Rare photography of turtles wins international prize to the Algarve João Rodrigues

«I'm really happy because these awards are the best there is in the world», confessed João Rodrigues

The award-winning photo of the two olive turtles (Lepidochelys olivacea) to copulate, by João Rodrigues

Call it fate or chance, but João Rodrigues prefers to speak of «reward for effort». In May 2019, the Algarve underwater photographer was walking in the seas of Baja California Sur (Mexico) looking for flying rays, but ended up photographing something «very rare»: two olive turtles (Lepidochelys olivacea) to 'copulate in the open sea'. And it was that moment – ​​«those seconds» – that earned him the “Remarkable Artwork” award in the “Animals in Their Environment” category of Siena International Photo Awards, whose winners were announced this Wednesday, October 28th.

Talking about destination may even be the right thing to do. In addition to the story of how this photograph was born, João Rodrigues was not even about to compete for these awards.

“I didn't really think about it, but then I ended up doing it and look…it was brutal. I'm really happy, because these awards are the best there is in the world», he confessed to Sul Informação. 

The chance that led to this photo being taken is also told by him.

«I was looking for the flying rays. We had been six or seven hours without finding anything, the heat was infernal, and, already tired, we decided to go back. On our way back, I noticed something in the water that looked like a dead dolphin to me. As soon as I got closer, I realized that there were two turtles copulating, which is rare to happen in the open sea».


João Rodrigues and his team


«I still managed to take two photos and one of them ended up winning this award. Photography is of great significance, as it is rare and this is the second smallest species of turtle in the world. It was like finding a needle in a haystack. It was luck, here it was luck, but I want to believe that it was a kind of reward for my effort».

For João Rodrigues, who is also the author of the marine conservation documentary “War Horses”, this photograph «shows the beauty of the oceans and conveys a message that, even though it is more positive, still serves to alert and sensitize people».

As the photographer explains, “the olive turtle is classified in the Red List of the World Union for Conservation of Nature as a vulnerable species. As it nests in a very small number of beaches, any disturbance could have tragic consequences and repercussions for the entire population».

Now, João Rodrigues will participate in the awards ceremony, in Siena (Italy), during the month of November, where he will receive a certificate. Your photograph will also be displayed in the exhibition “Imagine all the People Sharing all the World“, «something that is fantastic».

“Once again, what I take away, with all this history of mine, is that the ocean gives us what it wants”, he concludes.



Help us to do the Sul Informação!
Contribute your donation so that we can continue to make your journal!

Click here to support us (Paypal)
Or use our IBAN PT50 0018 0003 38929600020 44