Honu – Hawaiian Green Sea Turtles

I went to Maui thinking the whales would be the best part but it was the green sea turtles who stole my heart! Almost every afternoon a few turtles would make their way onto the beach to bask in the sun and enjoy an afternoon nap!

The most common sea turtle species in Hawaii is by far the Hawaiian green sea turtle (honu). They are regularly found resting under underwater ledges, basking on beaches, and nibbling on algae in shallow waters. The average shell length of an adult honu is 4-5 feet long and weight of 250 pounds, although they can grow as large as 500 pounds.

Despite their name, green sea turtles do not actually appear “green” – at least from the outside. Instead, the name “green” comes from the color of their internal fat tissue, which is green due to a diet that primarily consists of algae. Green sea turtles are commonly seen calmly cruising Maui’s reefs, but when spooked can reach speeds of up to 20 miles per hour.

In addition to feeding and resting, honu in Hawaii can also be observed basking on select beaches.This behavior, thought to be a way to conserve energy or boost body temperature, has only been witnessed in Australia, the Galapagos Islands and Hawaii.

Hawaiian Green Sea Turtles are protected under state and federal laws

More than 90% of Hawaiian green sea turtles nest in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands in the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument. If you’re a Maui turtle, that’s a ~650 mile swim, one way! It takes turtles about one month to swim there and another month to swim back, so they don’t nest or migrate to mate every year. Depending on their health and age, they make this journey every 2-7+ years.

Thoughts of Lake Louise

Lake Louise is world famous for its turquoise lakes, the Victoria Glacier, soaring mountain backdrop, incredible hiking, and the luxurious Chateau Lake Louise hotel.

The vibrant waters and one of Canada’s most photographed lake is five kilometers from the hamlet of Lake Louise. Named for Queen Victoria’s fourth Daughter, Lake Louise is a truly awe-inspiring sight that takes your breathe away the first time you see it for yourself.

During the summer the lake is an intense shade of turquoise due to the light refracting off the rock flour (glacier silt) deposited in the lake by glacier run off. The colour of the lake is most vibrant in July and August when the flow of the melt water is at its highest.

I’ve had the opportunity to visit Lake Louise twice, however not once in summer months, yet! People always say you never know what weather you get when in the mountains … well they are right!

The first time I experience Lake Louise was in November 2016. I was attending my first ever photography workshop, November Frost, with  Paul Zizka, John E Marriot and Dave Brosha. I had a free morning prior to checking in at the hotel and decided to head up to Lake Louise to check it out. Generally when visiting a new location for the first time I like to leave my DSLR behind and experience it simply for myself and perhaps takes some photos on myphone. There was a bit of snow this time of year but not as much as I would have expected for November.

Once the workshop began I had the opportunity to visit Lake Louise for an early morning sunrise shoot and then a late night astro shoot. It was certainly frosty and turned out to be a little frigid on those early morning and late night shoots


I had the intention to visit Lake Louise in the summer of  2017 while passing through on my way to British Columbia. However this coincided with Canada 150 celebration and free entry to our National Parks.  If you wanted to see Lake Louise at this time you needed to park in the overflow parking lot and wait for a bus to take you to the Lake. Unfortunately since I was passing through time did not allow for it.

I did return to Lake Louise in the fall of 2017, this time in the month of October, just after the Canadian Thanksgiving. I was really hoping to see some fall colours and finally see the fall larches in the Canadian Rockies. This trip was for the Offbeat Photography workshop, October Gold held at the incredible Baker Creek Mountain Resort! (which I highly recommend you check out if you’re in the area)

The day before the workshop was to begin, Banff National Park was hit with a fresh snow fall (more snow than I was expecting for October). I may not have see the fall colours or fall larches I was hoping for, but as always Lake Louise was incredible.


If you have the opportunity in the future I highly recommend taking the time to visit to Lake Louise! I guarantee you will not be disappointed. I have yet to make my way all the way around the lake, and would like to one day hike to the Lake Agnes Tea House.

I’m eager to return to Lake Louise as I feel it has so much to offer from a photographers perspective. It is one of the most photographed places in Canada and therefore trying to shoot it in a new and fresh perspective is something I look forward to attempting.

For instance the image below – what sets it apart from the typical images that include the waters, the mountains, the glacier – well I also chose to include the wooden walkway – why? Because the story was about what it would be like to stand there seeing the first light on Mt Victoria and for me the walkway conveys the feeling of being there in the moment with me as I shot this image.

November 04, 2016_IMG_7623

First Image Publication!

Back in September of 2017 I received an email from the Canadian Geographic Photo Club, advising me that one of my photo club images was chosen for publication in Canadian Geographic’s The Ultimate Canadian Geography Quiz Issue Volume 3. The issue is now available in select Chapters/Indigo and Shoppers Drug Mart locations.

Once I received a PDF of the magazine page I was pleasantly surprised that my image ended up with whole page! I captured the image on a frosty November morning in 2016 while attending my first ever photography workshop in the Canadian Rockies with John E Marriot, Paul Zizka and Dave Brosha.


Do you know the original name of Lake Louise, Banff National Park’s most photographed lake?

Here is the original uncropped image:

November 04, 2016_IMG_7623

Black & White Version:

November 04, 2016_IMG_7623-BW