Spoonbill and Friend

I love to take short video clips. I have many of them and they can be viewed with perfect clarity on my desktop computer screen. They even look good when they are first uploaded to posts on my blog and viewed from the admin side in the Media folder. However, once they are actually inserted into the post, they become too pixelated to view. This is very disappointing. I have contacted WordPress on a couple of occasions and it does not seem to be anything to do with their software. I have even tried posting them on You Tube and the same thing happens. I have concluded that it is something to do with my latest camera. I have experimented with conversions to other file formats without success. I think it is something to do with the specific way this particular camera captures videos – I mostly use the zoom to get fine detail. This is confirmed by the fact that the short clip shown here of a spoonbill and accompanying egret, taken with an earlier camera in Cairns 2011 seems OK.

October in Kew Gardens 3

The final in a series of three posts celebrating the wonderful sculptures among the autumn colours at Kew Gardens in London, England.

October in Kew Gardens 2

More pictures from Kew Gardens with their beautiful autumn colours and exciting open-air sculpture and art exhibition this October.

October in Kew Gardens 1

I had a lovely day out at Kew Gardens in London this weekend. It was especially good because there was an exhibition of sculpture and art in the open air setting as well as indoor locations. I thought you might like to see some of the pictures I took showing the artwork among the wonderful autumn colours.

A Dismal Autumn Day in Charlton Down

Everyone likes crisp autumn days with sun shining and vibrant colours of changing leaves and ripening fruits everywhere. Often it is just not like that. Damp and muggy. Dull overcast skies. Dead, diseased, and dying reminders of the passage of time. It can be difficult to find something to brighten the scene, lighten the mood, a reason to be cheerful. It was like that yesterday as I walked around the village with my camera. This is what I recorded before completing my circuit, feeling better for the exercise and fresh air regardless of the dull and dismal day.

Iridescent Bacterial Films on Water

Natural abstract pattern in rainbow colours on the surface of water produced by iron-oxidising bacteria

The iridescent film on a small beach stream issuing from iron-rich volcanic rocks at Yachats in Oregon produced some lovely natural abstract patterns thanks to the colonies of iron-oxidising bacteria.

Strange Stream at Yachats – Part 1

Small stream with iron-oxidising bacteria

Following yesterday’s posting about a pond with a strange orange substance beneath shallow cloudy water, I received a most interesting comment suggesting that the orange colouring might not be decomposing algae as I had initially thought but the result of bacterial activity. Linda Grashoff has a special interest in iron-oxidising bacteria and has written many posts on the subject in her WordPress blog Romancing Reality, and she has written a beautiful and lavishly illustrated book about this fascinating topic. It is called “They Breathe Iron – Artistic and Scientific Encounters with an Ancient Life Form“. She said:

Your “something russet and mysterious” is indeed iron that has been oxidized and precipitated out of the water by the iron bacteria. The patches of pale blue film on top of the water—shown in the first and last photograph—are created by Leptothrix discophora, one of the iron-oxidizing bacteria. Other iron bacteria also oxidize iron in the water and are probably present along with the L. discophora on the edges of this pond. The L. discophora bacteria live at the air/water interface, with one end of their rod-shaped bodies in the air and the other end in the water. My guess is that the film keeps the tiny bodies oriented. As the microbes reproduce, they shove parts of the film over and under other parts, so that the film becomes thicker. Various film thicknesses produce various colors by light-wave interference, often resulting in the appearance of an oil slick.

This made me think about another occasion when I had encountered a strange little stream issuing from rocks at Yachats in Oregon on the west coast of America. It possessed a distinct iridescent film, and flowed across green photosynthesising organic matter that in places was coated orange. Bubbles of oxygen were trapped within the ?algae and beneath the film on the surface of the water. The rocks on the beach were rich in iron. The small stream must have been a good example of the activity of iron-oxidising bacteria in action.

This post shows a few photographs from that site – and more will follow tomorrow.

Iridescent film caused by iron-oxidising bacteria

Broken urface film caused by bacterial activity on the surface of a shallow stream

Oxygen bubbles from photosynthetic activity of green algae trapped below a broken surface film caused by bacteria

Oxygen bubbles from algae trapped below a bacterial film

Bubbles with orange iron deposit and bacterial film on the surface of a shallow beach stream

Bacterial film created by iron-oxidising bacterial with trapped oxygen bubbles from photosynthesising algae below.