December Week 2 – Fog and Fly Amanita Mushrooms

Although we have had dry days in the Bay Area we still see weather changes in temperatures and the various kinds of fog it produces.  Fog rising from the forested hillsides along the Tomales Bay at Pt. Reyes is a beautiful sight.

As I was watching the details of trees coming and going in the uphill movement of the fog I waited for a ray of the morning (low angled) sun to find a break in the horizon clouds.  I knew a little bit of light could nicely accentuate a foreground tree.  I choose a 400 mm lens to select a portion of the forest.  You want a fast enough shutter speed to freeze some of the motion of the fog in order to give it texture.  Other wise you just get a wash of white.

After an hour the fog had vanished and the trees in their entire splendor were left to be bathed now in sunlight.  One would hope that the leaving of the US troops from Iraq this day might go as well leaving behind the splendor of what is in that countryside.  But after so many deaths and so many years of war the lifting of the fog is probably more akin to the extinguishing of a firewall.

Underneath the trees on that hillside, peeking through the fallen pine needles is the community of Fly Amanita Mushrooms.  This year they are not too plentiful without the seasonal rains but still brilliantly dressed in red.

They tend to grow in little clumps reminding you of family units. They are the “Fairy-tale” toadstools.  But don’t eat these gorgeous mushrooms other wise your spirit will be going the way of the rising morning fog.

A grouping of three mushrooms reminded me of the “holy family” we encounter this time of year, a sign of hope and peace for the greater human family. Since the Fly Amanita will not flee your frame I suggest you spend lots of time with them. Pay attention to the background so that it best compliments your subject. With this image I looked from several directions but found that including the near by tree trunk worked best.  And getting just the right composition is worth the time it takes to look at your subject from every angle. This is where live view is a real help (even better than a right angler viewfinder). Getting low on the ground is a must.  With lack of rain I didn’t have to lie in the mud!

With prayers for the victims of the flooding in the Philippines I offer these photos in their honor and blessings for your holy days.

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