I absolutely love to photograph in aquariums. They are magical places; windows into worlds we might otherwise be too far away from or would never be able to see otherwise. When the sea is only a distant memory and too far out of my reach, aquariums soothe my ache like a poultice, alleviating my cry for saltwater air.
I remember as a little girl being utterly fascinated by the aquarium. I used to live in Maryland, and we used to go to The National Aquarium in Baltimore fairly often. I used to beg to go, and I would always be so excited that I would hardly be able to sleep the night before. That place was magical. Neon blue lighting shaped like abstract waves hung high on the ceiling over open tanks where sting rays glided by like they were flying. Ascending into the rainforest exhibit, descending into the shark exhibit, coming eye to eye with animals I might not be able to see otherwise, I was simply captivated. I am certain this place had a little something to do with my career choice.
The marine station has a cute little "aquarium" for outreach programs. It's lovely, the children come and gasp as they see what secrets lie beneath the waves that run all along the side of Chile. I, too, was beside myself that there was an aquarium because it gave me the opportunity to photograph it. I spent a lot of time in there, far more than anyone would ever realize. Late at night during my 24/72 hour runs, I would sit and watch the little waves of light dance along the ceiling and watch as the little pintarroja bebes swam along the side of the glass. Whenever I needed a breather, whenever I was so exhausted or stressed to my core, I would sit on the steps and watch the little windows into the marine world.
I spent a lot of time in that little place. I inevitably took a lot of photos in there, too.
A place I had never previously had access to for photography was tide pools. Tide pools can range in size, diversity, and location. Some are so very small, others are huge. Some can be easily reached, others are tricky to get to or require a wetsuit. Exploring the nearby tide pools became one of my favorite activities in Chile, and being able to photograph marine life in its natural habitat was beyond exciting to me. There is so much life in these pools and so much diversity that you could easily miss if you don't look. There is beauty to be found everywhere, you just have to be willing to look for it.
I miss those moments by myself photographing in the little aquarium and along the coast. I miss the sound of the water running, the waves crashing nearby. I even miss the never-ending sound of seagulls calling overhead. One day, though, I will return. This isn't the last time I'll be beside the sea. I won't be trapped in an oceanless place forever, but until then, there are always nearby aquariums to explore.
Voy a nuevas aventuras.