Most reef-building corals contain photosynthetic algae, called zooxanthellae, that live in their tissues. The corals and algae have a mutualistic relationship. The coral provides the algae with a protected environment and compounds they need for photosynthesis. In return, the algae produce oxygen and help the coral to remove wastes. Most importantly, zooxanthellae supply the coral with glucose, glycerol, and amino acids, which are the products of photosynthesis. The coral uses these products to make proteins, fats, and carbohydrates, and produce calcium carbonate. (Source: NOAA Ocean Service Education)
We got to see these coral polyps and their symbiotic algae photosynthesising, under UV light, in the educational Underwater World aquarium at Birdworld in Farnham. It’s mesmerisingly beautiful! The colour that we associate with coral reefs is derived from the algae living within the tissue. When a reef is put under physical stress, the coral polyps actually expel the algae leaving the structures a stark white. This is the tragic, mass death of large areas of reef that we call “bleaching”. Seeing the living coral made this disatrous phenomenon all the more real to me. I’m posting this image for Wex Mondays this week and I hope that it will lead others to think about the plight of our precious coral reefs.
High Key Croci
Let’s start the Monday posts with a bright and cheerful floral image! It is Spring, really. The croci on the conifer lawn at RHS Wisley Gardens were glorious in the spring sunshine last week. Even in the snow on Sunday they were still popping with colour against the white blanket! I created this high-key image with an in-camera double exposure, zooming in on my subjects for the second exposure to accentuate the shaping of the flowers. It’s an image that makes me smile so I think it’s a good candidate for this week’s Wex Monday’s challenge.
In The Pink
Having just recently been awarded a Judge’s Commendation for Bird Photographer Of The Year (for the second year in a row), I decided to start creating more abstract and creative images, in camera, of various birds. Birdworld, near Farnham, provides the perfect setting for my experiments and the flamigos proved to be the ideal subjects for capturing unusual portraits. I really enjoyed studying the shapes and lines of their poses! This piece was my favourite composition from yesterday. I just loved the sinuous shape of the neck, flowing in and out of the frame. My commended images have both been in the Creative category for BirdPOTY and have involved a lot of processing. As most of you know, that is definitely where my passions lie, but I do want to expand my portfolio with creative pieces that only require minimal processing, like this flamigo. A bit of Topaz Clarity, selective blur, dodge and burn with some colour adjustments were all that was required. It’s also the kind of composition that I know I can get even more creative with, if the mood takes me. I’m posting it today for both the Wex Mondays and Fotospeed challenges. I would love to get some feedback and ideas! I shall include my commended images, below, for you to see, and do head over to the BirdPOTY pages on Photocrowd to see all the shortlisted and commended entries this year. There are some extraordinary images to view!
This last week has been a complete write-off thanks to sinus and chest infection. I know many of you have suffered similarly just recently! I’ve been back at the doctors today for stronger, more targetted antibiotics and phlocodine. Increasing my steroid inhalers has helped me breathe a little easier today but it always gives me the shakes. In short, I’m totally fed up! I just about managed to set up a piece of blown glass yesterday, so I could take a series of macro shots, from which I created a composite for today’s photo challenges from Wex and Fotospeed. Encapsulate is an abstract expression of how I have been feeling with this bug; trapped, dizzy, fuzzy, short of breath, drowning in mucus. If you’ve had one of these Winter bugs, I hope you are on the road to recovery as I very much hope for myself! I don’t do well being stuck indoors. The winter skies, misty landscapes and busy birds are calling to me!
The Winter Hedgerow