I went on a bit of a fungi frenzy so that I have to break the posts up into months – first August and second September. Will I need an October? LOL. Actually I have a break out post with photos taken in both months, but featuring one group of mushrooms – the Amanitas.
Quite a few photographic firsts, too, which always makes me happy. New stuff! Here’s one of them, Berkeley’s polypore. A relatively small example because these mushroom clusters can be a couple of feet wide. Also it’s on what I think is now a dead tree – these usually fruit on live trees and introduce rot that eventually kills the tree. Then it becomes food and housing for thousands of other organisms. This is a stack of about 20 images – the cup with the water in it is about 3 inches across.
Another first, at least it’s the first time I’ve ever done a real, by-the-book ID with a spore print and everything – a Chestnut Bolete. And has a bonus bug (might be a mosquito) perched on its edge. It’s about 1 1/4 inch across and about the same high. I’ve seen them before and they’re one of my favorite Boletes. A 22-image stack and let me tell you, that grass was a big PITA to stack. Lots of trial and error with getting the right base image to start with in Zerene.
Not my first time shooting Scaly Vase Chanterelles, but the first time one was in such a great position. It was on a slope next to the trail so I could get some great angles. All of these are 20-ish image stacks. Of all the Chanterelles, this is one that you shouldn’t eat since it can make you feel pretty sick.
I spent quite a lot of time setting up three distinct views of this incredible looking mushroom. Had to create some shade as the Earth did its thing and the sun came around.
It rained the night before so there was some water in this one, too –
Probably not a first, but maybe the most beautiful shot of this Mycena I’ve done. It was on a big log that spanned a little depression in the ground so I could get the tripod into a very low position. Played with the aperture until I got the bokeh I liked best. I also used the LED panel for sidelight which illuminated the stalk as well as brought some texture and contrast in the gills. There’s a hemlock needle on the back that I didn’t remove because I wasn’t certain it wasn’t a slug.
Boletes are some of the most beautiful and photogenic of mushrooms (along with Russulas and Amanitas) and so I usually try to photograph them when I find them. Most fruit on the ground though which can be messy and complicated by the fact that they often come up right next to trees. That means having to deal with branches and sometimes it’s just impossible. This little Bitter Bolete though, was fruiting on a log – a rarity! Clean up was necessary and maybe I didn’t go far enough, but needles just rain down like crazy so getting rid of all of them is too much work. I used the LED light again to bring up texture and give dimension and modeling as well. It’s been quite useful this season.
Another Mycena (I think) only really tiny – just 1/2 an inch tall. So cute! Like it’s coming out of its hidey-hole. I had to lean the tripod against the log at a crazy angle to get this. The camera grip itself was touching the log and again I was thankful for a flip and swivel screen so I could see. The immediate foreground is too blurry and maybe I should take a look at using some blur tools in Photoshop to smooth out the transition. Hm.
So I should have picked this one after photographing it. Without examining the gills I couldn’t even guess at what this is. So it’s an LBM (Little Brown Mushroom). But oh the moss it was in was too perfect a stage for me to resist. For this one I used a flash off camera and took a few shots using different focus points chosen manually instead of focus bracketing because I’m not sure the flash would cycle fast enough. I guess one of these days I’ll have to try it. Maybe the camera’s software is smart enough to wait for the flash to power up before taking the next picture. I guess I’ll have to try it.
Another I should have picked and looked at. I did at least take a cell phone picture of the underneath a bit and there are gills there and not pores, plus there are distinct stems that you obviously can’t see from this angle. But this composition was the one. I’ve been working to vary my mushroom photography and by concentrating on the most interesting or beautiful part of them it gets me away from a mere documentary-style photo. These two were fruiting on the ground next to a log with a smattering of wood sorrel for company. Something found one of them tasty.
Another first! A Variegated Mop! It looks like a Bolete, but it has gills (well, to be honest there are gilled Boletes, but they’re rare). There were several fruiting together under some small white pines, but this was the easiest to get to and believe me, none of them were. I had to break a few dead branches off the trees in order to get close enough (almost poked my eye out!) and then I had to move a fallen branch away so I could position the tripod. But I think it was worth it. These are so cute and bumpy. For this stack of 20-something I used only natural light.
Another LBM or rather, LOM that I found while on an NFR field trip so it’s a grab shot, but since the group was stopped so the leader could talk, I had a little time. Handheld, but braced on the ground. It might be a two or three image blend, I can’t remember, but it’s so cute! Only about 3/4 of an inch wide. Actually, now I see them side by side, it might be a baby Mop!
And speaking of cute – check out this tiny couple here. This is about a 10 image stack and the tall one is still less than 1 inch high. They were growing on a big log that was covered in moss so they stand out quite well. They look like game pieces or little stylized toys and are supposed to be people. Armless and legless people.
And another LBM. It might be a Cortinarius, but I couldn’t swear to it. It is very cute though and I loved the leaf in front of it. All natural light for this one.
Had enough? September’s round up is coming. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!
These are wonderful shots – so beautiful. Out of curiosity, when you do photo stacking, do you use a rail along which the lens advances? I’ve done stacking by simply moving my lens closer by moving closer.
This also makes me think that you might also have fun with landscapes and photo merges with your subject matter in sharp focus at 1.8 and then keep the same focus on everything else around it, but not in focus – the “Brenizer method” – it can make for some really amazing photos.
Glad you liked them. And thanks for the question about stacking. No I don’t use a focusing rail. Many mirrorless cameras can do focus bracketing which automates the process by changing the focus for each photo in the group. There are different methods depending on camera manufacturer, but you can tell the camera how much to change the focus for each photo and how many to take. Also where to start the process and where to move the focus to next. I did a deeper dive on it here – https://wickeddarkphotography.com/2021/05/23/stacking-for-macro-part-1-capture/ – then I use Zerene Stacker to put the images together. It’s a game changer for me.