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Author Topic: Photographing Turtles at night  (Read 4695 times)

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« on: April 22, 2017, 04:56 »
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Has anyone had any luck or experience shooting lagerhead Turtles during laying season at night? No lights of any kind are allowed during the laying season. Hoping for a well lit moon in May. Thanks in advance.
« Last Edit: April 22, 2017, 05:11 by jcpjr »


« Reply #1 on: April 22, 2017, 05:01 »
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No, but it sounds interesting!

Unless you have a super sensitive moonlight camera (or maybe a Sony a7s II), most night nature photography utilize artificial light.

« Reply #2 on: April 22, 2017, 05:09 »
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No, but it sounds interesting!

Unless you have a super sensitive moonlight camera (or maybe a Sony a7s II), most night nature photography utilize artificial light.
I agree. I'm using a Nikon D750 which has one of the best low light AF systems of all Nikon products. That's why I was hoping for a full mean during May. I've had excellent results so far.

« Reply #3 on: April 22, 2017, 05:13 »
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Where in the world will it be?

« Reply #4 on: April 22, 2017, 05:25 »
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East coast of Florida. Just south of Melbourne, Indian river lagoon beach.
« Last Edit: April 22, 2017, 05:32 by jcpjr »

« Reply #5 on: April 22, 2017, 06:05 »
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Sounds nice!

I helped little hatchlings in Borneo once, before my photography days though, but it was a great experience!

« Reply #6 on: April 24, 2017, 08:23 »
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photography is light reflected. No light no photography. Plus the turtles move during their egg-laying activities.

« Reply #7 on: April 24, 2017, 08:37 »
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photography is light reflected. No light no photography. Plus the turtles move during their egg-laying activities.
Correct! Hoping for a little help from the moon. Half moon rising from the east is what I'll have on the dates I'm there. I'm going to have to be creative I'm sure. I'll post a shot or two if I'm successful.

« Reply #8 on: April 24, 2017, 08:46 »
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Would this not be a subject better suited for movie clips?   (or both)

« Reply #9 on: April 24, 2017, 09:08 »
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Half moon rising from the east is what I'll have on the dates I'm there

That will mean moonlight from shortly after midnight until dawn, with the moon quite high at dawn, won't it? So just before dawn will be the best time... if that fits with turtle laying behaviour.

« Reply #10 on: April 24, 2017, 09:11 »
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Several years ago I was able to observe turtles laying eggs in Costa Rica.
If I remember correctly the turtles prefer non-moonlit nights. It was absolutely pitch black that night.
You actually had to keep your hand on the shoulder of the person in front of you as you made your way along the beach.
The guides were only allowed to use flashlights with red lenses.
If the turtles sense any movement as they move up the beach they will turn around and go back into the sea,
where they will drop their eggs, thereby losing them.
Once they begin laying they sort of go into a trance and the guides will come up behind them and you can then observe them. But still only a red lens flashlight was used.
Photography will be really difficult. Plus you will be in a group and everybody will want their chance to get in close, you won't have much time.
Good luck though - great experience.

« Reply #11 on: April 24, 2017, 09:56 »
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When I moved to that area 21 years ago I was already a sea turtle biologist and I had a keen interest in getting photos for my slide shows as well as stock. I found that the community frowns on loners going out and disturbing nesting turtles. There is no shortage of good photos of nesting turtles. It is not really worth it and without a flash you are not going to get anything truly stock worthy. Go out on a group tour with the Sea Turtle Preservation Society and try to get some photos with no flash. You will get some first hand experience on what to expect and will be able to see what you can do. The best pictures are taken just around dawn as the light is coming up. You would be lucky to find one then, but you would be able to photograph a turtle easily because once she is laying she is not going to move. Again any early morning observers are going to make you keep a distance so don't expect to get up close. Those days are long gone. You are talking about Archie Carr NWR. It is well protected and patrolled during nesting season.

« Reply #12 on: April 24, 2017, 10:06 »
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I was in Borneo years ago specifically shooting Turtle Island, also known as Sipadan Island.  I was there to shoot underwater......both dead and resting turtles, moving into turtle tomb where these animals swim into caverns and get lost, drown then decompose.  Those were okay to light:)

On the island itself, we wanted to shoot nesting turtles, but like others have said, they come up at night and the guides forbid self tours and flashes.  I did witness it all....egg laying, hatchlings, etc. and managed to get a shot in the day of hatchlings running to the water and getting picked off by seabirds.  The night after my last dive day, a "crew" of photographers showed up to the island and shot the sh!t out nesting turtles with lighting.  They had "special permits" which I suspect was television related, or something along those lines. 

Either way, it is hard to get good turtle shots without artificial light.  I know first hand. During the day it's easy!! But not nesting, of course.

« Reply #13 on: April 24, 2017, 10:10 »
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Thanks to all for your suggestions. It's going to be a challenge I know. I certainly don't want to disturb the natural balance. I've seen shot using a red flashlight and corrected balance afterwards and was pretty impressed. Thanks again all.

« Reply #14 on: April 24, 2017, 10:20 »
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Thanks to all for your suggestions. It's going to be a challenge I know. I certainly don't want to disturb the natural balance. I've seen shot using a red flashlight and corrected balance afterwards and was pretty impressed. Thanks again all.


And loggerhead turtles are endangered. (You typed lagerhead...i assumed you meant loggerheads, unless there is a rare beer-drinking turtle species.) 😄🍻

« Reply #15 on: April 24, 2017, 10:23 »
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I stand corrected! You are absolutely right. Auto correct drives me nuts. Thanks Cathy.

« Reply #16 on: April 24, 2017, 12:02 »
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I stand corrected! You are absolutely right. Auto correct drives me nuts. Thanks Cathy.

 :D


 

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