A study of jellyfish in black and white


There is something deeply meditative about watching the jellyfish tank at an aquarium. I have two favorites: Monterey Bay Aquarium (at which the jellyfish exhibit is, understandably, the most photographed exhibit at the aquarium) and the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco.

I could spend hours in front of these tanks, watching the slow, graceful, swirling motions of the purple-striped jellies and sea nettles, or the comical but determined pulsing flutter of the blubber jellies as they cycle around the tank. It's clear I'm not the only one, too, since the Monterey Bay Aquarium has launched a Jelly Cam, letting people watch sea nettles from 7 am to 6 pm every day. Nice.

Their dance-like movements, especially as they twirl around each other, their tentacles seeming like they should become impossibly knotted but never do, is as fascinating as it is beautiful.

Jellies are amazing creatures and their ever-changing shape is a joy to photograph.

Though the exhibits have striking blue backgrounds that set off the pinks, golds, reds and other vibrant colors of the jellies, I like best to focus on their shape, on the movement they convey even in a frozen image. So, I most enjoy processing images in black and white. Black and white is perfect for pulling away the distraction of color and zeroing in on the meditative, contemplative mood that watching jellies brings me.

Calling to my mind both a dream-like surrealism and a reminiscing of our primordial beginnings, jellies will always fascinate me.

Photos © Jaymi Heimbuch. All rights reserved. Most photos on my site are available for purchase as prints. If you see an image in a blog post that you’re interested in, please send an email. I’d be happy to work with you to create a print you’ll love.