Linda Grashoff's Photography Adventures

From the Archives of 2008—11

November 20, 2022

Carrying on from the last post, these are more photographs taken at various locations near or along Ohio’s Vermilion River in 2008. The last nine of the 13 photos in this collection depict films of Leptothrix discophora, a largely benign bacterium that interacts with iron in water. To learn more about L. discophora, you may want to poke around this website, especially the “Links” tab.

1 The Lorain County (Ohio) Metropark’s Schoepfle Garden lies along the Vermilion River. In the park are two ponds. For many years the Back Pond offered reflections of the surrounding trees that varied not only with the seasons but also with the amount and direction of the wind. The park people installed an aerator three or four years ago, and now the surface disturbance is homogenized. Pity.

2 This photograph, the previous one, and the following one were taken of the Back Pond.


4 Mill Hollow, another park along the Vermilion, is where I found these leaves floating on the water.

5 Just one leaf here, on a bed of L. discophora film at Schoepfle Garden.



8 L. discophora film reflected nearby brightly colored autumn trees along the Vermilion at Mill Hollow. The water in this shallow depression about 20 feet long and three feet wide was just covered with the film.




12 The commingling of tree reflections and L. discophora film makes for unusual coloration.

13 The orange color under the surface of the water is an iron oxide produced by L. discophora and/or its cousins. My mentor for all things related to the iron bacteria, Norrie Robbins, says that as many as 50 kinds of mineral-breathing bacteria may live in the Vermilion River.


22 responses

  1. Leslie Organ

    What a bounty of beauty you lay before us here. It’s a knife on which to begin the week. I won’t even try to pick a favorite.


    November 20, 2022 at 2:57 AM

  2. Beautiful set, Linda. No’s 8, 9, and 10 are excellent!

    Liked by 1 person

    November 20, 2022 at 5:35 AM

    • Thanks, Harrie. Glad you aren’t tired of looking at my photographs of Leptothrix discophora films.


      November 20, 2022 at 9:08 PM

  3. I imagine the phrase “mineral-breathing” brings many of us up short, accustomed as we are to think about breathing as an act involving gases. It’s easy to see how the colorful arrays associated with Leptothrix have intrigued you these many years. Are you aware of other photographers who have taken to them with as much enthusiasm as you have?


    November 20, 2022 at 7:54 AM

    • As I have told others, some of us refer to the act of respiration by certain bacteria as “breathing.” It’s a little anthropomorphizing, I admit, but I didn’t start it. 😉 Breathing (respiring) is distinct from eating (metabolizing), though some biologists think these bacteria may interact with minerals in both ways. A few years ago a professor in the Oberlin College Department of Biology taught a seminar in nature writing. She used my book as one of the class’s textbooks, and I was a guest for one of the class sessions. One of the students, Roger Ort, was taken by my photographs of L. discophora films. He told me that he thought he had seen some but didn’t know what they were. He’s now in graduate school and working on a project involving “my” bacterium. He’s also taken many photographs of his own since he first saw mine. He even found two words for the films, Schwimmeisen (German) and Járnbrák (Icelandic). He probably knows much more about the L. discophora films than I do now. Here’s his website:


      November 20, 2022 at 9:40 PM

      • How nice that you got to play a role in that college course.

        The German word Schwimmeisen means ‘floating iron.’ From what I can tell, the Icelandic járnbrák means ‘iron debris’ or ‘broken iron.’

        Liked by 1 person

        November 20, 2022 at 10:37 PM

  4. Anonymous

    BEAUTIFUL!!!!!!!!!! Thank you!!!


    November 20, 2022 at 11:18 AM

  5. Jag

    Beautiful series Linda!


    November 20, 2022 at 11:21 AM

  6. Great portfolio, Linda. It’s nice to see some old, familiar subject matter (L. discophora film) that I can’t get enough of. Your reflection shots are outstanding, too. Well done.


    November 20, 2022 at 11:56 AM

    • Thanks, Ken. Good to know you can’t get enough of these films. Neither can I, so you’ll be seeing more.


      November 20, 2022 at 9:44 PM

  7. Beautiful. I may be old-school but I look at #’s 6, 8 and 10 and think of how they would make great prints, the sort of images that would take on a new life once they’re up on a wall


    November 21, 2022 at 7:40 AM

    • Well, if you’re old school, then so am I. I’ll have a show in one of our community galleries in the spring, and I can’t wait to see my photos on the wall, talking with each other. Haven’t started printing yet. There’s a quotation often attributed to Dorothy Parker but actually written by novelist Frank Norris: “I hate to write, but I love having written.” That’s how I feel about printing, and I keep putting it off. Thanks for your comment, John.

      Liked by 1 person

      November 21, 2022 at 7:40 PM

  8. Every one is beautiful, Linda. I am at a loss for words…you have captured so many ways that nature displays color on the surface of water…and in one post. Excellent!

    I hope your show in the spring will be open to the public; we would like to come up to see it. Keep us posted. 🙂


    November 23, 2022 at 10:05 AM

    • Thank you, Mic. It was fun to be able to show many different faces of this film. When I get around to the archives of 2009, there will probably be more.

      As of now, the show will be open to the public. I’d love to have you and Leah come up for it. Will keep you posted.

      Liked by 1 person

      November 23, 2022 at 1:04 PM

  9. Beautiful.


    November 23, 2022 at 2:40 PM

  10. This is a great collection, Linda. The reflections are wonderful and chemical abstracts beautiful. A great visit to the archives, indeed!


    November 25, 2022 at 12:16 PM

  11. It’s a busy time of year and I apologize for not commenting sooner. I guess the aerator was put in to keep the water moving, hopefully not just for looks, because I agree, it’s a pity in terms of aesthetics. #3 & #4 make a very nice pair. The Leptothrix images are fun to look at. I think I always like it when there are rocks with them for some reason, like in #7. The yellow in #8 is really cool – that’s a beauty, the way the film contrasts with the shoreline. The leaves in #9,10 & 11 are gorgeous. Such rich color. #12 makes me think of the southwest, also because of all the warm colors. If I had to pick, I think #9 and #12 are my favorites for their composition and the way they keep my attention. It’s good to travel back in time with you!


    November 30, 2022 at 3:28 PM

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