Trentepohlia Beauty in the Forest

During a recent trip to New Zealand I had the opportunity to create some images at Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland in Rotorua. This also gave me the chance to view an abundance of trentepohlia beauty in the forest. 

NOTE: Click on images to enlarge.

Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikon 6.7-13mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 13mm, efov 35mm, f/8, 1/40, ISO-800

The bright orange colour you see in the images in this article is caused by trentepohlia – a member of the algae family.

Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikon 6.7-13mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 6.7mm, efov 18mm, f/8, 1/25, ISO-160

It grows on tree trunks and limbs, as well as on rocks, walls, on leaf surfaces, and symbiotically with lichen.

Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikon 6.7-13mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 7mm, efov 19mm, f/8, 1/80, ISO-800

Trentepohlia is found on most continents. It gets its bright orange colour from the presence of haematochrome which hides the green pigment of the algae.

Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikon 6.7-13mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 8mm, efov 22mm, f/9, 1/13, ISO-160

Trentepohlia primarily grows in tropical and sub-tropical climates where damp conditions exist. There are some variations that grow in cooler climates as well.

Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikon 6.7-13mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 13mm, efov 35mm, f/8, 1/20, ISO-800

I find that its unique colour can add flashes of interest to an image, and even some hints of its orange hue can give a a stark photograph a unique twist.

Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikon 6.7-13mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 6.7mm, efov 18mm, f/8, 1/80, ISO-1600

I also love creating compositions that include pops of bright green to act as a complementary colour.

Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikon 6.7-13mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 6.7mm, efov 18mm, f/8, 1/20, ISO-1600

The next time you are in a damp forest environment look for trentepohlia and let your creativity loose with this unique forest colouration.

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3 thoughts on “Trentepohlia Beauty in the Forest”

  1. Interesting! I have never heard of this kind of algae before and I live in south Louisiana and may have seen it but didn’t know what I was seeing. I might have thought it was a fungus. I have aquariums with different algae and even have some growing on my house in damp spots.

    I just found this article about a place with a lot of it: Look at This: A Valley Painted Red with Algae – 80beats : 80beats – http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/80beats/2012/07/25/look-at-this-a-valley-painted-red-with-algae/#.WFLwElwjx0w

    By the way, I really like the crooked branches and trees in many of these photos. Thanks for sharing them!

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