Sunday, May 2, 2010

British Soldier Lichens

Cladonia cristatella gets its name, British Soldiers, from its resemblance to the red hats worn by English soldiers during the Revolutionary War. These red structures are actually the sexual fruiting structure of the lichen, the apothecia. Cristatella is from the greek diminutive of the Latin cristatus, meaning crested.These lichens are just 2cm (3/4 inch) tall. There are four species in this shot which would easily fit on 1/2 of a compact flash card.

Earthy Tones

I have a passion for earthy tones. One overcast but bright day a few weeks back, I came across a bunch of cattails that had survived winter's snow and were now starting to shed their seeds. This 15 cm catkins was quite disheveled and despite a ragged and "ugly" look, I saw something wondrous in it. This is my favourite from the 50 or so images I captured that day.

There is only one colour here- brown, but there is quite a good tonal range across both the subject and the background.

The bokeh is composed of other cattails and broken stems and fallen leaves. Combined they create an almost creamy background. And while still in the brown hue, the bokeh is light enough to help the subject stand out.


This cattail is Typha angustifolia- the common narrow leaf cattail. (Typha comes from the Greek meaning cattail and angust from the Latin meaning narrow and folia meaning leaf.)