Oysterscapes: An Essay of Photos

Water seems to be a central theme here in this bucolic stretch of northern California. With Tomales Bay and Drake’s Estero, here in my lap, I find myself hardly able to escape aquaculture during my many paddlings. Millions of visitors pass through this area each year, and many of them feast upon oysters, both barbecued and raw. While oyster farming is not the only way of life out here, it does touch upon many lives, for better or for worse.

The oyster beds uncovered at low tide, near Tomasini Point, Tomales Bay

Here are some images of my local oyster beds. These pictures likely won’t help you decide if oyster farming is a good thing or a bad, but it will give you visions of how the oysters pass from the sea to your table, and I doubt you will have trouble swallowing these images in this, their raw form.

Oyster shells scattered at the entrance of a badgers burrow that was dug into a midden pile from decades or centuries before

Entrance to the rows of oysters near Tom's Point at high tide, Tomales Bay

“Oysterscapes” is my own term, meaning a photograph where oysters or oyster farming is central part of the image (though not necessarily the focus), be it of landscape or other creatures. Nearly all of these photographs were taken while out kayaking on my local waterways… in fact, there are few areas out here connected to the salty pacific that can be kayaked but have nothing to do with oysters.



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About Galen Leeds Photography

Nature and wildlife photographer, exploring the world on his feet and from his kayak. Among other genres, he is one of the leading kayak photographers in Northern California. To learn more about him, visit him on his website- www.galenleeds.net
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6 Responses to Oysterscapes: An Essay of Photos

  1. the first photo at the top….the moss covered metal looking frame work…what is that? The photo is awesome and very interesting…just not sure of the object I am looking at…could you educate me?

    • The first photo is a wooden oyster rack, with some strands of seaweed/algae. There is only one oyster farm in the area that uses these racks, and essentially they are “seeder” racks. They string old oyster shells onto lengths of wire, and “seed” oysters can then grow on them, getting some of their minerals and calcium from the host shell.

  2. Galen, here is a link to a video you may very well enjoy. He is Nat Geo wildlife photographer, Mattius Klum. I think he shares much of the same philosophy of photography that you might. I find him very inspirational and believe you might as well.

    I think the badger den you showed us looks like a badger castle. Nice landscaping, Mr. Badger.

    • A marvelous photographer and an interesting man. Some very inspiring work that he has done. He seems to have a very ethical take on photography, one that I can second… and I hope his hopes prove true… and I definitely agree with what he says about editors. Several times I’ve thrown something in almost as a joke, and it has become the editors center piece…

  3. Oh, I am so sorry, I had no idea the video would embed with that link. Feel free to remove it, but please have a look. It really is quite good.

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