Imagine shapes that flap and flow. They appear quirky; sea creature or seaweed? Both sway and shed their coloring to the observer with flashes and glints.
Artificial light creates a challenge. The photographer moves beyond and plays with the blur.
Two types of Sea Dragons exist in Australian coastal waters. The Weedy Sea Dragon has a cartoonish shape. Both the Weedy and the Leafy Sea Dragon have protrusions that serve as camouflage. The pectoral fin on the ridge of its neck and dorsal fin on its back near the tail move it forward. They undulate to move it with the illusion of floating seaweed which provides its protection.
The Leafy Sea Dragon maintains its illusion when swimming, appearing to move through the water like a piece of floating seaweed. It can also change color to blend in.
It uses a pipe-like snout to feed, eating crustaceans, plankton, shrimp and small fish. Leafy sea dragons do not have teeth, which is rare amongst animals that eat small fish and shrimp.
Related to the pipefish, both sea dragons belong to the family Syngnathidae, along with the seahorse. They differ from the seahorse in appearance, form of locomotion, and inability to coil or grasp things with its tail.
Scents of fried everything wafted on the breeze when we entered the Del Mar fairgrounds.
A nurse appeared in the center with paddles ready to restart one's heart after a meal. She also needed a roto-rooter to drain the gunk from arteries.
One fellow, determined to eat a monster portion, squeezed paper towels around the dough to eliminate grease. The slick streamed down his arms until fist-sized balls remained.
I asked him, "Do you get a prize?"
He said, "No. If I eat it all I don't have to pay the $20.
Time to move on.
As night slid behind the attractions, the midway enlivened with music, flashes of light, sprays of color, and cries of fear and fun.
I wanted to win the duck or an elephant. It looked easy when the barker bounced the ball off the board into the laundry basket. My ball three teetered on the rim. It went in then out. He applauded but didn't give me a prize.
I started feeling whirly and twirly. Really wanted that elephant.
Three security guards smiled but only one would take a photo with me.
I visited Monarch butterflies at a vivarium operated by the Monarch Program in Encinitas, California. A 1,200-square-foot enclosure provides an opportunity to watch the native Californians as they flutter and feed.
A tour includes videos and exhibits. For information: monarchprogram.org, a nonprofit education and research organization.
The wrigglers love their milkweed.
Chrysalides sport a band of gold to deter predators.