Fabulous fungi

(2 images, click to zoom) – Out of all the photos I take, capturing fungi has become one of my absolute favorite pastimes, especially now I have the brilliantly sharp 60mm F2.8 macro lens.

Most fungi have a short life, are weather dependent and can pop up almost anywhere, though each species seem to prefer specific zones and conditions. Every time I venture out, nose to the ground, you never know what little gems of magic will be found, it’s like a treasure hunt!

After a few cold days of rain and snow, today on a quick walk not far from home with the old dog, I ventured only meters off track to a known moss covered tree stump to see if anything had popped up.

1/15 sec. f/4 ISO 200

I spotted this 5mm brown one (Mycena?) first which it seemed rather uninteresting until I had a close look and noticed the translucent stem. I used the LED light on my phone to add some back light which also brought out the delicate veins in the cap as well as adding some nice highlights and colour to the rotting wood it is growing from.

3/5 sec. f/4 ISO 200

Only by pure chance, I spotted this beautiful little orange fungi deep within a small crevice of the stump as I was setting my camera up for the first fungi. This one was taken only with the available natural light, camera sitting on the ground to get a nice low angle.

Technical stuff: Both photographs are 15 images “focus stacked” with a differential of 4 in the Olympus EM1 II – this increases the area in focus or depth of field as the 60mm Macro at F4 has a very narrow depth of field, but after much experimenting gives the sharpest result. The resulting combined jpeg are shown as shot except for some sharpening and cropping in Photoshop. Levels and curves were not adjusted.

My Fungi book is not handy, I may identify these later and update this post.

5 thoughts on “Fabulous fungi

    1. Thanks for your comment, I don’t often add artificial light but it helped hi-light the translucent stem. For the focus stacked images I use a tripod, sometimes a small gorilla-pod to get down low or even balance the camera with sticks or rocks directly on the ground. The multiple stacked images come out best when they are aligned precisely so I also use a 2 second delay to avoid any shake from pressing the shutter – though I recently received a cheap cable remote shutter release to use instead.


  1. I use the same technique (2 sec delay), generally for long exposures. Will check out stacked images….your fungi are exceptionally clear. Am experimenting with Dual Pixel Raw (Canon EOS 5D Mark IV and a 100 mm macro lens) it is suppose to allow for fine tuning focus, though only with the lowest F-stop.

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  2. I’m not familiar with your Canon’s features, you may have to “bracket” images first, then “stack” them manually in photoshop, it’s a great technique to get a greater depth of field on very shallow lenses, especially macro work. It took me a while to experiment and find the best settting, but that is the fun part of photography for me, there’s always something new to learn 🙂

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