Beyond the BackyardCircle B Bar ReservePhotography TipsTurtles

Slow motion: Turtles

Friends often ask why our website is called “catandturtle” when most of my photographs are of birds. Well, I’ve always been a cat lover, and Rich has grown up with an obsession for turtles. Actually, it was our cat Goldilocks who started watching birds, and got us interested in them…

So when I come back from photographing, Rich always asks if I’ve seen any turtles. Too often I have to say no. But on Friday at the Circle B Bar Reserve, I came across this Cooter turtle in the culverts along the Heron Hideout trail. For the first time in months, water was flowing freely under the path, and this turtle was having a good time splashing around in the water.

My first shot was the “Rich, I got you a picture of a turtle!” shot. I used my standard aperture and nothing fancy with the exposure.

Then I started playing with the shutter speed. I wanted to slow it down enough that the water flowing over the turtle was a blur. I experimented and found that a shutter speed of 1/5 of a second gave me a nice water blur. The turtle’s head bobbed up and down as the water rocked him around, so I had to take several shots before I had one with a sharply focused head and blurry water.