mushroom and snail

Cinema > Technicolor Process 4 - Vibrant, also brightened, at 70%

I recently started photographing mushrooms. At first I didn’t think there were many mushrooms here in Raleigh, NC, but now that I’m looking I’m discovering them everywhere.

I used Exposure 4 on most of these photos. The captions list the presets used or a description of what I did. A percentage refers to the Overall Intensity slider at the top of the Color tab.

cluster of small orange mushroom and one ant

boosted red and yellow saturation by about 30

The main rule of mushroom photography is to get in the dirt. There is no getting around the fact that you’ll be doing deep knee bends, push ups, and rolling in the mud with ants crawling over you. The camera has to be down at the level of the mushroom for the shot to be interesting. Sometimes my camera is resting in the dirt and occasionally I dig a little hole to get the right position. I’m using a Canon S100 which is small enough to easily get down low.

white faerie ring mushroom

Cross Processing > Slide Film, at 50%

yellow fuzzy mushrooms

brightened midtones and yellow saturation

My camera is often down under the mushroom pointing up. In that position I try to avoid getting much open sky in the shot. You can’t expose for the sky and a dim mushroom at the same time. A green moss background is my favorite. Next best is bark or leaves.

puffball mushrooms in sepia tone

B&W Misc Effects > High Key - Platinum Toning (warm), but turned off halation on IR tab

I’m not a purist about the scene being completely natural. Usually I clean up debris a little. In one shot I strategically made a carpet of green leaves for contrast against the red mushroom.

red mushroom on cyan leaves

Cinema > Technicolor Process 2 (2-strip)

If you enjoy these then let me know in the comments and I’ll share more. For truly stunning mushroom photography get Taylor Lockwood’s book Treasures from the Kingdom of Fungi.

Update: I wrote another article on mushrooms that also shows off our Alt Photo iPhone app.

monochrome underside of mushroom cap

B&W Misc Effects > High Key - Glow & Sepia Tone

cluster of small bright orange mushrooms

Color Films - Slide > Fuji Velvia 100F, at 50%

yellow and red Caesar's Amanita mushrooms

no processing