Daughter and mum

Daughter and mum

PDF Week 13/2016: Canon 7D, 400mm, 1/800, f7.1, ISO 100.

Last week, we had one of those rare days out - a day where I dared to take the camera with me. At the moment, my heart is out there in the ocean flatlands. It is time for migrating birds to think of heading North. It is autumn.

As you may know from David Attenborough movies, the tidal changes are a driving force for life forms and exciting stories that many of us know little about. Rockpools and shallow water are not always the barren uninhabited ecosystem that they appear to be. We might not see microorganisms, tiny plants and animals, but more visible crustaceans, molluscs, fish and other animals are witnessing their presence and a huge abundance of nutrients.

Birds belong to that ecological system. The find of the day was certainly the Blue-striped Octopus - a small animal with a deadly venomous bite. It doesn't seem an animal that many of my friends can or want to associate with. In one of the pools an Australian endemic nudibranch species, Goniobranchus daphne, moved around, unimpressed by the receding tide, the warming and drying pool. I wish I had my friend with me who - on all her exciting travels into exotic oceanic locations with professional guides and world leading photographers - has hardly seen any nudibranchs or - I assume - Blue striped Octopuses.

The picture I chose to present shows a juvenile Crested Tern working her mum to share some food. It was a cute scene. The juvenile had mixed with a flock of resting Silver Gulls, begging them discreetly for food. The mother joined quickly but moved on to a close-by rock. Obviously, it didn't take much convincing for the baby to follow. Everything happened just a few meters away from us. It was quite an intimate moment with the birds finding each other and showing that special maternal bond.

I love the photo because the beaks of the two are facing each other, building a connection. The mother is elevated on a pedestal and the juvenile sitting in the water. There was no harassing, only a silent begging and an alertness on what was going on around them. The two birds watch the camera and I am not sure if in this case I would have preferred for them to be focused and looking at each other in a less concealed way.

As always, I was tempted to crop the picture and to zoom in more. But somehow, I wanted to give the context of the rockpool with oyster covered boulders, the shallow pool and environment. My camera lens left a nasty glare in one important spot and professional equipment would also certainly have left a nicer bokeh. Does it matter or bother?

This short rockpool session produced so many memorable moments that it is impossible to share them all. I can certainly recommend exploring, taking some time and not expecting too much. Just be surprised when becoming a part of nature opens up stories and images that might follow you for a long time. A little bit of awareness and connection with nature will ensure for you to even enjoy and be excited about Blue-striped Octopuses.

Stay safe and enjoy!

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