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~ Alive, Alive Oh ~

~ Alive, Alive Oh ~
Photo Information
Copyright: Julia Hollis (Runnerduck) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 381 W: 57 N: 616] (1851)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2005-08-22
Categories: Molluscs
Camera: FujiFilm FinePix S5500, Hoya 55mm Cir-Polarizer
Exposure: f/3.6, 1/60 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Date Submitted: 2005-08-31 6:38
Viewed: 4667
Points: 36
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Common Mussel Mytilus edulis

The Common Mussel is the most common bivalve in Cornwall forming extensive beds on exposed rocky beaches. It is often the dominant species on beaches as such it is used as a biological indicator for exposed rocky shores.

Often the beds are so overcrowded, that space for growth is restricted leading to stunted and distorted shells. Growth rates also vary depending on where the mussel is located. They can be in excess of 4 inches but are generally smaller. Higher up the shore the less the mussel is covered by the sea hence less time to feed leading to slower growth. Additionally in the beds, those on the outside grow faster however this benefit has to be weighed against heavier predation.

Their ability to form large beds on exposed shores may be due to the harsh conditions that they can survive, but that many of their potential predators cannot.

Mussels are filter feeders and require large quantities of water to pass through their system, just to get enough to eat. This large flow means that any pollutant organic (sewage) or inorganic (e.g. heavy metals) pollutant tends to concentrate in their flesh that which if eaten by man will have dire results even death. The problem does not only have to be man made, there are seasonal algae blooms which on concentration can cause death.

Mussels have to be physically tough not only because they live on exposed beaches continually buffered by wave action but also because they live in the intertidal zone. A priority is how to survive when exposed to the air by the tides. This they do by tightly closing their valves and trapping water within. Not only does this reduce desiccation but also aids protecting them from birds.

Mussels are sedentary fixing themselves to rock by byssal threads. These tough chitinous threads are produced as a liquid which then sets in sea water.
Their sedentary nature means that their only defence is the shell. One of the main predators are dog whelks which can be common on beaches with mussel beds. Dog whelks bore a hole through the shell and then suck out the soft parts. It is easy to find a mussel shell with a tiny round hole drilled in it. Fortunately this process is not quick and sometimes the mussel will have enough time to attach a byssal thread onto the dog whelk’s shell. This may not save it, but the whelk is stuck and eventually it starves to death.


These mussels were on the rocks at Bedruthan , the mussels were so dense that the rocks looked as though they had been covered in tar.

I wanted to include a recipe for Moules Mariniere, quite a basic mussel dish but my favourite. Unfortunately there wasn’t room.
If your ever in Port Isaac pop into Motes Restaurant to sample theirs.

I appreciate all feedback and apologise for not thanking you all in advance.

Thanks for taking the time to look

Janice, sAner, marhowie, scottevers7, dew77, wallhalla15, Fisher, red45, Signal-Womb, annagrace, PDP, slrnovice2, extramundi has marked this note useful
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ThreadThread Starter Messages Updated
To slrnovice2: ThanksRunnerduck 1 01-09 13:32
To softflower: Thank youRunnerduck 1 09-27 15:02
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Critiques [Translate]

  • Great 
  • Janice Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3277 W: 148 N: 6163] (18832)
  • [2005-08-31 6:42]

Wow Julia, this is a good shot with the mussells all lined up there. It is hard to get them all sharp when all together like this. But I've been told to use a higher F-stop number, but that usually means a tripod.
It is quite amazing how they grow all squashed up like this. Well presented and I think you've done a good job, well done.

Deserves a critique for the unusual factor. A common sight on UK coastlines but a lot of members probably haven't seen one. It's difficult to say whether a wider DOF would have improved the shot or not. I like this one anyway.

  • Great 
  • sAner Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1455 W: 74 N: 1426] (4750)
  • [2005-08-31 6:56]

Hi Julia,

I think the shallow DOF works perfectly in this case! I would even say a wider DOF would have ruined this picture. The effect you created is very nice and I like the compoistion a lot. Exposure is spot on. Well done & TFS!


Hello Julia, Sharp details and great light. The shallow DOF has created a nice effect..Excellent note, Great shot.

Hi Julia,
I like this shot alot. Very artistic effect for me with the fame filled with the mussels. I like the shallower DOF. Great lighting on this.
I think this is a great shot. Your notes on this subject are great!

  • Great 
  • dew77 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 4432 W: 248 N: 4028] (13270)
  • [2005-08-31 11:15]

Hello Julia!
Wonderful capture.Well seen and composed.DOF you managed,Lighting,POV and composition are excellent.TFS...:-)

Hi Julia. Very good shot. Great POV and very good details. Excellent light.

Nice shot Julia,
Another busy night. No time for proper critique.
Well captured, well worth the smiley.
Thanks for posting

Good to see you posting again

  • Great 
  • Fisher Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1540 W: 309 N: 2234] (8915)
  • [2005-08-31 18:20]

Hi Julia,

Excellent shot and well done on the composition. Artistic.


  • Great 
  • red45 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2636 W: 74 N: 9091] (31094)
  • [2005-08-31 18:34]

Really, really good picture Julia! Arty! With great composition and DOF. Full of geometric textures. Interesting. And with great note. I like it very much!

  • Great 
  • sway Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 305 W: 85 N: 319] (1276)
  • [2005-09-01 5:05]

HI Julia,
A very artistic shot.
I love the shiny black surfaces of the mussels and the shapes.
I think it looks great with the tight crop/framing.
Your DOF works well.

There's no doubt the shallow DOF really makes this picture interesting and unusual. Its a great shot Julia and shows creative thinking. Very well done.

  • Great 
  • livios Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2150 W: 319 N: 4263] (16942)
  • [2005-09-16 13:24]

Julia, this is an original and very nice shot. Indeed, an unusual one.

Gret composition and pov. Excellent sharpness.

Congratulations on this great idea.

Very graphic composition
The light is good and DOF exellent
I like it very much

LOL at your note, including a recipe with the picture! Great DOF and lighting here Julia. Thanks for your post.


  • Great 
  • PDP Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor [C: 2821 W: 344 N: 3779] (11769)
  • [2006-01-04 17:03]

Hi Julia, I missed this. I like this alot. I used to ride down to the fishmongers as a kid - I had a real thing about looking at fish and this brings back nice memories.

Well done.

Hi Julia, I like this shot, it is almost abstract with all the mussels of similar hue and shape, packed so closely together. Your lighting picks out all the edges and so makes the shapes really stand out. Very nicely done :)

A very interesting subject, I dont remember to have seen it before in TN. The region where I live was the biggest world mussel producer for decades, with a great quality and size. Now chinese are the biggest.
Nice foto, great use of DOF to create a interesting composition, quite difficult with this subject. Thanks.

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