Difficult Subject Mushrooms

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Some Backlit Mycena sp. mushrooms

Most small mushrooms grow on the forest floor; these were a few exceptions that were growing in the branches of some dead brush. Notice the tiny spide on the right mushroom. These pictures were all taken with the 100mm f/2.8 Macro lens.
This is completely natural illumination with no flash. Notice that the background is a round blur; the aperture was wide open for all of these pictures.
The lens is focused on the mycellium of the right mushroom and the gills of the left mushroom. You can see strange out-of-focus lighting effects; one mushrooms is lit with a bright aura, and the other mushroom has a dark outline.
When it starts to rain, you have about 15 minutes of shooting time left before you start to feel the rain; the trees catch quite a bit of water. It "rains" from the trees for days afterwards.
White coral mushrooms pose a special problem; flash illumination tends to wash them out completely. Natural illumination is usually too flat to cast shadows. This exposure was made by reducing the flash exposure compensation 1 1/2 stops and holding the flash unit off to one side.

Coral Mushroom, of the Genus Ramaria

Toothed Jelly Fungus

Taking photographs of tiny mushrooms on the forest floor requires a good tripod. This is a jelly fungus, that grows only in very wet weather. The spines on the underside are where the spores come from; it looks like a cat's tongue.

Close by was another set of the same species of mushroom, but they were far more translucent and more of an olive green. These mushrooms seemed to fade with age, but the largest, oldest mushroom of all, pictured below, had quite an intense green cap.

Jelly Babies

A closeup of a single green jelly baby mushroom. These pictures don't look quite like the pictures in the Arora book. Mushrooms in different parts of the state can take on "regional" characteristics. Different levels of moisture, for example, can drastically change how a mushrooms species appears.

This picture was taken with mostly flash illumination. The wet leaves in the background show off lots of unwanted highlights.

With natural illumination, the forest floor is still full of highlights, but they are of an overcast, wet day. Flash illumination is still present, but it's toned down enough just to fill in a few shadows.

All photos Copyright © by Adam Lane. All rights reserved.