Monday, 28 November 2011

Steve Zissou? In Lancaster?

No, he wasn't, but the Friends of the Maritime Museum were treated to a great slideshow by Gordon Fletcher yesterday, with him chatting (uber-passionately) about his sightings in dives around the Bay and west coast of Scotland.

It was only a 40 minute talk but packed with fascinating facts, for example did you know the barnacle has the largest (relative to body size) penis of all creatures? It was a risky starting fact, but loosened up the (mainly male) audience.
© Gordon Fletcher

I loved his extreme close-ups of fish eyes, in which you could see galaxies of light and colour. The photos of brittle stars were just as divine, their filaments combing against the fat cushion starfish: an otherworldly version of Laurel and Hardy. But perhaps favourites were at the end when he showed a sequence of photos of the water surface as he was resurfacing.

The sea is a lens, he explained. Multiple lenses, really, created by wavelets on the surface that either focus or dissipate light under the water, and the objects near the surface, so cliffs and clouds viewed from metres below the surface became post-impressionistic forms, ice-creatures, mythological landscapes that have disappeared from our lives.

Transcendental. And it surrounds our island...

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