Yesterday I went to the wonderful Savernake Forest in Wiltshire. It started out as a socially-distanced lockdown autumn colours walk with a friend, but ended up being a fungal foray photography fest!
I was hoping we would see some fungi, so I prepared for it. I took my Olympus E-MD5 MkIII fitted with the superb Olympus 60mm macro lens. It’s a lovely light combination with excellent image quality. The other vital accessories were a black bin liner and a head torch. The bin liner was to allow me to kneel or lie on the ground and stay reasonably dry, and the head torch was to add a bit of light into darker areas.
We came across a horizontal rotting log with these delightful parasol fungi on it. Because the trees were so far away it gave a good diffuse background with the colour of the trees showing. The background colours have a similar warmth to the colour of the fungi. At this point the sun was out, so the light was quite directional resulting in good contouring on the parasols.
This tiny little parasol was on the shady side of a log so I had to use 1000ISO to get a reasonable shutter speed. There’s a limit to how slow a shutter speed you can hand-hold even with image stabilisation. Everything around the fungi was green so the creamy-coloured top stood out well. I was careful to ensure that the moss capsule in the foreground was in focus. It adds another area of sharpness in an otherwise diffuse image.
The underside of fungi, with the gill structure, can be more interesting than the tops. I’ve isolate a part of a fungal cap to make a pattern image.
You can find interesting fungi in your garden, so you don’t have to travel to do fungal macro photography. It’s the perfect time of year for it, so why not pop out and have a look?
NB: I did not pick any of these fungi to take back to the studio or to eat. It’s always good to leave things for other people to enjoy. If, like me, you don’t know for certain what species a fungus is, then it’s very, very unwise indeed to eat it.