(CNN)Imagine standing on a beach at night when suddenly the waves turn electric blue.
Mark Girardeau, who owns Orange County Outdoors, witnessed bioluminescent waves off Newport Beach, California, late Wednesday night with two photographer friends, Royce Hutain and Patrick Coyne.
Girardeau said Hutain is a nature and weather enthusiasts and was the reason they even knew to look for the rare blue waves.
Hutain told CNN that he was on the beach, which is still open to the public, earlier in the day when he saw a red tide. He decided to send up a drone to see how big the bloom was.
Some algae or animals that cause red tides, such as planktonic surface dwellers, use bioluminescence that can be triggered by a physical disturbance, such as waves, according to the Smithsonian.