It is an unexpected bonus that my still-new home in Tampa comes with mushrooms. What’s the big deal, you might say? Well, none of my other Florida homes had mushrooms, probably because they were condos and the grounds were “manicured” every week without fail. In 2011, under one of the trees outside my last condo, I did find some puffball mushrooms and I rushed to preserve the images.
But it was my hikes in Myakka River State Park and Alafia River State Park that showed me the vast array of mushrooms that exist in Florida and I became intrigued by the range of color and shape. A bonus is the fact that they do not move as you photograph them.
So I have been happy to see the variety of mushrooms that have presented themselves on my Tampa property. From small clusters, to delicate parasols.
But nothing had prepared me for stinkhorns. These mushrooms are even more other-worldly than standard mushrooms. My reference books tell me that they are common in urban settings and you will normally smell them before seeing them. This has not been the case for me. These remarkable things just do not last long in the August heat of Florida. (I have taken to having an early morning patrol of my yard to catch any emerging mushrooms before the heat settles it.) Here are just two stinkhorns that emerged this week.
The first is a Columned Stinkhorn (Clathrus columnatus). The second is the Elegant Stinkhorn (Mutinus elegans) which, by the way, is my first successful effort at focus stacking. You take a series of pictures at different focus points and then merge them into one photo. This allows a photo with such a shallow depth of field to be in focus throughout the picture. This is a constant battle for macro photographers and, at last, computer (and camera) technology is letting the rest of us catch up with the masters. Well, sort of…. If you want to see more of Alice’s Mushroom photos check out: https://alicesrq.smugmug.com/Mushrooms-1/. ❖
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