Photographs of Africa, Ecuador and Peru

January-March, 2012

UAMS Library, Second-Floor Gallery

We have wanted to see the world since we were children growing up together as twin sisters in a large family in a small northeast Arkansas town. We traveled very little as children, so we spent our summers at the one-room Lawrence County Public Library reading about other parts of the world and dreaming of visiting them. We decided then that we wanted to see as much of the world as we reasonably could someday.  After graduating from college, we went in separate directions for many years, but fifteen years ago we both moved back to Arkansas and began traveling together in a mad dash to see as much of the world as possible before we get too old to be able to travel. The pictures in this exhibit are from two of our most recent trips.

A few years ago, we visited Botswana, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Namibia.  We spent most of our time in the Chobe National Park in northwest Botswana.  The people of Botswana were friendly and fun.  The Chobe National Park has the highest concentration of elephants in the world, as well as a large variety of birds and other animals.  The elephants were amazing, and we loved watching the daily river crossings and the baby elephants at play.  We also very much enjoyed the birding safaris, when just the two of us and a guide would go out in a small boat to look for birds.  The guides were very well-trained and easily found lots of birds for us to photograph.   We knew when we saw National Geographic photographers there that we would have some good photo opportunities.

Last June, we visited Peru and Ecuador.  The people of Peru were warm and generous, the food was delicious, and the scenery was beautiful.  We were especially glad to finally see Machu Picchu, a place of spectacular beauty with a sense of spirituality, especially at sunrise.   Ecuador was wonderful as well, with the Galapagos Islands being the highlight.  We visited four of the many islands, and each was very different from the others.  The animals were not afraid of humans and we could observe them closely without disturbing them – this is the closest we have come to really feeling like we were communing harmoniously with nature.

Neither of us has any formal training in photography.  We use simple point and shoot cameras (a Canon G10 and a Panasonic Lumix) and we usually just leave the cameras on automatic settings, although we have discovered a few other settings (flowers, sunsets, etc.).    We purchased a Canon 60D for the Galapagos trip, but had no experience with it yet, so just set it on automatic and started shooting.    We are afraid that if we let the photography process get too complicated, we’ll spend too much time trying to take pictures instead of enjoying the scenery and the people.

We love the natural beauty of our planet and its people, and we try to capture simple photographs to remind us of the wonderful places we have visited.  We hope you enjoy these glimpses of other parts of the world.

For more information, contact Mary at or 686-6732.

Mary L. Ryan, M.L.S., M.P.H., Director, UAMS Library

Marie J. Ryan, B.S.E., Librarian, Christ the King Catholic School