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Surrounded by Giants

By Pete      
These fly agarics are such beautiful fungi, and are so small in comparison with their surroundings. My normal approach is to fill the frame and shoot from a low angle so the background leaves make a soft green background. Yesterday I decided to go for a different approach and try to include the surrounds, but as a subtle reminder of location.

To do this I needed to shoot from further back and still use a wide aperture. I managed to find a shroom on a slight incline so I could get to ground level. I've said it before but laying on the floor with your face touching the ground as you look through the finder bring you close to nature - the feel, the smell, the textures the damp, the cold...I can almost get into a meditative state when looking through the finder (and no I hadn't been eating any!). Anyone else feel this?

I was also trying out a ring light I'd picked up off eBay and found it to be a really good light source. I've included the non ringflash shot as a comparison.

Tags: Fungi Woodland Flowers and plants Landscape and travel

Voters: ChrisStyles, acousticmist, Joline and 59 more

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devlin 6 652 39 India
18 Oct 2010 11:49AM
A very different approach, but i think i like it...

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Stace Plus
8 2 2 England
18 Oct 2010 12:15PM
Different from the usual comps.....not to sure if it works for me, love the bg though

18 Oct 2010 12:19PM
Much prefer the ringflash version, it brings the mushroom to life.
I like the different larger view for a change.
photophantom 8 108 3 Philippines
18 Oct 2010 12:33PM
works well, it shows the scale. With or w/o ring light, both look great.
18 Oct 2010 12:33PM
It has immediate impact...most shrooms that we see are excellent close-ups perfectly isolated from their backgrounds. Both versions give a great sense of scale and perspective which I guess is what you were after given your title. The ring-flash version definitely shows the shroom off in better light (oops). maybe a selective tweak to levels and curves may lift the colour slightly and give it even more oomph. Only my opinion and who am I to offer such advice. Only wish I could get down as low as is needed for a shot like this...sadly my recent op wont allow. Oh well maybe next autumn?!
Glynn 10 1.2k 1 United Kingdom
18 Oct 2010 12:40PM

Quote:I can almost get into a meditative state

No, but i do get in a 'vegetative state' and cant get back up Wink

Ringflash really works Pete and does add nice contrast
kaybee 12 4.9k 25 Scotland
18 Oct 2010 12:40PM
I like No2 myself
HUMIE 9 2 United Kingdom
18 Oct 2010 12:42PM
Really like the different viewpoint Pete....what a difference that ring flash makes, may well try ebay myself.

lianna 6 13 United Kingdom
18 Oct 2010 12:48PM
Another cracking shout! Both versions are great bit for me 1 wins by a fraction Smile x x
soulofharmony 6 22 1 Norfolk Island
18 Oct 2010 1:28PM

Quote:It has immediate impact...most shrooms that we see are excellent close-ups perfectly isolated from their backgrounds. Both versions give a great sense of scale and perspective which I guess is what you were after given your title.

I prefer version 1, it appears warmer, To me when doing macro the BG foliage is as much about the composition as the main point of object..the colours/shapes light that pentrates & highlight ,when pushed out of focus can make the most amazing canvas, so much "Art in Nature", natural working canvas's.. even in isolating the main point of interest , its nothing with out that in place..i always view back ground first, for that very content..! how youve included the earthness of the scene..

you can also use kitchen foil on cardboard as reflectors..!

flash ring does make a difference..


Nicola. x
sandyd 9 Scotland
18 Oct 2010 1:41PM
Good shot V1 for me
SteveH1978 6 2 3 England
18 Oct 2010 1:45PM
Great image and well composed too. I think I prefer V1 which looks as if you have added a bit of warmth to the colours. Great work.

Wooly 11 112 4 England
18 Oct 2010 2:17PM
Nicely done Pete.

AlleyCatz 10 274 6 England
18 Oct 2010 2:17PM
Good to see a different approach Pete.
Those woods did smell so wonderful and autumnal always brings back childhood memories.Simple pleasures of getting conkers,hunting for edible shrooms with my Dad and the anticipation that Bonfire night and Christmas were not too far away.

I was impressed with the ring works very well.

martin.w 14 438 22 United Kingdom
18 Oct 2010 2:25PM
In a recent outing having a go at these I just's going to be muddy....and despite using a plastic was!

I like the title and the composition, though the subject isn't all that sharp looking at the large version. It does look better with the use of the light compared to V2 Wink
18 Oct 2010 3:46PM
Beautiful image - V2 is my Fav !

Daisymaye Plus
8 23 10 Canada
18 Oct 2010 4:22PM
Beautifully captured little shroom. When I find them they have bites out of them and look nasty. ..........Sandy
User_Removed 6 10 1 United Kingdom
18 Oct 2010 4:37PM
Needs a tweek I'd say in levels, or maybe a slight sharpen after reduction of image. good narative Smile like the crop
chase 11 1.1k 246 England
18 Oct 2010 4:41PM
That little lighting contraption did work nicely Pete & I like the warmth it has added to this image.
Good use of dof,although he does look a bit lonely all by himself amongst the leaf-litter Sad
Would have just liked to have seen a wee bit more fine detail on the 'shroom & perhaps just a tad more contrast on the moss/leaves to make this one pop a little more.
Great low-down & dirty angle,good job you brought along your waterproof sheeting.
Smells ???...I can still smell those stinkhorns...pooooooo Wink
NeilWigan Plus
6 13 15 England
18 Oct 2010 4:52PM
Beautiful image V2 for us.
18 Oct 2010 6:11PM
V2 for me today ... a lovely comp.
18 Oct 2010 7:05PM
V1 for me Pete I like the softness of the shot comes across as really early morning light.
19 Oct 2010 8:50AM
Both pics are excellently done, I do like the depth of field isolating the mushroom and the low angle works a treat!
I'm not normally a fan of flash fill in nature shots, but I find myself liking V1 for it's instant impact, so I'm well impressed by the ring flash.

Having said that, over time I am drifting towards the non-flash image (V2) which somehow subtley seems to include the mushroom in it's natural context in that the background colours are lighter yet still holds the shroom as the main subject.

You also mentioned the Fly Algaric as a small mushroom. This is the new growing bud. If you went back in a few days time it should be one of the largest toadstools in the wood!
LukeParkinson 6 30 3 United Kingdom
25 Oct 2010 3:42PM
I really want to get a Fly Agaric, Lovely shot!
25 Oct 2010 10:47PM
Very nice now we need the fairies

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