by Janice Willson

Yellow Encroachment: Yellow lichen, Xanthoria parietina, can be found near the shore on rocks and in this case, on the surface of a breakwater at the Kingston, Ontario waterfront. Normally this lichen prefers growing on the bark of trees but with the nutrient enrichment of bird droppings on the cement, it was growing with much abandon. Lichens grow on undisturbed sites where nothing else grows and play an important role in soil formation and absorb carbon dioxide from air.

Disintergration: This is a very close up shot of a guard rail along the breakwater wall near the decommisioned Kingston (Ontario) penitentiary. After years of exposure to the elements the paint has started to crack, allowing the moisture to get in and cause the metal underneath to rust (a chemical reaction where the iron reacts with oxygen in the air to form iron oxide). If you look closely at the yellow paint, you will also notice the beginning of mildew and mold within the paint.

Creeping: In this macro shot, I have captured three different types of lichens on a huge boulder of two different granites with a vein of quartz running through it. Lichen is a composite organism of algae and fungi living in a symbiotic relationship and come in many different colours, sizes, and forms. Lichens are very long-lived and are amongst the oldest living organisms.

Lightning Bolts:This granite has been worn smooth by waves from Lake Huron continually splashing upon it. You can notice lichen along the seams of the stone and even some small vegetation starting to grow within the cracks of the stone as a result of the work being done by the lichens.


Granite Sculpture: This is another rock on the shore of Lake Huron where the waters have changed the surface into wave like formations. This is an interesting granite with iron and quartz running through it; the iron has actually stained the rock reddish, adding to the patina.

Quartz Outcropping: I have always been fascinated with quartz ever since I was a child. We had a huge piece of milky quartz that we used as a doorstop and I would sit and stare at the intricacies of the crystal formations. Quartz is an interesting substance as it has one silicon atom for every for oxygen atoms which cause it to form trigonal and hexagonal structures. You can see in this shot that quartz is a defining constituent of granite.