November 8, 2017
I saw some Leptothrix discophora films at Schoepfle Garden last month. Here is one patch, with details of the overall photograph beneath.
October 16, 2016
This dumpster wasn’t around the last time I photographed dumpsters in Oberlin. How nice to meet it.
November 9, 2015
Sometimes a Leptothrix discophora film can look colorful but very shear, very translucent. Why? I don’t know. (For that matter, I don’t know why some of the L. discophora films look opaque.) The first photo shows what I mean. The other four photographs show a film where much or all of the water has run out from underneath it as the river recedes from the bank so that the film rests on rocks or soil.
November 1, 2015
I saw more manifestations of Leptothrix discophora September 18 than I showed last week. Here are five more views of it. The sixth photograph shows the iron-oxide precipitate of another oxidizing iron bacterium or bacteria and a lighter precipitate of a different mineral, perhaps aluminite, which has made its appearance in the Vermilion River riverbed on other occasions. To quote from my book, “Aluminite hasn’t been studied in the Vermilion River, but elsewhere it is known to form around fungal and bacterial masses.”
The talk I gave about my book to the Friends of the Oberlin College Library October 27 was recorded, and the video is now online.
October 26, 2015
No walk downriver would be completely rewarding without finding some stunning biofilms and precipitates of the iron bacteria. This year, as usual, the reward was there.
I’ll be speaking about my book, They Breathe Iron: Artistic and Scientific Encounters with an Ancient Life Form, at the Friends of the Oberlin College Library tomorrow at 4:30 in the Moffett Auditorium of the Mudd Center. If you’ll be in Oberlin then, please come and say hello.
September 21, 2015
September 14, 2015
You can see enough iridescence here for me to include this photo in the series, but what really got me was how clearly you can see the reflections of individual leaves in the water and Leptothrix discophora film.
August 31, 2015
The jewel in its setting: Here is a photograph of another patch of Leptothrix discophora that shows the context, also taken the last day of July.
August 24, 2015
I was able to wade across the river to the other bank the last day in July. That’s always such a treat, especially when I can find interesting outcrops of Leptothrix discophora. I loved the coppery color of this patch, and I’ve learned through experience to take the first shot as soon as I’m aware of gasping. You just never know when that will be the defining image. I didn’t like the dead tree trunk there; it seemed to be blocking my clean view, but if I leaned forward a bit over it, I lost the copper color of the film. I just couldn’t get any closer and keep that color. The second photograph is just a crop of the first photo, and the quality isn’t as good cropped this much. For the third photo I sidled right up to the film but could only capture the iridescence from a different angle. Still beautiful stuff, but for me it lacks the attraction that caused me to gasp. . . . I wonder now if my gasp may have been due partly to the greater context beyond the patch of L. discophora. Maybe I needed to see the film amidst its more prosaic surroundings. If that’s the case, then I’m glad again to have taken that first shot as I did.
June 20, 2015
Today’s photograph shows a biofilm of Leptothrix discophora, familiar to those of you who have followed this blog very long. I’m posting this photo today because I want to talk about interference. That’s the name for the kind of color you see here. It’s also what’s happening in my life: Interference, especially with my photography. (We’re moving and getting the house ready to sell.) I need to cut back a bit. So I’ll be posting only weekly for a while. I will miss the weekly photo shoots, the daily blogging, and your daily Likes and Comments. I hope to pick up the pace this fall.