Nature Imitating Art

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Abstract Micro Tide Pool, Le Diben, France

Abstract Micro Tide Pool, Le Diben, France

Shallow tide pool or abstract art?

I know a local painter who loves to paint rocks. She paints rocks in various settings, many of them under or near water. I thought of Julia Bednar when I was scrambling over this intricately jointed pink granite at low tide on the north shore of Brittany.

This is the Côte de Granit Rose, the Pink Granite Coast, near the village of Le Diben, France. The shore is very gently sloped so when the tide goes out, it exposes huge fields of tide pools. Not only is the granite colorful, but also, it is covered with marine organisms that add patterns and textures.

The tide pools fill with sand which supports other organisms, both plants and animals. The tide pools are usually very clear and the sand is clean. When the water drains away, the white sand is left to trace the shape of the pool. The coarse granitoid sand is washed or blown into the tidepools.

The tide pool in this photo is only a few centimeters across and less than a centimeter deep. You are looking straight down through water to the small plants and miniature shells that look like gems. The white sand is covered with water, but the rest of the rock is exposed.

The Côte de Granit Rose is famous for the fantastic shapes formed by the rock. As the rock weathers along linear joints, or cracks in the rock,  the surf carries away the broken fragments and sculpts lifelike and abstract shapes.

At low tide, you can spend hours crawling over the rocks. But in many places you will share the tide pools with locals who turn out to look for mussels and oysters. Each person has their own special gear for collecting these shellfish. Some use little hooks to pry individual mussels off of rocks, while others use a sturdy net on a pole and scrape the sand accumulated in the shallow water beyond the rocks. The nets look very much like butterfly nets except they are scooping with them, rather than waving them in the air. Each person has a wire basket or plastic bucket to carry home what they find. At very low tides, popular collecting rocks near villages are covered with people hunched over prying and scraping. When the tide returns, the crowds retreat.

The pink granite is also used for construction. Many homes in Perros-Guirec are made entirely of pink granite. Even deck railings and pickets are pink granite.

We spent several days on these rocks. I took MANY photographs, so I will post some of the others that show some of the rock shapes at another time. You can also search for ‘The Tide Abides’ in the search box above (in this blog) to see an example of the granite shapes.  Photo:  1/80 s at f/22

There are other photos of Brittany in the Photo Gallery at my website:




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