Seawater Bioluminescence and Milky Way Glow

June 08, 2015


Photographer: Laurent Laveder 
Summary Authors: Laurent Laveder; Jim FosterJune 2015 Viewer's Choice

The photo panorama featured above shows bioluminescent waters off the island of Houat off the south coast of Brittany, France and a stunning nighttime sky. Bioluminescence in seawater is typically produced by colonies of bacteria in association with a microalgal bloom near or on the surface. Often, the sea must be disturbed in some manner, by waves for instance, in order for the water to glow (for the marine organisms to emit cold light). It's thought that the short wavelength blue light deters predators or possibly attracts prey. The bottom photo was captured off the island of Hoëdic, about 12 mi (20 km) from Houat. Note that to the naked eye, the glowing water was rather dim; however, a wide-open lens helped record the colorful light.

The sky above the ocean is also aglow with the brightest part of the Milky Way, in the constellations of Sagittarius and Scorpio, shine brightly on this moonless night. Photos taken on April 14, and 15, 2015.

Photo details: Camera Model: Canon EOS 6D; Lens: 35mm; Focal Length: 35mm; Aperture: ƒ/1.4; Exposure Time: 10.000 s; ISO equiv: 3200. Panorama of 8 photos. Software: Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 5.7 (Windows).