Mother Nature is a fascinating mystery, and it is unconquerable when it comes to creating art. Although it never seizes to amaze us, from time to time, it creates some truly unforgettable, surreal experiences.
The inexplicable manifestations of its power can literally leave us open-mouthed. On April 15, three Southern California photographers managed to capture such a rare phenomenon in the darkness of the night.
Called bioluminescence, it created an explosion of neon blue in waves crashing onto shore in Newport Beach, a sight which has not been documented off local waters in years.
In the morning on the same day, drone photographer Royce Hutain captured a thick red tide that made the ocean rusty red.
Mark Girardeau, creator of the website Orange County Outdoors said that this was a clear sign that the bioluminescence might show up in the evening.
They called Coyne to come and check it out, and he happily made the trek to see the amazing sight. The three decided to try their luck and drove to Newport Beach. Girardeau dreamed of capturing it for years, but he missed it twice before, in San Diego and Malibu.
“I’d say like five years or so since I’ve known that it’s possible. I never thought that was something I’d see in Orange County.
It was just awesome to see what the ocean has in store for you. It’s just amazing. It’s one of those things, once you see it, your mind is blown.”
From their point of view, the glow was barely showing, and a couple strolling on the sand told them that they can have a better view from another spot, where bigger waves set off an explosion of blue hues.
Red tides are unpredictable and not all of them create this phenomenon. Moreover, it is hard to know how long they will last, but these events have previously lasted from a week to a month or more.
Girardeau said that “especially on the bigger waves, some of it looked like it was in Avatar land, it was so blue.”
During the day, the photosynthetic organisms swim upward toward the light, and create a thin, dense layer close to the surface. Then Bioluminescent dinoflagellates, when moved by water or waves, color the water bright blue.
Photographer Patrick Coyne, who drove from Torrance to film the show, have seen it twice before, but admitted that this one was the best one he has seen. He shot a video of the experience and posted it on Instagram.
“The first two times I documented it, it was amazing, but it wasn’t that bright.
As soon as the set crashes, it’s a burst of blue light. It’s not always the perfect burst of blue light, you want it to be dark. Once it hits, it’s a burst of blue light and you get that color. And it really does look like what you see in pictures and videos.”
Hutain has seen the bioluminescence several times before, and he even surfed in it in 1998 in Huntington Beach.
“It was an amazing memory. You could only see the waves when it was glowing and starting to crumble, that’s how you knew it was coming. Friends going underwater shaking around, you see this weird human like blob of glowing stuff.
It was nice to be out there at night, there’s no one else around and you can just enjoy that moment and there’s nothing else happening around you, except for that.”
A few days later, the trio went on a boat to see how the phenomenon looked offshore, and Coyne filmed Hutain as he did a cannonball into the glowing water.
However, the true spectacle happened on April 23, when Coyne captured dolphins that showed up for the show and were apparently willing to play.
They remained there for about 15 minutes, cutting through the water on the side and in front of the small boat. Coyne said that it was the most incredible experience of his life, as it “truly tops everything.”
He added that they were proud for witnessing and documenting “the most magical nights of my life.”
A trio of photographers caught a rare phenomenon called “bioluminescence” on camera, which created an explosion of neon blue in waves crashing onto shore in Newport Beach. It has not documented for years off local waters.