A few weeks ago I had the privilege of spending the night on “Turtle Island” off the coast of Malaysia. The island was about an hours boat ride, which skimmed across the surface of the ocean at pretty high speeds. The boat ride was fun in itself! We arrived to a picture perfect tropical island complete with palm trees and were directed to our cabins where we would sleep. It was only mid morning and the turtles only lay their eggs at night, so we spent the day relaxing on the beach and snorkelling along the reef. The giant sea turtles are protected under a conservation program from the local fauna as well as poachers. Sea turtle eggs are a delicacy in many neighbouring countries. When the female turtles are ready to lay their eggs they return to this very same stretch of beach where they were born! The location of their birth is some how imprinted into the turtles memory and amazingly they make the long swim back to these shores. Nobody knows exactly how and remains a mystery. When the turtles lay their eggs a mucus appears over their eyes and they appear to shed tears, but in fact these salty secretions are the turtles’ way of ridding their body of excess salt consumed at sea.Our local tour guide from Borneo told us that his mother told him that the mother was crying because she would never see her children again and that this made her very sad. I prefer the local version of why sea turtles appear to cry, don’t you?!

On this particualr night the turtles came late in the evening and many of group couldn’t stay up any longer and went to bed. It was after 2 or 3am that we got news that a turtle had found its way onto the beach and was laying her eggs. We were ushered around to that part of the island where she was and were able to witness the magic. The things which struck me the most about the whole experience was how large she was, the speed at which she was able to thrust herself along the sand considering this size and weight and how loud her breathing was.

The conservation worker aloud us to take photos, but no video, and this was one of the shots I snapped as she made her way back to the ocean waters. I used my full frame mirrorless Sony A7r, amazing camera, and a high ISO so that I was able get a sharp and bright enough shot of her.

Just an incredible experience!


For this image I used Adobe Photoshop CC  and On1’s Perfect Effects.

On1’s Perfect Effects can be used as a standalone program or you can launch it from Photoshop like I did. It’s got all cool ways to adjust colour, contrast, glow and pretty much adjust anything you can think of. It’s called a filter program but its more like a powerful and simple version of lightroom.

If you have any comments please leave them below, they are welcomed. 

Thanks, Luke


Sony A7r


Sony 24-70mm

Focal Length




Shutter Speed

1/40 sec






Turtle Island, Malaysia

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