I always go and have a look at the old willow growing on the river bank. Its moss laden boughs host a lot of interest this time of year. I was astounded to find just how many of these tiny mushrooms were growing out of the moss, creating a most beautiful and magical display .
Photographs of Mycena pseudocorticola (top image) and Iodine Bonnet (Mycena filopes), taken December 2016, local river bank , Staffordshire. © Pete Hillman 2016. Camera used Nikon D7200, with Sigma 105mm macro lens.
Sometimes when we see photographs it is hard to get a sense of scale of things. If it wasn’t for the moss in the above image we may be led to think that this is just an ordinary mushroom of sorts. Until you look at the image below of my little fingernail.
The mushroom is out of fungus, I mean out of focus due to the depth of field, and I took the photo one-handed. A tripod would not have reached the height of the bough it was growing on. I roughly estimate that you could propably fit the tiny mushroom on my fingernail up to 50 times. To the right of my finger you can see some fruiting cup lichen and its leaves, which I hadn’t noticed at the time when taking the photograph.
Photographs of Iodine Bonnet (Mycena filopes), taken November 2016, local river bank , Staffordshire. © Pete Hillman 2016. Camera used Nikon D7200, with Sigma 105mm macro lens. Manual setting, hand-held. ISO 320. 1/160 sec. f/6.3.
I can’t help myself, but I just love getting close to the small things in life, the microcosmos. Although my eyes are not what they used to be, I am always thrilled and delighted to look at things from a different perspective. It is like peering into a different world.
I believe these two tiny closely entwined mushrooms are called the Iodine Bonnet (Mycena filopes), and they were that small both of them could fit on a pinky fingernail. But the challenge was to get to them first. They were growing on the thick bough of an old willow near my local river bank, and I had to get through stinging nettles and Himalayan Balsams to get there. And because the willow bough was in shade the lighting was not going to be straight forward.
I mostly use aperture priority mode when taking macro subjects, and today I dabbled a bit more in the manual mode to give myself some better control of the camera. After all, these mushrooms were not going anywhere, unlike some subjects. It may have been easier to just use flash, but I felt it did not work so good, so I fiddled with the manual settings to try to get a reasonable balance of light and tone, to try and capture the right ambience of the moment, whilst tring to retain some detail in the subject. Tripods don’t really work for me, for I find them too restrictive, but with one elbow resting on the moss-covered willow bough I took quite a number of photographs. Most of which ended up in my PC’s recycle bin. I felt this one came out reasonably well to share here.
Photograph of Iodine Bonnet (Mycena filopes), taken September 2016, local river bank , Staffordshire. © Pete Hillman 2016. Camera used Nikon D7200, with Sigma 105mm macro lens. ISO 400. 1/60 sec. f/7.1.
This is a glimpse into the microcosmic world of lichen, moss and fungi. There is an old willow on the bank of my local river, with large boughs covered in a thick coat of this twisting moss called Cypress-leaved Plait-moss (Hypnum cupressiforme). From across a field you can see the moss clinging to the fissured bark of the old willow, but it is not until you get closer, right up close and personal that you see there is more there than meets the eye.
The delightfully named Trumpet Lichen (Cladonia fimbriata) is just poking through the twisting blanket of moss, and standing proudly above the moss and the lichen is a tiny, delicate and rather beautiful mushroom I believe is called the Iodine Bonnet (Mycena filopes), which is just opening up to the dappled light of the world.
Photograph taken November 2011, by local river, Staffordshire. © Pete Hillman 2011. Camera used Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ38.