Blood on the rim + 1 re-edit

With a bit of field blur applied on the left. Better? Worse?

Yes, yes, more mushroom images. It will be foliage season soon enough and then snow, so bear with me.

Who doesn’t love a cute little Russula? While adorable, most are poisonous. This one, if I have the species right, has been given the moniker The Sickener and with good reason you can probably guess from its Latin name Russula emetica. They are very fragile and are sometimes grouped under the name Brittlegills.

Whenever I find these in moss I have to give it a go because of that lovely green/red contrast. While they show up well in old leaves, too, it’s sometimes too messy and moss can work better.

This one was fruiting on the side of an old log that was deeply covered in moss. This species also likes sphagnum moss and can be found on the ground in bogs. They are important food sources for lots of forest dwellers as you can see. It’s about 1 inch high and so bright red it called to me from across the pine grove where it was growing. No doubt long devoured by now.

Specific Feedback Requested

The moss is a complex backdrop, but I did my best to make it complementary not competitive. Look ok?

Technical Details

Tripod for camera, Gorilla Pod for LED panel which was to the right
Probably a CPL, too since these can be shiny on top
2 bracketing sessions of 11 to get the whole cap. Used somewhere in the neighborhood of 15.


Lr for white balance adjustment as well as some tweaking of the red and green channels. Added texture and clarity, some dehaze and sharpening.

Zerene for stack and some retouching where the sporophytes moved and to add PMax detail to cap and stipe.

Photoshop to do a lot to even out that background using clone healing/stamping and add color. Used some masks with burn and dodge layers to tease apart the colors in the cap and give it some contour. Darkened the back and sides to help this little one stand out.


Wow, Kris. What a cool 'shroom. And thanks for sharing your processing. That’s indeed a lot of work. I think the focus stack works well too. The one distraction I see is that the foliage on the left side is all in focus, while the right side isn’t I know that’s the result of position and stacking. I wonder though if a little softening/defocusing on that left side might help the little guy stand out even more. Just a thought.


Very cute little mushroom! I love the lighting and the focus stack. I think @David_Bostock has a point about the LL though – maybe a bit softer there could be interesting? It seems sturdy and gives the impression it could be bigger but for the clue of the moss. I always wonder what has been eating these without disturbing them.

Thanks @David_Bostock & @Diane_Miller - I’ll bring it into Ps and see if that makes it better. I have a weakness for sporophytes so I might leave them because they are so cute. Worth experimenting with. So many mushrooms. I took a lot of shots this year compared to last.

Eaters leaving the mushroom basically undisturbed could include slugs, snails and various insects. Rodents usually grab the whole thing and they get torn to bits.

I like the bite! To lessen the distraction that @David_Bostock mentioned, maybe just a slight darkening and reduced saturation of the greens. Its interesting that in my mushroom shots, I typically avoid specimens that aren’t “perfect” but this makes me rethink that. Just need to find the right perspective.

Thanks @LarryR - I usually go for the perfect ones, too, but Russulas are often nibbled and so I just take them as they are most of the time. That said, I do clean up in the field as well as in post to remove distractions, but not usually blemishes.

So I added a Field Blur in Photoshop and then painted it into the left side where the sporophytes were sharpest. What do you think?

Yep - I think that helps. Actually, I was going to ask about any field or Ps ‘housekeeping’ you do. I do that also (removing objects like small sticks and leaves that obstruct the view or are distracting).

Ah good. I guess I can let go of my love of sporophytes for this one.

I do a fair amount of clean-up on the spot if it needs it, but I try not to disturb things too much. Anything portable gets moved (sticks, needles/leaves, old mushrooms, rocks and lichen). Live branches or large plants get curved out of the way so as not to break them. Small plants that die back completely and are perennials are fair game for being nipped off if they are really in the way (like tufts of grass or spent wildflowers, nothing big). I know a lot of people will cringe at this, but all kinds of animals dig up and eat plants from the top down and the bottom up so I don’t feel as though I’m doing anything unnatural. Mostly I just move things out of the way and that’s about it. Especially behind the subject, so many things can become even bigger distractions once they are OOF. Easier to do at the time than in software.