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Salt Creek Recreation Area: Tidepools - Luke McGuff

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July 16th, 2012

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09:00 am - Salt Creek Recreation Area: Tidepools

And now some of the tidepool life we saw at Salt Creek this year.

We (my wife and I) like tidepools because they’re so full of tiny creatures. Every square inch might be taken up with something: anemones, sponges, corals, seaweeds and grasses, sculpins, mussels, bivalves, crabs, shrimp, limpets, and on and on. The tidepools at Salt Creek, being on a very rocky shore, are fun to explore on their own. There are dozens and dozens of little enclaves of life, in many different nooks and crannies, some being washed by the waves no matter how low the tide, some covered in only the highest tides.

Tidepools make me think how profligate life is, how every nook and cranny will be filled with something, and how nothing is wasted. It’s also very colorful: either the exuberant coloration of a poisonous or unpalatable life form, or the dramatic mottling of something trying to camouflage itself against a chaotic background.

Goose neck barnacles (Pollicipes polymerus)
Goose neck barnacles (Pollicipes polymerus)
I remember thinking “sometimes, all you want is a straightforward, simple picture of goose-neck barnacles.” I should take this approach more often, as I want my photography to be more documentary or objective.

But sometimes it’s hard to avoid the artistic.

Purple Shore Crab (Hemigrapsus nudus)
Purple shore crab (Hemigrapsus nudus
We watched this little guy eat for a while. It would reach into the mussel shell, struggle for a second or two, and then pull out a tiny little chunk of the mussel meat. A barely visible (to me) portion at any one time, but the crab didn’t have to go anywhere and the mussel certainly wasn’t going to run away. On the other side of the mussel (not photographable due to sun glare) was a much smaller shore crab, like a child or younger sibling.

This is a good example of the density of life in a tide pool, the area you’re looking at is only a couple square inches.

Pink-tipped Green Anemone (Anthopleura elegantissima)
Pink-tipped Green Anemone (Anthopleura elegantissima)
Even though the pink-tipped anemone is the subject of this photo, there are hermit crabs, limpets, algae, encrusting corals or sponges, and other life forms in the field of view, if not necessarily visible in the photo.

Also, I like the word “elegantissima.” The “ti” should be heavily accented, and the “ss” very sibilant. Ell – ehh – gan – TIss – ih – mah.

Here is the complete set of photos from Salt Creek this year. Here is a collection of tidepool and tideland photographs from other trips.

Mirrored from Nature Intrudes. Please comment over there.


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