“One night after visiting my dad in the hospital, I went out to shoot some long exposures along the Big Sur coastline. I did this to relax and escape from a hectic week for an hour or two. When I arrived at Bixby Creek Bridge, it looked like the waves were being lit up by headlights from cars. But there were no car lights on the water. There were a couple of others there taking pictures too, and we chatted and figured that it was some kind of bioluminescence. The effect was magical and looked like someone had blue dive lights underwater in certain areas. As the waves would roll in, areas of ocean would light up baby blue and then fade away. I took pictures for a little over an hour, until my batteries were exhausted. When posting the images I asked Mark Siddall of the AMNH in NYC about the phenomena. We figured out due to weather, sea surface, and wind conditions, that this must be a dinoflagellate phytoplankton bloom. Steve Haddock from the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute said “It is almost certainly a dinoflagellate bloom. We are also seeing relative high bioluminescence with our instruments here in Monterey Bay.” when interviewed by a local news station.
There is much more behind this image than just the trip I took that night to Bixby Creek Bridge, in Big Sur. The image is a perfect example of how mesmerizing and beautiful this area is when you see it through the creative eye/lens combination. It is that beauty and uniqueness that has kept this area conserved from urban sprawl and that also has been my immersive focus for my physical therapy after a head on collision. Thirteen years ago they said I would never walk again, after surviving a head on collision with a construction crane. I found out that if I did more physical therapy I could do better than doctors predicted. After working my way out of a wheelchair, and then being told I would still never walk without a brace, I started using photography as an immersive distraction to walking on sand and uneven surfaces. This allowed my physical therapy to become “Pasion Therapy,” and that changed the game completely. The more I focus on the beauty of our coast here in Monterey County, the more physical torture/therapy I can inflict upon my body. This immersive distraction therapy has allowed me to burn my brace at Burning Man, climb to small mountain peaks and to even run and jump. I get all this from spending a few hours a week taking pictures near the coast. If I did not do this I would never have seen the glowing waves or gotten the shot if I had seen them. “
You’re looking at the tip of a sea urchin’s tooth. Really. This remarkable macro photo won the first place & people’s choice awards in the International Science and Engineering Visualization Challenge, an annual contest of the National Science Foundation.
This is very cool stuff:
“These fantastical structures are the microscopic crystals that make up a sea urchin’s tooth. Each shade of blue, aqua, green, and purple–superimposed with Photoshop on a scanning electron micrograph (SEM)–highlights an individual crystal of calcite, the abundant carbonate mineral found in limestone, marble, and shells.
The curved surfaces of the crystals look nothing like normal calcite crystal faces. Instead of flat sides and sharp edges, the sea urchin produces ‘incredibly complex, intertwined’ curved plates and fibers that interlock and fill space in the tooth as they grow. Though made of a substance normally as soft as chalk, the teeth are hard enough to grind rock, gnawing holes where the sea urchins take shelter from rough seas and predators.” —NSF
Mahalo to Mission Blue for tipping us off to this fascinating and beautiful photo.