My photo of the month for February 2016 is from a recent morning walk at Black Mountain Open Space Park – one of my favorite spots around here. It has a wonderful array of chaparral, including all the iconic chaparral plants like Manzanita, Ceanothus and Chamise, but also more elusive ones, like the Southern Mountain Misery.
On this particular morning I was focusing on the details of these plants with my macro lens, and once I had everything that I actually came for (close-ups of the flowers of Spiny Redberry, Mountain Mahogany and Lemonade Berry) my mind was sort of “freed” to also notice other tiny details along the trail – like this wonderful little patch of lichen.
It was pretty difficult to get the tripod into a useful position to make this photo (it is a focus stack in order to get the desired depth of field), but once it was set up, the amount of detail simply blew me away. I did not expect this “Hidden World” in a tiny patch of lichen. Isn’t nature amazing?
And lichen itself pretty amazing too: it is a composite organism! Simply put, it’s algae and fungi combined in a symbiotic relationship – “Alice Algae and Freddy Fungus took a Lichen too each other.” :-) There’s more accurate information about lichen on Wikipedia for those who are interested.