Pneumatocyst

Last weekend while hiking to Punta Gorda I came across a lot of kelp that had washed up on the beach. Some fresh, and some that had obviously dried in the sun for awhile. Kelp has gas filled floats, called pneumatocysts, that help it reach the surface of the ocean to collect more energy from the sun.

We were finding lots of these floats on the beach, some the size of eyeballs, and others the size of softballs. One dried float caught my interest because of the little pigtail still attached. I put it in my camera bag thinking it might be fun to play with it in the studio.

So today I experimented with it to see what I could come up with. Depending on how it was lit, it either looked like a gruesome eyeball that had been plucked from some unwilling victim or some weird distant planet.

My favorite is in the planetary mode. It was photographed by lighting it from behind with an LED flashlight, and then from the front with two strobes, one with a cyan gel.

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