Focus Stacked Lichens

This page contains an assortment of my focus stacked photos of lichens, mosses and a couple of liverworts. I really enjoy lichens. They have many appealing qualities, not the least of which is how they illustrate the compatibility of diverse forms of life, and thus their sameness in their differences. Algae, fungus, and sometimes cyanobacteria all fitting together at the molecular level, because they work better at surviving that way. There’s nothing else like lichens. It baffles me how few people notice them, too, because they are everywhere. It has been estimated that lichens cover at least 4% of Earth’s exposed crust. In many places, even deep in cities it is impossible to go for a walk without seeing at least a few colonies of lichens clinging to trees, rocks, and even our buildings, but when was the last time you looked at their fine structures?

When I go hiking I sometimes explore cemeteries I see along the way. I’m not aloof to their real, human significance, but to me they’re also lichen museums with rows upon rows of free exhibits. Different varieties of lichens occur and grow on the different types of stone used for our burial markers. There are several small cemeteries near me from the 1800s, and even a bit earlier. In some cases I suspect the lichens growing on the markers are nearly as old as the latter’s placement. I don’t collect lichens in these places, I just observe them. It makes for a nice break while hiking on hot summer days.

Following are some of my older closeups and macro shots of lichens and mosses, with one or two liverworts mixed in. Someday I’ll go through and add more information to each photo on the site. It seems like an activity best suited to winter.