Go your own way

Another favorite from this year and another I haven’t shared here. I am a mushroom addict and so when I found this little group on this mossy log, I stopped mid-trail to have a go. Pretty sure this is a Mycena species - probably Common Mycena, but grouped here in various stages of fruiting which is part of the reason I like this photo so much. Mushrooms are so mutable and that’s part of their charm and lends difficulty for identification. Despite the tripod being in the trail, I had polite walkers encounter me on what was a popular place to walk. They were very careful and one even asked if walking by would ruin my shot. It wouldn’t and didn’t, but it was nice to be asked.

Specific Feedback Requested

Anything in terms of processing is welcome - by now this little formation is long gone. Composition choices were fairly limited, but after trying a couple, I decided on this one. Sticks and other debris were removed, but I couldn’t get absolutely everything. lol.

Technical Details

Tripod and CPL probably
Did several bracketing sessions to ensure I had more than enough photos since the scene back to front is very deep. Ended up using about 15 of them.

Lr for initial adjustment to white balance, texture, color and exposure.
Zerene for the stack which is my usual of a DMap retouched with PMax details where needed.


Can’t remember if I brought this into Ps for anything, but it’s possible.

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Wonderfully quaint intimate scene, Kris. The composition couldn’t be better, IMHO, as is the detail and clean up you’ve preformed. I do love your mushrooms series and hope we will be seeing more in the year to come.

Very nice find. I really like how these have grown. Two are protecting (an umbrella) a third and the fourth is an outcast. Left to fend on it’s own.

For my learning experience. When you’re shooting, how do you decide where to stop the focus. It looks like you stopped at the back edge of the shrooms.

Thanks for sharing.

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How cool to see the grouping, and the stalks, and the lighting is lovely! And a nice story, as @David_Starr saw it. I am SOOO jealous of your mossy settings! Ours sprout after the early winter rains, through a mix of dead and newly sprouting grass which is SO ugly, and the stalks are hardly ever visible.

I really like this scene, Kristen. What really stands out is that everything is in sharp focus. I’ve tried mushrooms and fungi but can usually only get one in focus. It’s like a miniature forest. Like your title too… Fleetwood Mac?

Thanks @linda_mellor, @David_Starr, @Diane_Miller & @Vanessa_Hill - glad it made you smile, but I’m sorry of moss envy. That’s one thing we have for sure, moss and other green things. It’s like Ireland over here. Cows and all.

Where do I stop the stack - where it looks good. I know that sounds flippant and I don’t mean to, but it’s really just what I think looks good. In this case, you’re right, at the back of the mushroom caps. In general I like backgrounds to be soft, especially if there’s anything back there that doesn’t contribute to the photo. Probably I could have included more behind and I remember specifically wanting to get in that lone sporophyte, but to me a crisp moss bed would be less isolating than a blurry one. The largest mushroom here is probably a bit over an inch high. So long as I can get down on the ground and back up again, there will be more mushroomy goodness in my life. I work diligently at keeping physically fit and active so squats are no problem!

The title probably came from a book I was reading, but now you mention it, could be the song, too.

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A really nice group of mushrooms. The composition is spot on, and I think your DOF is delicately chosen having the BG moss blurred but all of the mushrooms as well as the parts to the right in focus.

(Partly) cleaning up is of course necessary sometimes, but images does not need to be perfect to be very good.

Thanks @Ola_Jovall - I appreciate you chiming in. As another m4/3 shooter, you know the delicate walk that is DOF with this format. I shoot nearly wide open with the macro lens and it works pretty well for stacking. On the other hand, I get a tremendous amount of DOF for bird and wildlife photography so working the extremes is important.

I think mushrooms make great photos, Kris, and this is an excellent example. I really like the lighting here with the mushrooms and the background. I can’t see any improvements needed with this one.

Thanks @Dean_Salman - fun with fungi! I can hardly wait for next season, but wait I must.

Hi Kris,

I can certainly see why this is one of your favorites! I have a thing for mushrooms as well but we have none around here this time of year, at least none worth photographing.
Me not having any mushrooms to photograph makes looking at yours especially satisfying for me.

While lone bright colored mushrooms are great, groups like this are even better IMHO.
The focus stacking you did on this one is great and it was a great group for that process!
The title is great too, and admittedly I thought of the song by Fleetwood Mac myself.

I think that most photographers and viewers are accustomed to seeing images with sharp focus on the subject and at least some portion of the FG (with blurred BGs), but we usually see a transition between focused and out of focus in a progressive way.

It seems to me there is one issue with focus stacking that tends to go against the grain of progressive focus to out of focus because what I see that catches my attention is an almost definitive line between sharp focus and fully out of focus.

I took the liberty of downloading your image just to see how it would work to use object select on the mushrooms in Ps (no mask, just the selection tool, some folks aren’t aware Ps has that feature so forgive me if you know about it), invert the selection and use the blur tool to a somewhat progressively blur between the front in focus moss and the out of focus BG. I did deselect that lone sporophyte to prevent blurring it.
The results seem to be closer to what we normally see with progressive blurring (in my opinion anyway).

I think that in certain cases with stacked images, it might be good to work on “Blending” the focused area with the out of focus area in a more progressive way, just another step in the process for focus stacking? Maybe?

And of course I can’t say for sure because I don’t know for sure but maybe @David_Starr asked that question because it’s easy to tell where the focused line is? And is maybe wanting to know how to handle those situations? I can’t speak for David so maybe he’ll chime in to clarify.

I promise, I’m just trying to provide positive and constructive feedback.

Again, great group of mushrooms and very well photographed!!

Just what I need…more processing time! LOL

Seriously, it’s a subtle change, but I can see it. Interesting idea for the future.

Not fair, Kris. Now you have that Fleetwood Mac song in my head. :slightly_smiling_face:

Great image.

ha! Sorry to have the screeching banshee in your head. Unintentional.