#283 – Fragrant Chanterelle

Fragrant chanterelle (Craterellus odoratus) in cow pasture.  Sarasota, Florida
Fragrant chanterelle (Craterellus odoratus) in cow pasture. Sarasota, Florida

Faithful readers know of my love affair with fungi.  In the summer of 2013, in the hills of North Carolina, there was a bounty of mushrooms, brought on by abundant rains and a rain forest environment. The colors and shapes captured my imagination and my camera captured their images.

Here in Florida we have mushrooms too, of course.  Fungi exists everywhere, even in Antarctica where more than 20 varieties have been found. This particular variety is, I believe, a Fragrant Chanterelle (Craterellus odoratus).  About 2″ in height, it was emerging in a cow pasture where there is LOTS of fertilizer for these artful creations of nature. ❧

Image #175 – Hearty Mushrooms

Image #175

Mushrooms are generally thought of as delicate and fleshy, two traits that do not seem to suggest a wintery existence. But these two little fellows have poked their heads up through the stones near the koi pond in my neighbor’s yard. The taller of the two is about the same length as my house key, or about two inches. We have had cold weather here, with temperatures in the teens for consecutive nights. But these troopers seem to relish it.  Similarly the lichen and many of the mosses have pushed forth with tremendous growth during these early weeks of winter.

Sorry I can’t provide an identification at this time.  Perhaps a reader can contribute that information. ❧

Image #124 – From Little Helmets to Shaggy Manes

Image #124

Reportedly it has been a bumper-crop-year for mushrooms in western North Carolina.  Lucky me!  A few days ago I posted Little Helmets, lovely white fungi that are about 2cm in height (about 3/4″). Today I present a 20+cm beauty, a Shaggy Mane (Coprinus comatus) discovered along the road to Wayah Bald.  Remarkably these two mushrooms are in the same family (Inky Cap or Coprinus)!  But they certainly present differently. The Little Helmets were all clustered together near a woodpile. The Shaggy Mane stood in solitary splendor at a hairpin curve on Wyaha Bald Road. ☙Image #124(a)

Image #119 – Little Helmets

Image #119

Another aptly named mushroom.  These are Little Helmets.  Dozens of them poked their heads through the moss on Sunday, September 29th.  By yesterday, October 2nd, there was nary a trace of them.  But they are sweet. I was able to get several good shots and will post one or two more.  To give you an idea of how little the Little Helmets are, here is a second image showing my setup of the shot. The Little Helmets are the white spots in front of the camera, about 2-3 cm in height. ☙

Image #119(a)

#97 – A Parasol for a Warm Day

Image #97

Still in Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest — land of giant, ancient trees that pre-date the very existence of this wonderful land we call home. Tucked under a crevice, near some ivy and not far from a bubbling brook the delicate and exquisite parasol mushroom presents itself…for a day, a week?  The blink of an eye when you stop and look at the trees around you. But does that diminish its beauty?  Not at all.  As a wise person once observed, “It’s not how much time you have but what you do with it.” ☙

Image #91 – Toadstools

Image #91

Toadstool.  What a wonderful word. It conjures so many images, it tweaks the imagination, it brings a smile to one’s face.  So, what is the difference between a mushroom and a toadstool? Most internet sites that I visited said there were none although there is a widespread belief that toadstools are poisonous and mushrooms are not.  According to one site the earliest reference to “toadstools” is from the 1400s.  To me it’s about the look.   Some mushrooms are toadstools.  Like these.  These are definitely toadstools. ☙

Image #87 – Cinnabar-red Chanterelle?

Image #87Backyard naturalists everywhere agonize over the process of identifying their sightings. It would seem that capturing an image of something–flower, bird, tree, mushroom–would make identification easy but it doesn’t. This beauty (above), making a second appearance in this blog (see “Tonight, Under the Big Top“), had me stumped for a while. But I think it is a chanterelle. Yesterday’s image did not reveal the classic trumpet shape that chanterelles adopt. This mushroom is standing nearby the first and clearly has the chanterelle trumpet shape developing.

One can argue, “Who cares?”  Post the picture and move on. Given my inability to retain very many names of the natural wonders around us I can almost go in that direction. Post the picture and move on.  But these wonders are just that…wonders.  And it seems …respectful to at least make a stab at getting the name right. I encourage, and even welcome, confirmation or correction. ☙

Image #86 — And tonight, under the big top …

Image #86

Macro photography is a wonderful hobby.  But it is also … well, it is hard work.  Today I was doing some work in the backyard when my eye caught the most amazing bright orange color under brown, damp leaves. There were two small orange  dots and I began to carefully clear away the detritus wondering what would emerge. To my utter amazement there were two, very small mushrooms.  One was about two inches tall, the other about half that size.  The color was stupendous.  They were ORANGE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  They bordered on red.  To say I was captivated is an understatement.

I dropped everything I was doing and headed to the house for the camera and attendant gear — tripod, remote shutter release, etc. But these small lovelies were on a steep slope…a slope I was trying to preserve by re-building a beautifully stacked stone wall.  And they are so small. The one above in no more than an inch in height. A nearby cousin is about 1.5 inches.  The equipment that I was bringing to capture these beings could easily crush either one and the slope made arranging the tripod VERY difficult.

I struggled with the situation for the better part of an hour, snapping about 50 or so images.  There are, perhaps, two to three that I am happy with but I have learned that I am too harsh on myself. Many images that I deem “adequate” are viewed by others as “fabulous.”  And I have begun to understand why. Even though my photos may not be up to National Geographic standards the simple truth is that I pause to capture moments that make others appreciate what is out there, around them, thriving on this globe that we call home … Earth.

And, from a purely selfish point-of-view, macro photography reveals wonders that none of us are aware of. This shot is a perfect example. My energy was focused on trying to capture a photo of this less-than-one-inch-high mushroom. The focus is less than satisfactory but look…to the right…dropping from the mushroom like a player in some Cirque de Soleil show at Las Vegas or Disney World.  I did not see that creature until I off-loaded the pictures to my computer.  It personifies what I love about macro…the absolute unknown, captured in a shutter’s heart beat. None of the other pictures had this creature. Macro, to my mind, is a WHOLE lot of preparation but also a WHOLE lot of luck.  This is not a particularly good picture but it has captured a life energy that 99% of us are totally unaware of.  How cool is that? How wonderful is it that we can capture these moments?

Macro rocks!☙

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: