Pixie Cup Lichen

Lichens have always fascinated me, but it’s the little cup lichens that I find exceptionally intriguing. I think these ones may be Cladonia pyxidata, a pixie cup Lichen. They make for an exquisite miniature landscape, and although I didn’t see any myself, it’s not hard to imagine that a Pixie might indeed inhabit this sort of magical place. These pixie cups are growing in small beds of moss and earth tucked into a craggy rock .

I was struck by how they look so remarkably like an underwater landscape of corals and sea anemones and the sense of this is enhanced with a very shallow depth of field. Perhaps too shallow. But I am not finished looking at this tiny world.

All images © Karen McRae, 2012

From the Curiosity Cabinet: A Cicada Cast-off


This little cicada shell was gleaming in the sun like a miniature bronze, and naturally it beckoned to come home with me. It is the moulted shell from the final  stage in a cicada’s growth. You may have happened across a similar empty shell tentatively clinging to a tree branch. You’d bring it home too, wouldn’t you?

The escape hatch. A little tear up the back.

*If you are curious about method, this cicada shell was photographed on a mirror.

All images © Karen McRae. 2012


These little transforming seed heads each seem to have their own bit of personality when you look at them closely. I am absorbed with the details of form, depth of field, and light (of course!). And they are very cooperative subjects. It is really the breeze that is most playful.

All images © Karen McRae, 2012


At the risk of being boring I am posting more seed heads, but there is just a small window of time for capturing these before they dissolve into the landscape.  I am playing with light and form and the fleeting nature of the seasons themselves.

There is already a hint of change in the winds that scatter these little seeds.

Note: I am not sure what type of seed heads these are but all the florets together are only about 1cm in diameter.

All images © Karen McRae, 2012