Turtle doing a hand stand while eating.
There were a lot of turtles around Mahaiula bay this past Sunday when arriving early morning to relax on the beach. The water was beautiful. Several shades of blue decorated the bay. And then there were the dark figures of turtles swimming around and feeding. I went to join them.
Immediately I found a large turtle that didn’t seem to mind that I was around. For over an hour I watched and photographed, looking for different perspectives and a way to capture the character of this amazingly delicate yet rugged animal. We were battling the increasingly building waves that would push us around, more me than the turtle, and at times I would find myself floating away; fighting to return. This forced me into a new approach. Instead of hovering around at a short distance, I needed to swim further away and allow the distance to buffer me into a better position for focus and composition while the current pushed me toward the turtle. That is when I started to notice the struggle the turtle faced as well. With every passing wave I noticed it gripping to the rocks, swaying and twisting around. Nearly flipping over with a couple larger swells… and thats when I took this image. Even though the turtle struggled to stay put to eat, the still photograph contrasted its determination with more of a playful and comical look. As if the turtle was showing off by doing some hand stands.
It is moments like these that I think about what it would be like if humans had to endure the elements and forces of nature that animals do. If while we sat to eat at the table we needed to grip tight to the table or we would suddenly be pushed aside. Our food was constantly swaying as we picked at it with our faces because our hands were busy holding us still… all while holding our breath. Not to mention the threat of being attacked by a predator.
© Christopher Johnson