Giant fungus discovered

Image: Chicken of the Woods

Description: I spotted a flash of color downslope along the Tahoe Rim Trail, and when I hiked down to it, I discovered an unusually large specimen of the edible (and sought after) Chicken of the Woods fungus.

Specific Feedback Requested: Any – but perhaps cropped too tight.

Pertinent technical details or techniques: ISO400, F8, 1/250th, 18MM


Thanks Jana!
Alas, I can’t return to re-shoot the fungus. Don’t know if I’ll ever see one like that again, but we know that an enterprising shooter who wants to work with fungi can find good subjects out there every year.
Sorry to hear yours got destroyed – it was a good idea to shoot it from below. I wish I had shot mine from further back, trying to follow rules of landscapes, making the fungus a point of interest and giving it a frame of reference. But the detail and color was too much fun so most of my shots are close. I need to work on my excitement. I see a great subject and choose fun over fundamentals!
I witnessed two people harvesting a Chicken of the Woods in Yosemite Valley one time, chopping away at it and putting it into bags to cook and eat. Clueless.

James, I think your composition works very well, with the fungus grabbing the viewer’s eyes by filling the left edge and then sweeping them through the frame. I also like your including the evergreen branchs and the bit of trunk. I do think that the yellow is oversaturated (which happens a lot if your using Adobe software) and you could burn-in the tree trunk a bit to reduce how much attention it gets.

Thanks Mark!
I don’t recall bumping up the color. This alien creature was bright yellow and orange and didn’t need any help in the saturation department. But I might have increased saturation with other commands. Will go back and look at unedited file.

James, often, you don’t have to “bump the colors” deliberately, Adobe does it behind the scenes especially if you change either the black or white points. As I process photos, there’s an extra “glow” that shows up with the yellows (and yellows effect on the greens) being expecially bad. With a slight decrease in yellow saturation, I think you’ll see better separation between the yellow and orange parts and a bit more detail.

Thanks Mark. Raises another question, quite outside the scope of my image and issues, which is whether to tell printers to color correct an image submitted for print. So many concerns here – the quality of monitors, condition of monitors (calibration), the eyesight of the photographer (ability to see color accurately), the color correction methods of printers, etc. ! But there is always a box to check when ordering prints – color correct or not?

I think you should always choose fun over fundamentals! Maybe your fun will create totally new fundamentals. And don’t be too critical with yourself, the photo looks great the way it is.

I think it depends on the printer. For me, I always try to get the colors “right” in my print file (in sRBG color space) and tell the printer not to color correct. That way, when I have something printed I can compare my screen with the print, although that gets complicated by the fact that prints on paper do not have the color range that a qualilty monitor offers.

Thanks Jana. I have been trying to "stifle myself "(to borrow a line from the TV show All in the Family) in the field lately, so that I work harder on compositions and shoot fewer “wow” frame filling images out of excitement. It has paid off. But I like the concept of fun over fundamentals! I’ve been shooting for years with an Olympus kit, but recently bought a Nikon Z6II. Someone asked me how I like it, and without thinking, I replied “Well, photography used to be fun. Now it’s work.”