Monthly Archives

February 2005

Photos of Wildflowers at Anza Borrego Desert State Park

California, Desert, Wildflowers

The spring wildflower bloom is happening right now at Anza Borrego Desert State Park, as well as many other places in California. The bloom appears to be early and thick this year due to the heavy rains we had over the past few months. Here are some examples, shot Sunday February 6, 2005. For the best current reports visit Carol Leigh’s California wildflower hotsheet.

Dune primrose blooms in spring following winter rains.  Dune primrose is a common ephemeral wildflower on the Colorado Desert, growing on dunes.  Its blooms open in the evening and last through midmorning.  Anza Borrego Desert State Park, Oenothera deltoides, Anza-Borrego Desert State Park

Dune primrose blooms in spring following winter rains. Dune primrose is a common ephemeral wildflower on the Colorado Desert, growing on dunes. Its blooms open in the evening and last through midmorning. Anza Borrego Desert State Park.
Image ID: 10458
Species: Dune Primrose, Dune Evening Primrose, Oenothera deltoides
Location: Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, Anza Borrego, California, USA

Brittlebush (yellow) and wild heliotrope (blue) bloom in spring, Palm Canyon, Encelia farinosa, Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, Anza Borrego, California

Brittlebush (yellow) and wild heliotrope (blue) bloom in spring, Palm Canyon.
Image ID: 10457
Species: Brittlebush, Encelia farinosa
Location: Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, Anza Borrego, California, USA

Dune primrose (white) and sand verbena (purple) bloom in spring in Anza Borrego Desert State Park, mixing in a rich display of desert color.  Anza Borrego Desert State Park, Oenothera deltoides, Abronia villosa, Anza-Borrego Desert State Park

Dune primrose (white) and sand verbena (purple) bloom in spring in Anza Borrego Desert State Park, mixing in a rich display of desert color. Anza Borrego Desert State Park.
Image ID: 10477
Species: Dune Evening Primrose, Sand Verbena, Oenothera deltoides, Abronia villosa
Location: Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, Anza Borrego, California, USA

Arizona lupine is a common early spring ephemeral wildflower of the Colorado Desert.  The purple-pink flowers show a yellow spot on the upper petal, which changes in color to red once the flower has been pollinated to discourage insects from visiting it after pollination.  This photo shows both red and yellow petals.  Anza Borrego Desert State Park, Lupinus arizonicus, Anza-Borrego Desert State Park

Arizona lupine is a common early spring ephemeral wildflower of the Colorado Desert. The purple-pink flowers show a yellow spot on the upper petal, which changes in color to red once the flower has been pollinated to discourage insects from visiting it after pollination. This photo shows both red and yellow petals. Anza Borrego Desert State Park.
Image ID: 10526
Species: Arizona lupine, Lupinus arizonicus
Location: Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, Anza Borrego, California, USA

Keywords: desert wildflower photos, Anza Borrego Desert State Park, wildflowers, spring, bl

Photos of Sequoia Trees, Kings Canyon National Park

California, Kings Canyon / Sequoia, Sierra Nevada, Trees

This is a stand of giant Sequioa trees, Sequoiadendron giganteum, in Kings Canyon / Sequoia National Park, California. The United State Postal Service recently licensed this image as artist reference to create a painting version of the photo for a postage stamp and associated paper and philatelic (stamp collecting) products. A stamp = my 15 minutes of fame.

Sequoia trees, Sequoiadendron giganteum, Sequoia Kings Canyon National Park, California

Sequoia trees.
Image ID: 02352
Species: Giant sequoia tree, Sequoiadendron giganteum
Location: Sequoia Kings Canyon National Park, California, USA

Keywords: giant Sequoia, forest, tree, redwood, photo, photograph, stamp, postage, National Park, Kings Canyon.

Newborn Northern Elephant Seal, Central California

California, Central Coast, Elephant Seal

Mother and newborn pup Northern elephant seals, Mirounga angustirostris, central California coast. This newborn pup had just been born minutes before this photo was taken. Placental material, seen in the background, has attracted sea gulls who will consume it. The pup will be weaned surprisingly fast, in as little 2-3 weeks. Until that time the pup will consume its mother’s rich milk and build up a thick layer of blubber, which it will live off of for another 1-2 months before it ventures into the sea to forage and hunt for itself.

Northern elephant seal,  mother and neonate pup, gulls eating placenta, Mirounga angustirostris, Piedras Blancas, San Simeon, California

Northern elephant seal, mother and neonate pup, gulls eating placenta.
Image ID: 00945
Species: Elephant seal, Mirounga angustirostris
Location: Piedras Blancas, San Simeon, California, USA

Sandy beach near Piedras Blancas lighthouse, central California.

Keywords: northern elephant seal, elephant seal photo, birth, mating, mother, pup, baby, weaning, weaned.

Kelp Forest, San Clemente Island

California, Underwater Life

Seen here is the upper 20′ of a giant kelp forest. The kelp grows from the ocean floor, 30-100′ below, all the way to the surface where it continues growing, spreading out to form a canopy. This species of kelp, Macrocystis pyrifera, is the world’s fastest growing plant (if you want to consider this algae a plant), growing over 2′ per day in ideal conditions. The kelp is buoyed upward in the water by clusters of pneumatocysts, gas-filled bladders at the base of each leaf-like blade.

Kelp forest, Macrocystis pyrifera, San Clemente Island

Kelp forest.
Image ID: 04660
Species: Giant kelp, Macrocystis pyrifera
Location: San Clemente Island, California, USA

A museum client has licensed this image for a 7′ x 10′ museum metal wall display. Magnet-backed life size photos of kelp forest creatures will be placed by kids on the wall. It sounds like it will be a cool exhibit.

San Clemente Island, California, USA.

Keywords: kelp forest photo, giant kelp, Macrocystis pyrifera, San Clemente island, underwater, diving, photograph.

The Tribute Penny

Photo of the Day

Among collectors of ancient coins, the Tribute Penny has great appeal, especially to Christians. You may recall from your study of the Bible that Matthew 22:17-22, Mark 12:15-17 and Luke 20:22-26 all describe Jesus commenting on a denarius, a coin that we would refer to today as a “penny”.

Tell us therefore, What thinkest thou? Is it lawful to give tribute unto Caesar, or not? But Jesus perceived their wickedness, and said, Why tempt ye me, ye hypocrites? Shew me the tribute money. And they brought unto him a penny. And he saith unto them, Whose is this image and superscription? They say unto him, Caesar’s. Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s. When they had heard these words, they marvelled, and left him, and went their way. (Matthew 22:17-22)

An original tribute penny.  Roman emperor Tiberius (14-37 A.D.), depicted on ancient Roman coin (silver, denom/type: Denarius) (AR, Denarius Obverse: Bust right TI CEASAR DIVI AVG F AVGVSTVS. Reverse: Livia seated right, holding olive branch, ornate legs on chair. PONTIF MAXIM. Tribute penny. Sear 567.)

An original tribute penny. Roman emperor Tiberius (14-37 A.D.), depicted on ancient Roman coin (silver, denom/type: Denarius) (AR, Denarius Obverse: Bust right TI CEASAR DIVI AVG F AVGVSTVS. Reverse: Livia seated right, holding olive branch, ornate legs on chair. PONTIF MAXIM. Tribute penny. Sear 567.).
Image ID: 06528

An original tribute penny.  Roman emperor Tiberius (14-37 A.D.), depicted on ancient Roman coin (silver, denom/type: Denarius) (AR, Denarius Obverse: Bust right TI CEASAR DIVI AVG F AVGVSTVS. Reverse: Livia seated right, holding olive branch, ornate legs on chair. PONTIF MAXIM. Tribute penny. Sear 567.)

An original tribute penny. Roman emperor Tiberius (14-37 A.D.), depicted on ancient Roman coin (silver, denom/type: Denarius) (AR, Denarius Obverse: Bust right TI CEASAR DIVI AVG F AVGVSTVS. Reverse: Livia seated right, holding olive branch, ornate legs on chair. PONTIF MAXIM. Tribute penny. Sear 567.).
Image ID: 06529

This particular denarius bears the likeness of Tiberius, who was Caesar at the time Jesus said those words. It is widely considered that the coin to which the above Biblical passage refers was one of the denarii struck during the reign of Tiberius. While one expert offers a fine explanation of this theory, another notes that in fact the actual coin may have been a denarius minted during the reign of any of five previous Caesars.

From a private collection.

Keywords: Tribute Penny, Jesus, Matthew, Mark, Luke, photo, picture, photograph, denarius, denarii, ancient roman c

Blue Shark Eye to Eye

California, San Diego, Sharks, Underwater Life

Blue shark showing ampullae of Lorenzini, eye and small portion of nictitating membrane, Prionace glauca, San Diego, California

Blue shark showing ampullae of Lorenzini, eye and small portion of nictitating membrane.
Image ID: 01076
Species: Blue shark, Prionace glauca
Location: San Diego, California, USA

This is a photograph of a blue shark, Prionace glauca. We bait for them offshore of San Diego, anywhere from 5 to 20 miles offshore (however far it took to get to clean blue water) and then wait for them to show up. We get in the water and swim around with them, usually with just freediving gear to remain unencumbered and agile, hoping they come close enough for really good pictures. At times we tie the boat off to a kelp paddy, allowing us to frame the sharks against something other than simple blue water. The best lens to shoot these sharks is a Nikonos 15mm lens, it is tack sharp in situations like this — check out the pores on the shark’s nose — and I don’t think any housed lens can beat it, plus framing these sharks properly is no problem with a Nikonos’ rangefinder method. The underside of a blue shark is quite white and very reflective, so stopping down to f/11 – f/22 is required in many cases, which is just as well as it helps to balance the sunburst in the background. This is essentially a silhouette exposure with strobe fill, tiny little manual MCD strobes were used, with diffusers.

Keywords: blue shark photo, shark picture, underwater photograph, Prionace glauca.

The Blue Whale, Largest Animal On Earth

Blue Whale, Natural World, Underwater Life

The blue whale, Balaenoptera musculus, is the largest animal ever to have lived on Earth. Depending on which expert is cited, blue whales once attained lengths of 100 to 120 feet (32 meters) and have weighed up to 160 tons (145 metric tonnes). Blue whales are found throughout the worlds oceans. Estimates put their worldwide population at approximately 10% that of prewhaling size, and blue whales are listed as endangered throughout their range. The population of blue whales in the Southern Ocean was hunted especially hard.

A huge blue whale swims through the open ocean in this underwater photograph.  The blue whale is the largest animal ever to live on Earth, Balaenoptera musculus

A huge blue whale swims through the open ocean in this underwater photograph. The blue whale is the largest animal ever to live on Earth.
Image ID: 03027
Species: Blue whale, Balaenoptera musculus

Blue whale fluking up (raising its tail) before a dive to forage for krill,  Baja California (Mexico), Balaenoptera musculus

Blue whale fluking up (raising its tail) before a dive to forage for krill, Baja California (Mexico).
Image ID: 03332
Species: Blue whale, Balaenoptera musculus

Blue whale, adult and juvenile (likely mother and calf), swimming together side by side underwater in the open ocean, Balaenoptera musculus

Blue whale, adult and juvenile (likely mother and calf), swimming together side by side underwater in the open ocean.
Image ID: 01964
Species: Blue whale, Balaenoptera musculus

Two blue whales, a mother and her calf, swim through the open ocean in this aerial photograph.  The calf is blowing (spouting, exhaling) with a powerful column of spray.  The blue whale is the largest animal ever to live on Earth, Balaenoptera musculus, San Diego, California

Two blue whales, a mother and her calf, swim through the open ocean in this aerial photograph. The calf is blowing (spouting, exhaling) with a powerful column of spray. The blue whale is the largest animal ever to live on Earth.
Image ID: 02304
Species: Blue whale, Balaenoptera musculus
Location: San Diego, California, USA

A huge blue whale swims through the open ocean in this aerial photograph.  The blue whale is the largest animal ever to live on Earth, Balaenoptera musculus

A huge blue whale swims through the open ocean in this aerial photograph. The blue whale is the largest animal ever to live on Earth.
Image ID: 02169
Species: Blue whale, Balaenoptera musculus

Adult blue whale surfacing,  Baja California (Mexico), Balaenoptera musculus

Adult blue whale surfacing, Baja California (Mexico).
Image ID: 03380
Species: Blue whale, Balaenoptera musculus

Two of the images above show blue whale pairs likely composed of a mother with calf/subadult. Blue whale calves will accompany their mothers for approximately a year before being weaned. Female blue whales are larger than males, an adaptation enabling a mother to cope with the physical demands of calving and nursing.

A blue whale spouts at sunset.  The blow, or spout, of a blue whale can reach 30 feet into the air.  The blue whale is the largest animal ever to live on earth, Balaenoptera musculus

A blue whale spouts at sunset. The blow, or spout, of a blue whale can reach 30 feet into the air. The blue whale is the largest animal ever to live on earth.
Image ID: 02217
Species: Blue whale, Balaenoptera musculus

Blue whale surfacing, Isla Coronado del Norte in background,  Baja California (Mexico), Balaenoptera musculus, Coronado Islands (Islas Coronado)

Blue whale surfacing, Isla Coronado del Norte in background, Baja California (Mexico).
Image ID: 03342
Species: Blue whale, Balaenoptera musculus
Location: Coronado Islands (Islas Coronado), Baja California, Mexico

Adult blue whale surfacing,  Baja California (Mexico), Balaenoptera musculus

Adult blue whale surfacing, Baja California (Mexico).
Image ID: 03381
Species: Blue whale, Balaenoptera musculus

Blue whale, the largest animal ever to inhabit earth, swims through the open ocean, underwater view, Balaenoptera musculus

Blue whale, the largest animal ever to inhabit earth, swims through the open ocean, underwater view.
Image ID: 01902
Species: Blue whale, Balaenoptera musculus

Blue whale fluke, powerful tail that propels the huge whale through the open ocean, Balaenoptera musculus

Blue whale fluke, powerful tail that propels the huge whale through the open ocean.
Image ID: 01911
Species: Blue whale, Balaenoptera musculus

Blue whale, blowhole open, Balaenoptera musculus

Blue whale, blowhole open.
Image ID: 02179
Species: Blue whale, Balaenoptera musculus

Blue whale, the largest animal ever to inhabit earth, swims through the open ocean, raising fluke (tail) before making a deep dive, Balaenoptera musculus

Blue whale, the largest animal ever to inhabit earth, swims through the open ocean, raising fluke (tail) before making a deep dive.
Image ID: 02226
Species: Blue whale, Balaenoptera musculus

Blue whale, lifting fluke before diving, Baja California, Balaenoptera musculus

Blue whale, lifting fluke before diving, Baja California.
Image ID: 03043
Species: Blue whale, Balaenoptera musculus

Blue whale fluking up before a dive,  Baja California (Mexico), Balaenoptera musculus

Blue whale fluking up before a dive, Baja California (Mexico).
Image ID: 03337
Species: Blue whale, Balaenoptera musculus

Blue whale, caudal stem, fluke with median notch, Balaenoptera musculus

Blue whale, caudal stem, fluke with median notch.
Image ID: 02220
Species: Blue whale, Balaenoptera musculus

An enormous blue whale raises its fluke (tail) high out of the water before diving.  Open ocean offshore of San Diego, Balaenoptera musculus

An enormous blue whale raises its fluke (tail) high out of the water before diving. Open ocean offshore of San Diego.
Image ID: 07519
Species: Blue whale, Balaenoptera musculus
Location: San Diego, California, USA

Blue whale fluke,  Baja California (Mexico), Balaenoptera musculus

Blue whale fluke, Baja California (Mexico).
Image ID: 03339
Species: Blue whale, Balaenoptera musculus

Blue whales can swim fast, with bursts up to 20 knots. Long and streamlined, they are capable of sustaining speeds of 5 to 10 knots while traveling or foraging for food. Enormous muscles in a blue whale´s caudal flanks and peduncle power its wide flukes up and down.

Blue whale, dorsal aspect of caudal stem,  Baja California (Mexico), Balaenoptera musculus

Blue whale, dorsal aspect of caudal stem, Baja California (Mexico).
Image ID: 03330
Species: Blue whale, Balaenoptera musculus

Blue whale, dorsal aspect of caudal stem,  Baja California (Mexico), Balaenoptera musculus

Blue whale, dorsal aspect of caudal stem, Baja California (Mexico).
Image ID: 03340
Species: Blue whale, Balaenoptera musculus

Blue whale surfacing, dorsal fin,  Baja California (Mexico), Balaenoptera musculus

Blue whale surfacing, dorsal fin, Baja California (Mexico).
Image ID: 03344
Species: Blue whale, Balaenoptera musculus

Blue whale, exhaling, note splashguard foreward of blowholes, Baja California, Balaenoptera musculus

Blue whale, exhaling, note splashguard foreward of blowholes, Baja California.
Image ID: 03045
Species: Blue whale, Balaenoptera musculus

The splashguard of this approaching blue whale pushes water aside so that it can open its blowholes  (which are just behind the splashguard) to breathe.  Open ocean offshore of San Diego, Balaenoptera musculus

The splashguard of this approaching blue whale pushes water aside so that it can open its blowholes (which are just behind the splashguard) to breathe. Open ocean offshore of San Diego.
Image ID: 07520
Species: Blue whale, Balaenoptera musculus
Location: San Diego, California, USA

An enormous blue whale rounds out (hunches up its back) before diving.  Note the distinctive mottled skin pattern and small, falcate dorsal fin. Open ocean offshore of San Diego, Balaenoptera musculus

An enormous blue whale rounds out (hunches up its back) before diving. Note the distinctive mottled skin pattern and small, falcate dorsal fin. Open ocean offshore of San Diego.
Image ID: 07527
Species: Blue whale, Balaenoptera musculus
Location: San Diego, California, USA

Blue whales are most easily identified by their huge size, tall blows (up to 30 feet high), blue/gray mottled skin color, and typically rounded (falcate) dorsal fin. Skin pigment patterns along the dorsal ridge, near the dorsal fin, are photographed by scientists in order to identify individual whales. The tips of a blue whale’s fluke are rather pointed, and the trailing edge of the fluke is usually smooth and straight with a median notch. Blue whales are closely related to fin whales (Balaenoptera physalus), which are also huge, but the body of a blue whale is mottled and lighter in color and its dorsal fin is not as tall and pronounced as that of the fin whale. Also, the right lip and baleen plate of the fin whale is light colored and the underside of its body is white. (Blue and fin whales are thought to occasionally interbreed (Calambokidis)). Seen from a distance, blue whales resting or swimming just below the surface appear to be large sandbars.

An enormous blue whale swims in front of whale watchers on a private yacht.  Only a small portion of the whale, which dwarfs the boat and may be 70 feet or more in length, can be seen. Open ocean offshore of San Diego, Balaenoptera musculus

An enormous blue whale swims in front of whale watchers on a private yacht. Only a small portion of the whale, which dwarfs the boat and may be 70 feet or more in length, can be seen. Open ocean offshore of San Diego.
Image ID: 07541
Species: Blue whale, Balaenoptera musculus
Location: San Diego, California, USA

An enormous blue whale is stretched out at the surface, resting, breathing and slowly swimming, during a break between feeding dives. Open ocean offshore of San Diego, Balaenoptera musculus

An enormous blue whale is stretched out at the surface, resting, breathing and slowly swimming, during a break between feeding dives. Open ocean offshore of San Diego.
Image ID: 07534
Species: Blue whale, Balaenoptera musculus
Location: San Diego, California, USA

A blue whale blows (spouts) just as it surfaces after spending time at depth in search of food.  Open ocean offshore of San Diego, Balaenoptera musculus

A blue whale blows (spouts) just as it surfaces after spending time at depth in search of food. Open ocean offshore of San Diego.
Image ID: 07544
Species: Blue whale, Balaenoptera musculus
Location: San Diego, California, USA

Pelagic red tuna crab, open ocean, Pleuroncodes planipes, San Diego, California

Pelagic red tuna crab, open ocean.
Image ID: 02247
Species: Pelagic red crab, Pleuroncodes planipes
Location: San Diego, California, USA

Pelagic red tuna crabs, Coronado Islands, Pleuroncodes planipes, Coronado Islands (Islas Coronado)

Pelagic red tuna crabs, Coronado Islands.
Image ID: 02353
Species: Pelagic red crab, Pleuroncodes planipes
Location: Coronado Islands (Islas Coronado), Baja California, Mexico

Krill, Baja California (Pacific Ocean), Thysanoessa spinifera

Krill, Baja California (Pacific Ocean).
Image ID: 03117
Species: Krill, Thysanoessa spinifera

What does a huge blue whale eat? Tons (literally) of tiny euphasiid krill, such as Thysanoessa spinifera (center). Blue whales are also known to feed on aggregations of pelagic red crabs Pleuroncodes planipes (left and right).

Blue whale, the large animal ever to live on earth, underwater view in the open ocean, Balaenoptera musculus

Blue whale, the large animal ever to live on earth, underwater view in the open ocean.
Image ID: 05814
Species: Blue whale, Balaenoptera musculus

Blue whales surfacing,  Baja California (Mexico), Balaenoptera musculus

Blue whales surfacing, Baja California (Mexico).
Image ID: 03348
Species: Blue whale, Balaenoptera musculus

Scientists estimate that the largest blue ever to have lived probably weighed more than 200 tons — 400,000 pounds — and was more massive than an entire herd of thirty African elephants. A truly impressive beast, indeed. Blue whales dwarf even the largest dinosaurs, being nearly twice the size of the largest prehistoric land dweller Brachiosaurus. A small child could crawl through the chambers of a blue whale’s immense heart, or out one of its twin blowholes. Scientific accounts cite individual blue whales nearly 100 feet in length while less reliable whaling records reported giants up to 110 feet long. The largest subspecies of blue whale, intermedia, inhabits Antarctic regions while the slightly smaller musculus is found in northern hemisphere oceans.

Blue whale dorsal flank and remora, Balaenoptera musculus

Blue whale dorsal flank and remora.
Image ID: 01907
Species: Blue whale, Balaenoptera musculus

Dorsal flank showing characteristic mottled skin patterns. This particular blue whale, observed in northern Mexico, also has a few dozen remora probably acquired in warmer waters to the south.

Blue whales: mother/calf pair w/ adult,  Baja California (Mexico), Balaenoptera musculus

Blue whales: mother/calf pair w/ adult, Baja California (Mexico).
Image ID: 03354
Species: Blue whale, Balaenoptera musculus

Four blue whales (including calf) socializing,  Baja California (Mexico), Balaenoptera musculus

Four blue whales (including calf) socializing, Baja California (Mexico).
Image ID: 03357
Species: Blue whale, Balaenoptera musculus

Blue whales: mother/calf pair w/ adult,  Baja California (Mexico), Balaenoptera musculus

Blue whales: mother/calf pair w/ adult, Baja California (Mexico).
Image ID: 03369
Species: Blue whale, Balaenoptera musculus

Do blue whales socialize? Of course! But how they find one another across miles of ocean, what brings them together, and what they do when in one another´s company is still largely a mystery. Researchers around the world are gradually coming to understand the life of this greatest of whales through direct observation, remote sensing with satellite tags, and by eavesdropping on whale vocalizations with sophisticated hydrophones.

Adult blue whale surfacing, rounding out prior to dive,  Baja California (Mexico), Balaenoptera musculus

Adult blue whale surfacing, rounding out prior to dive, Baja California (Mexico).
Image ID: 03379
Species: Blue whale, Balaenoptera musculus

Blue whale, Balaenoptera musculus

Blue whale.
Image ID: 01899
Species: Blue whale, Balaenoptera musculus

Blue whales: adult pair (upper left), mother/calf pair (lower right),  Baja California (Mexico), Balaenoptera musculus

Blue whales: adult pair (upper left), mother/calf pair (lower right), Baja California (Mexico).
Image ID: 03351
Species: Blue whale, Balaenoptera musculus

All of the above photographs are of blue whales in the eastern North Pacific stock, a population that ranges from Baja California to at least as north as Oregon. Whales from this stock are often seen migrating north along the Pacific coast in spring and summer, typically stopping near Point Conception or the Farallon Islands to feed on aggregations of krill in August and September. For more information about blue whales, read Blue Whales by John Calambokidis and Gretchen Steiger, Voyageur Press; ISBN: 0896583384.

Keywords: blue whale, photo, underwater, picture, Balaenoptera musculus, aeria

Ocean Sunfish Floating On The Ocean Surface

California, Fish, Ocean Sunfish, San Diego

Here’s a photograph we licensed today for a book in Australia. Can you guess what the bright white object is?

Ocean sunfish, Mola mola, San Diego, California

Ocean sunfish.
Image ID: 02030
Species: Ocean sunfish, Mola mola
Location: San Diego, California, USA

It is an OCEAN SUNFISH (Mola mola), laying flat on the ocean’s surface, far offshore of the San Diego (California, USA) coastline. The ocean sunfish is the largest bony fish in the world (sharks and rays are cartilaginous). Southern California seems to be one of the best places in the world to see an ocean sunfish, since they are typically found offshore of southern California and Baja California in the summer. Some years they appear in great numbers while other years they are harder to find on the surface. Often the first ocean sunfish that one sees is a resting one, laying flat on the ocean surface. It may look dead or sick, but it almost certainly is not. When it senses the approach of the boat, it will “wake up” and assume its normal vertical orientation and start swimming — either away from the boat if it is started or toward the boat if it is curious. Ocean sunfish do not have any natural predators. They eat zooplankton such as salps and jellyfish.

This photograph was taken in January about 20 miles offshore of San Diego and 2 feet above the water, leaning over the rail of a small boat.

Keywords: Ocean sunfish, Mola mola, photograph, picture, San Diego

Photo of Mangrove Snapper in Three Sisters Spring

Fish, Florida, Underwater Life

Mangrove snapper, Lutjanus griseus, Three Sisters Springs, Crystal River, Florida

Mangrove snapper.
Image ID: 02685
Species: Mangrove snapper, Lutjanus griseus
Location: Three Sisters Springs, Crystal River, Florida, USA

I spent a week one winter hanging out at the Three Sisters spring in Crystal River, Florida, photographing manatees. Early in the week the weather was cold so plenty of manatees were holed up in the warm spring water. Later in the week, the weather and surrounding waters warmed a bit and the manatees gradually left to forage away from the springs. I was left with no manatees, so I decided to swim up the narrow brook that connects the three freshwater springs to a larger brackish canal in which most the manatees spend most of their time, thinking that a manatee might be up in the springs themselves. At the origin of the brook, amid a cluster of mangrovey trees of some sort, the three springs are found. Each is about the size of a large backyard swimming pool, with sandy bottom and sides composed of silt and decaying leaves. Trees overhang the edges. The water is exceptionally clear. A local had told me that one of the springs was home to a tiny alligator, but I was unable to find it. I did, however, encounter a large school of gray snapper, also known as mangrove snapper, swimming along the edges of one of the springs. With the trees in the background as a background, the fish offered some nice compositions and I spent an hour swimming around them that morning. No one else was around.

Mangrove snapper, Lutjanus griseus, Three Sisters Springs, Crystal River, Florida

Mangrove snapper.
Image ID: 02682
Species: Mangrove snapper, Lutjanus griseus
Location: Three Sisters Springs, Crystal River, Florida, USA

Three Sisters Springs, Crystal River, Florida

Three Sisters Springs.
Image ID: 02671
Location: Three Sisters Springs, Crystal River, Florida, USA

Three Sisters Springs depicted in an underwater landscape with sand, clear water and trees, Crystal River, Florida

Three Sisters Springs depicted in an underwater landscape with sand, clear water and trees.
Image ID: 02673
Location: Three Sisters Springs, Crystal River, Florida, USA

Three Sisters Springs, Crystal River, Florida

Three Sisters Springs.
Image ID: 02672
Location: Three Sisters Springs, Crystal River, Florida, USA

Keywords: Florida springs, gray snapper photo, mangrove snapper photo, Three Sisters, Crystal River, underwater pho

Fractals

Photo of the Day

Recently we were approached about producing Fractal Images for a client. With the correct software, and a sufficiently powerful computer, these are quite simple to create. Here are a few examples we made:

The Mandelbrot Fractal.  Fractals are complex geometric shapes that exhibit repeating patterns typified by self-similarity, or the tendency for the details of a shape to appear similar to the shape itself.  Often these shapes resemble patterns occurring naturally in the physical world, such as spiraling leaves, seemingly random coastlines, erosion and liquid waves.  Fractals are generated through surprisingly simple underlying mathematical expressions, producing subtle and surprising patterns.  The basic iterative expression for the Mandelbrot set is z = z-squared + c, operating in the complex (real, imaginary) number set, Mandelbrot set

The Mandelbrot Fractal. Fractals are complex geometric shapes that exhibit repeating patterns typified by self-similarity, or the tendency for the details of a shape to appear similar to the shape itself. Often these shapes resemble patterns occurring naturally in the physical world, such as spiraling leaves, seemingly random coastlines, erosion and liquid waves. Fractals are generated through surprisingly simple underlying mathematical expressions, producing subtle and surprising patterns. The basic iterative expression for the Mandelbrot set is z = z-squared + c, operating in the complex (real, imaginary) number set.
Image ID: 10370
Species: Mandelbrot Fractal, Mandelbrot set

Detail within the Mandelbrot set fractal.  This detail is found by zooming in on the overall Mandelbrot set image, finding edges and buds with interesting features.  Fractals are complex geometric shapes that exhibit repeating patterns typified by self-similarity, or the tendency for the details of a shape to appear similar to the shape itself.  Often these shapes resemble patterns occurring naturally in the physical world, such as spiraling leaves, seemingly random coastlines, erosion and liquid waves.  Fractals are generated through surprisingly simple underlying mathematical expressions, producing subtle and surprising patterns.  The basic iterative expression for the Mandelbrot set is z = z-squared + c, operating in the complex (real, imaginary) number set, Mandelbrot set

Detail within the Mandelbrot set fractal. This detail is found by zooming in on the overall Mandelbrot set image, finding edges and buds with interesting features. Fractals are complex geometric shapes that exhibit repeating patterns typified by self-similarity, or the tendency for the details of a shape to appear similar to the shape itself. Often these shapes resemble patterns occurring naturally in the physical world, such as spiraling leaves, seemingly random coastlines, erosion and liquid waves. Fractals are generated through surprisingly simple underlying mathematical expressions, producing subtle and surprising patterns. The basic iterative expression for the Mandelbrot set is z = z-squared + c, operating in the complex (real, imaginary) number set.
Image ID: 10376
Species: Mandelbrot Fractal, Mandelbrot set

Detail within the Mandelbrot set fractal.  This detail is found by zooming in on the overall Mandelbrot set image, finding edges and buds with interesting features.  Fractals are complex geometric shapes that exhibit repeating patterns typified by self-similarity, or the tendency for the details of a shape to appear similar to the shape itself.  Often these shapes resemble patterns occurring naturally in the physical world, such as spiraling leaves, seemingly random coastlines, erosion and liquid waves.  Fractals are generated through surprisingly simple underlying mathematical expressions, producing subtle and surprising patterns.  The basic iterative expression for the Mandelbrot set is z = z-squared + c, operating in the complex (real, imaginary) number set, Mandelbrot set

Detail within the Mandelbrot set fractal. This detail is found by zooming in on the overall Mandelbrot set image, finding edges and buds with interesting features. Fractals are complex geometric shapes that exhibit repeating patterns typified by self-similarity, or the tendency for the details of a shape to appear similar to the shape itself. Often these shapes resemble patterns occurring naturally in the physical world, such as spiraling leaves, seemingly random coastlines, erosion and liquid waves. Fractals are generated through surprisingly simple underlying mathematical expressions, producing subtle and surprising patterns. The basic iterative expression for the Mandelbrot set is z = z-squared + c, operating in the complex (real, imaginary) number set.
Image ID: 10383
Species: Mandelbrot Fractal, Mandelbrot set

Detail within the Mandelbrot set fractal.  This detail is found by zooming in on the overall Mandelbrot set image, finding edges and buds with interesting features.  Fractals are complex geometric shapes that exhibit repeating patterns typified by self-similarity, or the tendency for the details of a shape to appear similar to the shape itself.  Often these shapes resemble patterns occurring naturally in the physical world, such as spiraling leaves, seemingly random coastlines, erosion and liquid waves.  Fractals are generated through surprisingly simple underlying mathematical expressions, producing subtle and surprising patterns.  The basic iterative expression for the Mandelbrot set is z = z-squared + c, operating in the complex (real, imaginary) number set, Mandelbrot set

Detail within the Mandelbrot set fractal. This detail is found by zooming in on the overall Mandelbrot set image, finding edges and buds with interesting features. Fractals are complex geometric shapes that exhibit repeating patterns typified by self-similarity, or the tendency for the details of a shape to appear similar to the shape itself. Often these shapes resemble patterns occurring naturally in the physical world, such as spiraling leaves, seemingly random coastlines, erosion and liquid waves. Fractals are generated through surprisingly simple underlying mathematical expressions, producing subtle and surprising patterns. The basic iterative expression for the Mandelbrot set is z = z-squared + c, operating in the complex (real, imaginary) number set.
Image ID: 10391
Species: Mandelbrot Fractal, Mandelbrot set

A fractal is a geometric object which can be divided into parts, each of which is similar to the original object. Fractals are said to possess infinite detail, and are generally self-similar and independent of scale. In many cases a fractal can be generated by a repeating pattern, typically a recursive or iterative process. The term fractal was coined in 1975 by Benoît Mandelbrot, from the Latin fractus or “broken”.

The Mandelbrot set, named after its discoverer, is a famous example of a fractal.Fractals of many kinds were originally studied as mathematical objects. Fractal geometry is the branch of mathematics which studies the properties and behaviour of fractals. It describes many situations which cannot be explained easily by classical geometry, and has often been applied in science, technology, and computer-generated art. The conceptual roots of the fractals can be traced to attempts to measure the size of objects for which traditional definitions based on Euclidean geometry or calculus fail.

Here are all of the fractals we have produced so far.

Here are more fractal pictures.

Keywords: fractals, fractal, fractal picture, fractal pictures, Mandelbrot set, fractal geometry, photograph