Waterspout Photo — Tornado Over Water

We were recently in the Bahamas, enjoying a week of diving with sharks. We were treated to tornado watching as a bonus. The weather was windier and cooler than I was used to, not having been to the Bahamas in winter before. One morning we awoke at anchor at Great…
March 5, 2005
SharksUnderwater Life

Caribbean Reef Shark Photo

These Caribbean reef sharks (Carcharhinus perezi) were photographed a few weeks ago in the northern Bahamas: Caribbean reef shark, ampullae of Lorenzini visible on snout.Image ID: 10550Species: Caribbean reef shark, Carcharhinus pereziLocation: Bahamas Caribbean reef shark.Image ID: 10549Species: Caribbean reef shark, Carcharhinus pereziLocation: Bahamas Caribbean reef shark swims over a…
March 4, 2005
BirdsGalapagos DiariesSeabird

Boobie Photos

For some reason many visitors to this web site have been searching for boobie photos. We simply do not understand the intense interest in photos of boobies, or in boobies in general. Boobies are just a bunch of seabirds and not even particularly rare. The blue boobies seem to elicit…
March 2, 2005

Late Light and Clouds

This image of clouds lit from below by the setting sun over the ocean was shot from our back yard: Clouds light up with blazing colors at sunset.Image ID: 04819Location: La Jolla, California, USA I've had a surprising amount of interest in abstract photos such as this one, or shots…
March 1, 2005
Photo of the Day

Arabian Gulf or Persian Gulf?

It appears my humble website has caught the eye of people who are concerned with the historical and modern naming of the Persian Gulf, also known as the Arabian Gulf. Certain political interests would like to see the body of water bordering Iran, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates,…
March 1, 2005

Photos of Atlantic Puffins at Machias Seal Island

Machias Seal Island is one of the best places in the world to observe Atlantic puffins (Fratercula arctica), and is certainly a fun place to get to. Machias Seal Island, near the US border with Canada in the Gulf of Maine, is accessed by a short boat from the easternmost…
February 27, 2005
CaliforniaHarbor SealLa Jolla

Humane Society Sues to Protect Seals

From the San Diego Union Tribune: U.S. Humane Society sues S.D., demands rope barrier for seals By Ray Huard UNION-TRIBUNE STAFF WRITER February 26, 2005 The Humane Society of the United States filed suit yesterday against the city of San Diego, demanding that officials restore a rope barrier at La…
February 26, 2005
CaliforniaLandscapePanoramasSierra NevadaYosemite

Panoramic Photo of Half Dome and Washington Column from Stoneman Meadow, Yosemite Valley

Yosemite Valley offers panoramic views that, in many cases, cannot be effectively captured with a single photograph (a frame of film or a single digital image capture). Stitching photographs together digitally offers a way to produce panoramic images using non-panoramic cameras. Below is an example of this technique, considering Half…
February 25, 2005
Great White SharkGuadalupe IslandMexicoSharks

Smiling Great White Shark

One great white shark photo on our website that is viewed more than almost all others is this one: A great white shark underwater. A large great white shark cruises the clear oceanic waters of Guadalupe Island (Isla Guadalupe). Image ID: 10119 Species: Great white shark, Carcharodon carcharias Location: Guadalupe…
February 22, 2005
Guadalupe IslandMexico

Nature Cover

This photo of schooling jack mackerel, shot at Guadalupe Island, Mexico in 2004, graced the cover of Nature, one of the premiere scientific journals in the world, on February 3, 2005 to accompany Effective leadership and decision-making in animal groups on the move (Couzin, Krause, Franks and Levin): Jack mackerel…
February 12, 2005
HawaiiHumpback Whale

Photos of Humpback Whale Pectoral Fin Displays

Humpback whales, Megaptera novaeangliae, are known for displaying a wide range of surface behaviors (i.e., behaviors seen from above water), such as breaching, head lunging, tail lobbing and spyhopping. Among these behaviors, pectoral fin displays are some of the most interesting. Humpback whales have the longest pectoral fins of all…
February 11, 2005
Photo of the Day

The Tribute Penny

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…
February 5, 2005
CaliforniaSan DiegoSharksUnderwater Life

Blue Shark Eye to Eye

Blue shark showing ampullae of Lorenzini, eye and small portion of nictitating membrane.Image ID: 01076Species: Blue shark, Prionace glaucaLocation: 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…
February 4, 2005
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…
February 2, 2005
CaliforniaHarbor SealLa Jolla

Photos of La Jolla Seals

Controversy over the La Jolla seals continues. To make a long story short: a group of Pacific harbor seals (Phoca vitulina) has taken up residence on the sand at the Children's Pool, a small pocket cove in La Jolla, California also known as Casa Cove. Their presence there has led…
February 1, 2005
Guadalupe IslandMexico

Guadalupe Island Spearfishing World Record

The fellows who freedive at Isla Guadalupe (Mexico) in search of giant fish are some of the most skilled and intrepid hunters in the world. They literally enter the food chain in a way that terrestrial hunters do not. This notion is especially true at Guadalupe Island, a haven to…
January 31, 2005

What? is a natural history stock photography website that first appeared in 1998 as an exercise to learn what the world wide web and websites were, learn to write the HTML to bring a site into being, get it hosted and see if the world thought anything of it. Considerable…
January 29, 2005


Phillip Colla bio: I am a natural history photographer and writer. I focus on wild marine mammals, the California kelp forest, inhabitants of remote eastern Pacific islands, National Parks of the American West and, most recently, waves. I am fortunate to have visited many spectacular terrestrial and underwater settings as…
January 28, 2005