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A visit to the aquarium
had been on our list of things to do for some time.
Kathleen managed to score "two for one" coupons so we packed the
cameras and headed out. The photos below are from my new
Olympus OM-D E-M1 camera and 12-40mm f/2.8 lens. The E-M1
is the successor to my E-M5 that has done yeoman duty on a
number of trips including Europe. This model has some
ergonomic improvements as well as no low-pass filter.
The photos in the
aquarium were technically challenging: low light, wide
apertures, high ISO, moving subjects, inability to use a flash unit
and glass windows covered with greasy hand prints. And to
make things more difficult, the glass and plexiglass used for
the tank windows had an index of refraction that was different
from both the sea water and air. The result was
reflections from both sides of the window depending on the
inside and outside lighting, each slightly different.
Based on these constraints, the E-M5 did a great job.
The photos below are what we saw.
mini-sub was used as part of Scripps Institute of Oceanography
research efforts. I am sure that a dive was an angst-producing
looking at you, kid". Interestingly, the bigger fishes
were attracted to our presence at the window to their tank.
the tank dwellers were curious of our arrival. Since the
aquarium was essentially deserted, I am sure it was our motion
that attracted them.
tank had brightly colored anemones.
adjacent tank had this ugly brute, some kind of eel with a face
like a retired boxer.
the eel was a nice anemone that had thick tentacles.
nice lime-green anemone looked good enough to eat. And
speaking of eating, the spiny structure in the left rear of the
photo is a sea urchin which is the source of the Japanese
delicacy Uni, one of my favorites.
tank had jelly fish. These creatures, though fragile, have
stinging tentacles that frequently make life unpleasant for
swimmers. The venom from their tentacles stun their prey,
usually small fish, so it is quite powerful.
jelly had nice colors. The particles above the jelly are
the larger tanks was a simulation of a kelp bed. There were
plenty of fish in the exhibit, but most were "just fish".
At the bottom of the tank were these leopard sharks. The
fellow in the foreground had significant damage to his dorsal
fint; they look as if they have been bitten or torn. The
plexiglass window of this tank was at least 6" thick resulting
in significant distortion of the image.
In a smaller tank
with thinner windows we were able to get a nice closeup of
these fish with intricate marking patterns.
tropical tank had the most colorful fish. Look closely at
the largest fish at the top center of the photo; he appears to
be blind. He had some kind of fungus covering his cornea.
this fellow in the act of expelling a mouth full of sand as part
of a nest-building exercise. The big pile of sand in the
foreground of the photo above was moved by him.
reef-dwelling fish were using the anemones as their hunting
dark colored stripe on this guy passes over his eye; the eye is
colored as well.
tentacles were in constant motion as they searched for food
at the tide pool display, we got a nice view of the La Jolla
coast and the Scripps Institute pier.
fish uses the corals for both cover and as a feeding ground.
tank had several kinds of sea horses and brightly colored
The sea horses have a
prehensile tail but their mouths are fused into a tube that
allows strong suction to capture their prey. They propel
themselves with the small fin on the back that flutters at a
There were more sea
horses in yet another tank. Note Kathleen's reflection
in the glass; this was unintentional.
These sea dragons got
my vote as the most bizarre creatures at the aquarium.
They are suction feeders and have tiny fluttering fins for
locomotion like the sea horses, but they move in packs and
have brightly colored markings.
Not all whales in
this photo are statues. Can you find the 4th whale?
Aquarium at the Scripps Institute is a great place. The
location on the hill provides a dramatic view of the La Jolla
coastline. The exhibits are both visually attractive and
informative. It is worth a visit if you are in the area.
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