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.
Pretty spectacular, all-in-all! Such wonderful variety of colors. I have to go back to see them on the computer & not my little phone.
September 15, 2019 at 9:29 PM
I would love to know what accounts for the variety of color presentations. And, yes, they should be better on the computer. Thanks, Patricia.
September 15, 2019 at 9:45 PM
So how do you distinguish Leptothrix discophora from spilled oil or other pollution?
September 15, 2019 at 10:37 PM
If you run a stick or your finger through the Leptothrix discophora film, the film will shatter, sometimes a little; sometimes a lot. See especially #3 above and compare it to the next-to-the-last photograph of oil spills in a parking lot at https://lindagrashoff.wordpress.com/2018/11/13/not-leptothrix-discophora-vintage-or-otherwise/. If you run a stick or your finger through spilled oil, the film doesn’t shatter; it just flows back together. You might be surprised to see how many patches of iridescence that you see are not oil spills but L. discophora films. I have even found them in gutters by the side of the road.
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September 16, 2019 at 8:56 PM
Thanks for your explanation. The next time I see iridescence of this type I’ll probe it.
September 16, 2019 at 10:17 PM
And if you photograph it, be sure you expose for the brightest part of the film. Getting the exposure right can be tricky. Also, walk around the patch to make sure you get its best angle; the intensity of the colors of the film will change depending on the angles between the sun, the film, and your viewfinder. And if you have a circular polarizer on your lens, turn it to be sure you get the best lighting.
September 17, 2019 at 7:50 PM
I just remembered another way to tell the difference between a Leptothrix discophora film and an oil film. See the puckering of the film in the lower left corner of #4? (Click on it to see a larger image.) Oil films don’t dry out like that.
September 17, 2019 at 7:56 PM
Thanks for those tips. When making abstract images of horizontal subjects on the ground I’m already accustomed to circling around to look for the best light and composition.
September 17, 2019 at 11:02 PM
Beautiful pictures, Linda; especially like 1 and 7; and 12 is ohhhh!!!!!!! A 🙂
September 16, 2019 at 4:55 AM
Thanks, Adrian. I have taken so many photographs somewhat similar to #12, but the light or moisture on the shale or placement of leaves makes each distinct.
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September 16, 2019 at 8:59 PM
Fine set, Linda! Fav.=nr6. 🙂
September 16, 2019 at 8:33 AM
Thank you, Harrie. Have you ever seen this film where you live? It occurs all over the world.
September 17, 2019 at 7:58 PM
These are a source of spine-tingling joy, Linda!
September 16, 2019 at 9:06 AM
Thanks, Marjorie. I hope I guessed right, but if I didn’t, then thanks, Larry. Happy to tingle your spine.
September 17, 2019 at 8:00 PM
I had to go over this set multiple times to pick a favorite and the best I can do is pick 2 favorites – #6 and #7. I would have been thrilled to find this many great images in one outing. Well done, Linda.
September 16, 2019 at 10:55 AM
Thanks, Ken. It’s OK if you can’t pick a favorite, you know. 😉 I confess that these aren’t from only one outing. I went to the river twice that day, once in the morning alone, and once in the afternoon with husband and friends.
September 17, 2019 at 8:15 PM
Great colours and textures!
September 16, 2019 at 11:38 AM
Thank you, Sue. Leptothrix discophora film is nothing if not colorful, and the rocky shoreline always offers textures.
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September 17, 2019 at 8:19 PM
Leptothrix discophora film is a bit of a mouthful!!
September 18, 2019 at 4:16 AM
It is. And I know of no nickname for it.
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September 18, 2019 at 11:56 AM
September 18, 2019 at 1:31 PM
So many rich colors in all of these. What an interesting bacteria. Not what most of us think of when we hear that word. Nice work, Linda.
September 18, 2019 at 2:28 AM
Thanks, Steve. When I talk with people about Leptothrix discophora, I often use the word “microbe” instead of “bacterium” at the beginning—at least until I feel like I have my audience with me.
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September 18, 2019 at 11:59 AM
In love with the world as it is. Yes. And so very capable of expressing it, and sharing it. These make me happy, just to see them.
#1 is very powerful – what a perfect composition you made with that one. In #3, the film is cradled sweetly by the grasses. #6 is a visual haiku.
#8 appears to be a large scale landscape of a far-off planet. I love the way you handled the light in #9 with grace and subtlety.
#11 appeals to me tremendously and I can’t figure out exactly why – it seems to present the boulder as a floating, looming monumental sculpture, yet the leaf looks as real and ordinary as can be. There’s tension there.
#12 is another haiku of delicate, ephemeral patterns: perfection passing by as it morphs into another state.
#13 is a happy surprise – I hadn’t imagined the space of the river to be so grand – I guess because most Leptothrix shots are small in scale, the intimacy tricked me into thinking you were in a more confined space. But the river almost feels like being at the seashore – the spreading, flat, watery space with lots of interesting things to discover at one’s feet. May it continue!
September 26, 2019 at 7:08 PM
Thank you, Lynn, for all your thoughts here. The film really is cradled by the grasses (sedges, actually, I think) in #3. The leaves slow down the speed of the water and give the bacteria time and place to multiply. That #11! I still can’t decide whether I like that floating look. It’s odd, isn’t it. I included #13 because I wanted to give some context to these detailed riverside photographs. Although all the photos are taken less than a mile from each other, only #6 is near this exact section of the river, which is wider here.
September 27, 2019 at 2:42 PM