Walking in the woods in fall. What is better? Oh I know, a boardwalk! This one is at the Headwaters Wilderness in northern Wisconsin. Being a true wilderness, it isn’t subject to tree harvests or thinning and there are few trails, actually I only found the one, but it was enough. The light wasn’t great so I spent more time walking than shooting.
Then I found these beauties –
They’re Angel wing mushrooms and they were growing on a log right next to the trail. I absolutely lucked out with the light. The first one is a 19-image stack that has been retouched in Zerene and messed with a little in Photoshop to simplify the background. The Latin name is Pleurocybella porrigens. They were just slightly less than perfectly fresh, but still looked wonderful and it was my first time seeing them.
Later on I found this great little group –
It’s a 9-image stack with a little bit of side light. I’ve shot this same species the same way with my old macro lens and so was excited to be able to get them completely in focus from front to back.
A trail from another day’s walk, this time in the Yawkey Forest Reserve in Hazelhurst. It was still early in the season, but the signs of change are evident. In this shot you can see the bracken ferns starting to yellow. I find they are some of the first plants to lose their greenery.
Despite the sunny day and the warm air, this forest was a little creepy –
There were big patches of nothing like this one with only small saplings and bushes – no ferns, shrubs, flowers or even much moss. It was disturbing and strange. Probably because of relentless logging. The soil gets so disturbed that it can’t support or nourish plants and becomes exhausted. Gradually the species die off until only a few survive. At least that’s the way it seemed to me. The ferns and other growth you see by the trail didn’t spread into the woods very far. It was weird, but I really like the way I caught it for that one photo.
Another day found me heading to the Underdown IAT segment. On the road to the trail head there is this little nameless pond, but boy did it put on a show. Probably the most color I saw all season. If it was bigger I’d paddle it, but it’s probably 35 acres or so too small. But oh so pretty.
Then into the trail proper. It’s hard to watch where you’re going this time of year.
To my surprise there were some late-fruiting boletes on the side of the trail. I think these are elegant boletes, but I’m not sure. The lighting was super-dramatic though and I did my best in post to bring it out.
Honey mushrooms are some of the latest to fruit and probably provide a last-minute calorie boost for deer and other animals readying for winter. People love them, too, but I’ve never tried them. The woods were full of them though. This was one of the more lovely clusters I saw –
I especially liked the one standing all alone. An outcast or a leader, who knows.
Another day found me out on a scouting mission. A pond might have made a great display if it had more tamarack pines, but it didn’t. Since I was scouting I only brought the camera and two lenses in a waist holster bag. No tripod even. Just me and the crisp leaves and the beautiful sunshine. I did find some things to point the lens at though. First was this fallen birch in the leaf litter. The way the sun was slanting through made me stop and find some compositions.
The pond itself was putting on a different kind of show –
Strong gusty winds made the best ripples and the reflected sky was so blue it just called out for me to try for something.