Linda Grashoff's Photography Adventures

Posts tagged “Leptothrix discophora

Walking Downriver in September—1


November 17, 2019

This post might have included 34 photographs, but my better judgement intervened. I still want to show you a lot of what I saw on the annual fall downriver walk that my husband and I take. But I’ll break up the photos into three separate posts, one today, one tomorrow, and one Tuesday. This batch is all about the iridescent evidence I saw of the benign bacterium Leptothrix discophora. As you know if you’ve followed this blog for very long, the iron bacteria, of which L. discophora is one, are obsessions of mine (and the subject of my book They Breath Iron: Artistic and Scientific Encounters with an Ancient Life Form). So here we go again: 19 images of L. discophora films, preceded by an overall photograph of the river as it flows downstream.

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12 The orange material you see on the ground beneath the water in this photograph and others is iron oxide, which L.discophora precipitates out of the water.

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14 This photograph and the one following show L. discophora‘s film on top of a pudding-like substance that is probably the product of another iron bacterium called Leptothrix ochracea.

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16 Notice the iridescence on the leaf- and algae-covered shale in the middle of the photograph. It indicates that the film-covered water recently receded from this area. Click on the photograph to see it larger.

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19 This is a crop of the previous photo.

20 And this is a tighter crop. Click on the photograph to see even more detail.


August on the Vermilion River, 2019 Version


September 16, 2019

Leptothrix discophora was in splender when I drove out to the Schoepfle Garden August 11. I didn’t see huge patches of it, but enough medium-size patches to satisfy me. The handiwork of L. discophora and other iron bacteria was also in evidence as great gushy trails down to the water. Along my walk I dallied over some rocks I considered first among equals. Number 9 is mudstone that held some kind of salts that left pits as they washed out in the river.

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Ohiopyle Falls Revisited


August 4, 2019

Two years ago, during a visit to my friend’s farmstead in southwestern Pennsylvania, we took a short trip to the Ohiopyle State Park, where the Youghiogheny River leaps over rocks, forming the Ohiopyle Falls. Here’s some context, photographed in 2017. The river was just as exciting last month, when I took myriad pictures of its rushing water. I’ve winnowed them down for you. And as thrilling as the river is, so—in a far quieter way—are the still pools of water captured by depressions in the rock banks. My personal pleasure was finding Leptothrix discophora on the foot trail.

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Too Much Water but Enough Shale


July 21, 2019

A week ago Sunday David and I walked downriver along the Vermilion. We’d had very little rain in Oberlin for maybe two weeks and expected the river to be low. We had forgotten that, even though the locations are only eight miles apart, weather at Schoepfle Garden—where we approach the river—and weather in Oberlin don’t always match. Alas, they must have had rain we didn’t. The river was too high, too fast, too wide, and the bedrock shale probably too slippery to walk across. I prefer the other side because it is where I always find lovely outbreaks of Leptothrix discophora films as well as interesting shale formations. On the less-interesting side we saw a little film, but nothing spectacular. Casting about for something that would warrant the rather tortuous trek along the river, I became fascinated by the shale at my feet where we usually cross over. Even there, the rock fractures along lines that look human made. I’d love to know why it does that.

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If You Go to Boston, Again


June 30, 2019

Once again I must thank Stephen Tomasko for sending me information about a photography show curated by Paula Tognarelli, executive director and curator of the Griffin Museum of Photography. (Thanks to Stephen, I answered the Griffin’s earlier call for entry to Abstraction Attraction. See my December 10, 2019 post.) Now my photograph “The Magic of Leptothrix discophora” has been accepted into the exhibition In Your Mother Tongue: A Word and Image Dialogue. If you were reading this blog back in August 2014, you may remember reading the poem that accompanies my photograph in this show. Like the photographs for Abstraction Attraction, all 45 entries are displayed in the Passageway of the Lafayette City Center in Boston. (The Passageway links Macy’s with the Hyatt Regency Hotel.) In Your Mother Tongue is up now through September 14, 2019.


Except When I Do


May 28, 2019

Many of you know that I don’t photograph flowers—except when I do. Two photographs of flowers play bookends here to the rest of my haul from walking in Schoepfle Garden a week ago Saturday. In between are lichens on a low retaining wall and some favorite trees along the Vermilion River. Elsewhere in the park, I wasn’t surprised to see this stump; the tree had been visibly ailing. But I was surprised that someone had painted the edges of the stump with orange paint. Drawing closer, however, I saw that it wasn’t orange paint but a bright-orange fungus. None of my photographs of the fungus up close came out. I wonder if the brightness could have thrown off my camera’s focussing ability. Had I done more chimping, I might have noticed that the fungus was not in focus. Maybe I would even have thought to try manual focus. At least the section of the stump that is spalted turned out. The next photograph is in monotone because it was too confusing in color. Moving in, thus cutting down on the number of elements in the frame, the subject could handle color. I found some Leptothrix discophora along the river, but we’ve had so much rain that it was quite young (previous films having been washed down toward Lake Erie) and probably is all gone by now. Even though this film is very young, you know you’re looking at L. discophora when the water reflects the surrounding foliage so brilliantly. The opening flower photograph is of dogwood, but I don’t know the name of the closing flower. Maybe one or more of you do. The last image is a crop of the previous one. Click on it to see it larger.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Vintage Leptothrix discophora


November 3, 2018

This summer and fall have seen far too much rain to produce much in the way of colorful Leptothrix discophora films. But I miss them, so this post delves into photographs I took of this evidence of iron bacteria along Ohio’s Vermilion River between 2008 and 2010, before I’d started the blog. Some of these photos may be repeats of other dives into the archives. I hope that since I can’t remember if I’ve shown them, you can’t either.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Iridescence along the River 9


August 8, 2018

The second photograph is a long view of the area that featured the Leptothrix discophora films July 14.

 


Iridescence along the River 8


August 7, 2018


Iridescence along the River 7


August 6, 2018

When the water level recedes, it leaves traces of the Leptothrix discophora film on the rocks and mud. The close crop shows the iridescence best. Click on it to see the image even bigger. (The paw prints are from a raccoon.)

 


Iridescence along the River 6


August 5, 2018


Iridescence along the River 5


August 4, 2018


Iridescence along the River 4


August 3, 2018

The detail crops show more of what drew my eye. The puckering indicates loss of water from the film.

 

 


Iridescence along the River 3


August 2, 2018


Iridescence along the River 2


August 1, 2018


Iridescence along the River 1


July 30, 2018

As promised, here come the photos of the Leptothrix discophora biofilms I saw along the Vermilion River July 14. Those of you new to this blog may find a brief introduction to what you see in this photograph useful. Those wanting to know more may care to explore some links.


And Happy Ever After


June 10, 2018

Some of you may have figured out that my recent blog titles are playing with lyrics from Into the Woods, my favorite-of-all-time play, the musical by Stephen Sondheim. Pairing photographs of forests with the title “Into the Woods,” and joining a photograph of a partially wooded path with the title “Then Out of the Woods” are pretty straightforward, but putting a photograph of a Leptothrix discophora film with “And Happy Ever After” may need some explaining. To me, Sondheim’s play is about going into the often hidden, dark, and controversial parts of oneself to gain self-knowledge.

I’ve said some of this on the blog already: I make photographs to affirm the reality of the material world. I’m in love with physical reality, the sheer corporeal existence of things. I use photography as my medium partly because the product is, to use photographer Joel Meyerowitz’s words, “close to the thing itself.” Another way to put it is to say that I practice photography to be part of a process where a product emerges from corporeal fact: light reflects off matter to make an impression on a chemical emulsion or digital sensor.

But now I’ll go further: Philosophers have discussed the nature of reality for centuries. George Berkeley wrote in his 1710 Treatise Concerning the Principles Of Human Knowledge that the only reality is mind and ideas. I disagree, as I disagree with the religious leader Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of Christian Science, who wrote that reality consists only of God and his ideas; that matter does not exist.

I was raised by Christian Scientist parents, so admitting to love of the appearance and reality of things was painful for me. But moving into the woods (having those thoughts and fearing that my parents might stop loving and supporting me if they knew of them), then out of the woods (my decision to chance owning those thoughts, and even to build an art practice around them) has led to my greatest peace of mind, my happy ever after. Leptothrix discophora films have been with me—prominently—for the latter part of this journey, and that’s why this photograph that I made of one appears on this post.

This is a patch of Leptothrix discophora film that I photographed along the Vermilion River June 2.


Iron Bacteria in Florida 2


February 19, 2018

Taken on the same day as the photograph of the previous post, these photos show Leptothrix discophora and its precipitated iron oxide at Jelks Preserve.

 


Iron Bacteria in Florida 1


My old pal Leptothrix discophora came out to play in the parks earlier this month. This photo was taken in a sweet lagoon of the Venice Myakka River Park.


Back to the Garden 4


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.

 

 

 


Evidence of Iron Bacteria in October 2016—6


November 16, 2016

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Evidence of Iron Bacteria in October 2016—5


November 15, 2016

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Evidence of Iron Bacteria in October 2016—4


November 14, 2016

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Evidence of Iron Bacteria in October 2016—3


November 13, 2016

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