It was 10:00 pm when we arrived on a secluded tropical beach at the Nicoya Peninsula. Like clockwork, the neophyte researchers positioned their blankets under the moonlit night. A select few were fingered to roam the beach each hour in search of tracks leading to subterranean nests. The researchers, my students, are on an adventure of a lifetime.
The black-phase green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas) breeds on this beach, and we hoped to fix a transmitter to one lucky female. While most slept as midnight approached, a committed few paced the sand searching for a glimpse into the past. The rocks on this night were deceptive; they are turtles or a mirage for tired eyes wanting to see the invisible nomads.
By 1:15 a.m., I knew we missed our opportunity. Two long nights, two sets of tracks, and two false alarms comprise the story we have to tell. This beach has turtles and there are nests waiting to hatch, but to us, this species remains an elusive dream.
The image posted was taken on a moonlit night on the Nicoya Peninsula. Shooting between turtle surveys, I positioned my tripod towards the north coast and experimented to determine the best exposure. This photograph is a 3-minute exposure shot at f5.6 and ISO 800. The camera and lens used were the Canon 5D mark iii and Canon 17-40mm f4.0L.
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