A Fungus Among Us

Issac came along and pretty much ended a summer of drought in the Ozarks. We didn’t get a lot of rain, but it was a nice slow soaking – 3 inches over a couple of days. My grass came back to life and I considered mowing it for the first time since mid May. I noticed some large white blobs over by my cedar tree while I was clearing limbs while getting ready to mow.

I saw several odd round turban-shaped mushrooms underneath the cedar tree. They were growing in a circle about 6 feet across. A friend told me that this was called a fairy circle, for me it was an excuse to put off mowing another week while I waited to see its progress. It was also an excuse to take some photos of something living. Drought = no wildflowers, no lawn, no color. Imagine my excitement at seeing white blobs!

This shot is misleading – they are not actually larger than my terrier Velcro in the background, but they were quite large. Baseball-sized fungi…

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The fungi surface looked like flan that had been stretched to reveal a plush and fuzzy sub-layer.

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Over the course of the next 24 hours the ball opened and flattened into a disk the size of a salad plate. Perfectly round like one of those parasols you get in a fancy drink, only not so fun and colorful…

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All-in-all they were kind of boring, but you gotta work with what nature gives you. I thought I would try to impose some artsy angles on them to make them appear more dramatic. I got very dirty doing this.

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The details of their gills were pretty amazing – there are spider webs in there, or maybe tiny cob webs – a tiny microcosm…

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This is the view a field mouse or packrat might have as they approach one of these babies – reaching for the sky. I got very dirty getting this shot. I also was bitten by chiggers. There’s nothing I won’t do for art…

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Eye level to a rabbit, if my dogs would let a rabbit get this close.

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Enough already, I’m putting on some calamine and getting out the mower!

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25 thoughts on “A Fungus Among Us

  1. great series! really like the first “artsy” one where you’re looking up it’s skirt and the close-up of the gills– perfect focus throughout the image which can be a tad difficult with macro. love fungus!

  2. Wonderful images. I can just imagine you down on your stomach getting those wonderful close-ups of the under sides.

    Isn’t it amazing what interesting shots Nature gives us.to capture.

    (which lens did you use for this series and what settings please. Looks similar to what I’d get with my 100mm macro lens).

    • Thank you – I did use my macro – mines a 45mm but is equivalent to a 90mm on a standard DSLR. I shot in Aperture mode and most of these were shot between f3-4 – the ones with the sky were shot at f5-7. ISO 200. They are such complex structures. I had no morels or chantrells this year, so this was a neat surprise. I wish I had shot the circle before the dogs started knocking them over:)

      • I wish you had photographed the circle too, Lorri.

        I’ve hear of fairy circles but never seen one before.

        (and thanks for the camera setting details – I thought it looked like the work of a macro lens. So ISO of 200 gave you enough light to shoot underneath the toadstools – I was wondering).

    • Thanks, I love my macro lens. Yes they really are beautiful. No idea what these were – I have been watching for puffballs but so far nothing. I usually avoid getting my skin on the grass – but sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do:)

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