Photograph of the Week: The Golden Hind.
Regular beachgoers along the coast of south Florida may have met one of these first hand.
Our beaches lie just west of the Atlantic Gulf stream and after sustained easterly winds, the fleet sometimes comes ashore. I’m talking about an ancient creature from the deep – scourge of swimmers and beachgoers, with a fearsome reputation. I’m talking about the Portuguese Man O’War, the last true pirate of the high seas!
The Portuguese Man O’War is often mistaken for a jellyfish. They do share some visual and physiological characteristics (they are transluscent, live out in the ocean, and pack a rather mean sting) but the simularities end there.
Jellyfish tend to live deep within the ocean, but the Portuguese Man O’War is the largest of a marine category called Hydrozoa. They live on the ocean’s surface and hold onto the ocean by means of long stinging tentacles that reach up to thirty feet into the deep. Those stinging tentacles do pack quite a punch, so it is always adisable to stay out of the water when you see them in the surf and on the sands.
With the Man o’War it is not what you can see that provides the danger. Their inflated sac works as a sail, and the wind can take them many miles. They feed on small marine life, such as plankton, using the chemical-like sting to capture their prey.
The human body can react in unexpected ways to their venom, and if you get tangled up in their tentacles the results can appear and feel like a bad burn.
They are of course wonderul subjects to photograph, and reflect the light like jewels in the early morning light. They may be one of our least loved creatures, due to their odd appearance and anti-social nature, but they are an important part of our ocean’s cycle of life.
If photography can be referred to as ‘sharing the moment’, then Andy’s work is a great example. Waves, sea birds, clouds, the rising sun, palm trees, shells, passing ships – they are are all captured, not on film but on the iPhone and sent out to social media and enjoyed throughout the world.
After all, if you can’t wake up to see palm trees and sunshine every morning then a print in your home is the next best thing. He decided that the best quality prints were available from Fine Art America – you can see Andy’s available work on the site here, including the image above. They make fantastic gifts or are a lovely way to treat yourself to the tropical way of life every day.
Andy’s work has been exhibited his all over the world and he regularly teaches iPhoneography at the Museum of Art | Fort Lauderdale and the Museum of Discovery and Science.
Follow Andy on Twitter
Lifeguard Sixteen pic.twitter.com/SiE9Ch1o7k
— Fort Lauderdale Sun (@FtLauderdaleSun) July 12, 2015