Honu – Hawaiian Green Sea Turtle on the beach along Maui’s North Shore

by Douglas Hoffman on November 3, 2013

turtle 1It was late in the day and we were returning from  a fun day of photography.  We decided to stop at one last place to see if there were any tide pools that offered good reflections of palm trees.  Well we did not find any tide tools but we did come across this male Hawaiian Green Sea Turtle.

Turtles are seen on often on the beaches of Oahu, and along the shore on the Big island, but it is not everyday you can find a sea turtle on the beach so this was really special.  This turtle was yawning so perhaps he came to the beach for a nap. The light was fading and sunset was not far away.  I was tempted to put a flash on my camera and move in closer, but did not want to harass this turtle.   I remember someone telling me that underwater the turtle has a film that protects its eyes and allows the turtle to see.  On land their is no film, so flashing the turtle could potentially harm it, and that is something I didn’t want to do.  So I stay a fair distance away and went with available light.  I used an IOS of 640 and shutter priority of 1/125th.  I wanted to freeze the turtles movement  so I favored speed over F-stop. As it was the light dropped fast and I had to go with 1/60th.



This was another afternoon session but this time we were underwater.  This turtle had just surfaced to breathe and was heading back to the reef to rest.  I was hovering in mid water and turtle swam right by.  I used two  strobes on this image each at about 3/4 power.  The strobes were pointed up and slightly away from the subject so that the light coming from the strobes interested the turtle at a distance and did not light up all of the water between my camera and turtle.   As you can see from the underside of the turtle that the strobes were effective.  The turtles face is let, in addition to the tummy.   The sky is a nice shade of blue.  To get this, I set the exposure to the surface and to the left of the turtle.  My thinking was to match the exposure of the sky if possible.  I set my camera to that and relied on the strobes to light the subject.

If underwater photography photography interests you check out this site.