Shallow Water Tidal Ripple Patterns 1-3 Photographs of natural patterns created by reflected sunlight on the crests of minor ripples in clear shallow seawater lapping with the incoming tide around the island of Burry Holms at the tip of the Gower Peninsula in South Wales. Here shown in negative format to highlight the intricacies of the natural designs.
Today I am mostly thinking about the way these seawater drainage channels are being formed in intertidal rock and what factors contribute to their sinuosity. They occur low on the beach at Seatown in Dorset, England, in the calcareous mudstones of the Belemnite Member of the Charmouth Mudstone Formation. More thoughts to follow later on the subject of this coastal erosion process.
Nearing the end of my walk now from Hill End to Spaniard Rocks and back again. The damp sand for hours exposed to air revealed in the oblique light intricate traceries of trails where small invertebrates had travelled around unseen on the surface to hunt for food. The tide had turned and was fast washing the shore clean again. First the light particles of wood and coal dust floated away and gradually all the other organic debris and flotsam were removed in order of weight. Just a few items left to go. Incredibly, a soggy soft pink toy starfish found itself marooned with a real starfish. I photographed it exactly as I found it. The red mooring buoy seen high and dry earlier in the day was now licked by the waves, along with paired prickly cockle shells, living whelks, a dead dogfish, and a wellington boot.
The sun was bright and the sea was dark blue and scintillating. Rows of sand ripples reflected the blue sky like a natural abstract painting. Such a view of the sea and sand in Rhossili Bay is one of the most uplifting I know.
I reluctantly left the water’s edge to negotiate the makeshift bridge across Diles Lake once more. This time I photographed the unattractive brown periphyton attached to the underwater rocks as well as the beautiful sunlit surface ripple patterns of the flow. While it was time for me to leave, others were just arriving with surf boards, impatient to immerse in the iridescent sea – now that must be some high on such an afternoon. I can’t wait to go back.
Tranquil contrasting views of the landscape at Judique on the Celtic Shores Coastal Trail – part of the Northumberland Strait coastline in Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia, Canada. Looking out from the trail in one direction, the slightly misty views are calm and a bit mysterious, overlooking flat tidal water and salt marsh with glimpses of sandy beach and driftwood in the distance. The vista in the other direction is of woodland trees in new spring foliage reaching right to the water’s edge with mirrored reflections in the smooth water surface making for a beautiful and peaceful scene.
The sea is blue isn’t it? Well, it is if it is deep or if it is reflecting the blue sky. When the water is shallow, it looks clear. If the water is flowing over sand then a photograph of the subject will be predominantly yellow. Natural patterns of reflected light on the edges of the waves, wind-driven ripplets, and on the seabed, are a network of white lines on the neutral background. Somehow, the negative images as shown here emphasise the patterns and maybe look more attractive. These pictures were taken at Knoll Beach on Studland Bay in Dorset, England. Click the images to enlarge and see the details. Each image captures a fleeting moment in the fast-moving and constantly changing kaleidoscopic reflection patterns on the water’s edge.
The further you walk along Weymouth pier the deeper and bluer the water – turquoise tinted. In the shallows, the sand on the sea bed makes the water appear more yellow. On this calm day, the water surface was riffled by the wind to produce patterned textures where the transient ridges were delineated by the light they caught.