Once upon a time, I was walking on a tropical beach on a pitch black night, with only the faint white of the surf.
Suddenly, with every step, this white appeared bluer and bluer. The usually white foam had turned into an electric blue line; it looked as if the starry sky swirled down! Never ever had I seen anything like it. Was it dangerous, poisonous, alien? All I knew that it was totally magical. A few days later, after I had returned from my vacation, I learned that it was a – quite rare- phenomenon called sea sparkle (Noctiluca scintillans). A so-called bioluminescent alga that lights up when disturbed. A rather boring description for this wonderful little miracle. The nicknames ‘sea ghost’ or ‘fire of sea’ do much more justice to it. To put it shortly: an addiction was born and together with my photographer-boyfriend, who shares this enthusiasm, we decided to start our blue mission and go to catch that sparkle on film!
This was easier said than done, as the presence of sea sparkle is very unpredictable. And as we had to drive quite a while to get there, we spent a lot of time traveling and waiting…just to watch a bunch of boring blackness and to return with an empty memory card. It took us no less than three summers before we finally felt we caught the essence of sea sparkle.
On another long and cold night on a deserted beach, my boyfriend had enough of it and suggested it was almost morning and we really should leave now. But then… I saw a sparkle! Just one sparkle of hope.
“Yeah right, a sparkle in your head” “No, I’m serious! I really saw a sparkle! And when there’s one, there must be more…”
Indeed; this one sparkle appeared to be the announcement of thousands, millions of sparkles that all together created the most fantastic light show ever! We were standing there, in the midst of this swirling blue mass, having the time of our lives. Even the fishes had turned blue and it felt like one huge alien party and…we were invited! In the meantime, our fascination has not diminished at all. On the contrary; it only tastes like more and we are ready for a long, hot, sparkling summer!
Me at the beach, capturing the magical blue.
Nils at the beach, happy with the presence of so much sea sparkle.
Two rare phenomena in one frame: sea sparkle and nocturnal light clouds!
Sea sparkle is triggered by movement so when you splash, swim or throw some sand, it is activated.
Magical blue sea in the dark night.
Slow shutter speed works best to show this phenomenon.
In my country, it is very hard to find a completely dark place. Light pollution is almost everywhere. Here we chose to show a combination of the magic in the sea and the sleeping, unaware city.
The camera shows a yellowish sky, but in reality, we were standing at a pitch black beach. The only visible thing was the blue sea sparkle.
Standing in the midst of this fantastic light show.
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