Don’t forget to keep those photos coming in, folks! I’ll be here all year.
We have more greenery today, as reader/naturalist/photographer Lou Jost sent some photos from Ecuador. His notes:
In honor of your recent post on lichen symbioses, here are some photos of lichens and bryophytes, groups that don’t get much attention otherwise.These are all from cloud forest at 2100m elevation in the Banos area in Ecuador, except for the last one which is from 1200m. They remind me of coral reefs…
I can’t tell you anything about their biology, but readers may like to know how they were photographed. These are taken with an Olympus 60mm macro lens and PEN-F body (small micro-4/3 sensor). The interesting thing about this camera and lens is that it solves the macro photographer’s constant dilemma: at higher magnifications there is very little depth of field, but if he or she uses a smaller aperture to increase the depth of field, diffraction (unavoidable due to the wave nature of light) makes everything slightly unsharp. This camera does “focus bracketing”: when I press the shutter button the camera automatically takes a stack of up to 999 photos, each focused a bit farther away than the previous one. So I can use the lens’ best aperture, f/4.5. The depth of field for any one picture at this aperture is grossly inadequate, but there is software (I use Zerene) which takes the sharp parts of all the photos in the stack and combines them into one completely sharp picture. That’s what I’ve done here. Each image is merged from between twenty and eighty individual photos. Though this is best done with a tripod, several of the ones I am sharing here were taken hand-held.
Most of these pictures are dominated by lichens, with some liverworts. The last picture is of a new species of liverwort —see this post. It is special to me since the discoverer is going to name it after me!