15 photos

The summer of 2012 in Anchorage, Alaska was wet and produced a lot of mushrooms. The bright yellow and orange mushrooms (fungi) were the most abundant in Russian Jack Springs Park. I believe they are called Fly Agaric and are non-edible. I have seen over 30 types of mushroom in the park. Some fungi are colorless and look uninspiring when photographed. I document them but do not post the images. In the fall large groups of families pick mushrooms and other edible plants. I have included images of trails that most people would not recognize as being taken in the park. There are large trees in the park that visitors do not see because they are in the more remote sections of the 300-acre estate.

I use a miniature surveyor tripod to take low level macro images. The tripod’s maximum height of two feet makes it perfect for photographing objects on the ground. Like a regular surveyor tripod you can plant the leg spikes deep into the ground for a very solid shooting platform. I use large clamps to attach collapsible reflectors to the tripod or nearby bushes to direct fill-light on subjects. The added illumination reduces harsh shadows. The white side of a reflectors produces a soft light. The silver surface produces a harsher light, which can be abstract looking. I use gold reflectors to imitate the golden color produced by morning or evening light. Sometimes I use a transparent reflector to diffuse direct sunlight for softer light.

When shooting macro I use a wireless remote with a mirror-lock-up (MLU) setting to reduce vibration during exposure. The MLU feature flips the mirror-up and then waits for the flipping motion to subside before exposing the sensor. I try to keep the flat surfaces of objects parallel to the focus plane of the camera to take advantage of the depth of focus. I used my very old manual focus Nikon 55mm f2.8 micro lens to take most of the close ups. Even if the lens had autofocus I would still have used manual focus. Manual focus is more precise when using the live view screen.

During one photo session the aluminum legs of my large surveyor tripod crystalized and broke so I was without a tripod for awhile. I hand held my camera and tried techniques to steady the camera, but many images were soft, especially under an exposure of 1/100. I shot both JPEG and RAW files.
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