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Grampa's Beard

Grampa's Beard
Photo Information
Copyright: Evelynn Smith (Evelynn) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2025 W: 741 N: 3285] (14454)
Genre: Landscapes
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2008-10-16
Camera: Canon 400D Digital Rebel XTi, Canon 24-70mm f2.8
Exposure: f/8, 1/100 seconds
Photo Version: Original Version
Date Submitted: 2008-10-27 11:45
Viewed: 3075
Points: 32
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
I was attracted to the contrast of the lichen with the deep red of the vine maple Actually this is known as "Old Man's beard" or Usnea hirta.

Usnea is the generic and scientific name for several species of lichen in the family Parmeliaceae, that generally grow hanging from tree branches, resembling grey or greenish hair. It is sometimes referred to commonly as Old Man's Beard, Beard Lichen, or Treemoss. Usnea looks very similar to Spanish moss, so much so that the latter plant's Latin name is derived from it (Tillandsia usneoides, the 'Usnea-like Tillandsia').

Usnea grows all over the world. Like other lichens it is a symbiosis of a fungus and an alga. The fungus belongs to the division Ascomycota, while the alga is a member of the division Chlorophyta.

Usnea has been used medicinally for at least 1000 years. Usnic acid (C18H16O7), a potent antibiotic and antifungal agent is found in most species. This, combined with the hairlike structure of the lichen, means that Usnea lent itself well to treating surface wounds when sterile gauze and modern antibiotics were unavailable.


PaulH, techranger, Jamesp, tuslaw, bobcat08, eqshannon, manyee, sranjan has marked this note useful
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Critiques [Translate]

  • Great 
  • PaulH Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1137 W: 26 N: 3879] (13882)
  • [2008-10-27 12:46]

This is supposed to be a sign of good air quality right? Well it certanly looks great set amongst the turning leaves, i can see why you took this for sure. It almost looks lihe a festive decoration! Excellent exposure and nice crisp detail - the colours speak for themslves. Great work Evelynn, well done.

I can see why your eye was attracted to this beautiful display. The pattern of the light diagonal branches play so well with the vertical hanging lichen and the deep red leaves enhance the whole image... nicely seen, captured, and so well presented. I just love to find these little slices of glorious nature seen only by those that take the time to really look. TFS


Hi Evelynn
I love the lichen in this shot - it looks like ZZ Top went for a walk and snagged their beards on the maple! ;P
As your notes say, it does look very much like the Tillandsia found in the south of the USA.
Kind Regards

  • Great 
  • Jamesp Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1369 W: 9 N: 6334] (18906)
  • [2008-10-27 16:09]

Hi Evelynn

The wonderful BG of dark orange/red leaves and the light catching the lichen and twigs combine to create a great shot. Excellent work.

In the UK, Old Man's Beard is a form of wild clematis, which grows in hedgerows and has extravagant, silky seeds at this time of year.


Hello Evelynn,
Probably this medical use is known through the Native Americans?
More important...
Now, I'm also convinced that Santa doesn't exist. I knew it.
Well done:-)

  • Great 
  • tuslaw Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2754 W: 282 N: 4931] (19883)
  • [2008-10-27 19:33]

Wonderful image Evelynn,
Love the contrasting colors and very interesting looking lichens. Actually it kind of reminds me of the straw-like (stuffing) or (padding) that was used in our living room furniture when I was a kid.
I can't say I remember ever seeing this type of lichen here in Ohio, but then Rosie is always telling me I'm not very observant. TFS.

Hi Evelynn,

You have created a depth in your photograph by using the dark (almost black) in the BG. And the contrast between the dark orange/red leaves and the BG is splendid. The Old Man's beard" in this photo makes it very attractiv.

Thansk for sharing. Have a nice day and TFS BOB

Hi Evelynn,
the colours are so warm and nice, I love the golden summer - but not today, it's cold and rainy, brrrrr!
You show us such a simple but wonderful view of our beautiful nature, thanks for it, bye
Sabine - wishnugaruda

When we took our summer trips to Florida...mom, dad and me...the first one to see this Spanish moss (which you do say this is not and I agree but looks like) the winner who saw it first would get!!!! Nothing...but I always seemed to be the one to find it first..I think it was a parents trick to keep a young boy amused on a very long car ride of 2 days..

Fine image which brings back some nice memories...

  • Great 
  • manyee Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3089 W: 230 N: 6774] (23770)
  • [2008-10-29 23:31]

Hi Evelynn,
The white lichen really punctuates the red foliage in a very artistic way,
with its contrasting color and stringy shape.
Very interesting notes.
TFS. : )

Ciao Evelynn, fascinating autumnal composition with fantastic warm colors, excellent sharpness, very well done, ciao Silvio

  • Great 
  • EOSF1 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1393 W: 119 N: 5267] (23955)
  • [2008-11-02 13:32]

Hello Evelynn! Very nice nature shot, great colors and fantastic sharpness. Well done!


Dear Evelynn,
I am surprized to see this photograph as very many floral specimens of NE India from Yumthang at Sikkim, a high altitude valley of flowers has something very much similar to what you have shown us here for example the Usnea longissima with beautiful alpine trees. Your photographs have unique artistic composition & always carries an educational, to the point photographer's note. TFS.

Hello Evelynn

The lichen look like decorations draped over the tree.
Excellent rich autumn colours.
Very good focus and sharpness.
The POV and DOF are very good.


  • Great 
  • izler Gold Star Critiquer [C: 1387 W: 3 N: 9] (44)
  • [2008-11-04 9:58]

merhaba Evelynn
well composed and captured of these beautiful leaves that have got autumnal colours
i like DOF, light, colours and sharpness

Hi Evelynn,
What a beautiful color combination and how beautiful it became even more with the wonderful light. I can imagine that you were atracked to it. I would have acted the same. I also like how the dark BG enhanced the color of the leaves.

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