2021—Fantasia in the Forest

The breeze was stiff so the colorful leaves at Willey House on the Saco River in New Hampshire were shimmering too much to get good photographs of the fall colors. We ventured into the woods. The ground was strewn with decaying bark and leaves which made the perfect base for Waxy Cap mushrooms to thrive. These tiny fungi (less than an inch in diameter) were the most colorful thing on the ground as most of the red and gold leaves were still attached to their branches. They reminded me of the mushrooms in the China Dance in the Walt Disney classic Fantasia. I kneeled down and placed my Nikon Z6II with the Nikkor MC105mm macro lens on the ground. in front of me. I needed a small stick to elevate the lens to the right position and thankfully, the monitor pulls out so I didn’t have to scrunch my body down to see through the viewfinder. I decided to try focus shift shooting which in this environment was new to me since I’d only tried it indoors with a tripod. I took 20 shots to combine into this final image, not enough to get every part of the mushrooms in focus but I like the end result and the colors are a lively contrast to the brown compost beneath. I expected to hear strains from Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite at any moment and for the mushrooms to leap and spin. It was Fantasia in the forest.

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