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November 11, 2008 / Bo Mackison

Oran’ga Likin’ Orange Lichen

Orange Lichen

These splotches, formally known as lichens, grow on rocks. They can be any number of colors – yellow, orange, gray, green, blue, black. And they can grow in the most inhospitable places in the world. This colony of orange lichen is from Walnut Canyon National Park in northern Arizona.

Lichens are actually colonies of two different organisms co-existing and working together: algae which lives in filaments built by fungi. They use photosynthesis for nourishment.

Some lichen grow only a few millimeters in a century, so these lichens may be thousands and thousands of years old.

Yellow, Orange and Gray Lichen

Yellow, Orange and Gray Lichen

For me, lichens are the kind of thing that brings out experimentation when I’m photographing. Do I capture the texture, the design, the mix of colors?  Well, having fun is a big part of taking photos for me. And this stuff was amazingly fun to shoot. I like lichen.


  1. Gandalf / Nov 11 2008 9:20 am

    Great texture in your photo. I can almost feel it in my eye. Though it does look like some items in my fridge. 🙂

  2. Marcie / Nov 11 2008 9:27 am

    At times I ask myself the same questions – do I look at composition?..texture?…color? I guess that’s what makes this photoblogging fun. We get to look at all of it at once. Thanks for the short education about lichen. Love the colors of this particular type.

  3. suehenryphotography / Nov 11 2008 9:45 am

    I have also been fascinated with lichen and have photographed lichen from time to time. However, I really didn’t know anything about lichen and so enjoyed reading the information you provided.

    And, like you, I struggle with what we are drawn to in this type of photograph;the texture, design, or color. Whatever it is that pulls us into your images works. I’m loving the orange, textured, abstract designs!

  4. amuirin / Nov 11 2008 1:07 pm

    Wow, that’s vivid. It looks as though it will leap right off the page!

  5. bookbabie / Nov 11 2008 1:20 pm

    You and my husband would get along great! He did a big time study while in college of lichen here in MI, we still may have the box of dried up specimens in the basement somewhere:)

  6. ybonesy / Nov 11 2008 9:51 pm

    The photos remind me of aerial photography, like looking down on a geo formation. They’re great!

  7. Amelia / Nov 11 2008 10:58 pm

    I love the one with yellow and grey and orange with just the orange really sharp. Looks like it’s abstract.

  8. montucky / Nov 11 2008 11:35 pm

    I like lichen too, Bo. These are really pretty! I also try to be careful when hiking so my boots don’ destroy life forms as old as many of them are.

  9. Anna Surface / Nov 13 2008 8:50 am

    Beautiful texture and colors. Great details. I like lichen and have yet captured a nice photo of lichen. Very, very nice! 🙂

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