Photographing Fungi in Rainforest of South-East Asia| PhotoTravelAsia
Many of us would have encountered fungi in our lives either through our favorite cream of mushroom soup or the moulds that grow on a piece of stale bread. Fungus is a simple fast-growing type of plant such as mushroom or mould. While some fungi are edible, others can be poisonous or deadly. Fungi come in various colours, shapes and sizes. I spend many years hunting and photographing fungi in South-east Asia.
Photographing fungi in Rainforest of South-East Asia especially during the wet season. Equipped with simple photographic equipment and a tripod, I enjoyed photographing fungi in South-East Asia.
Here are images of different fungi from Indonesia and Singapore.
Fungi in Rainforest of South-East Asia is everywhere
Fungi are distributed all over the world, especially in moist regions. They grow rapidly in warm and humid conditions. In South East 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 very short life span.
What is the role of fungi?
Fungi have important roles in many aspects of our daily lives. However, there are ailments caused by fungi such as ringworm, athlete’s foot and other skin diseases. On the other hand, certain fungi are also used extensively to fight disease and infections. The best-known antibiotic is Penicillin derived from a fungal mould 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 breaks down dead plants and animal matter to help recycle important chemical elements such as carbon and nitrogen back into nature for living plants to grow.
When and where to look for fungi?
Fungi usually appear days after a very heavy and continuous rain. To look for it you must start early in the morning while 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 South-East Asia edible?
While many of us think of fungi as delicacies to be consumed, not all fungi are edible, even if they look similar. You should 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 grows in very dark and damp places where lighting is poor and defused. They normally grow on the grown where you have to be on your knees. The most common mistake in photographing fungi outdoor is the use of a single flash to illuminate the fungi. Direct single flash photography gives a very harsh lighting with lots of shadows. It is advisable to use natural light and reflectors to light up the dim area. Using tripod and natural light is the best way to capture fungi in the natural environment. A macro lens had the advantage in focusing close-up but the wide angles have pictorial advantage in showing the environment. The lenses that I used were 24-50mm for the environment shots or 100mm for close-up and macro photography. Here are images of fungi that I photographed in Rainforest of South-East Asia.