The San Fernando marshes in Bahía de Cadiz Natural Park, Spain, are sometimes referred to as “Nature’s Brain”, because of their uncanny resemblance to a human brain, when seen from high above.
Covering an area of 105 square kilometers, Bahía de Cadiz Natural Park consists of wetlands, beaches, pine forests and reed beds, and has long been a popular destination for nature lovers, but it only received its unusual nickname a couple of years ago, when an aerial photo started doing the rounds online. It was taken by wildlife photographer Cristobal Serano who immediately spotted the similarities between the marshes and the human brain, the first time he flew over them, and decided to capture the unreal sight on camera.
Photo: Juan Tebar/Dronestagram
“The first time I flew over the Bay of Cádiz, I was immediately surprised at the similarity with the human brain,” Serano told New Scientist, in 2015. I am a wildlife photographer, my work is to show how nature sometimes can surprise us with unreal scenes.”
The now famous photograph was taken at low tide, and offers a clear view of the brain-like convolutions and fractal patterns in the intertidal area of the marshes. While apparently doctored for a more impressive effect, the Spanish photographer said that the colors have not been manipulated at all. The green areas are naturally colored by the Ulva algae, while the purple islands further inland get their color from purple sulphur bacteria.
But while Cristobal Serano’s aerial photo of “Nature’s Brain” may have gotten the most attention on the internet, it is certainly not the only one. Several photographers have managed to capture the magic of this place, and every one of their works has its own unique charm.