Fungi is hardly the most glamorous of subjects, is it? Compared to shooting colourful and interesting birds, flowers or rolling landscapes, toadstools and mushrooms probably seem like a rather dull option. Typically growing in dark, dank and inaccessible places, you have to be prepared to get down and dirty to achieve good shots. However, if you’re a nature photographer, don’t overlook their picture potential. After all, they are one of our planet’s oldest and most fascinating life forms, existing for millions of years and evolving into an extraordinary and varied range of species.
They come in all sorts of shapes, sizes and colours, and here in the northern hemisphere they are at their peak right now – during autumn. At this time of year, they seemingly appear overnight – almost magically – decorating lawns and woodland interiors. If you’ve never tried capturing them before, now is the time to give it a go. They can be shot in situ – in context with their environment – or in a frame-filling close-up. Whatever approach you favour, only a relatively basic setup is required, so this is a highly accessible natural subject.
What Kit Do You Need?
You don’t have to have a particularly sophisticated setup to photograph fungi. A close-up filter or extension tubes will suffice, while for larger species, like fly agaric, a telephoto or wide-angle lens will provide interesting and contrasting perspectives. However, a dedicated macro lens is the best choice for close-ups. I favour a 200mm macro lens for fungi (personally, I use the Nikon 200mm f/4 micro), due to the larger working distance and condensed perspective it provides. However, a macro lens in the region of 100mm is a great choice.