Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Posts Tagged ‘lichen

New Zealand: remembering our first glacier

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A year ago today we visited the Franz Josef Glacier on the west side of New Zealand’s South Island. A summer morning it was, and therefore touristy, but we found a space in the crowded carpark and set out on the 5.5-km round-trip hike to the glacier. We first glimpsed it from far away, when tree ferns were more prominent.

Then we kept on to the end of the trail, which left us still a bit removed from the foot of the glacier. That was the time to pull out a telephoto lens, as I did for the picture below. This was the first glacier we’d ever seen in person, so naturally we were impressed. There’s something special about glacial ice’s pastel blue hue.

As a photographer I’m at least as interested in the small things as the prominent ones. Below are five close looks at formful and colorful details that caught my fancy on the hike.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

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Written by Steve Schwartzman

February 20, 2018 at 4:39 AM

New Zealand: the glow not of worms but of day

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A year and a day ago we visited the Kawiti Caves in Waiomio to make up for something we’d missed on our first New Zealand trip: the famous glowworms. I couldn’t record that sort of glow on a public tour, so I turned my camera loose on what the glow of day revealed outside the caves. Mostly that meant native bush and boulders. (If we extend the scope of “native” to include “boulders,” we can ask whether there’s such a thing as a non-native boulder? I guess a large meteorite qualifies.)

I couldn’t decide which of two prominent rock formations to show, so I’ve included both. At the far right in the second view a few of you may see a pareidolic head akin to New Hampshire’s Old Man of the Mountain, which collapsed in 2003.

What most caught my attention outside the glowworm caves was the old man’s beard lichens (genus Usnea) hanging conspicuously from some of the trees:

Just a month before I came upon this beard lichen in New Zealand, I photographed a species of Usnea an hour east of Austin.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

February 9, 2018 at 4:38 AM

Nebraska like Antarctica

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Okay, there are times when Nebraska gets really cold, but not that cold. No, it’s not temperature I have in mind: don’t you think that the outline of these lichens is like that of Antarctica? Following in the footsteps of Amundsen, I strode to the top of Scott’s Bluff National Monument on May 28th and metaphorically planted my photographic flag there.

If you’d like a much closer look at a portion of these lichens, click to expand this excerpt:

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

July 21, 2017 at 5:00 AM

The Black Hills of South Dakota

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On June 2nd I took this picture from well up on the slope of a mountain (was it Mount Coolidge?) in Custer State Park, which lies in the Black Hills of South Dakota. In addition to looking outward and far away, I looked downward and close, where I found pastel-colored rocks and lichens, brown pine needles and cones, and an entrance to an ant nest.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

July 5, 2017 at 4:44 AM

Six years

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Six years ago today I uploaded the first post of now almost 2300 in Portraits of Wildflowers. You might say that tentative entry was like the little fern shown above getting a foothold in the vertical strata along the trail we trekked to New Zealand’s Franz Josef Glacier on February 20th this year.

Those strata, which hadn’t always gotten turned 90°, proved so visually appealing that I took many photographs of them. Below is another one. The pink in both cases is from small lichens. Call these formations waterfalls in stone and you’ll have come up with an apt metaphor.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

June 4, 2017 at 4:53 AM

New Zealand: still more things than the glacier at the glacier

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When we visited the Franz Josef Glacier on February 20th, my attention leapt not only to the glacier and nearby waterfalls, but to the many rocks in the area. In particular, lots of rocks were coated to varying degrees with a fine red-orange lichen, shown above, that made the stone surface it was on seem painted.

In many cases, as you see below, mosses vied with the reddish lichens for territory on the rocks.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

March 22, 2017 at 4:59 AM

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Lichen like a planet

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Nevada’s Valley of Fire State Park on October 24, 2016.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

February 11, 2017 at 5:09 AM

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