Regarding my rituals of walking in the woods at nearby nature preserves or state parks, I said to someone recently, “I mostly am looking either down at the ground or up into the trees or sky.”
That’s generally true, especially during those times of year when the azaleas or camellias are not blooming. And I always have a camera with me because it’s so easy to keep a phone in my pocket. I watch ground closely for patterns and shapes of leaves, weeds, grass, wildflowers and fallen branches and dead wood that in decaying house all kinds of life forms, among them fungi and lichen. I never actually paid that much attention, but I’ve been discovering how vast and intricate their networks in the soil are. And there are certain fungi that can blow your mind with their colors and patterns. It will be obvious in the photos I took of a particular species of fungi know as Polyporaceae.
My inspiration for photographing Nature up close was the great Nature photographer Eliot Porter, whose highly influential color work more than half a century ago has influenced countless other photographers.
Walking in woods is so special to me because where I grew up we had no woods anywhere at all within a fairly large radius. I lived in the suburbs of New Orleans until I was 18 and went off to college. We had large city parks, which were a close approximation with all their live oak trees and paths to walk.
But here where I live now I am within a hour’s drive of parks with woods and marshlands for me to explore. And studying the ground closely, I came across these oddly and sometimes spectacularly beautiful examples of fungi the other day.
Take a look:
Last updated October 07, 2021