Visit our gallery | 4224 Herschel St. | Jacksonville, FL

2022 Jacksonville Best Nature Photographer Award

Best Nature Photographer

Lee-Margaret Borland


Award-winning naturalist photographer Lee-Margaret Borland has traveled the world seeking those split-second instances when she can seize an exquisite moment of nature.

Lee-Margaret's unretouched work chronicles nature's colors, rhythms, and relationships with creatures large and small, landscapes broad, deep and tall, and the breathtaking beauty of nature's illuminations. Her signed, limited edition nature prints are unquestionably fine art ready to grace homes and offices.



Fountain abstract

Nature in Abstract

Heavenly Stairway


Brazilian sunset


 The Tentacles of October Octopus

October is Seafood Month.  Most of us have tasted many kinds of seafood, but have you every tried octopus?  Our encounter with octopus was in the Caribbean in the form of ceviche.  While the meat is chewy, it has a really good taste, not fishy but a rather subtle flavor like that of pork or chicken.  It is low in fat and high in iron, offering more minerals and vitamins than squid. 

The word  "octopus" comes from the Greek "oktopus" meaning "eight foot".  It is pluralized as a Greek word and "es" is tacked on.  So, no octopi, octopedes or octopussies!  The order of Octopoda includes some 300 species.  They live in oceans all over the world.  Most are pelagic living near the water's surface in shells, reefs and crevices.  The tend to be solidary.  Some hunt at night while others only hunt at dusk and dawn.  Octopuses have a complex nervous system and excellent sight, and are among the most intelligent and behaviorally diverse of all invertebrates.  They are all venomous,  but only the blue-ringed octopuses are known to be deadly to humans. The oldest known fossil belongs to an animal that lived 296 million years ago during the Carboniferous period.

Octopuses have been observed using tools.  They have 8 arms, a bulbous head, 3 hearts, and blue blood.  Being boneless they can squeeze into or out of tight spaces.  Their arms have a mind of their own.  Two-thirds of an octopuses neurons are in its arms rather than its head.  This means that an octopus can use one arm to explore a cave for food while another arm is cracking open a shell fish.  They are carnivorous, dining mainly on mollusks and crustaceans.  They are also known to eat fish and snails They have an excellent sense of touch. Their suckers on their arms have receptors that enable them to taste what they are touching.  While their bodies are soft, they have a very sharp parrot-like beak on the underside where the arms converge.  They have powerful jaws and venomous saliva.  Their 3 hearts have two different jobs;  2  pump blood through its gills, while the other one pumps blood through its organs.  The blood is blue due to a copper-based protein called hemocyanin. 

When  in danger the octopus will do several things.  It can change its shape, texture and color to hide, by blending into its surroundings.  It can swim, jet , and shoot a dark liquid called ink at what scares it.  This ink contains tyrosinase and when sprayed in the predators' eyes causes a blinding irritation.  Its also garbles the creatures' sense of small and taste.  The ink is so potent that octopuses that don't escape their own ink cloud can die.  Should it lose an arm in the confrontation, it can regrow them.  When swimming, the heart that delivers the blood to the organs stops beating which exausts the octopus.  This is probably why they  prefer to crawl rather than swim when they are not in danger.  Their life span is very short, about 6 months.  The larger they are, the longer they live.  The giant octopus can live to be 5 years old.  Sex is a death sentence.  Females usually lay 200,000 to 400,00 eggs.  She will obsessively guard and aerate the eggs until they hatch.  It may take 2 to 10 months depending on the water temperature.  She does not eat during this time.  Once the eggs begin to hatch her body goes through a cellular suicide which rips through her tissues and organ until she dies.  Meanwhile, the male has swam away and dies in a few months.

The smallest octopus is smaller than one inch long and weighs less than a gram.  The common octopus is 12 to 36 inches long and weighs 6.6 to 22 pounds.  The giant pacific octopus is typically 16 feet long  weighing in at 110 pounds.  One was found to be 30 feet long and weighed more than 600 pounds!

The fellow we encountered was not that large...thank goodness!  He was a common average sized octopus.

We give you "Octopus".  We were coming into shore at the end of our dive when we came upon this fellow in the rubble.   We stopped swimming and ever so slowly crept closer.  I kept my camera and strobes in front of me ready to capture this guy.  I chanced a shot hoping the strobes wouldn't scare him.  They didn't...he just stayed still and then reached out with an arm and touched my camera.  I watched in amazement as he felt along the strobe mounts.  Since my equipment didn't taste too good he just turned and crawled away.  He must have had other encounters with divers because he seemed so calm.  For me it was a "wow" moment!!!  An encounter with a common octopus...who'd a thought!

This image is available in table top to wall size, triple matted and with or without a frame.  The matted versions are yours at a 10% discount and the framed matted versions in sizes 11x14 and larger can be yours at a 15% discount.

Stop by and see us on Monday through Friday from 10a.m. to 12 noon and 1:30p.m. to 5 p.m.

The gallery is open for Saturday appointments.  Call us at 904-387-8710 to schedule your special visit.  Come see us and order now.

"The family--that dear octopus from whose tentacles we never quite escape, nor in our inmost hearts ever quite wish to". 

  -- Dorothy Gladys "Dodie" Smith