Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Posts Tagged ‘algae

Different greens

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Here are some different shades of green I saw in Great Hills Park on February 23. The first picture is a close-up of mosses on a horizontal tree branch.

Moss on Tree Branch 5975

In the second picture, notice how the rattan vines, Berchemia scandens, held the upper part of a broken tree in place and kept it from falling over.

Rattan Vines on Dead Tree 5958

In the third image, look at all those maidenhair ferns, Adiantum capillus-veneris, made happy by the rain.

Maidenhair Ferns on Creek Wall 5934

And finally here are some branches of an Ashe juniper, Juniperus ashei, with pale green lichen on them.

Lichens on Broken Branches 5970

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

March 12, 2016 at 5:03 AM

I wasn’t the only one attracted to algae

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Red Admiral Butterfly on Algae 5108

Click for greater clarity.

I’ve taken more photographs of algae in 2016 than in any previous year, but I wasn’t alone in my attraction when I launched into still another round of picture-taking on February 13th in Great Hills Park. There I found this red admiral butterfly, Vanessa atalanta, extracting minerals or other nutrients from water that was in contact with the algae.

In the two weeks since then, I’ve seen more red admiral butterflies than any other kind. In all weeks I see the “red” in the red admiral as distinctly orange.

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

February 28, 2016 at 5:00 AM

Taut strings and other imaginings

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Algae Strands Dried Out 3036

The algae you saw beginning to dry out in the previous post’s first photograph appeared to consist of strings, but those strings were crumpled, presumably because there had been no strong flow in that part of the creek. The second photograph in that post showed somewhat straighter and drier but still mostly green algae.

Now contrast those patches of algae with the ones in today’s post, which are likewise from a tributary of Bull Creek. In today’s first photograph you see dried and stretched-out strings of algae that retained the imprint of a once-fast current. Note several sycamore seeds (Platanus occidentalis) tangled in the algae strands.

Here’s another picture from that same January 29th session in which the algae are so finely swept that you might think you’re looking at the grain in wood or the strata in rocks:

Finely Swept Algae 2950

And finally, in a third straight-down view, the picture below offers up curves and feathery structures in dried algae, as well as intricately delicate forms that could pass for cobwebs. This photograph kept reminding me of a fossil of Archaeopteryx, and then also of the Escher lithograph Drawing Hands.

Algae Drying Out 2985

So ends a three-part trip into pallor. Color comes crashing back in tomorrow.

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

February 17, 2016 at 4:48 AM

Like stringy green brains

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Drying Green Algae Looking Like Brains 3305

Yep, stringy green brains, that’s what some types of algae look like when they begin to dry out. Perhaps no one else has seen algae quite that way because when I did a Google search for “stringy green brains” I got asked if I meant “stringy green beans” or “string green beans,” but there were no hits for my “stringy green brains” search string. Coincidentally, when I recently attended a talk by physicist Steven Weinberg, who lives in Austin, he said there is so far no good experimental evidence for string theory. And I’m not stringing you along when I say that the picture above is from a tributary of Bull Creek on January 29th, and that two years ago I referred to algae in this configuration as corrugated.

In the picture below, from a different tributary of Bull Creek on February 13th, you get to compare a somewhat drier patch of algae. If you want to keep on being cerebral, now you can think of these algae as neurons. Just don’t let the neuralgae give you neuralgia.

Algae Still Green But Drying Out 5131A

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

February 16, 2016 at 5:11 AM

Another close look at a creek

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Brown Sycamore Leaves Fallen on Green Algae 3266

On the bright and clear morning of January 29th I spent more than an hour photographing at a tributary of Bull Creek. In contrast to the fast-flowing Bull Creek of a few weeks earlier, this tributary was drying up, so the water in it was mostly shallow and without a noticeable current. Here you see two sycamore leaves (Platanus occidentalis) that had fallen on some still-green algae. Look over my shoulder and the algae may strike you too as preternaturally green. All I can say is that was really their color. At the same time the submerged rocks in the shallows shone yellow in the sunlight, while onto this little tricolor scene a few trunks and branches of nearby trees contrarily cast their shadows.

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

February 15, 2016 at 5:05 AM

Water flowing quickly in Bull Creek

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Ripples and Algae in Bull Creek 2199

It wasn’t just the algae and other aquatic plants that I found intriguing in Bull Creek on January 17th. No, it was also the bright but ephemeral rippling of the fast-flowing water. Its speed led to my sensing it more than really seeing it, so for some pictures I set my shutter speed at 1/2000 of a second and blazed away. The abstract picture above is one result, and the little waterfall at the end of the post is a second one. I took many other abstract photographs of the creek at various shutter speeds, but after three days in a row on this subject I’d risk wearing out my welcome if I showed any more of them, so it’s on to something else tomorrow.

But wait! — as hokey television commercials say — now you can get a look, absolutely free, at the first video ever associated with this blog. See algae undulating in scenic Bull Creek! Hear the roar of the frenzied water rushing past! Unbelievable! To take advantage of this amazing offer, click here now: operators are standing by.

Small Waterfall in Bull Creek 2483

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

January 30, 2016 at 4:59 AM

Longer strands of life

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Yellow-Green Algae Strand Patterns 2090

It wasn’t just the pastel-green-colored rock in Bull Creek that fascinated me on January 17th, but also the many long strands of algae that the flowing water pulled out into varied patterns. The algae above seemed almost like a textile. The central subject below (is it algae?) looked feathery as it and all the growing things around it undulated in the current.

Feathery Algae in Bull Creek 2122

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

January 29, 2016 at 5:10 AM

A pastel rock in Bull Creek

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Rock and Algae in Bull Creek 2163

On January 15th I glimpsed a pale peach and green rock in a portion of Bull Creek accessible from the Smith Memorial Trail. I took some pictures from the creek bank but went back on January 17th with rubber boots so I could wade in to get a closer and straight-down look. The bits of algae adhering to the upper surface of the rock reminded me of tadpoles or little fish, and they even seemed to be swimming as they squiggled in the current. In this picture I used a shutter speed of 1/400 sec. to arrest the swaying motion.

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

January 28, 2016 at 4:30 AM

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Greens and orange

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Green Algae 4704

Adjacent to the property with the pond that you saw last time playing host to pickerelweed is a low-lying area accessible from Naruna Way. On June 2, thanks to the heavy spring rains, parts of the land lay covered in shallow water, and with that lingering water came the algae you see here. Of interest to this photographer (see how he third-persons himself) were the froth, the varying shades of green, the dark little funnel, the streaming strands of algae, and the orange color of the underlying earth.

© 2015 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 2, 2015 at 5:33 AM

From 2012

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Crawfish Claw on Dry Algae 3666A

Click for greater size and clarity.

On April 30, 2012, I wandered in the relatively wild southern part of Great Hills Park and came across a tangle of dried algae in the bed of the main creek there. Lying on the algae was the tiny disembodied claw of what I take to have been a crawfish. Strange and a bit creepy, don’t you think?

© 2015 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

June 7, 2015 at 4:32 AM

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