Space is at a premium in the rocky intertidal. Producers, filter feeders, predators, and their prey pack together so closely open ground is scant. Low tide betrays jumbles of barnacles upon mussels, barnacles upon barnacles, algae popping up anywhere they can, worms, crabs, limpets and snails working the surfaces and interstices, and starfish lording over all. Finding focus is daunting, or so I’ve always imagined. I searched for less boisterous scenes and here’s what I found.
The everyday battle with desiccation
With low tide comes the risk of drying. In the crowded intertidal the desiccation drama is difficult to discern, let alone concentrate on. Here it’s riveting.
In a rare spacious moment every element expresses itself.
The Black turban
I spent all morning looking for black turbans. This is the only one I found.
The scramble for space
Below is the rocky intertidal as I imagine it, presented for comparison with the sparse scenes shown above. My “less is more” attempts lent new frames of reference for familiar creatures and processes. The sparse settings forced me (or gave me the opportunity) to focus on individuals rather than communities. I’ll admit it feels strange. Yet, there is a persuasive intimacy in the sparse shots. And who would dispute the virtue of exposing oneself to new perspectives?