Sometimes during my crossings through Times Square I will encounter a person in a Spongebob Squarepants suit that poses and takes pictures with tourists. Sure, this is fun for the tourists, but it is quite garish to any New Yorker who happens to be caught in the chaos of the Square. In any case, I saw this Spongebob, and wondered about his undersea friends, Sandy the squirrel, Patrick the starfish, Squidward the squid, and of course, jellyfish!
Something inside me got all excited about jellyfish after that train of thought, because I had never photographed them before, and because they are magical, deadly creatures that are just beautiful to look at. From there, I formulated a plan to go see the jellies with friends at the New York Aquarium.
Carlos, his daughter, Marina, her son, her friend Michael, and I set off for the aquarium, despite the rain and the extensive travel to Coney Island. I had just watched a documentary about the heyday of Coney Island and was kind of upset at the loss of much of its grandeur. I feel that way about many parts of New York when I pass by elaborate townhouses, gilded buildings, and century old masonry. But I digress…back to the jellies!
The first thing that was great about the aquarium is that they had just opened a new exhibit the day before we went. It was called conservation hall, and it told all about what was being done to promote a healthy ocean and sea life. It also showed methods of breeding fish that are essential to the ecosystem.
The layout of the aquarium is such that the jellies are the absolute LAST thing you see, because they are the most AWESOME, but that is ok, because the other animals there were pretty amazing too.
Such as the sea turtles (who were in the same tank as the sharks!), sea lions, the mighty walrus, and stingrays.
There were lots of cool starfish just hanging around, and I even got to touch one, along with a sea urchin. They were cool, but certainly not what we were there to see.
When we finally made it to the jellies, Carlos and I were in awe. We had talked about seeing the jellies all week, and their home in the aquarium was beyond AMAZING! The tanks they were in were flooded with an eerie blue light that was the perfect contrast to their gelatinous red and yellow bodies.
There was something heavenly and yet devilish about these creatures. On one hand they float and fly through the cool blue water, and on the other they are brainless bodies capable of doing major damage to their prey. Photographing them under these strange lighting circumstances was a real challenge, because of the glass, low light, them moving around, pushy kids, and other people flashing and washing out shots. In the end, I got a few great shots of the jellies and had a magical trip to Coney Island on a rainy day with friends.
Oh the jellies!