Tips for shooting close up fungi images

Tips & Techniques

Autumn is a magical time of year and a great opportunity to get outside and go looking for those amazing organisms called fungi. This video by Tom Mackie shows you how to take advantage of the fall and create some awesome macro shots of toadstools and mushrooms.

Getting your camera low to the ground is imperative to give you an interesting point of view. As you can see in the video Tom has mounted his camera upside down on the tripod, so he gets the advantage of a low point of view but the camera is still stabilized. Modern cameras with a swivel LCD screen definitely have an advantage here.

Mackie suggests trying to backlight your subject for added interest. He stops down to aperture f/16 in order to get a beautiful sunburst effect coming through the back of the mushroom. Fungi, toadstools and mushrooms are all part of a larger mycelia organism that connects underground. If you spot some but they aren’t looking like nice enough subjects to photograph, then the chances are good that you will find more close by if you keep looking. The actual mushrooms growing are actually the reproductive organs of the mycelia, hence why they are only found at this time of year.

You can’t afford to wait either because the fungi will not hang around for long. If you find some, grab your camera and come back to shoot within a couple of days or they’ll be over.

The whole subject of fungi and toadstools is pretty fascinating, and you can create some beautiful close-up abstracts of the details, or even try light painting them to create a fairytale type of image. At any rate, tell your friends you were shooting mushrooms and they’ll all think you’re a fun guy (get it? Fun guy, fungi?)

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