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Return to: Mark Fischer


Well, where do we start? I've been a tank driver, a student, a software engineer, vagabond and store clerk, in that order. Around the year 2000, I finally had occasion to check out an old fancy of mine from college days. Whales. And dolphins. What's up with the songs?

So began this work. There was a good place to start in "Marine Mammals and Noise", a good reference which basically maps the physics of sound in the world's oceans. But it turned out that cetaceans had an extraordinary range of sounds at their disposal. From lows around 10Hz for the large baleen whales, and highs over 100,000 cycles per second for Beluga and Spinner dolphins, these were really testing the resources I had.

Being spectrally challenged, I was motivated to take a look at another analysis tool called 'wavelets'. It had actually been around, on paper, since 1909. But it took a computer to make it useful. My first look was at blue whales, using clips I was able to find on the Web. By now I have had a look at over a dozen species, from which I make both movies and stills.

I could speculate at length on what these pictures tell you, or might tell you, or infer, or whatever- it all kind of comes down to "what's a rainbow mean?", so let your mind do the wandering.

Mark Fischer, Mesa Rainbow, Baja, CA, 1998
Mark Fischer, "Mesa Rainbow", Punta San Carlos, Baja, CA, 1998

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