06/05/2013 01:09 pm ET Updated Jun 05, 2013

'Meet Your Biscayne Neighbors' Exhibition Shows Off Amazing Florida Animals (PHOTOS)

Many of us Miamians spend much of our time in nature hoping NOT to see certain Florida animals -- alligators and pythons, for example -- so it's refreshing to get a good look at some of the amazing creatures that all our incredible environment home.

"Meet Your Biscayne Neighbors," an exhibition from local photographer Paul Marcellini, is opening this weekend at Biscayne National Park's Dante Fascell Visitor Center with just that intent. The series was shot as part of the global initiative "Meet Your Neighbors," for which plants and animals are photographed against a stark white background so their individual beauty stands out.

"The philosophy behind it is celebrating common species everywhere and giving them this glamour treatment look, But it's all done in the field studio to minimize stress on the animal," Marcellini told The Huffington Post. He built an portable studio tank with plexiglass walls to take to the bay and beyond; to photograph a man o'war, he rode along in a shrimp boat so he could take one from a net to the tank before returning it to the ocean.

Marcellini, who has an environmental science degree, has been working as a landscape and nature photographer since about 2007. "Meet Your Biscayne Neighbors," he said, is a side project he took on to continue raising public awareness.

Take the man o' war, for example: "People here associate negatively with it -- you get stung, it's painful -- but it's such a beautiful creature when you get the light coming through," he said. "Those fluorescents are amazing."

The exhibition will be open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. between June 7 and September 2 at the visitor center gallery. On Sunday, Marcellini will be on hand for a "Meet The Artist" reception and to give a demonstration. Check out a few preview images below, including a land hermit crab, mangrove water snake, and sargasm fish:

Meet Your Biscayne Neighbors