May 5: Blackwater Photography

Enter the unknown, a liquid world beneath the sea…

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Below are some talking points and activities to pass the time, all relating to today’s story.

Talking points

Discuss the ideas presented in the story with your family—at home or over video conferencing. Find ways to involve as many people as possible, especially those who you know are isolated by the lock-down.

  • Which one of these photos do you like best? What do you find surprising or interesting about these creatures? Is there anything you’d like to find out more about from looking at these creatures?
  • In the picture of Darryl Torckler’s boat, we see some amazing star patterns above, and the glow of the lights below. We learn that in blackwater photography, you sometimes wait for hours until fish are attracted to your lights. Would you try this as a hobby? What would think you might do while you were waiting for fish? How would you feel when the fish appeared and it was time to get into the water and start capturing photos?
  • Creatures from the deep travel up to a kilometre to get to the rich food created by plankton converting sunlight during the day. Did you know there was a kind of “night shift” of creatures feeding while others rest at night time? How do these creatures seem to be similar and different to the “day shift” creatures, judging by the photos?
  • Young female blanket octopus sometimes rip the tentacles off man-of-war jellyfish and use them as stinging whips to defend themselves. How do you think octopus developed this defence strategy? Who might they use it against? What else do you know about the intelligence of the octopus?

Task—Make a Benthic “Bottlefish”

Grab a milk bottle and some tinfoil and make a benthic creature that is limited to your imagination.

  1. Start cutting near the base of the bottle, then cut around the bottle in a continuous strip until you get near top of the bottle. You should end up with a top and bottom of the bottle, connected to each other with a curly spiral.
  2. Wrap your bottlefish in tinfoil, using the neck of the bottle as an open mouth. Fan some tinfoil out at the back for a tail.
  3. Leave the spiral as fins or tentacles to dangle from the bottom of the fish.
  4. Add coloured spots onto your fish with crayon shavings melted under the hairdryer, if you want to.
  5. Give your fish some eyes. Poke a pencil through the middle of the top of the fish and poke some string through to make a hanger so you can display your benthic creation.

Send us a picture of your Benthic “Bottlefish”!