Photographing Fungi in Rainforest of Southeast Asia | PhotoTravelAsia
We have encountered fungi in our lives either through our favorite cream of mushroom soup or the molds that grow on a piece of stale bread. Fungus is a simple fast-growing type of organisms such as mushroom and mold. While some fungi are edible, others can be poisonous or deadly. Fungi come in various colors, shapes, and sizes. I spend many years hunting and photographing fungi in Southeast Asia.
Fungi growing on a piece of dead branch that we discovered while hiking on the forest trail. Picture was taken in Gunung Gede National Park Indonesia. Photographing fungi in the Rainforest of Southeast Asia in the wet season. Equipped with simple photographic equipment and a tripod, I enjoyed photographing fungi in Southeast Asia.
Here are images of different fungi from Indonesia and Singapore.
Fungi in the Rainforest of South-East Asia is everywhere. Fungi are distributed all over the world, especially in moist regions. They grow in warm and humid conditions. In southeast Asia, many of the fungi species have yet to be discovered by man and science. It is not easy to identify them because there are too many species, and they have a relatively brief life span. What is the role of fungi? Fungi have a vital role in many aspects of our daily lives. However, there are also ailments caused by fungi such as ringworm, athlete’s foot, and other skin diseases. Certain fungi fight diseases and infections. The best-known antibiotic is Penicillin derived from a fungal mold called Penicillium and used against bacterial infections. We have also derived other benefits of fungi for the fermentative production of food and beverages such as cheese, beer, and wine with the yeast-fungi. In nature, fungi break down dead plants and animal matter to help recycle vital chemical elements such as carbon and nitrogen back into living plants to grow. When and where to look for fungi? Fungi usually appear days after heavy and continuous rain. To look for fungi, you must start early in the morning while the cool mist is still lingering on the ground. The most exciting thing in finding fungi in the wild is discovering them in places where you never expect them. Are fungi in Southeast Asia edible? While many of us think of fungi as delicacies, not all fungi are edible, even if they look similar. You must not touch or disturb wild fungi. The next time you walk through the forest, keep an eye on the decaying branches and leaves as you may be pleasantly surprised and thrilled by the beautiful and magical kingdom of fungi. I enjoyed photographing fungi in South-East Asia. How to photograph fungi? Fungi usually grow in very dark and damp places where lighting is poor and defused where you have to be on your knees. The most common mistake in photographing fungi outdoor is using a single flash to illuminate the fungi. Direct single flash photography gives very harsh lighting with lots of shadows. It is advisable to use natural light and reflectors to light up the dimmed area. Using a tripod and natural light is the best way to capture fungi in the natural environment. A macro lens had the advantage of focusing close-up, but the wide angles have the pictorial advantage in showing the environment . The two lenses I used were 24-50mm for the environment shots and 100mm for close-up and macro photography. Here are images of fungi that I photographed in the Rainforest of South-East Asia.
Fungi of Cookenia family has attractive colour. Picture was taken in the rain forest of Ujung Kulon National Park, Indonesia
An entire colony of Bracket Fungi (Ganodermataceae family) growing on dead tree trunks in the rain forest. Picture was taken in Bukit Timah Nature Reserve Singapore
Bird ‘s Nest Fungi shaped like a bird nest usually growing on the forest floor. The hollow cup containing small “seeds”-which are called spores, resembling a small bird’s nest with eggs. The spores are easily splashed out of the cup by rain drops onto the surroundings. Picture was taken in Bukit Timah Nature Reserve Singapore
Marasmius. This is one of the small mushrooms with the stalk as thin as our hair. Notice that two of them are growing on dead leaves on the forest floor. Picture was taken in Bukit Timah Nature Reserve Singapore.
The Stink Horn fungi (Phallaceae family) have unpleasant smell that attracts flies and subsequently help to disperse the spores. Notice the white “veil” growing under the cap. Picture was taken in Singapore Botanic Gardens