Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Not just reddish-orange

with 24 comments


The reddish-orange sandstone so common at Valley of Fire State Park in Nevada serves as an excellent substrate for lichens of contrasting colors, as you see in these two photographs from our October 24th visit. You can click either picture to get greater size and more details.


© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

November 25, 2016 at 4:59 AM

24 Responses

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  1. Regrettably I heard of the Valley of Fire State Park after we had been to that region, otherwise I may have added it to the list since we passed by on the way to LV to catch the plane home! Great lichens – I love the blue-green 🙂


    November 25, 2016 at 5:06 AM

    • I don’t believe I’d ever seen lichens of such a vivid green until this trip.

      Sorry you missed VF on your trip to LV. If you’re ever back in that area, you’ll know a great place to go.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 25, 2016 at 5:21 AM

      • We saw nothing of LV – it was just convenient for a flight home rather than heading back to San Fran. I timed it so that we arrived at the car rental place with only fumes left in the tank!


        November 25, 2016 at 6:06 AM

        • We had little interest in Las Vegas per se. It was just a base to visit Valley of Fire and Red Rock Canyon. The first and only other time we were in Las Vegas was in 1989, when the city had a population of around 250,000. We didn’t realize how much it has grown since then; the current population is over 600,000 in the city itself and plenty more if you add the surrounding towns.

          Steve Schwartzman

          November 25, 2016 at 6:19 AM

  2. I think I might have been using the word ‘lichen’ as both singular and plural, like ‘sheep’ and ‘bison.’ I’ll have to watch that.

    The colors complement one another beautifully. Even though it’s sandstone and probably doesn’t have a lick of copper in it, your photos remind me of tarnished copper. I used to have a copper flower bucket that developed a gorgeous patina, with plenty of green mixed in. One day, I came home to find my mother had decided to help me out by cleaning it up. Every bit of tarnish was gone, and it gleamed like new. I managed to hold my tongue.


    November 25, 2016 at 7:09 AM

    • I’m sorry about the loss of the patina on your copper bucket. Maybe someday people will be able to remove their own “patinas” and shine young again.

      Speaking of copper, the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum in Tucson has put some colorful slabs of Arizona copper ore outside its entrance that didn’t have to do much to entrance me. I lay on the ground and took a bunch of pictures, at least one of which I expect to show in this Southwest travelogue.

      You’re correct in your realization that lichen behaves like a normal English noun in forming its plural. Perhaps the n sound at the end of bison and the same vowel sounds and stress as lichen had set a false pattern in your mind.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 25, 2016 at 8:01 AM

  3. That vivid green is outstanding! We have a lot of sandrock here and I often marvel at the stunning color of lichen. I know it sounds silly but I think these colors would be lovely on fabric. Mother Earth can rock the fashion world I think! 😀


    November 25, 2016 at 7:11 AM

    • It doesn’t sound silly to me at all. The Art Nouveau movement of a century ago was based on forms in nature. If you know anything about designing fabric, go for it. With the right marketing, you could have quite a success in getting Mother Earth to rock the fashion world, as you cleverly put it.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 25, 2016 at 8:05 AM

  4. Beautiful! It’s positively neon.


    November 25, 2016 at 7:33 AM

  5. Great capture and share, thank you, regards, Barry


    November 25, 2016 at 8:59 AM

  6. As I’m sure you know by now, I’m a big fan of lichens too. I consider them among many of nature’s symbiotic wonders. I’ve enjoyed finding widely-varied examples in my travels. Two of the most (if I can use the term without biting my tongue) fruitful places have been Finland and Iceland.


    November 25, 2016 at 9:27 AM

    • Speaking of fruitful, and without any biting of tongues, I just learned on C-SPAN3 that there’s a Colorado National Monument near the town of Fruita. (After I started writing this, I saw that adjacent to the national monument is the McInnis Canyon National Conservation Area.)

      In Chicago this spring we visited the Field Museum and saw its room devoted to lichens. I wonder who first figured out, and how, that a lichen is a combination of an alga or cyanobacterium and a fungus. Strange fruit indeed.

      I knew that Iceland (which I’ve never visited) is good for geothermal features. You’ve provided another reason to go there.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 25, 2016 at 10:45 AM

      • When you get the chance, I really recommend mid-summer to early fall. The people are wonderful, but the weather can be most intimidating!


        November 25, 2016 at 7:31 PM

  7. Lichen is amazing stuff .. It is alive and well at Frog Pond Farm 😃


    November 28, 2016 at 12:08 PM

  8. A lovely mix of colours there, Steve.


    November 29, 2016 at 2:23 AM

    • That’s how I felt, Andy. With better weather I could have wandered farther, and I imagine I’d have turned up more lichens at least as colorful as these.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 29, 2016 at 6:51 AM

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