A Carnival of Mussels

The cover photo for the August Pender Post was taken by local photographer, Claudia Lorenz. My first reaction to all the spectacular colours and shapes was, “Easter eggs! How can I write about Easter eggs in mid-summer?”

On second glance I started to see the shapes as well as the colours, and realized that I was looking at some underwater beauties not commonly seen on the prairies where I grew up. Mussels, a carnival of mussels, sporting colours I have never seen them wear.

Lorenz herself explained, “The colours in this photo are a trick of the light and not something one would ordinarily see looking below the surface at a dock or mooring float. These are the same mussels that ordinarily appear blue/blue-black. A combination of low sunlight angle and the resulting refraction, clear water conditions, and the iridescent shells created this ‘carnival’ spectrum. “As you can imagine, after that explanation our entire Research Department staff nodded wisely in unison…and went golfing.

Lorenz took the photo lying on her stomach on a section of west-facing, old Port Browning dock, up to the elbows in water, and clutching a five-year-old Panasonic Lumix waterproof point and shoot camera. Lorenz contributed a cover photo a few months ago The Foxglove, the Dragonfly, and the Ant and in that instance she used a simple no frills iPhone. Although the camera is important, Lorenz has proven once again that the eye and the patience of the photographer is just as important.

I did my first photo shoot when I was seven or eight years old and demonstrated none of the prescribed Lorenz attributes.

At the time of my first “shoot,” nobody told me that Kodak’s Brownie Hawkeye camera was not meant to be used underwater. Then again nobody told me not to stand up in a canoe either, and that is exactly what I was doing. Yes, my decision to immerse myself in underwater photography was unplanned, and my results were an unmitigated disaster. But it could have been worse. It could have been my own Kodak Hawkeye camera around my neck when I hit the water instead of my sister’s.

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