This is, unfortunately, a great example of a photo that’s far too busy – too many different things clashing together, preventing any strong focal point and destroying the uncluttered composition that every photographer should strive for. Given what I was after, though, there wasn’t much I could do about it, and catching the spray of water was the main accomplishment.
Back when I lived in Florida, I frequented an area on the channel inside the barrier islands called the Indian River Lagoon (though everyone dropped the “lagoon” part.) This was a fun place to snorkel, since it was mostly saltwater and harbored marine life of all sorts, and was as fecund as a rainforest. What you’re seeing in this pic is a typical rock in the water, completely hidden beneath various seaweeds, barnacles, and oysters. The barnacles and oysters were especially memorable, since they’re remarkably sharp and quite capable of dealing nasty injuries; most of my trips resulted in at least a few small cuts, and I still have a distinctive scar on my hamstring area from stepping off a rock and dragging my heel down the edge of an oyster shell.
The water level was lower than normal at the time this pic was taken, and the oyster here is just barely in the water. It was opening its shell to draw in some nutrient-rich water, then expelling the filtered remnants back out again with a sudden contraction. This usually occurs completely submerged, but in this case the spray was ejecting out into the air instead, making a rude gesture to all passing.
Not, however, as rude as another example a little later on. This time, I was completely submerged and examining the rocks through the dive mask, and noticed a different effect. Another oyster was occasionally emitting a cloud of milky white effluent that would drift off in the current. I got up very close to view this is detail, then realized what I was probably seeing – “white” is the clue, but “milk” is in the wrong direction. Let’s be real: species that are attached firmly to rocks are not going to be avid readers of the Kama Sutra, since their options are, shall we say, limited. Fabulous.
I’m realistic, and I know the water is full of all sorts of things like that, but there is admittedly a bit of difference in cases of immediate proximity. I don’t know whether to be insulted or flattered, but I can say that it hasn’t happened since I’ve put on weight. Perhaps not the best incentive for losing it, either…