Saturday, January 19, 2008

By the Beautiful Sea

A while back, I started emailing someone I only know via the internet. Robb calls this group of people my Imaginary Friends. They are mostly artists or scientists, fascinating people, all . This particular Imaginary Friend, John, is a docent at the Fitzgerald Marine Reserve, and takes the most awesome photos from the tidepools there. Robb and I set a date to meet John at the tidepools, and we invited Sheri and Cricket to come along. I spend so much time with them at work, but we rarely hang out, otherwise.

We all piled into the car, picked up some picnic food at the farmer's market, and drove to the beach. Robb had given me a new lens, and I was hoping to try it out on something other than quasi-pornographic photos of knitting. I think the photos I took today were simply hotsy-totsy. Do click on them for enlargements.

The first batch are all sea anemones. The top photo is a detail of the stinging tentacles of an anemone. Those little light colored things are grains of sand.

Grains. Of. Sand.

Yeah. I'm loving this new lens. Thank you, Robb.

This is also an anemone, but it is a tiny one. It is about a centimeter across, and if you look closely, it is surrounded by its babies.

After we all ate lunch, Sheri, Cricket and I took off in search of creatures, leaving Robb to watch all our stuff. But Robb is not one to eschew adventures, and he very, very carefully ventured out onto the rocks. He said that every single step was a Carefully Planned Event. He had his trekking poles, and he would find the best spot for one pole, then cautiously place his foot, place the next pole, and so on. The way he described his progress sounded like strategy, as he was always planning three steps ahead. Those of us who walk with ease barely give a thought to where we place our feet, because we can trust them to do what we want. Robb still has to concentrate on every step he takes. But when I consider the improvement from where he was two years ago, I get all teary-eyed and squiffy.

We girlies had to be careful of more prosaic things like not trompling all over the creatures who live in the tidepools, or not getting distracted and falling in the water, or dropping our cameras. At one point, I was snuggled up to a sea urchin, taking its photo when a sea anemone grabbed a few strands of my hair. I stood up, and the anemone pulled my hair from my head. Crazy.

The colors today were astonishing.

Sheri found this hermit crab, hanging out on a sea star. We were delighted by how well his shell matched the orange of the sea star.

Thanks to John, I saw my first nudibranch.

It was a lovely day. Somehow, a day spent by the sea -- with real and imaginary friends -- does wonders for the human psyche.


shiloh said...

Great Photos as usual. It's really cool when you don the SCUBA equipment and you're basicly weightless and seeing these creatures.

I gotta get back into SCUBA.

Anonymous said...

Squiffy... now, there's a word! Can I use it?

AMAZING photos!


Anonymous said...

WOW! Your photos are awesome! They look like something out of a nature magazine. I'm never going to catch up to you with my basic-but-good, hand-me down digital cameras....but I can hope!


John and Diane said...

Ooohh - I love tidepools and these photos are amazing!! Looking forward to more photos with the new lens! ;-)
-the folks at Toast Ranch

Gina said...

Unbelievably beautiful! These were a yummy antidote to the grim, grey Iizuka world that I will be inhabiting round the clock for the next two weeks until the show goes up. I'm re-inspired!

Anonymous said...

Great! Look at the colors of everything!

Makes me wonder why we make art sometimes, when it's such a poor imitation of what's already out there. Intense pairings that put color theorists to shame.

By the way, it's a black, white and grey world out here in 20 degree Pennsylvania, it almost makes me jealous of you guys, then I remember you have earthquakes, so it all evens out.

Bought some Amish whoopie pies today!


Eclipse said...

wow, gorgeous photos!! what kind of lens are you using here?

i know very much how Robb feels, planning steps a few in advance, carefully choosing where to put the feet and how to shift weight and evaluating the next place to put a foot. i'm slowly recoving myself, finally, and though i'm down to one crutch from two, i'm still walking three planned steps ahead. it's a great feeling to be there, though, instead of watching from afar... go Robb!

Lynne Rutter said...

spectacular photos of beautiful everything WOW

Cricket said...

That day was SO MUCH FUN! 'Twas such a welcome day for Sheri and me as well. The pictures you both took are super sexy and I'm of a mind to steal most of them. Large amounts of gratitude to you and Robb for organizing and facilitating (not to mention welcoming me along with open arms) a day from which the memories flood me with such a sense of calm and fulfillment.

I really like the word "squiffy" as well.


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