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stuart's picture
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Fungi at Old Sulehay Forest, Saturday 10th Oct

Old Sulehay Forest near Wansford is one of my favourite woodlands. It is an SSSI and a Beds, Cambs, Northants & Peteterborough Wildlife Trust Reserve. It has areas of semi-natural, deciduous woodland on Northamptonshire limestone that were once coppiced, but probably have not been cut since sometime around the First World War. Consequently, there are lots of old trees and a lot of fallen and standing dead-wood. This makes it one of the best sites in the region for dead-wood associated invertebrates and its Hoverfly list stacks up pretty well nationally. It is also an extremely good site for spring flowers with large areas of Bluebell, Ramsons and Wood Anemone.

It is also not a bad site for fungi and I have had many sessions there at this time of year looking for fungi to photograph. It has been too dry recently to expect very much at the moment, but I still managed to find some stuff to photograph this afternoon.

I think these are probably Mycena, growing on a fallen Ash trunk. This is a focus stack of 8 images, taken using MagicLantern on my Canon 60D with a 100mm macro lens at F8, 200 ISO, 0.6s. The camera was mounted of a tripod (with the central column reversed so I could get it low enough) using the 2sec delay timer (to avoid camera shake caused by pressing the sutter release). The White Balance was set to "Shade".

?Mycena on a fallen Ash in Old Sulehay, Oct 2015

I think these might be a Lactarius. They were quite large fungi on the old woodbank along the main path is an recently cleared area. The first image is a straight shot using the camer on a tripod and a 17-85mm lens at around 50mm. I set the aperture to F11 to get plenty of depth of field. Ar 200 ISO, this resulted in a 4s exposure. Again, I used a 2sec delay timer to avoid camera shake caused by me pressing the shutter release. The problem here is that the detail of the gills were largely lost because the light is coming from above and the underside of the cap is in shadow. In brighter conditions, I would probably use a reflector to try and get a bit more light under the cap, but this really wasn't an option in these very dim lighting conditions. So I tried adding a bit of flash. I hand held the flash gun (i.e. not attached to the camera) and fired it manually at some point during the long exposure. I tried several settings. In the second image, the flash is set to 1/64th power and was fired low down from the left side of the camera and at about the same distance. This brings up the details of the gills, but I don't think is screams flash at you too much!

?Lactarius, Old Sulehay, Oct 2015 - straight shot.

?Lactarius, Old Sulehay, Oct 2015 - with a bit of flash.

This puffball was one of a group growing on the exposed soil on the root plate of a fallen Midland Hawthorn. What I particularly liked about it was the velvety texture. This was taken using the 100mm macro at F8, 1/4s, ISO200. The first image is the straight shot. I don't think I got the plain of focus quite right - it is a bit too far back so that the nearest part of the puffball is not quite sharp. Anyway, in the second image I have used a texture enhancing filter (GMIC - Detail - Mighty details) to try and bring out the texture a little better.

Puffball, Old Sulehay, Oct 2015 - straight shot

Puffball, Old Sulehay, Oct 2015 - texture enhamced