Brian's Photo Blog — Article 386
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Backyard Mushroom Hallucination
Thursday 12 March 2015   —   Category: Shooting

View from the upstairs bathroom window.
Is that an orange-colored mushroom in the flowerbed?

Ever since last Thanksgiving, whenever I would glance into my backyard from an upstairs or downstairs window, I saw what looked like a large, orangish mushroom growing in a flowerbed. It reminded me of the beautiful turkey tail mushrooms I saw on my hike in the Tahkenitch Dunes last year — as shown in the photo to the right (click on the image to see the full version).

I was really excited that such an “exotic” mushroom was growing right in my own backyard! Although I was eager to go out and photograph it, for many weeks the outside conditions were not favorable.

First of all, it was constantly in the shadows, even on bright sunny days. I felt that direct sunlight would greatly improve any pictures I might take. Secondly, the ground in the backyard is usually quite soggy during the winter, and I didn’t necessarily want to slosh around in the mud.

One day in mid-February as I was preparing lunch in the kitchen, I noticed that the sun would be shining on that flowerbed around noon, through the gap between my house and the neighbor’s. My opportunity to photograph my exotic backyard mushroom had finally arrived!

I went upstairs to grab my camera equipment, and mounted my Olympus 60mm macro lens on my Olympus OM-D E-M5 camera body. Then I waited for the sun to move to the correct position, glancing out the window often to see where things were at.

At last the time was right! I put on my boots and headed out the back door. I went up to the mushroom and squatted down to get a good look. Imagine my utter shock when I suddenly discovered that it was not a mushroom at all, but a plastic cup which my daughter was using to measure rain water!

After all those weeks and weeks of anticipation, boy, did I sure feel foolish! As you can see, I wasn’t having hallucinations from eating a backyard mushroom. Rather, for some reason — perhaps an overly-developed photographic imagination — I was hallucinating that there was an exotic mushroom in my backyard! The joke was on me!

Once I had recovered sufficiently from my chagrin, I realized that my mistake did not necessarily mean the end of that day’s photo op. I was already outside with my boots on, and camera with macro lens in hand. The sun was shining, and it was a beautiful day for photography. So I started looking around my backyard with an artistic eye to see if there was anything worth photographing.

During the next half hour I took about 40 pictures. I have added the best 14 images which resulted from my backyard mushroom hallucination to the Homemade Images 2015 album.

Well, there were not any exotic mushrooms in my backyard, but there was a world of beauty just waiting to be discovered. All it took was a bit of time, and even more importantly, making the effort to open my inner eye and truly see.
Brian's Photo Blog — Article 386
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