Through the gazing glass

I realize that there are many folks who would much rather be out and about in daylight and sunshine (weather permitting) than immersed in the gloom of a low-ambient-light display of underwater habitats and the critters that are to be found there. I am happy to say that I can easily embrace both extremes, and that I have the additional advantage of having a daughter who has become an enthusiastic marine biologist, a profession that I also seriously considered. During our recent road trip to California to meet up with her, we made a memorable visit to the Monterey Bay Aquarium. I’ve been an avid fan of marine fauna and flora for quite some time, and have taken advantage of opportunities to visit aquariums (aquaria?) in no fewer than a dozen countries, and I’ve seen some beauties, but this was without question one of the best ever.

Moon jelly

Moon jelly

The quality of care taken with the displays, the cleanliness of the habitats, and the elegance of the lighting were among the best that I have ever seen, anywhere.

Flame jellies

Flame jellies

In retrospect, there’s a niggling tug on my strings that pulls a part of my conscience toward the adage of “shooting fish in a barrel,“ but I honestly didn’t feel that while I was there.

Peekaboo 5164Quite the opposite, actually: It felt rather like I was the visitor in their natural environment and was a welcome guest.  [I neglected to note the name of this fish and will add it soon.]

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About krikitarts

Welcome to Krikit Arts! I'm a veterinarian; photographer; finger-style guitarist, composer, instructor, and singer/songwriter; fisherman; and fly-tyer. Please enjoy--and please respect my full rights to all photos on this Website!
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26 Responses to Through the gazing glass

  1. The beauty I am not going to argue with…… The images look fantastic…
    A fantastic experience to add to the memory bank. 😃🐬

  2. Vicki says:

    Fabulous images and as you say, the lighting is fantastic.
    (Reminds me that I have yet to visit Melbourne’s Aquarium, although I must admit the entrance fees can sometimes put me off these type of interesting locations).

    • krikitarts says:

      Thanks, Vicki. Aquarium visits are often questionable, and I don’t think I’ve visited the one in Melbourne. I’ve been to the one in Cairns, but only very briefly, after my ride out to the Barrier Reef was cancelled, due to windy conditions. I really hope to spend more time for both, as time allows.

  3. I have a hard time making pictures of captive creatures…even gardens which I guess is silly. These are lovely images and all that you say about the conditions seems evident. The seas are full of wonder, most of which is unknown to too many and some of which remains yet unknown to all.
    Merry Christmas, Gary.

    • krikitarts says:

      I hear you very well, Steve. I would much rather see the critters in their truly-natural environments, but that’s not always possible. I believe that zoos and aquariums have their important place in this world, and if their owners and administrators do all they can to make the enclosures and displays as natural as possible, I can really enjoy them. On the other hand, I delight in exploring the wildlife that gardens can attract. Merry Christmas!

      • I agree with you, Gary. Just my quirk. I rarely shoot even cut flowers although they are already doomed. Zoos etc. are great places for animals with nowhere else to go, especially if Injured or sick, they could not survive in the wild. I’ve been to a couple of raptor rehab sites where the birds are treated very well.
        I have to admit, some of my favorite insect shots came from our front yard.

    • I’ll admit to a similar bias: I’d rather photograph a native plant growing on its own rather than a cultivated individual of the same species. That hasn’t stopped me from making several productive visits a year to the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, which offers a much greater variety of native species in one place than I’d find on a normal nature walk somewhere else (and the labeling of some unfamiliar species has identified them for me). I’ve also occasionally taken pictures in the gardens of people who plant native species.

      • Agreed. I have been meaning to visit the New England Wildflower Society’s Garden in the Woods for a while and would not hesitate to shoot a few frames, but like you it is not my first choice.

      • krikitarts says:

        During my travels, when I’ve found myself in a new and interesting (or not very interesting) place and have really-limited free time but feel a need to get out and about with my camera, a visit to a formal garden can be very rewarding, though I have come to prefer botanical gardens. I’m with both of you in that I’d much rather spend some time hiking, but there are times when it’s just not an option.

  4. Adrian Lewis says:

    Gary, happy Christmas to you and your’s, my friend! And thank you for these glorious images >>> and don’t give the slightest attention to the pricklings of your conscience – if an image is good, its good, no matter where or how it was captured.

    These images are really beautiful – my favourite has to be the Moon jelly – the featureless blue backdrop, along with the creature’s transparency and simplicity do it for old Minimalistic me – this could very easily go on my living room wall >>> good stuff, my friend! Adrian

    • krikitarts says:

      The moon jellies are so serene and calming–they can be absolutely mesmerizing. I find myself unable to just glance at them and go on to the next display but compelled to wait a while and contemplate their casual and unhurried grace. I agree that this would make a very satisfactory display print. Thanks for the compliment, Adrian!

  5. wolke205 says:

    Amazing Jelly Fish photos!! :D Merry Christmas to you and your family <3

  6. Mike Powell says:

    Merry Christmas, Gary. It’s been quite since time since I was in Monterey, but I was amazed by the aquarium when I visited it. Your shots are hauntingly beautiful–there is something other-worldly about those jellyfish.

  7. Meanderer says:

    Beautiful images, Gary. I hope you and yours are having a Wonderful Christmas!

    • krikitarts says:

      We are indeed, M, and even had one more dusting of about a quarter of an inch of snow overnight, giving the environs a powdered-sugar look that’s much more attractive than the dull browns and grays we’ve been having. I wish you and yours much merriment!

  8. An aquarium may be large, but aquaria
    Naturally excel at covering a larger area.

  9. Finn Holding says:

    Living in East Anglia the opportunities to see marine flora and fauna are very few and far between, so aquaria have to fill the gap. Like normal zoo’s they trouble my conscience too, but I think overall they are maybe a little better, especially the ones that specialise in local wildlife. And they provide an invaluable means of educating the young folk.

    Thanks for sharing your images Gary, they’re exquisite. And in my experience it’s usually pretty difficult to get good images in an aquarium. Happy New Year to you and yours!

    • krikitarts says:

      I’ve developed a great respect for the folks who strive to develop and maintain environmentally-responsible artificial habitats for all sorts of creatures that so many of us might never have the chance to see and to appreciate. Zoological gardens provide one such opportunity, but marine aquaria take the science–and the art– to a whole new level. I’ve enjoyed the challenge of photographing in an aquarium many times before, but never has it been less of a challenge than here.

  10. That fist picture is just breath taking to me :D

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