This is a beautiful, relaxed type of photography with a never ending supply of subjects. You don’t need loads of equipment, you can photograph them in almost any weather conditions and they don’t move in the wind!
Did you know there are over 3000 different species to be found in Britain, with many of them common to North America and Europe? What’s more, new species and locations continue to be discovered in the UK every year. Some fungi like the large brackets that we see growing on trees are perennial and grow larger year by year by simply adding new growth. Others are tiny and delicate, ephemeral toadstools, appearing overnight and then disappearing the next as if by magic.
The fundamental principles behind my fungi photography are to come back with images that are technically correct and as true to nature as is possible. I want to reveal the diversities of form and colour and also have a pictorial element to them whenever possible.I much prefer to photograph them in the field showing their preferred habitats and growing situations rather than bringing lifeless specimens back to the studio. Not surprisingly I invariable use daylight as the basis for my exposures. In my opinion there is no substitute for natural light and the delicate nuances it can impart to a subject as you can see here.
On occasions I will resort to using flash (very reluctantly), reflectors, diffusers and even a torch when the situation dictates but, all the time I am balancing the effects of these “tools of the trade” with the ambient light in such a way that hopefully, you the viewer do not realise they have even been used. One of the main venues I use for my workshops is a large, ancient woodland complex derived mainly from wood pasture containing mature trees mainly beech and oak and a lot of dead and decaying wood that is left in situ. The site contains a variety of vegetation and, most importantly for us, has a rich diversity of fungi.
This wood is nationally important for its fungi assemblage (almost 1000 different species have been recorded there) and is particularly important for fungi specifically associated with woodlands. There are at least 7 Red Data Book species to be found here and in my opinion it has to be one of the best locations for finding and photographing fungi in the UK.When I was producing my book “Photographing Fungi in the Field” I spent many glorious days at this location wandering from one superb fungus to the next absolutely spoilt for choice. Since then I have run fungi workshops here annually and it has never let me or the clients down.
But, as we all know, it is unwise to put all your eggs in one basket so I have several more locations I use for finding different species. One of these is a woodland in Surrey that also has a good range of species including one extremely rare fungus. It is the very impressive Starfish Fungus, Aeseroe rubra and this fungus can only be found in Britain at this site. It really has to be seen to be believed.