This might not be the kind of water that people usually like to look at during their lunch break — I admit, it does not look particularly inviting. But look at how much the mud can tell us about what’s going on in the water!
I love how the overexposed seagull is stirring up a muddy wake as it paddles through the shallow water. Would you have thought that it was THAT shallow and that a small bird paddling along would create such a mess?
I love all the different kinds of structures in these pictures. The mud that has fallen dry and that shows all these canyon-like shapes where the water has run off. The mixing of waters with different mud concentrations, thus different colors. And then the muddy trajectory of the seagull.
Focussing on the mixing of water masses: See the lighter, sediment-loaded plume flowing from somewhere to the right over to the lower left of the picture below? And do you notice how different the shear-induced mixing looks from the paddling-induced one?
Here is the same spot again, only seconds later. See how dynamic the plume is, entraining clearer water as it flows along, eddying at its sides?
On a recent flight from Hamburg to London City Airport, I ended up on one of the tiniest planes I’ve ever been on. Which meant that we flew super low, I took tons of pictures out of a not-very-clean window, and all my pictures have at least one propeller blade in them.
But look at what we saw!
For example in the picture below, a plume of muddy water coming from some canal into a river (and I should probably know where this is, but I have no idea. Somewhere between Hamburg and London?). I’m not sure whether the inflowing water itself was muddy to begin with, but I would guess that it is stirring up mud from the bottom of the river since it seems to be low tide and the inflowing water is maybe moving a lot faster than the water in the river itself?
Closer to England we flew across this wind farm, where turbines have mud stripes in their lee. Also pretty interesting. Maybe they change direction with tides?
And then coming to the mouth of the River Thames, there is quite a clear front between outflow and muddy North Sea water.
Going upstream on the River Thames, boats stir up a lot of mud!
So you can clearly see where they went for a pretty long time.
On this flight, I sat next to a professional photographer who rolled his eyes at me taking pictures pretty much non-stop. And yes, they might not be the best quality. But at least you see what I saw, right?