Today the Department of Awesome Macro Photography would like to delve further into the work of Singapore-based photographer Nicky Bay (previously featured here) who seeks out the most ecologically diverse locations he can find in order to capture phenomenal macro photos of all sorts of insects (in various stages of their life cycles) and Day-Glo arachnids to dreamlike bioluminescent fungi. The second photo seen above shows a protective cage built out of a caterpillar’s own spines in order to protect itself during its cocooned pupal stage.
"Bay went on 46 different shooting excursions in 2014 and discovered creatures that seem more at home in an Avatar movie than here on Earth. He’s also begun working more with ultraviolet light that he uses to reveal the natural fluorescence of many organisms he encounters.”
There are many kinds of bioluminescent creatures on earth, such as fireflies and plankton, or deep sea angler fish. One of the most lovely is the 5-10 cm Watasenia scintillans, who live in the Western Pacific ocean. Their body and tentacles are covered with organs that produce light, whose function is to attract prey towards the squid so that its tentacles can seize it and to help with camouflage (from both predators and prey) by making it resemble the ambient light filtering down from above.
The light produced is in three separate wavelengths presumably each attractive to one particular prey species, and they are thought to be the only squids with colour vision. The patterns of glowing dots can be expressed in complex patterns, and is also used in communication with others of their species. They feed a few hundred metres down but return to the surface at nightfall. Millions of them spawn between March and May off the coast of Japan, creating an eerie light show, particularly in Toyama bay where they are funnelled up a canyon towards the surface, a phenomenon now designated as a special natural monument.
In the daytime the area and water at the Bioluminescent Bay in Vieques, Puerto Rico looks like a normal tropical island. There is a bright blue sky, warm tropical weather, and clear blue water. Then the nighttime comes and the water glows, giving off a bluish/green illuminating light.
The animal kingdom is full of many wonders, perhaps no wonder greater than that of the select few creatures that are bioluminescent. Thanks to the evolution-given ability for creatures to essentially glow-in-the-dark, many places around the globe have become popular destinations for those seeking to witness the phenomenon with their own two eyes.
Here, we’ve complied a list of some of the greatest places that showcase bioluminescent creatures: http://goo.gl/065d6Q
My feet in bioluminescent waters off the coast of Cayman. The blue glow is created by millions of tiny plankton called dinoflagellates. Apologies for the blur, but I was using a 15-second exposure on a moving craft.