70 Islands


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The iconic 70 islands of Palau were quite an experience to behold. These rock islands are completely off limits to everyone due to nesting turtles. The only way to get close is from an airplane. During our time in Palau we met a lot of great local people. One of them was a missionary pilot who offered to take us up for a flight during our time on the island of Koror. We spent a lot of time scuba diving on this trip with Sam’s and I was able to capture some amazing turtle pictures.

Almost every photograph I’ve seen of the 70 islands of Palau are during the daytime. The gorgeous water color with the unique look of the rock islands are definitely photo worthy. I wanted to capture something a bit different. Palau doesn’t allow small aircraft to operate in the dark. Our new pilot friend agreed to take us up at the earliest opportunity that the tower would allow. We arrived at the Koror airport well before sunrise so we could get the Cessna airplane setup for aerial photography. We were able to take the doors off the plane so that I could lean out and photograph the rock islands without any windows messing up my picture.

Once we had finished our safety briefing, we made sure to triple check that we were buckled in. It’s an amazing experience to do aerial photographs of such an iconic area, but you really want to make sure that you don’t fall into the ocean. We were lined up on the runway just before sunrise and waited until the tower said we were allowed to take off. As a result of our eagerness, they allowed us up a bit early. We quickly made our way over Koror on our way to the Seventy Islands.

Sunrise was just peaking over the horizon when we arrived at our destination. The clouds split perfectly giving a perfect frame to this iconic location. I love the shift in colors from the blues of the morning to fiery yellow that the sun brings. It was an amazing experience I will never forget during my time in Palau!