09 April 2010

Untouched up beauties

Amateur photographers are being taught that to leave an image alone is to destroy its potential. So nature is being distorted, to the point that one "Dear Expert" letter in a photography magazine asks about a photo showing a flock of birds flying in V formation. Two birds are out of order, so close that they look like "a squashed bug".

The shooter asked whether it was right to leave the image as it is or to clean it up. The answer was that all photography is distortion, so to get over the prejudice against creating digital fiction.

Ah, reality. I wish it weren't so easy to take things out of photos and to distort them, because what's in them naturally is often so surprising. The pictures below are what I saw — only somewhat crisper than what my eyes noticed at the time. I never clean up pictures because I think that the chaos of nature is its own beauty, and thus, the wonders are even more wonderful. That doesn't mean these are technically wonderful. I'm still not good at that, and admire many others such as the brilliant Taylor Lockwood who are excellent photographers and knowledgeable teachers, too.


AliceB said...

These mushrooms are *gorgeous*! I'm especially enamored by the first shot which makes them looks as if they decided to go out on a proper Sunday walk with their best lace and parasols. What kind of mushrooms are they? I don't recall ever seeing their like.

anna tambour said...

Perhaps you saw what they wanted you to see, for they are parasol mushrooms. Today they are most commonly classified in the genus Macrolepiota and I might further classify these as M. dolichaula, but I don't think it is, as it has characteristics, such as buff gills and a strong delicious mushroom smell, that are closer to M. procera, but it's not that either, so I think it's a closely related species. Still debated is the genus, as some still classify these in the genus Lepiota. Furthermore, although the parasol mushroom is generally considered to be Macrolepiota procera, all Macrolepiota species have been called parasol mushrooms, and some have been further defined as "shaggy parasol" and "slender parasol". To make everything simpler, there is even disagreement about the relative edibilities. I say "relative" because some can make some people sick, and some can make all people sick when eaten with, say, alcohol, and some are prized (if you like mushrooms).

Macrolepiota sp. by the Queensland Mycological Society

The excellent article by Louise Freeman and the Mycological Society of San Francisco: Wild
About Mushrooms: Shaggy Parasol"
Alan Muskat's word to the otherwise unwise "How to not pass up a parasol - and how not to"
FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations) Wild edible fungi: a global overview of their use and importance to people