This post is about fish. No other reason than I was running through some shots and came across these pictures from the Ocean Coast Aquarium in Newport OR. Taking pictures of fish through thick aquarium glass is a bit of a crapshoot as the distortion can be bad and the potential for reflections is high. Since fish can be so fascinating, though, I always give it a go. Most of the shots turn out to be disappointing but a few work out. Some of the fish have happy looking faces (allowing for some anthropomorphizing) while others look sullen. You can let your imagination run riot.
There was a tank full of sardines at the aquarium that caught my attention. This was something that was really hard to photograph but I tried anyway. The sardines were swimming quickly in shoals and they looked much as you would expect them to – a sleek, silvery fish zipping through the water. The thing that caught my eye was they way that they opened their mouths to feed. The shape of the head is narrow and clean but, when they open their mouths, flaps of skin unfold to create a huge opening allowing them to scoop up food from a far wider area. A few of the shoal would do this at any one time so you never knew where to look but they would open wide for a second or two and then close up again. It totally transformed their appearance.
In the UK, the puffin is a well recognized bird. The small body and large bill are easily identified and the coloring is pretty bright. I am struggling to think whether I have ever seen one in the wild as they live in some pretty remote places. I might have but I don’t recall it. The aquarium in Newport OR had a bunch of them though. While the coloring was a lot more subdued, there was no doubt that they were puffins given their shape.
Whether birds really have personality or not, you can imagine it with puffins. They seem to be very fussy in the way they move which is probably just a function of being quite a small bird. As they paddled around the pool and flapped their wings, we got a good look at their mannerisms. The enclosure was pretty compact so you were very close to them which allowed some good opportunities to get some shots. Seeing them out in the wild would be cooler but I don’t tend to hang around on cliff faces too often.
Nancy thinks I am nuts (probably for many reasons) but one of them is because I find eels fascinating. Most aquariums seem to have some eels on display and I love to look at them. Very often they are pretty reticent about coming out, preferring to stay in their crevices keeping an eye out for something tasty. However, at the aquarium in Newport, the eels were a lot more active.
They were either swimming about (including clattering in to each other) or they were in a hole but coming out of it regularly to see what was going on. I have never seen them so active. Needless to say, I got a bunch of pictures as well as trying some video of them. Not often that they are so mobile.
Yaquina Head got two visits from us during our stay in Oregon. We were in Newport on one of our early days and headed up to see it. Shortly after paying to get in to the park, the rain started to come down. I did a quick recce of the place but rapidly became more interested in the interior of a warm car (which Nancy had wisely elected not to leave in the first place). The entry was good for a few days so, with better weather forecast for later in the week, we decided to come back.
The weather dutifully obeyed and improved and we returned on our next trip to Newport. When its not raining, things definitely take on a more appealing feel. We wandered up to the lighthouse and took a look around it and out to see where some gray whales were passing by, if a little distant and happy to stay below the surface most of the time.
From the headland, there were stairs down to the beach which, when the tide was out (as it was while we were there), revealed a lot of rocky tidepools. People were encouraged to explore the tidepools to see the wildlife that is within. You could go quite a way across them but, given the number of creatures that were clinging to the rock surfaces, I was a bit reluctant to go trampling across them. Instead, I maneuvered around on the edges where I could avoid crushing some poor creature.
Plenty of things were living in the pools. While the crustaceans were everywhere, I was particularly drawn to the anemones. The way in which they close up when out of the water, keep themselves damp internally and then open up once they are back under water is impressive. They are also so varied in their colors. They are quite the interesting creature.
The Pacific Coast Highway runs along the coast in Oregon and passes through some towns with big harbors. Rather than head inland around the harbors, the highway crosses the entrance to some of these harbors over bridges. The architecture of some of these bridges is pretty cool. They have a bit of a deco feel to them. Sadly, some of the details are best seen as you are driving over which limits the ability to get pictures.
Get a bit further away, though, and you can see the bridges and get some shots. Sunset on the bridge at Waldport made for a good view. The bridge at Newport was one we crossed a number of times. I only got to shoot it on the morning we drove home. A quick diversion down to the area near the brewery meant I could take a couple of pictures before getting on our way for the long drive home.