“Parochialvelella” original photo mounted on bamboo by photographer Don Frank.
In recent weeks, about a billion jellyfish-like “purple sailors” have washed up on West coast beaches. The animals—known as “by-the-wind sailors” or Velella velella—founder on the shore and pile up like a carpet of deflated blue and purple balloons.
The jellies started washing up on Oregon and Washington State beaches four to six weeks ago, says Kevin Raskoff, a marine biologist at Monterey Peninsula College in central California.
The animals usually float on the surface in the open ocean, riding wind and water currents in search of food using a hardened, triangular “sail.” But in years when the wind changes direction, they are pushed toward shore—and almost certain death. The mass strandings aren’t unusual, Raskoff says. They happen about every three to six years.
Since these animals are related to jellyfish, they can also sting. Velella are predators and hunt microscopic plankton on the ocean’s surface.
About Don Frank.
Don Frank is a professional photographer who lives and works on the Oregon Coast. The unusual has always held a special place in Don’s artistic vision.
The combination of his professional commercial experience coupled with a sardonic worldview has helped him create imagery that has found homes in galleries and collections across the country, including the Museum of Contemporary Photography in Chicago and the Center for Fine Art Photography in Colorado.
Don’s work is creative and colorful, showcasing the eye he has crafted over his many years pointing his camera at something, at anything. His personal shooting style was described once by a client in simple terms: “Don is very discreet except when he is up in your face.”
Many photographers simply observe, Don likes to participate.
Ocean Staged, Fairweather House and Gallery June 2014 exhibition:
This edition of photographs creates significance
of an object, no matter the size, longevity,
or constitution, against the backdrop
of the mighty Pacific.
The intrigue of such compositions are beautiful,
but in the end, truly represent
the insignificance of such
The ocean always wins.
–Don Frank, photographer
Original photographs mounted on eco-friendly Northwest grown bamboo by photographer Don Frank.
Q: What is eco-friendly bamboo?
A: The reason why bamboo is known for its environmental sustainability is that it is considered a grass and not a tree. This means that it is harvested when it is quite young. The comparison is that it takes an oak tree 60 to 120 years to grow to maturity whereas it takes only about five years for a bamboo plant to mature to the point when it can be harvested. It also self-generates in a self-contained pot relatively quickly.
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