Reflections on Mushrooms the Journey so far.
Thought I’d reflect on my journey through mushrooms so far, this week.
It’s been a few years now since I took my first decent mushroom shot, June 2012, my first attempt at off camera lighting. Since then my photography moved up a whole new level and has not looked back. My first attempt was using the Infrared trigger inbuilt in to the flash and camera so needed line of site Camera to flash and only one flash used. I only owned one at time and was working out how to use it and what to use it for.
I was happy with this one and did a little post processing work in lightroom, pretty basic colour correction a little bit of a post crop vignetting that was it, and with that I had started my trip down the road of mushroom photography. More by happy accident than planning.
One of my next shots was again my experimenting and seeing what I could do, not really knowing what I was doing, for this shot, I set the camera up on a tripod, set it on remote timer and had it set for a long exposure and hand held the flash over the top of this group of mushrooms and manually triggered the flash many times over the top, blasting the light through the tops of the mushrooms, I tried quite a few of these and eventually got a few I liked. Once again just playing around and seeing what effects I can get with light. This one I did a bit more work in light room as by now I was getting a little more experienced with light room and just what it can do.
About now I found Google plus and found a weekly theme called +ShroomshotSaturday curated by Patti Colston (https://plus.google.com/u/0/+PattiColston/posts) where each Saturday you post a Mushroom shot on Google plus, This was the real start of the mushroom photography for me, From then on I have pretty much managed to post a separate mushroom shot every Saturday for the last few years, Where ever possible I head out every Saturday and go looking to shoot a mushroom, each week trying to improve from the week before, not always easy depending on what I find. Occasionally I come back empty handed but then go through my back catalogue to see what’s worth posting that hasn’t been posted as yet, In this way I manage a shot every weekend well pretty close to it. It gives a reason to go out and take photos not that I really need one, but with a goal set of one shot every Saturday Ideally taken on the Saturday then you have a driver to push you.
When Google Plus created the collection function I started to put my mushroom shots into a collection, Collecting all my mushroom shots in one place in google plus. Somehow and I’m not sure how that happened Google plus managed to find this collection and it now appears as one of there recommended collections to follow and since then my mushroom collection of shots on Google plus has taken off, I currently have over 55000 following my mushroom collection, (https://plus.google.com/u/0/collection/8enZW) compared to only just under 7000 following my bird collection (https://plus.google.com/u/0/collection/A7TRT). Who would have thought there were that many people interested in mushroom shots, certainly surprises me each week as the number of followers grows there. I think the google recommendation certainly helps that a long mind you.
My next step was getting a second speedlite and going to wireless triggers, also adding in a small spray bottle to my kit so I can add in a fie water spray if needed to add some effect or just to damped a mushroom and the moss to enhance the colours. I also started to use a small piece of alumni cooking foil to add as a fill reflector as well. So by now going from a simple one light set up to a quite completed at times set up. But the results are getting better I feel.
My final step late last year was when I meet Spikey Mikey, a Mushroom that stayed around for over a year (Yes this one has a name) This one was one of the more unusual mushrooms I’ve found to date like a donut on a stick but covered in small spikes the mushroom is only around 8mm in Diameter and very contently growing on a small stick which I can pick up and walk around with, this makes a great subject as I can take Spikey Mikey for a walk to areas that are very mossy or in one case supported the stick in a tree and shot him at a comfortable height. With all the detail that Spikey Mikey possessed to do it justice I need to go to yet another level so I taught myself Focus stacking and bingo Spikey Mikey in fully detail.
My final set on my journey so far has been to take my shots and take them to a different level, adding a fine art touch to them, This one I picked up by going on a photography workshop. I found a workshop by Steve Parish on his nature connects website https://www.steveparish-natureconnect.com.au/upcoming-events/categories/ Where I found the Western MacDonnell ranges tour https://www.steveparish-natureconnect.com.au/macdonnell-ranges-tour-2016/
The trip was great only a small group of six of us with included Steve and Ruth I got to visit central Australia again after about 28 years, and had a great time. One of the things I learnt from Steve was taking an image and taking it to a different level again, I’ve been playing around with that the last few weeks since I got back and getting some good results so far, early days yet and certainly on a learning curve again but I can see this has promise and can’t image where it will take me.
So that’s my trip through mushrooms so far, in four years I’ve come a long way from someone that took basic snap shots, to some one that can now technically craft an image using multiply lights and software to enhance an image, the journey has only just begun so who knows where it will take me in the next few years. I’ve now got a presents in Google Plus, 500PX, Ello, TSU, Instagram and Flicker. TSU also has communities and there is a group there again for mushrooms ran by Harry Yale and some great photographers in that group as well.
The trick is to never stop learning and be open to ideas and let things go while getting out and enjoying all that nature has to offer.
Thanks for joining me this week on my journey through mushrooms over the last four years, for all those that’s following my mushroom collections on google plus a big thank you to all still hard to believe there are over 50 000 following my mushroom collection.
Thanks for dropping by my blog, Back next week for more.