Latest news, reviews, tips and tricks from Jack Lodge, a local photographer who specialises in capturing stunning landscape photography across Dorset and the Jurassic Coast.

Did I really capture bioluminescent algae AND the milky way at Durdle Door, Dorset?

The mysterious blue light captured alongside the milky way at Dorset's famous landmark, Durdle Door.

On the morning of the 21st April 2018, the weather forecast was perfect to head out and attempt to shoot the milky way at one of Dorset's best known landmarks - Durdle Door. Little did I know that as well as capturing the galaxy, I'd experience something extremely mysterious, an unusual blue light riding amongst the waves...

Could it really be bioluminescent algae down here in Dorset, on the South of the UK? 

We arrived at 1am and made the steep walk down to the beach in the pitch black, with the skies being crystal clear it was looking really promising. I settled on a composition I was happy with and waited for the milky way to rise over the famous arch, I did not expect to be treated to such a sight - it was so clear, even to the naked eye. It wasn't until I looked on the back of the camera that I noticed the incredible streaks of blue light in the foreground, what was it?! I called over the other photographers and none of them could believe there eyes...

Here's another picture taken earlier that morning where the blue light in the water was even more prominent:

Bioluminescent Algae Durdle Door, Dorset

It wasn't until I got a call from my local newspaper, The Bournemouth Daily Echo asking to run a story on the picture did I know that I could be the first person to capture bioluminescent algae at Durdle Door, along with the Milky Way. You can read the article HERE

To this day, this is the most popular picture ever posted on my Facebook page with it reaching over 25,000 people and sparking a huge debate to whether it was pure luck and I captured bioluminescent algae OR it's simply a reflection from a headtorch. One of my followers, Luke Proctor added:

Just to add a bit more fuel to the fire, there were Basking sharks spotted off of Porthcurno around the same time. As I'm sure you know, they follow the Plankton blooms, which they feed on, up the coast at about this time of the year (usually a little later). The same Plankton which emit bioluminescence. It's no guarantee that what you caught was related but it does show that there's a fair chance of Plankton being in the vicinity.

Hopefully one day I'll know for certain what caused this mysterious blue light at Durdle Door, but until then, it will be a landscape photography experience I'll never forget. In the meantime, please feel free to comment and share away, I'd really appreciate all of your help in finding the answer to this local mystery...