Bioluminescence 1, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia

Bioluminescence photograph. Bioluminescent plankton in Tasmania on rocks and waves, glowing blue. Bioluminescence photographed at Primrose Sands, Tasmania, Australia.


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“The whole earth is filled with awe at your wonders; where morning dawns, where evening fades, you call forth songs of joy.” (Psalm 65:8)

My four year old daughter, Amariah, and I were so excited! We were going to see the sea sparkles!!

I had been waiting a long time to see the bioluminescent plankton, let alone get a photo of it. Why, oh why, did my husband have to be away on a business trip tonight when the sea sparkles were in town? I knew this meant I probably would not get a chance to wear my photographer’s hat because I would be wearing my mommy hat all night. Oh well, I brought my camera just in case…

Amariah wasn’t exactly sure what sea sparkles were, but Mommy had promised her it was a “mystery surprise”, and she knew that phrase translated into “fun and exciting”. We practiced saying “Bi-o-lum-i-nes-cence” in the car as we sped off down the Tasman Peninsula, southeast of Hobart.

Bioluminescence is the light that living creatures, such as fireflies, glow worms and squid, emit. In Tasmania, bioluminescent plankton is becoming more common and can usually be seen at least several times a year at various beaches around the state. Sometimes the plankton bloom will last one night, other times it will last for a month. When the water is agitated, the plankton will flash a beautiful, bright blue color. If you agitate them hard enough they even seem to flash green or greenish yellow and are clearly visible to the naked eye. One of the coolest things to watch is the electric blue bioluminescent waves as they crest and break over the beaches.

At last we finally made it and jumped into our rain gear and gum boots. As I led my little girl down to the water’s edge she was immediately gripped with inquisitiveness at the electric blue water lapping over the rocks.

“What is that, Mommy??”

“That’s the sea sparkles, Sweetie!”

She squealed with delight, and I began to introduce her to the pure joy of making the water flash like blue lightning. We stomped on the beach, waded all over the place, smacked it with sticks and threw about three thousand rocks into the water.

It was just like being a kid again as I shared my little girl’s first experience with the bioluminescence. Her eyes were wide open with wonder at God’s magnificent Creation. She loves to make up worship songs, and it wasn’t long before she started singing spontaneous praise songs to Jesus for creating the sea sparkles. Mommy had to grip her little hand very tightly or she also would have gone for a swim in the bioluminescence, which, not surprisingly, she had already asked to do…about six times.

Her fascination with the bioluminescence never waned, so amidst keeping her steady on the slippery rocks, preventing a swim and being her rock arsenal, I had no time to snap a quick photo. However, we were having heaps of fun, and spending quality time together was more important to me that night than capturing a cool photo.

Then, in the midst of the excitement, an hour and a half past her bedtime, she abruptly announced, “Mommy, I’m tired. I want to go to bed now.”

What did I just hear??? I couldn’t believe my ears…Did my little four year old Energizer Bunny actually just tell me she wanted to go to bed??

I asked her if she might be willing to lay down in the back of the car on a bunch of blankets for a little while as I took a photo. I knew this would be my only, short and fleeting opportunity. Thankfully she said yes, so as soon as I got her changed and tucked in I grabbed my camera and tripod. Even though I had rolled the window down a little so she could call out to me if she needed to, the momma in me knew I couldn’t go any further than several metres away from the car.

This restriction would definitely prove to be a big challenge to an artist who is a stickler for good compositions.

How fun!!

Needless to say, in between not having much time and having only a tiny section of rocks to work with, this photograph of the Tasmanian bioluminescence was the best I could do that night.

In all honesty, though, I do kind of like the odd composition. However, I am quite disappointed over the great loss of detail and highlights in this JPG that is featured on the website (and all the other JPG’s on the website). The real TIF image of this photograph has hundreds of bright and beautiful little sea sparkle splats all over the rocks.

Regardless, God’s Creation never ceases to amaze me. He even fills the darkness with wondrous things–the aurorae in the sky, eyeless salamanders in caves and bioluminescent plankton in the water–for us to marvel at and enjoy.

Praise the Lord for all his wondrous, beautiful, creative works!