Picture Ohio! – Summer Mushrooms

Sulphur Shelf
Sulphur Shelf (Laetiporus Sulphureus)

Looking for a cooperative nature subject to photograph during the dog days of summer? Try mushrooms. The oppressive heat, high humidity, and regular rainfall during the past few weeks in Ohio have brought forth an abundance of mushrooms in woodlands. In my backyard in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, every woodland trail is replete with mushrooms of every shape, size and color. There are more than 2,000 kinds of mushrooms in the Buckeye State, and many of them make attractive subjects for close-up photography. Unlike butterflies and dragonflies, which can be hard to approach, mushrooms hold their ground. They don’t sting or bite, or even move during a breeze like many wildflowers.  However, mushrooms deteriorate rapidly and only last a day or two, so when you find a photogenic group of fungi take photographs immediately, or at least within a few hours.

Pholiotas
Yellow Pholiotas (Pholiota sp.)

You will need a field guide or two to help you identify the mushrooms you see and photograph. There are many excellent mushroom guides, but my favorite is the National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Mushrooms, by Gary Lincoff (Chanticleer Press). Amazon.com is currently selling this excellent, 928-page field guide, which covers 700 mushroom varieties and includes 762 color photographs, for $13.62.

Violet-toothed Polypore
Violet-toothed Polypore (Trichaptum biforme)

If you would like to learn more about mushrooms, consider joining a local mushroom club or society. In Ohio, the Ohio Mushroom Society is a great group, with many knowledgeable members and regular field trips, called forays, throughout the spring, summer, and fall. For more information, visit their website at www.ohiomushroom.org

Frost's Bolete
Frost's Bolete (Boletus Frostii)

For some tips on mushroom photography, check out the following links to a two-part article I wrote for the Ohio Mushroom Society’s newsletter last year:

http://www.ohiomushroom.org/oms/Newsletter/JanFeb/JanFeb2010.pdf

http://www.ohiomushroom.org/oms/Newsletter/MarApr/MarApr2010.pdf

The next two months usually bring the greatest variety of mushrooms in Ohio, so grab your camera and tripod and have fun photographing the “fungus among us” in your local woodlands.

 

 

 

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