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Lava Cactus

Lava Cactus
Photo Information
Copyright: Selen Ediger (SelenE) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2249 W: 65 N: 4205] (13972)
Genre: Plants
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2007-04-27
Categories: Cacti, Seascape, Ocean
Camera: Canon EOS 20D, Canon EF 100-400mm F/4.5-5.6L IS USM, Hoya 77mm Super-HMC CPL MCPRO1
Exposure: f/5.6, 1/100 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Theme(s): Volcanoes and Volcanic Areas [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2007-07-26 3:57
Viewed: 5814
Points: 38
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Lava cactus on lava rocks in Espinoza Point/ Fernandina Island.

Lava Cactus
Brachycereus nesioticus
Endemic (found only in Galapagos)

Kingdom: PLANTAE
Species Authority: (K. Schum.) Backeb.

The large family Cactaceae are succulents: plants with fleshly leaves or stems or both. Cacti are generally characterised by extremely sharp spines. These are actually the leaves and also their main defence against herbivorous predators. Galapagos cacti vary in size from the Lava Cactus, which rarely exceeds 60 cm in height, to the large Prickly Pear and Candelabra Cacti both of which can reach heights of 8-12 m.

The smallest of the Galapagos cacti, found exclusively on barren lava fields, it is usually one of the first plants to colonise a fresh lava flow. It consists of a number of short spiny cylinders or stems up to 60 cm in length. The individual stems do not branch, but it is easy to see how an individual stem may have grown in several stages. The younger stems and spines are a fresh greenish yellow, gradually turning grey to black with age. The individual plants or clumps may be as much as 2 m or more across. It flowers very briefly, the large creamy white flowers opening before dawn and shrivelling within a few hours. The fruits are dark brown up to 3.5-cm long and with yellow spines.

In this photo the lava cacti are found on Pahoehoe Lava ; which is basaltic lava that has a smooth, billowy, undulating, or ropy surface. These surface features are due to the movement of very fluid lava under a congealing surface crust. It is a result of the magma containing a large amount of gas.
The name is pronounced ‘pahoyhoy’, which is the Hawaiian for ‘ropy’.

Fernandina Island
This is the third largest, and youngest, island of the Galápagos Islands. The island is an active shield volcano that last erupted on Friday, May 13, 2005. The southern flank of the volcano had a fissure eruption that generated flows, which subsided within hours. This is the youngest and westernmost island of the archipelago. It was named in honor of King Fernando of Spain, who sponsored the voyage of Christopher Columbus.

On the 14th of February 1825, while anchored in Banks Bay, Captain Benjamin Morrell recorded one of the largest eruptions in Galapagos history at Fernandina Volcano. His ship escaped to safety and his account the event was preserved.

Fernandina has an area of 642 km² and a height of 1,476 meters (4,842 feet), with a summit caldera about 6.5 kms wide. The caldera underwent a collapse in 1968, when parts of the caldera floor dropped 350 meters. A small lake has intermittently occupied the northern caldera floor, most recently in 1988.

Due to its recent volcanic activity, the island does not present much plant life and it has a rather gray ambiance. Visitors to Fernandina Island will be taken to see only the outside skirts of this crater for safety reasons. Punta Espinoza is a narrow stretch of land where hundreds of marine iguanas gather in large groups on black lava rocks. The famous Flightless Cormorant inhabits this island as well as penguins, pelicans and sea lions. Two types of lava flow can be observed, 'A'ā and Pāhoehoe. Mangrove forests also abound on the island.
Sources: -Wikipedia
-Wildlife of the Galapagos
Julian Fitter,Daniel Fitter,David Hosking
Princeton Pocketguides, ISBN 0-691-10295-3

jmirah, marhowie, PaulH, pankajbajpai, angybone, mikou, kjpweb, gracious, rcrick, egeerhan, JORAPAVI, SunToucher, uleko, dew77 has marked this note useful
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Critiques [Translate]

  • Great 
  • joey Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1739 W: 224 N: 6872] (24909)
  • [2007-07-26 4:02]

Hi Selen,
a great shot of these unusual cacti.
Sharp with a great DOF.
Well done,

Unusual to see cacti growing in such close proximity to so much water. I'm envious, it looks like such a beautiful and interesting place to explore. Great capture of color and an outstanding vista...Well captured...TFS

Interesting capture Selen, something I haven't seen before. Great color, contrast, exposure, and POV. Perhaps a bit more DOF would bring the FG into focus, to improve the capture..This works too.. Excellent lava notes :)
Well done!

  • Great 
  • PaulH Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1137 W: 26 N: 3879] (13882)
  • [2007-07-26 4:46]

Hi Selen,
Another great shot from this very isolated and fascinating place. It is unsual to see cacti growing in the rocks on a shore...but in this place, nothing would suprise me! i hope you have some shots of the giant Prickly Pear and Candelabra Cacti that your note talks of too.
Lovely light here, a feeling of wilderness and rugged beauty...very interesting.

hi selen,
nice capture, i never knew that cactus can grow on lava rocks, quite interesting presentation, well composed shot with nice pov,
tfs & regards

I'm amazed at the habitats the spring forth life....lava rock! Wow!

Interesting shot...lovely landscape.

  • Great 
  • mikou Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 869 W: 68 N: 1479] (6093)
  • [2007-07-26 5:43]

Hi Selen.
Great shot.It is very unusual view on cacti on lava rock.Amazing color of sea,good details,little shallow DOF.Well composed this interesting presentation and very informative note too.
TFS,with greeting Milos.

Hi Selen,
What an unusual cactus and setting. Obviously a difficult shot to take. The near plants are rather blurred, showing the focal point is too far away. Cropping them out may have helped as that would bring the next group to the fore.
Nice view though.

Very interesting shot - equally astonishing, that these cacti find a foothold in this barren landscape. Bravo, Selen! Cheers, Klaus

Merhaba Selen,
great DOF, POV for showing the catcus!
good sharpness with details, true colour.
thanks for sharing

Hi Selen.Local diferente mas bonito.
Gostei do desfoque no BG,destacando o primeiro plano.

Hi Selen, well you live and learn I never new cactus grew on lava rocks, that’s what I love about trek earth, nice image love the detail, the foreground looks a little soft but well captured as always superb notes :) Rick

Günaydın selen
ilginç bir doga,renkler ve detaylar güzel olmuş eline saglık .

Hola Selen,
Sorprendente y bella imagen, Es una foto curiosa, ver los cactus en suelo de roca de lava y tan cerca del agua, gracias por compartir estas curiosas y bonitas imagenes, Saludos
José Ramón

Hi Selen,
What a strange and wonderful sight. The spot where these cacti grow is really odd.
I really like you shallow DOF and the focus position of this photo. It makes you concetrate on the subject perfectly without loosing the idea of the area.

These are very different looking plants, and where they grow is surprising.. I sure have not seen them before.
Thanks for sharing this.:)

  • Great 
  • uleko Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3396 W: 172 N: 3310] (10940)
  • [2007-07-30 3:29]

Hello Selen,
Very interesting landscape showing these cacti growing on the larva - quite amazing.
Thanks for the interesting note too!
TFS and best wishes, Ulla

Hi Selen,
A very different an d surreal view of this lava fields with strange cacti growing sparsely on it. excellent view with a nice coloured BG. Good job

  • Great 
  • dew77 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 4432 W: 248 N: 4028] (13270)
  • [2007-08-01 9:59]

Merhaba Selen,
Çok enteresan bir manzara.Bakış noktasını çok iyi seçmişsin.Ellerine sağlık!

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