Red Tide Bioluminescence
Recreating an unobtainable lifestyle moment with the creative ability of conceptual composites.
After experiencing a remarkable natural phenomenon with my son, I wanted to create a moment that was impossible to photograph to bring the experience to life.
The challenge with creating this photo was the ambient light. It needed to be dark enough to portray the electrical neon blue created by the bioluminescence, but without the level of light needed to freeze the scene, it was nearly impossible to capture the experience in one single frame. After two nights of studying and experimenting with photographing the water and how it would look it in camera at the location I had searched out, I was able to determine that through a series of 6 images, I’d be able to create the experience I was envisioning.
The composite started off with a rough sketch of the image I was going to attempt tackling, which is an important step in my process. Helping me to personally start identifying the characters, location and action which would be occurring.
In some composite photography, experiences can be fabricated, but not with this image. This image was based off of a personal moment I had experienced, so it had to live up to my own expectation. But, after creating the image, I’m truly proud to say that it was better than I had hoped for in illustrating a moment in my life that can be visually shared with others.
This May, amidst a Coronavirus quarantine, Mother Nature dazzled Southern California coastline with an awesome nighttime display of electric blue neon waves due to a super algal bloom known as a Red Tide or bioluminescence. Everyone with a surfboard snuck out to ride these astonishing glowing tides. I decided that my son and I had to experience this for ourselves. It was thrilling enough taking him night surfing, but to share this mind-bending complete sensory overload moment was unforgettable. It was as if a glow stick had been poured into the ocean, creating a super neon glow that would fade and swirl around you as you swam and surfed through it. We had stepped into our very own conceptual fantasy landscape. I feel blessed to have shared this with my son and can only imagine how one day he will look back and remember this magical moment. I will forever treasure this night.
**(Red Tide or bioluminescence is a natural phenomenon when a massive algal bloom event takes place. Millions of algae called dinoflagellates appear as reddish-brown color on the ocean's surface during the day, but the magic happens at night, when the tide becomes a light show due to the chemical reaction that occurs when this algae mixes with the motion of waves.)