Sunday, December 11, 2011

Watch the birdie!

We are lucky to have a professional independent photographer on board. His name is David Shale. He was a scientist previously - he has a PhD in oceanography - and decided then to concentrate on deep-sea photography. He has participated in 14 cruises as a photographer since 2006 on board U.S., Norwegian, and U.K. research vessels among others. He was involved in the MarECO project between 2006 and 2010 which was part of the Census of Marine Life 10-year effort. Before that he worked for the BBC Blue Planet television programme.

Not only is he taking beautiful photographs of animals that we sampled for media and public outreach purposes but his photos will help the scientists to recognise, identify the sample and keep an image of the animal before the preservation process.

When he talks to you about his work, you realise that he is not only interested in the aesthetic aspect of his photographs but he is passionate by the mysteries of nature revealed through them. His eyes sparkle when he tells you that they often raise more questions than they solve. For example, these two photographs make you wonder how and why these two tiny transparent shrimps - always one male and one female - become trapped in this glass sponge for their entire life...

© 2011 David Shale

© 2011 David Shale
A Japanese traditional wedding present consists of giving
one of these sponges as a symbol of longevity of marriage.

Finally, David may appear as the perfect gentleman but ... be careful, do not leave your chocolate biscuit unattended in the main lab!