2018 Red Tide

It seems like every five years or so there’s a really strong red tide here in San Diego that is made up of the dinoflagellate Lingulodinium polyedra, which causes nasty low-visibility reddish water during daylight… but the most amazing neon blue glow at night! A good red tide is spectacular underwater (turn off all your lights, wave your hands around, and watch the water sparkle!) and a lot of fun above water also–find a dark part of town and just watch the waves break. I haven’t yet figured out how to photograph the red tide below water, but you can get some pretty cool & abstract shots above water.

Here are my favorites from tonight’s outing. I may add more or swap in others as the red tide continues.

My favorite moment of the night came at the end, after a particular car had been parked with its headlights shining out onto the ocean for at least 20 minutes–ruining the chance for anyone near him to see the amazing display. I stopped off & tried to contain my annoyance and just let the guy know that there was something great going on and his headlights made it impossible to see it… and he’d probably enjoy it, too, if he turned his headlights off. The guy completely flipped out after he turned off his headlights… he seemed to think that it was one of the most amazing things he’d ever seen… and he’d completely missed it for the first 20 minutes… right there in front of him!

The last couple images have some mixed colors–with reds mixed in with the neon blues.  I don’t know if that’s real and/or because of the very high ISO that I tried out at the end and/or because of the guy’s headlights off at the distant right side of the frame.

View large & enjoy the details!  SCROLL DOWN (there are images below!)

See also:  2011 Red Tide photos

The dinoflagellate Lingulodinium polyedra causes breaking waves to glow bright blue at night off the coast of San Diego, California, USA.

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