French Guiana – 2016 … about

March 5th, 2016 Cosmin Manci

As some you already know I made this year a collecting trip in South America, more exactly in French Guiana. This was possible thanks to a friend who is not happy now … sorry for this Adam, I’m not happy too.

Sadly we have not found very good connection and we needed to just stay for 3 days in Paris, 2 days for going and 1 day for coming. Bye the way prices in France are really huge and later we will say that in French Guiana are even much more bigger, they import everything, really everything except rum. Local bananas in French Guiana were almost 2 euro for a kilo, and half of that was to throw away…. very very small  !!!!!

The team of romanians in the jungle was from me and Cristian Sitaru (from Zoological Museum in Cluj-Napoca). We happy, happy to conquer a new continent, over the Atlantic Ocean.

somewhere over the Atlantic Ocean

The trip was with the aim of collecting some insects from there, Lepidoptera for Adam and specially Coleoptera for me. Sadly not everything was smooth as we hoped and the situation at the place was far from we wanted. El Nino played with us and that wet season that needed to end for a short period at the end of January not existed. When we reached the place the soil was rock solid, was impossible to dig to put pitfall traps and we barely mounted a malaise trap. In February a short dry season should start but we got rain … rain almost all the time until our departure.

We were in jungle from 28 January to 12 February (in morning of 12 we were on the way to civilization). We stayed there in a bungalow from the jungle, a a family business, Gîte Moutochi. The place has current water (not for drinking), some electricity for the fridge/freezer and to charge some batteries and a small kitchen to prepare something there. No phone signal, no internet … more or less you are off civilization there 🙂 .

IMG_1693_s in the bungalow

For the first 3 days we had more sun and when we finally started to understand something rain started and collecting was very limited in day time. At night some time in bungalow some time in rain at light. In all those days we stayed more or less awake for 10 days.

We tried to collect by all means: malaise, yellow pan trap … shit trap (worked for a very limited period of time as were flooded, fruit traps (were washed and washed and washed by rain… a lot of money gone for bananas and for almost nothing), light (10 nights), entomological net, searching at night with a light, intercepting panel (flooded by rain) and we wanted to put also pitfall traps but was impossible to dig and later flooded and flooded.

fruit trap yellow pan traps at light at light at light shit trap yellow pan trap used as bath Cristian with net IMG_1625_s

Without much success 🙁 .

We explored a little the area, but was hard to do it as we had no car and to go for longer distances (even only for some kilometers) thru the rain is not nice. Discovered some nice places and we hope to return to better explore them and to find a better season. Some photos from around:

IMG_1649_s slash and burn after years and years slash and burn slash and burn open areas for "agriculture" light trap and around

Except the low success in collecting some bad thing happen … ticks, hundreds of ticks I have taken out from me, my legs and not only are still with scars from scratching  and the worst was that something entered in my underwear (at light? when I slept?) and for a week there I was walking like having a boar between my legs with some really bad pain … now after close to a month from when started still scars. Otherwise at light and not only lot of bites or stings from ants, wasps and who knows. What amaze us (and this was a good thing) there were very few mosquito.

PRO

Choose the place because was one of the cheapest that we have found, for housing and for the use of night trapping.

French Guiana is a friendly country with collectors. And if you want to have the ecuatorial/tropical experience is a place to go.

CONS

The neighbor cleaned the land so close to the place where light trap was mounted we had an ex forest surface that smoked for the period we were there. All forest species that are attracted by the light have to fly a long distance and bats are waiting and for sure are better hunter than us.

MAYBE WILL ADD SOMETHING HERE WHEN WILL REMEMBER THINGS 🙂

In 12 February we reached Saint-Laurent-du-Maroni in the morning and needed to “kill” some hours and we ended with making a short visit in the “town”. This one had some history and the place is well know because of Henry Carriere and his Papillon (hope somebody who read this has read the book too not only seen the movie 🙂 ).

 prison prison  Maroni with old wreck prison prison Maroni with old wreckPapillon memories

We and our hosts and we in Cayenne Airport waiting to go home.

me, Meg, Isabelle, Franck and Cristian in Cayenne Airport waiting to come home

We learned, this being the best thing, a lot and for sure next one (at least we want a next one) will be better.

going out with MP-E

January 2nd, 2016 Cosmin Manci

Going out and taking photos with the lens Canon EOS MP-E 65 is not the easiest thing to do. And to have good results you need to have good light (light that usually come from a flash). No problem to put a flash there and just push a button but normally you get something burnt, or something with a very strong shadow. My quest (and everyone else) was to have a easier to use diffuser in the field, probably tried until now at least 20 recipes and without very good results. Browsing the internet you can find a tons of variants of diffuser mainly builded around the flash solution you have. As I’m limited economically used one of the cheapest flash from Canon. But I will say is a great one, very small and very, and with enough power to put light on your subject (in fact is a flash unit used by many many photographers). The thing that I don’t like is the very slow recharging rate. But one day MT-EX24 will be mine 🙂 and will change everything .

Soon I will do a dream trip now I decided that is the moment to do something as there will not be the moment to just try, time is short and for sure a lot of subject will be there.

This is the prototype of diffuser that ended today and the 6 photos that I have done out before freezing myself.