The Feria de Quito, is the annual series of bullfights held around Quito Day in December. I realize that bullfights are a subject in which there are a wide diversity of opinions. My goal is not to debate whether bullfights are art, culture, sport, tradition, humane or inhumane. Rather, I want to share photos of what a bullfight in Quito is like as well as some of the history of bullfighting and my own personal observations along the way.

While they aren't for the faint of heart, they do certainly provide one with a unforgetable experience and the opportunity to take lots of different photographs.

If I had to pick my favorite road in all of Ecuador, I would without a doubt choose the stretch of road through the Pastaza river vallery between Baņos and Puyo.

Located along this route are countless waterfalls of incredible beauty. One is also sometimes rewarded with amazing views of snowcapped and active volcanos like Tungurahua, Altar and Sangay.

The reason most people travel to Cusco Peru is to of course see the incredible ruins at Machu Picchu.

The ruins of Machu Picchu are located high above the Urubamba river and provide some spectacular views of the surrounding area. I love being in the mountains late in the day when sun and clouds give some spectactular light and Machu Picchu was the highlight of one of my favorite trips.

Most visitors to Peru will eventually find themselves in Cusco and there are many things to see there. But one should not miss the opportunity to visit other numerous Incan ruins nearby like the ruins at Pisac, Ollantaytambo and my personal favorite Sacsahuaman.

The ruins of Sacsahuaman are actually just above Cusco and the walls contain massive carved stone blocks that defy imagination. They are just one of many sites worth visiting in the The Sacred Valley.

OK, you may be wondering why I've added a section on Peru when this page is supposed to be about Ecuador. Much of present day Ecuador was conquered by the Incas and became a part of their empire during the last 80 years or so before the arrival of the Spanish. Remember that the name Ecuador and the country itself did not exist until several hundred years later and the entire territory was initially under Francisco Pizarro's control. Peru is a great place to visit and I really enjoyed my time there. I hope you will enjoy this as well as we start out our journey in the capital city of Lima.
I am often asked what type of photography I enjoy most. As the photographer for HCJB, I am asked to shoot all sorts of subjects in many different situations. While I really enjoy the variety, my answer tends to change based on my most recent experience. So I tend to avoid giving a specific answer. Those who are persistent will ask me what kinds of photographs I'll take when I'm not shooting for anyone else. I have always enjoyed abstract photography. I think I enjoy it even more now as it is completely opposite of my day-to-day work. I can also claim it as my personal photography; the kind of work that I do just for fun and to relax. I hope that you will enjoy it too.
I have always been fascinated by volcanos. When my family and I moved to Ecuador in 1993, I never thought I would see any of Ecuador's volcanos errupt. But one can actually see two of them erupting. Tungurahua is one of Ecuador's volcanos that has eluded me more than other. Lately Tungurahua has been erupting ash frequently and at night one can see glowing rocks shooting out of the crater. It really is amazing to see. Join me as I share images of Tungurahua.
Ecuador has a rich history of different cultures. The most famous of all pre-colombian groups is of course the Incas. One of the things I enjoy doing as I travel around Ecuador is trying to find Incan ruins. I've found some Incan ruins mentioned on maps, in the local newspaper or in books. I've found others by looking for terraces and a couple by pure luck. This month I'll share a few images from some of the Incan ruins that I've found.
What is the only world capital that starts with Q? Why it's Quito of course! Quito was founded on December 6th, 1534 and is a city filled with history. Quito was once the religous center of the new world and many cathedrals still abound filled with religous art. There really is too much to include in one segment, so we will hit just a few of the highlights. Join me for a brief overview of historic Quito.
I am often asked where my favorite place to take photographs is in Ecuador. To be honest, I have lots of favorites and the wide diversity of subjects found in Ecuador makes it hard to choose one. Without a doubt Cotopaxi National Park is certainly at the top of the list. With an elevation of 19,348ft., Cotopaxi is one of the highest active volcanos in the world. I enjoy hiking around the park and venturing out on to the glacier; which as you'll read is not always the smartest thing to do. Other fun adventures around Cotopaxi include watching wildlife and visiting some Incan ruins.
Whenever I want to spend a day in the rainforest, I drive down to Mindo. As a photographer, I am always looking for new things to photograph and Mindo offers a sample of the many birds, insects and botanical diversity found throughout Ecuador. I also discuss some of the technical challenges of photography in the rainforest and some helpful tips.
Most people travel to Otavalo to shop for woven items like sweaters, ponchos and wall hangings. I personally go for the pie and the chance to get some great shots of people in the markets. Of course Otavalan people (like many others throughout Ecuador) are not exactly fond of having their pictures taken, so I've given a few tips on how I take photograph people at markets like Otavalo. There are lots of things to do around Otavalo and I've shared a few favorite places that are definitely worth visiting.
Ecuador still retains many cultural events that are not only enjoyable to watch but also provide great opportunities for taking photographs. The Corpus Cristi celebration at Pujili is filled with colorful dancers with elaborate headpieces. Of course some of the best pictures can be found before the parade even starts.
I really enjoy spending time in the highlands of Ecuador. There is something about the solitude of the region, the ability to see for many miles and the way the light plays across the rugged terrain. The paramo can be so beautiful at times and yet it can be extremely hostile as well. The paramo is also home of the Andean Condor. As usual, I share some of my favorite images and places in the region of Ecuador we call the paramo.
The Good Friday procession in Quito is something that has to be seen to be believed. Around 100,000 people line the streets and take part in an elaborate procession. Figures of the Virgin Mary and Jesus Christ are carried through the streets. Some dress as Jesus; wearing torn robes, the crown of thorns and carrying heavy crosses barefoot through the streets of Quito. Others dress as Roman soldiers, as Mary or other followers of Christ. Many wear purple robes carrying crucifixes or images as they walk through the streets. Join me as I reflect on the significance of this event.
How is Cuba related to Ecuador and why is this section on my site? I don't know, I guess it is because of some of the mystique that Cuba has and well... Ecuador isn't the only country I've been to. Anyhow I really wanted to share some of my favorite images from my trip to Cuba and some things that I learned while I was there.
Sooner or later, everyone who takes photography seriously will consider the purchase of what many consider to be the quintessential marquee of cameras. In case you haven't already noticed, I'm talking about Leica equipment. I've been using Leica M-series cameras for a couple of years now and I discuss some of the joys of using Leica M-series cameras and lenses and some of the frustrations inherant with the system. Is Leica the perfect camera system? Hardly. Is Leica right for you? Maybe. Is the Leica system really worth the money? Read on.

I've also added a new section with some advice about buying into the Leica system.

All Images Copyright Duane Birkey 2005. Absolutely All Rights Reserved. Images may not be posted on any website or reproduced without written permission.