Sea Turtle | A sea turtle near Tintamarre Island in the Caribbean Sea. | http://lars-lentz.pixels.com/featured/sea-turtle-lars-lentz.html
Swimming with sea turtles is an incredible experience. We went to Tintamarre Island near the island of Saint Martin in the Caribbean where there is a sanctuary and they are protected. They were right there swimming down to feed off the bottom and back up again every 20 minutes or so for air. We snorkeled over and next to them and for a half hour were able to watch them feeding.
I photographed this one as he was getting ready to descend again. I snorkeled right over him and shot downward. It is not easy and sometimes not possible at all to see a camera screen underwater while wearing a mask and snorkel. I had no artificial light and relied on the bright sunlight to illuminate the turtle in the water. I tried flash and it was not an option because it would illuminate the bubbles and particles in the water, obscuring the image. I was able to make out the screen of my camera when the light hit it just right and I took the shot at that moment.
I cleaned up the photo in post-processing. I removed many bubbles in the water around the turtle that detracted from it. I also sharpened the image selectively, allowing the sunlight to soften portions of the turtle and the background.
It was difficult to keep from smiling the whole time I was swimming with these sea turtles. Smiling would have broken the seal between my mask and face and allowed it to fill with water. But I was smiling inside the whole time I was there and now even afterward whenever I see this photo. I hope it brings a smile to your face as well.
Below is a map of the exact location where I took this photo. It is an interactive map and you can zoom in/out, scroll, and move around to see more. You can even see the tour company I used for the excursion by clicking on the red push-pin:
This is the equipment I used to take this photo:
Camera: Olympus Tough TG-4
Lens: 4.4-17.8 (25-100 mm 35 mm equiv.) (f/2.0 – 4.9)
Settings: 1/1000 s at f/3.5, ISO 100, 6.4 mm, 0 EV, Underwater Mode, Pattern Metering.
I post-processed this photo using my process, and here are before and after images of the photo, showing the transformation from camera to finished product:
I was fortunate to be able to take a video while swimming with the sea turtles. You can watch it below or on Vimeo. I was snorkeling while pointing the camera downward from the surface to film these magnificent creatures:
If you liked this photo, and the story behind it, you can see more if it and others in my gallery. Just click on the photo below to go there now:
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