Fungi ๐Ÿ„: amazing woodland unicycles!

A few weeks ago I visited a local woodland with high hopes for a summer burst of mushrooms. A couple of years ago in July this woodland was showing up some great soil-based mushrooms, species like blusher (Amanita rubescens) and the brittlestems (Russula). Though I didn’t find that this time, there were huge numbers of one species – twig parachute (Marasmiellus ramealis).

The image above is one taken with my camera’s in-built focus stacking, as illustrated below. It takes several images at different focus points and blends them to provide an image which is completely in focus (I don’t know why the halo-effect is happening, for info). With this cluster of mushrooms it’s able to tell the whole story.

When I posted this pic on social media, a couple of people came back with their own descriptions: Julian Hoffman called them “amazing woodland unicycles”, which has to be my favourite. In respect to my aunt who may be reading this, she got there first with “bicycle wheels”.

The set-up needed to get this image is a camera like an Olympus E-M5 which has in-built focus stacking, a small tripod-like thing, some extra lighting and a remote shutter release. You also obviously need a mushroom. The remote trigger allows you to take a photo at very slow shutter speeds which are susceptible to blurring if there is movement. That’s the beauty of fungi and other stationary subjects, you don’t need a huge full-frame camera with exceptional low-light ability. You can just use slow shutter speeds instead.

Though it is of course not fungi, this was another focus-stacking subject on that walk in the woods. Alongside a footpath, on a piece of wood being used as edging, I found this dog vomit slime mould (Fuligo septica)… yes that’s its common name. It was in the process of covering the surface of the wood and extracting nutrients and minerals along the way. Look at the networks of slime as they build across the wood.

And here is another of the VIP behind the scenes phone photos. It’s nice to put the image in context. A vari-angle screen is also incredibly helpful in these situations. If you want any advice on this kind of fungal or slime mould photography, do post a question in the comments and I’ll happily let you know what works for me.

By the way, I was using a 30mm macro lens (60mm outside of Micro Four Thirds camera/lens config). You can actually see the settings if you look at the screen.

Thanks for reading.

More mushrooms

4 thoughts on “Fungi ๐Ÿ„: amazing woodland unicycles!”

  1. Good blog as always, Daniel. Does your camera image stack a set of shots and save that image as a jpeg directly onto the SD card? If so, thatโ€™s quite impressive technology. Is this a technique you have recently discovered or have you been using it for some time?

    Iโ€™ve been photographing fungi for 11 years now and learnt how to image stack early on my photography journey. I remember being inspired by other peoplesโ€™ fungi photographs on an old website called Wild About Britain (WAB as it was affectionately known to its users) and asking a few members how they always captured the entire fungal subject in focus. After having the concept of image stacking explained to me, I went off and slowly but surely incorporated the technique into my own photography โ€“ Iโ€™d be lost without it nowโ€ฆ
    I rely on photo editing software to do the job and although itโ€™s a lot of pain, there is a massive gain! Getting an entire fungus in focus, often in low light conditions, is extremely satisfying. The โ€˜haloโ€™ effect is mainly caused by focusing on different wavelengths of light at different distances. I often encounter this and have to remove it using the software.

    The fungi season is fast approaching โ€“ happy hunting.

    1. Hi Wayne, thanks for your comment. You are much more accomplished and patient than I. Too lazy to manually stack. The results are incredible though. Had a look at your Flickr, very nice!

      Yes the Olympus stacks the image into one jpeg. Not necessarily new as the older models have been doing it maybe since 2014 or earlier. It’s a fantastic tool to have. One of the main reasons I bought the camera and have shifted to micro four thirds actually. I think newer full frame SLRs/mirrorless have it as well, maybe the Nikon D850. Too expensive and heavy for me though.

      Yes the great mushroom awakening is nearing!

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