and then introduced his head trainer, Heather, and assistant, Justine. We signed up for their 4 day program. I co-organize a special photography tour using the format of their 4-day program as a base.


Our first wildlife encounter was with a silver fox named Zoi. She was an energetic spitfire, and capturing her antics took some high speed shooting. The best part was when Heather treated her with a mouse. Zoi took the mouse and in typical fox style, went to bury her cache.

The bobcat was next. He was quite playful chasing the “toy”, a piece of animal hide attached to a long pole. Typical cat pouncing and jumping.

Our last animal of the day was a cougar named Dee Dee. It was amazing to see the love she had for Heather, rubbing her face against Heather just as a housecat would. It was quite intimidating watching Dee Dee explore our shared fenced area.

Yes, we were in the fenced area with the animals. No shooting through fencelines here.

Mystique the snow leopard was just that….mysteriously hidden against the rocky cliff of her area. She started out quite playful and Heather had to practically drag her up the hill with Mystique wrapped around her legs like a silly toddler.


The next day was bright and early, as well. This day started out with not one, but two grey wolves. Their alpha male, CK, and a black female. The female was quite shy until CK was brought back for some interaction.

What a treat we had next…..Canada lynx kittens!! Just check out the mittens on these kittens! Cuff and Faye were a delight to watch play and pounce.

The 3rd day brought clouds. We waited for about an hour or so for the light to change….we really wanted the best light possible for our photos. Eventually the clouds broke and we headed out to shoot the Siberian lynx and the tiger!

Part 2 coming in my next post………

Welcome Travel Photo Fans!!

Welcome to my blog. Stories of my travels, my photos and my family (my travel companions).

Having been a professional photographer for many years now, I decided to share more of my experiences with all of you. My travel journal will expand over the next few years as each of my young fledglings leave the nest – one down; two to go. My dad was the one to instill the love of travel in me. He has been all over the world and has taken me on a few of those adventures.

Now, with a family of my own to raise, I realize what a privilege it was to travel while I was young. I did not always have the resources to travel with my kids until recently, therefore my oldest has missed out a bit. As an adult, though, he has now surpassed me in the travel experiences.

So, I invite you to join me. Follow my travels, my photos… journey.

Sea Turtle Camp

BABIES!! What human being cannot get excited about baby animals? They are so darn cute! Apparently, only my daughters and I were the most excited for this but we made the boys go anyway. I was lucky enough to witness the hatching of sea turtles on our resort’s beach on the first day in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. The teens had gone to get the others to come to the beach and missed all the action. Good thing we were already had reservations for Turtle Camp a few days later. We booked our time online with

The volunteer who met with us was very knowledgeable and told us much about sea turtles. Through Wildlife Connection, you are guaranteed to be able to release baby sea turtles. If not, you do get your money back. First you patrol the beach in search of mama’s laying eggs. We came at the end of laying season but luckily, we spotted some extra bird activity and found a female turtle digging her nest. Since the turtles us the “white light” of the surf to guide them to the ocean, we had to view the laying of the eggs with a red light so as not to confuse the mom. We got to watch the complete process. It was so amazing! Watching Mama head back to the water slowly kinda gave me chills as I was so happy she was able to safely leave her eggs in hopes of continuing her species. There is so much risk to these eggs as all kinds of scavengers dig them up and eat them – birds, lizards, etc. These eggs will later be dug up by the camp workers to be protected until hatching time.

Excitement was building in all of us as we headed back to the camp to release the turtles that had recently hatched safely. They were so CUTE! The volunteer had each of us select one turtle and we were going to have a race to the water. Having named our turtles and lined them up, we moved in front of them and shone our flashlights towards them to show them which way to go. Flash, Joey, Sam, Dolly, Sandy, and, the most original, Turtle were off to a good start. Then a few would get confused and turn around. We would have to use our flashlights to guide them back in the right direction. That wasn’t our biggest challenge. Once we got near the water, each wave had the chance to either wash the turtles back up onto the sand or whisk them away out into the ocean. When the waves went over your feet, you had to stand still until you were able to locate each turtle so that you didn’t risk stepping on one. I had one wave wash one of the babies right over my feet….such a weird feeling.

After the turtle race, we went back up to the bucket of babies. The volunteer tipped over the bucket and gently let out the rest of the babies. We then collectively led them all to the water until all were headed out to hopefully live full lives and grow into adult turtles to begin the circle of life once more.


Triple D Wildlife….part 2

My previous post left off at the start of our 3 day at the Triple D Game Farm.

Waiting on the clouds to clear, we had all submitted a photo for the Triple D staff to vote on. Winner got a free optional animal to shoot! My friend, Amanda, was the lucky winner. Apparently, this was their hardest one to date since they started these contests with their guests. All the images had one vote and only one image got two votes.

First model of the day….an adult Siberian lynx. Unfortunately, he was having an “off” day and to prevent stressing him, we had to cancel this shoot. I was able to capture a few good shots before the trainers determined this was not his day.

Onto the next model….Hershey the TIGER!! There was much more preparation for this shoot. The enclosure had a hot wire attached and there were 2 short fence lines between us and her. The large fence around the enclosure was more substantial than any of the other enclosures. We drove into this one and were instructed to keep the vehicles unlocked in the off-chance she decided to jump the fence. It has never happened but better to have a plan in place than to be caught off guard. Hershey, it turns out, was just as lovable as the cougar, DeeDee. Hershey seemed to adore Heather as they played and we took photos. At the end of the shoot, Heather led Hershey back to the truck to go home by giving her a baby bottle!

This was the end of the photoshoots for the 3rd day. As the true photographers we were, we retired to the cabin for a silent afternoon of photo processing. We are such an exciting bunch 😉

Day 4: Our final day with the Triple D group.

Siberian lynx kitten

Since the Siberian lynx wasn’t up for a photoshoot, Triple D does not just leave it at that and the guest loses out. They will reassess the animal and you either get to try again or they substitute for another. This time, he wasn’t up for photos so they brought us Kira, the Siberian lynx kitten. So adorable and so fast. She launched out of her carrying crate like a bullet and ran straight up the first, tall tree she found. Kira then proceed to stay there for the next 6 HOURS! Heather stayed with her all day until she decided to come back down.

Since the Siberian lynx kitten decided to hide out in the tree. Justine took us to a different enclosure to get photos of a badger. He was chosen by some of us as an option. So out of 7 of us, 5 paid extra to get photos of him. Now most people would ask WHY? Badgers are know to be fairly vicious as well as nocturnal. They aren’t seen often….unlike their burrows that are large holes left in fields and pastures on farms and ranches. I have only ever seen one before now. Justine kept him in line with a shovel in case he got grumpy. Much safer than using your hands or feet to guide him.

Justine then had a surprise for us….not one but two red foxes and a cross fox! These were not requested animals nor were they options that anyone was paying for extra. The foxes were cute zooming all over the enclosure. The male entertained us first with his antics. Then he was switched out with the female, Zinger. She was true to her name and looked every bit the cartoonish sly fox. After she got to play a bit, Rusty the cross fox got to come out to play. Eventually, Justine let Zinger out again. Apparently, Zinger has the reputation of a bully but we also noticed how Rusty was a bit of a drama queen. They chased each other around literally screaming like little girls and then Rusty would continue to cower and “scream” whenever Zinger would even look her way. In the end, Justine brought out a mouse and Rusty won the reward when they raced to get it.


After a bit of time back at the cabin, we got a phone call that the lynx kitten was still up in the tree, so as a consolation, we all got to shoot the porcupine. I was already going to be getting photos but now I didn’t have to pay any extra for it and everyone got to revel in their cuteness. We actually got to photograph a soon-to-be breeding pair of porcupines, Elvis and Presley. One member of our group thought Elvis looked more like Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones.

Porcupine Transport

Presley was just adorable, for a porcupine.   She frequently wandered off and needed the help of the “porcupine transport”.    We got to witness a little porcupine love and even a Lady and the Tramp re-enactment. These two were definitely the grand finale to our visit.

Contact me if you are interested in joining me on another of these trips. Check out all possible animals to photograph!