Thursday, March 24, 2011

The Portuguese Man o' War

A Portuguese Man o' War
A Portuguese Man o' War

I went up to Turimetta beach to do some photography a few months ago and found a number of Blue Bottles, also known as the Portuguese Man o' War, washed up on shore. This is not unusual for a Sydney summer but I thought I'd take advantage of the light and the fact that the beach was deserted and decided to grab a few quick shots.

More Inside.

A Portuguese Man o' War
A Portuguese Man o' War

The Portuguese Man o' War is not a Jellyfish, it is a siphonophore. It's not actually a single creature, it is a colonial orgasm consisting of multiple small animals called zooids. Zooids are specialised and are attached to each other and are physiologically integrated to such an extent that they simply can't survive on their own. Large numbers of these animals get washed on to shore over the Australian summer and are responsible for a large number of human stings. The stings cause a lot of pain and leave red whip like marks on exposed skin. The sting can also trigger an allergic reaction but rarely cause deaths.

A Portugese Man o' War
A Portugese Man o' War

I only had the 24 - 105mm lens with me at the time as I had set out to shoot some landscape shots. I shot at f/4 to get as shallow a depth of field as possible. The morning light was good at the time and I was able to shoot at 1/400th. I have not warmed up these images in post production, these shots are virtually straight out of the camera.

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