This weekend I wasn't in the mood to travel far, with a busy Saturday I could have easily stayed at home. Having kicked myself out of the house I went to Hoe Rough nature reserve, about a 30 minute car journey.
This nature reserve is quickly becoming a regular spot for me with such a wide variety of nature to photograph, butterflies in the spring and summer. This time of year fungi is theme of choice.
I found a group of what I have identified as Clouded Funnel or Clitocybe Nebularis. If I have the identification incorrect please let me know on twitter @nealtraf. Usually I prepare fungi and surrounding area to remove distractions and in this case making the subject accessible. I carry a pair of secateurs that fold up like a swiss army knife, this is an essential tool to carry if you are doing any nature photography. Another tool is a rocket blower, the intended use is to clean dust from the camera sensor. Works well with removing loose dirt from fragile fungi.
Cutting away the surrounding thorney growth I was able to place the camera onto my homemade beanbag. I do carry a Manfrotto 190XPROB tripod where the central column and legs can be altered, as fungi mostly grow from the ground I often use the beanbag as it is far easier to use than setting up the tripod, the only downside is the weight.
When taking any pictures it's just as important to look around the edges of the picture to make sure nothing behind is creating a distraction. I try and remove anything that has lines, this could be branches, twigs or even a blade of grass. Also bright spots, in the below slideshow between two images that I photographed, to demonstrate how I setup the scene to highlight the importance of looking for distracting objects.
If you look at the top left you can see bright spots caused by the sky breaking through leaves. Either change the angle of the camera to cut out the bright spots or spot removal/clone tool in post production. It's a lot easier to take the image correctly in camera than than to fix faults in post production, something that takes a couple of extra minutes out in the field can save hours in Photoshop.
On future fungi forays I intent to find subjects that can be converted into black and white, defined edges, shapes and tones are what I intent to focus on. To me snapshot of fungi are not all that interesting, they need to have an artistic element.