Eyestare is a play on words that I came up with when trying to choose a domain for my photography. Back in the day I wasn't too good with words and I always used images to express myself. My mind began with the eye and I hoped that people would stare at the images I put up on this site. That's how I came up with Eyestare.com.
What's the purpose of this site?
I'm very passionate about wildlife and landscape photography. Rather than use places like MySpace or any other networking sites I figured I'd have my own little place in this digital world to share my passion with you. The future of this site will include my photography for sale at a certain point, not to mention a book I'm trying to publish. The wheels turn slowly here, but they do turn. When it's a one man gang doing a web site it sure does take time.
A little about Jeff Guanoluisa
Having been born in Quito Ecuador, I came to New York City at the tender age of six. After two weeks of being in NYC my parents enrolled me into a public school and the rest is history. Since then I have been your typical New Yorker who aspires to have success in a field of his or her choice. I have worked hard to get where I am
and now I can share with you some of the places I have been to in this world.
I realize that there are other people who purposely pursued photography, but I never went to school for any of this. This photography itch started around the year 2000. At first I had no clue as to what kind of camera one should get and what all the terminologies on a camera mean. Thank goodness there are books in this world!
Little by little I grew to understand how a camera works and decided that I would see how well I could do with a little practice. The end result is what you see in the Gallery section of this web site. I'm very proud of my work because I learned it all on my own in the same manner which I learned how to play guitar and drums. I figure that if you're passionate about something you'd do just about anything to pursue that passion.
My choice for camera gear has always been Pentax cameras. I use the Pentax ist*d as my main camera with several wide angle, and telephoto lenses. I also own a Pentax Optio S camera with a waterproof casing that allows me to shoot underwater photography. That's pretty much me in a nutshell. You want to know more? Just send me an email via the contact portion of this site.
Click on a link below for brief bio's on the places I've visited and why I've chosen to include them in my Gallery.
Argentina was such an amazing trip. We started out in Buenos Aires and proceeded to discover all the surrounding places in that area. Recoleta as well as San Telmo were authentic old time Argentinean places. Tango ruled the streets and you couldn't go anywhere without seeing someone with a thermos in one hand and Yerba Mate in the other.
As someone who grew up with rice accompanied by everything I had a tough time eating in Argentina. It wasn't so much that the food was bad, but rather that after the first two days I already missed the rice. We tried to look for places that served plates accompanied by rice, but the one place we found made terrible rice. The food consists of steak and steak, and some more steak. Argentina is known for their love of meat, and that's basically all there is to eat over there. I did manage to fall in love with the "Tortilla De Huevo" platter and coffee!
After touring most of the city, we went to Iguazu Falls in the northern part of Argentina. Iguazu is pretty far away from Buenos Aires so we had to take another plane to get there. We stayed for about three or four days and managed to see the biggest (not tallest) waterfalls in the world. Iguazu waterfalls span from Argentina to Brazil and the surrounding areas that lead to the Parana river span across Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay.
Iguazu National Park has wild life in it's realm and by the looks of how well it was kept, it should remain that way for years to come. If you're looking for adventure and seeing amazing waterfalls, Argentina's Iguazu Falls is definitely for you. Buenos Aires was pretty cool as well if you're into old style cities with lots of history.
Where do I start with Costa Rica? The plan was to visit as many forests and national parks in the country. I reserved several hotels and the tour package included a free car rental.
We started out in San Jose the first day and proceeded to head northeast towards Sarapiqui to stay in a place called "Hotel Sueño Azul". The hotel was amazing as it was no where near any busy city and it was hidden in dense and rough roads. We weren't the only Americans in Hotel Sueño Azul.
On my birthday we had Matthew Mcconaughey and Josh Duhamel eating breakfast at the table next to us. Some of the first activities in that area included the Canopy rides, small tubing, and nature walks.
All the activities here were relatively calm and easy going. Both our tour guides were kids who knew the land really well and helped us in
understanding the land.
The next place was located in La Fortuna Arenal. On our way there, we stopped by a really great White Water Rafting place that had class four rivers so we got wet that day. Reaching our destination in Arenal we did some horseback riding as well as tours to places like Caño Negro Wildlife Reserve. We also hiked the famous Arenal Volcano and took in the lava flow at night. It was a spectacular sight, seeing real lava flow from a volcano.
The next stop was Monteverde. Night tours though the cloud forests, ATV rides, day tours through Hummingbird places and reptile sanctuaries were very common in the Monteverde area. To get to this place it's a four ride from the main highway and it's through really bad roads. I personally loved the trip because you're alone in really wonderful land that is not inhabited by many people. This is a definite must for anyone who likes forests.
Our next stop takes us to Rincon De La Vieja where the Hacienda De Guachipelin was our place to stay in. Here we did so many different types of activities that it really left us smiling. We did more canopy gliding, class four tubing, horseback riding, and thermal hot springs. The mud bath was especially cool as having dry mud all over your body and then jumping into burning water makes for really soft skin.
The last days in Costa Rica were spent going to some of the most amazing beaches anywhere. Playa Hermosa wasn't so hermosa except for the fact that the water was to die for. We also visited Poas Volcano and dined on some of the most amazing meals ever. Pura Vida is the slogan and it certainly feels that way.
I had researched the Whale migration and it was noted that whales migrate through the Dominican Republic around late December early January. The prime area to watch whales is Samana. Samana is located four hours away from the airport but the ride was worth it.
The hotel we stayed at was an all inclusive hotel with tons of activities for one to do. Because Samana is still in it's young stages there was no busy cities. There were no gas stations around, so you had to get gas from little local shack that a young man or boy would attend to. They used rubber pipes along with their mouth to pour the gasoline into your car.
Most if not all the beaches in Samana are beautiful because there weren't any people on them. They're hidden beaches or perhaps because it's so far away from the main city that no one goes there. There were hidden waterfalls all around Samana and some places you can visit via these three wheeled taxis that exist over there.
We tried our hardest to find places that took people to see the whales, but they all said that we were two weeks too early. Needless to say I didn't get to see any whales, but the trip wasn't disappointing at all. I normally like to do adventure type stuff, but for this trip I settled for just lounging and relaxing.
You would think that because I was born in Ecuador, I would know everything about the country. That is far from the truth because I left at such a young age, I barely knew my own homeland. Returning as an adult and as a tourist, it made me really appreciate how wonderful a country Ecuador really is. Upon going back I wanted to see as much as I could so I went just about everywhere time would allow me to.
My stay in Ecuador allowed me to go to places like Baños, El Oriente, La Mitad Del Mundo (The Middle of The World), Otavalo, and I also stayed overnight in a volcano known as Cotopaxi. These experiences were practically my training in photography as I saw worlds I had never seen before. Everything from the insects, to the stray animals, to the people was what made me appreciate all the things in life. My homeland will always be special for the obvious reasons, but more so because it's a place I'd visit regardless of whether or not I was born there.
On my second trip back to Ecuador I decided to see something not even my parents had seen yet. Yes, I decided to go to the Galapagos Islands and realize yet another dream. How often do you get to see Wild Seals, Sea Lions, tons of birds, Iguanas, Hammerhead Sharks, and of course the actual Islands themselves.
To get to the Islands, you need to take a flight from either Quito or Guayaquil. The flight is about two hours from Quito and it takes you directly to the only airport in Galapagos. There are two ways you can see the islands. You can stay in one of the very few hotels they have on one island, or you can stay on a cruiser ship and travel to all the surrounding islands at night.
The preferable choice is to stay on the ships because you don't waste travel time each day to get to your desired destination. During the day you are taken to several of the islands and you see all the wildlife Galapagos has to offer.
At night the ships travel to the surrounding islands, and when you wake up you have wasted no time in getting there. The food aboard these ships is five star quality and each day you are briefed on the days activities as well as the next days activities.
Being in the islands made me appreciate Charles Darwin a little bit more because I stepped foot in the same places he did. I saw the same animals he saw and I could understand how he could have thought such things. Galapagos is still evolving and if you ever want to say you've been somewhere special in the world, Galapagos is your ticket.
What a better way to spend your birthday? Wake up, drink a beer, spark it up, and relax under the sun. Jamaica was a purpose trip. The purpose? We wanted to finish our diving certification and thus we got PADI certified in Jamaica. Besides the obvious reasons why people go to Jamaica, the country really is laid back and relaxed. In comparison to New Yorkers, Jamaican's travel at a snails pace in everything. Rightly so I would say because there is no need to be in a hurry.
My most enjoyable part of the trip was the diving. Seeing all sorts of different fish one could never see made my trip memorable. Everything is a bit overpriced but if you're going to stay in a land where you can basically do anything (and I mean anything) it's certainly worth it. Jamaica is also known for it's Blue Mountain Coffee. I must say it is certainly great coffee considering i've tasted the best coffee from Costa Rica as well. For me, Jamaica has become a place to go to for my birthday. I love the fact that there are no religious overtones, and or a dominant force telling you how you should spend any specific day. Late December you can probably find me in Jamaica from now on.
Okay, so by now you have a general idea of where and why I go to certain places. What's in Mexico for Jeff to see? If you follow the whale migrations you'd know that Cabo San Lucas Mexico is widely known for it's wonderful Humpback Whales. We went from NY, to Houston, to Cabo San Lucas. The ride wasn't that bad and I truly didn't care. I was going to see whales for the very first time.
Cabo San Lucas is mostly known as a party town. We did hang out in a few places, bumped into Tito Ortiz from the UFC, ate exclusively at local places, but we really didn't party like that. Going away for us means living like the locals. We did our research in the area and decided not to eat at places like the Hard Rock Cafe or McDonald's kind of places. Who goes away to eat that crap in a foreign land?
Our first sight of Humpback Whales was a memorable one. They breached the surface nearly having all their body out of the water, and only about 20 feet away from you.
This happened as often as you seeing a bike messenger in the crowded NYC streets. Yup, that means it happened quite often. There aren't many places where you can see whales that close, but there are places where you can see them closer.
After our stay in Cabo San Lucas, we headed North towards La Bahia De Santa Magdalena (Lopez Mateos). This place is a lake that has Grey Whales with their young feeding in tranquility. How close can you get to them? So close that you can touch them. Yep, you can touch whales and I don't know if there is any other place like this in the world. To me this was magic and pure bliss. The sight of such a giant underneath your boat is certainly heart stopping, but amazing all at the same time.
The last few days in Cabo we spent relaxing and looking for the most authentic food places the area had to offer. Snorkeling tours were available and we took advantage of them, as well as horseback riding tours. All in all Mexico was amazing! The food, the people and last but not least, The Whales!
The purpose of the Thailand trip was to experience what a Full Moon Party was about. My stay was three weeks in total and I celebrated New Years as well as my birthday in Thailand. The flight to Thailand was long and painful. It starts out in New York, stopping in Tokyo Japan for a bit and then heading to Bangkok.
We stayed in Bangkok for one day and made our way towards Koh Samui the following day. Because we had accommodations already in place, arriving in Koh Samui was heaven sent. I soon discovered that the island of Koh Samui is really small.
You can go around the island on a small scooter for a total of about 2.5 to 3 hours. The island had some zoo's, hidden waterfalls, but it mostly caters to the wild, crazy party people from all over the world.
The majority of the people there are European and there aren't that many people from the States. One thing is for sure...when in Thailand you have to make sure you're ready to party! The parties were non stop each and every single day. By the second week I was partied out, but I hung in there.
After taking some time to really discover everything about the small island, we headed to the New Years Full Moon Party in Koh Phangan. What a crazy place, and wow.... I have never seen so many people party at once and just about everywhere. The food on the small islands mostly consists of fresh sea food and not too much red meat. You have to remember that there aren't cow farms in Koh Samui so Sea Food is the most freshest and readily available food source. If you want to party, this is your place.
The United States section has pictures from places like New York City, California, Arizona, and Maryland. I'm hoping to expand this section to include YellowStone National Park amongst other beautiful places in the USA. I know that the US isn't known much for it's landscapes, but I think that's partly because no one showcases how beautiful the US really is.
My job will be to convince you that the US is just as amazing as some of the other countries you've seen here. You live somewhere in the US that should be visited?
Well, let me know so I can plan a trip out to your hood and capture that awe. Future destinations in the US include Alaska, Hawaii, and the midwest. This section will always be changing so check back often.