“Light Painting” Done With Light Emitting Algae

Usually we use a wide array of battery powered lights and fireworks  to create light paintings. This is not the case with the photographs below that were “light painted” by Bioluminescence algae.

"Light Painting" Done With Light Emitting Algae

Australian photographer Phil Hart tells an interesting tale about a weird tale of events.

Just like the frog rain in Magnolia, those pictures have a story of unique and rare coincidence.

The story begins with a huge 69 days alpine bushfires in Victoria, followed by a rare flood. The combination of the ashes from the fire along with the extensive amount of water that the flood added to the lakes accelerated the grows of bacteria in the Gippsland Lakes. Interestingly enough it is not that bacteria that is glowing. A second bacteria feeding of the first bacteria turned out to be Bioluminescence. in a nut shell, Bioluminescence means that they emit light upon movement.

This is how Wikipedia describes Bioluminescence:

Bioluminescence is a form of luminescence, or “cold light” emission; less than 20% of the light generates thermal radiation. It should not be confused with fluorescence, phosphorescence or refraction of light.

Ninety percent of deep-sea marine life are estimated to produce bioluminescence in one form or another. Most marine light-emission belongs in the blue and green light spectrum, the wavelengths that can transmit through the seawater most easily. However, certain loose-jawed fish emit red and infrared light and the genus Tomopteris emits yellow bioluminescence.

Here is how Phil describes the experience:

Now I have been spending most of my summers for the last sixteen years paddling around the Gippsland Lakes with Camp Cooinda
and I have seen luminescence in the lakes several times before, but
never remotely as bright as it was in the summer of 2008/09.

Luckily, Noctiluca Scintillans was not a health threat, and I wasn’t
program directing the camps at Cooinda that summer, so I had plenty of
time late in the evenings to take photos of the remarkable luminescence

You can read the full story on Phil’s Blog and see more photograph of this effect on this gallery.

"Light Painting" Done With Light Emitting Algae

"Light Painting" Done With Light Emitting Algae

"Light Painting" Done With Light Emitting Algae

[Bioluminescence in the Gippsland Lakes via photojojo]