Red Tide Magic - Bioluminescence Captured With Video and Night Photography

October 24, 2011 ||
San Diego Red Tide 2011 - Night Photography

The last few weeks San Diego has been experiencing a serious red tide. For those of you who have never seen a red tide or phosphorescent water, it turns the water poop-brown and makes it look very unwelcoming during the daylight hours.

After night falls, it’s a different story.

At night, the waves glow a vivid blue color. This is caused by Bioluminescent Dinoflagellates. Dinoflagellates are tiny plants which live in the sea and obtain energy from sunlight during the day. In darkness, they emit bright blue light in response to movement within the water.

Red Tide Bioluminescence San Diego 2011

I hope everyone gets a chance to see phosphorescence at least once in their lifetime. The first time I ever experienced this phenomenon was on a family trip to Jamaica where we took at trip to Bioluminescent Bay.

If you have never seen red tide at night and you ever get an opportunity to see it… DO IT! You will feel like you are on Hallucinogens. We took out the original audio in this video because we sounded like complete nerds getting all excited every time a wave came. It is THAT awesome! I promise.

Bioluminescent Ocean - Night Photography - Red Tide

Night Photography - Red Tide Bioluminescence

Red Tide Bioluminescence San Diego 2011

Night Photography - Red Tide Bioluminescence

Red Tide Bioluminescence San Diego 2011

A short video we took of the phosphorescence at night.

If the video is not loading on this page, you can also view it on YouTube.

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By Christy Woodrow

Christy Woodrow is a travel photographer and professional blogger based in San Diego. She has been traveling around the world with her partner in crime, Scott, since 2006. Join them in their quest to find off-the-beaten-path destinations by signing up for weekly emails and following her on

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Who is Ordinary Traveler?


Hi! We are Christy and Scott and we've been traveling the world together since 2006 -- surfing and taking photos along the way.

Our goal is to inspire others to live an adventurous life, as well as provide trip ideas and helpful travel tips for people with limited vacation time.

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