The other week we had the opportunity to watch a Sea Turtle release hosted by the Karen Beasley Foundation in Top Sail Island. We weren’t sure what to expect as far as crowd goes, but I figured it wouldn’t be too hard to navigate around to get some good photos. We showed up early and stood at the edge of the tape line the volunteers had place to clear a path down the beach to the water. As the time got closer to the release, more and more people were squeezing in and we found ourself barricaded in from behind. I did not realize how many people planned to attended this release, and being tourist season didn’t help as well.
I was hoping to have some room to move around as well as step into the ocean to get some good angles of the turtles from the front, but the crowd control people were very firm about keeping us behind the line. I didn’t have any special access, so the spot I stood was the spot I kept and that is what I had to work with.
The first few turtles released were young and small and were carried all the way to the water before released. The bigger turtles were set down about 15 meters from the ocean and they crawled their way to freedom. There were many volunteers standing around and in the way of a clear shot and my angle wasn’t the best for what I was hoping. I knew the best option for where I stood was to get down as low as I could and snap away at every uninterrupted view I could.
Getting low put me on the level of the turtle for an amazing perspective that you just can’t get while standing. The composition was on a more personal level with the turtle where you can really pick up on the emotion of the photo.
I thought this was a good learning experience as well as interesting to see with my own eyes. You can plan out shots in your head for an upcoming event, but you never know what the reality of it will be and what your limitations are. You just need to adapt to the setting and work with what you are given, and if you think smart you can still achieve great shots at the end of the day!