Tag: nature

Sunday set: Critters

Spiders are cool!

Even though I’m not a wildlife photographer, every now and then, a hapless animal cross in front of my lens. If I’m lucky, I manage to snap the shutter at the right moment to capture a halfway decent image. That always makes me happy, until I remember that humanity’s completely unsustainable approach to life is putting many other species at serious risk of extinction. Pesticides threaten many insects, especially pollinators that are so critical to ensuring a sustainable food supply. Reptiles like turtles are also threatened by impacts to water quality and wetlands, and many other species are being lost because of habitat fragmentation and, of course, climate change. If we can’t find ways to sustain the web of life that sustains us, we’re likely to become an endangered species ourselves. Some people would argue that we already are. Visit the online Summit Voice gallery to purchase landscape and nature prints — a great way to support independent journalism.

Morning photo: In the gardens

Got light?

I’ve always thought that light and color together create magic. Whether you capture a scene with a camera, or not, you should always keep your eyes open to the possibility of seeing something familiar in a new way, and when you have a darkroom in the palm of your hand, why not experiment a little bit to re-imagine every day objects like a vase full of flowers or a late-blooming rose?

Morning photo: ‘Walk me out in the morning dew …’

The beauty around us

FRISCO —Taking closeups with an iPhone camera — at least without a supplemental lens — isn’t always easy. The camera tends to want to zero in on something other than the subject, like the grass or shrubs in the background. But with some careful consideration to lighting, specifically the contrast between the subject and the background, I sometimes can make it work. Being able to capture sparkling morning dew on a bluebell, or a busy bee gathering food on a wildflower makes me happy. It’s like having a little miracle in the palm of my hand for a few moments, and it’s even better when I can share it with Summit Voice readers. Enjoy your Sunday and don’t forget to stop whatever you’re doing for a few moment to give thanks for all the beauty that surrounds us.

Why do some mushrooms glow in the dark?

These are N. gardneri mushrooms growing on the base of a young babassu palm in Gilbués, PI, Brazil. Credit Michele P. Verderane/IP-USP-2008
These are N. gardneri mushrooms growing on the base of a young babassu palm in Gilbués, PI, Brazil. Credit
Michele P. Verderane/IP-USP-2008.

New study examines bioluminescence in fungi

Staff Report

FRISCO — Dartmouth scientists say they’ve figured out why some mushroom species glow in the dark, and like with many other biological mysteries, the answer is both simple and complex at the same time.

Reporting their findings in the Cell Press journal Current Biology, the researchers said the light attracts the attention of beetles, flies, wasps, and ants who spread the spores, helping the fungi colonize new territory.

The study also shows that the mushrooms’ bioluminescence is under the control of the circadian clock. In fact, it was that discovery that led the researchers to suspect that the mushrooms’ light must serve some useful purpose. Continue reading “Why do some mushrooms glow in the dark?”

Morning photo: Best of 2014

Winter to spring …

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Sky drama in the heart of winter, looking over Dillon Reservoir toward the Continental Divide.

FRISCO — Some spectacular scenes in the Colorado high country this year, with copious winter snows, stunning wave cloud sunsets and a wonderful summer monsoon, wildflower and mushroom season. Here are some of our favorite shots from the first few months of the year, covering deep winter to the first signs of spring in May. Follow our Instagram feed for daily updates, and visit the online Summit Voice gallery at Fine Art America to see more Summit County nature and landscape images. Continue reading “Morning photo: Best of 2014”

Unlocking the secrets of truffle aroma

Scientists say soil microbes key to fungi’s distinctive aroma

An Oregon white truffle, courtesy Oregon State University
An Oregon white truffle, courtesy Oregon State University

Staff Report

FRISCO — Mushroom season may be over the Colorado high country, but in parts of Europe, it’s the peak of the truffle season, as hundreds of gourmets scour oak forests to find the fragrant buried fungi, often with the help of animals.

Now scientists say that the scent of the hidden edible treasures is largely produced not by the fungi itself, but by soil bacteria trapped inside truffle fruiting bodies, a discovery of interest not only to mycophiles, but to scientists speciazing in food flavors.

The study involved white truffles from the Piedmont region in Italy, which can cost up to 5,000 Euro per kilo (about $4,000 a pound), and black truffles from the Périgord region in Southern France. Particularly large specimens even fetch prices of up to 50,000 Euro per kilogram at auctions. Continue reading “Unlocking the secrets of truffle aroma”

Morning photo: Flower power!

Fresh blooms …

Tundra wildflowers, Loveland Pass, Colorado.
Tundra wildflowers, Loveland Pass, Colorado.

FRISCO — It’s that sweet time of year when high country wildflower start to go nuts, I’ve never seen as many tall blue penstemon as in the past few days, which makes me realize that the flowers have their own cycles and rhythms that we can’t begin to understand yet. So on Tuesday morning, I ventured up to the Shrine Pass area to have a look, but the bulk of the blooming is still ahead. Still, using back-lighting, careful composition and the iPone camera’s HDR option, I was able to scare up a couple of decent shots. Continue reading “Morning photo: Flower power!”