Monday, September 14, 2009

Chanterelle motherlode!

HUGE field of chanterelles. Every orange spot you can see is another one. Goes to edge of frame.
Click for life-sized experience.
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Black-footed polypore, Polyporus badius

Didn't know what these were for a while. They were pliable, and BIG. Underside white and smooth.
Polyporus badius.
These change appearance pretty dramatically over the course of their lives, very young ones are pale grey with a smooth rounded outline, from a distance they look like oyster mushrooms. They turn a dark reddish brown as they mature.
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Laetiporus cincinnatus looks just like cooked chicken


NOT chicken, chicken of the woods MUSHROOM!

The hunt and capture of the chicken of the woods

Top two images are first day; bottom is next day.

Found this sitting there under a tree in a park, minding its own business (as far as I could tell). This very choice edible, this Laetiporus cincinnatus ("chicken of the woods"). Ran home to get positive ID (this is kind of funny now, as it is considered one of the easiest for beginners to ID. Now I would know in one second, but this really was in the very first month of my mushroom fascination, and the first one I'd ever seen). Positively identified it, it was quite a young specimen, went back the next day to nab it (after hardly being able to sleep, worrying that someone else would find it) and I was horrified to find the park swarming with hundreds of people for some event, was sure someone would have messed with it. But I could see this sucker from the parking lot, because it was so big, and so luminous. I snuck up on it and cut it. I don't understand why no one else seemed to have seen it, or kicked it, or picked it. I've got a picture of it from about 200' away, looking like a plastic milk bottle or a grocery bag in the distance.

As they get older they start to flare out into more shelf-like fans, and they get dry and woody, so you can really only eat the outer edges. Not my problem.

Although it seemed to be growing from the grass, it was actually attached to an underground root; these always grow on wood (not logs--trees with some life still in them).

Sauteed, not mushroomy at all, a completely new flavor. Great meaty texture.

Risotto w/ mushroom & gorgonzola--I died.

Did I mention it weighed over 2-1/4 pounds? Well, it did. And that's a small one--I've seen pictures of HUGE growths of them, "over 30 lbs," they say.

Coral Mushroom--Ramaria

Ramaria formosa. A beautiful coral mushroom, about 6" tall.

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Sunday, September 13, 2009

Purple gills--Laccaria ochropurpurea

This is one of the very first mushrooms I photographed. I didn't know what the hell I was looking at.

Aug. 29, 2009
It is Laccaria ochropurpurea, an old one. Young fresh ones have a cap like what you think a mushroom cap looks like.

This was the fateful day that I fell in love with mushrooms, my camera, and macro-nature photography. I was being taken to a spot where a friend had discovered chanterelles--as in, he had found some, didn't know what they were, looked them up, found they were choice edibles, picked some, ate some, and was taking me with him to pick more--and as we scouted them out, so many other mushrooms began to reveal themselves that I just didn't know how to act. They were everywhere. How many other times in my life of considering myself a nature-girl had I been hiking and somehow not seen them? Crazy. Just goes to show, you see what you're looking for.

I found many, many more of these throughout the season.

Below, why you shouldn't use your flash up close. Bleah.

Later I found there's a setting to back down the intensity of the flash (RYFM = Read Your F---ing Manual), but still, I've never been happy with the results. It seems to take away from the intimacy of the subject. It's a point-and-shoot camera, so my control is limited (not to disparage my camera--I love that thing--the worlds it has shown me--). But my future holds a different camera...