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Matthew Lacy's picture

Minimalist Macro Mushroom Medley

I recognize that these aren't actually macro images, but the alliterative title was just too good to pass up. I think that at least some of these could qualify as minimalist. These are a few pictures that I took in the last week of various mushrooms found around the camp that I've been working at this summer. These are the first pictures I've actually sat down and processed in quite some time, but I hope to get some more done.

If anyone has any particular favorites, or even insight on what type of mushrooms I've found, I'm curious to hear your perspective.

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17 Comments

Joe Svelnys's picture

Very nice, I enjoy mushroom photos and taken them every time I can. As far as a favorite goes? I like them all but lean a pinch more towards the second photo. Prob for having the second out of focus mushroom in the background. Great photos.

Matthew Lacy's picture

Thank you very much for your kind words, Joe! Number two is certainly one of my favorites, although, I my favorite part of the image is the colors playing out in the background. These were my first experiments with pictures of these subjects, but I am quite hooked.

Alan Brown's picture

Great shots Matthew. I lean toward #2 & #4 due to the classic (and interesting) mushroom shape.
#4!is the winner fund as the 2nd mushroom in #2 tends t merge into the background due to the limited DOF.

Matthew Lacy's picture

Thank you for sharing your perspective on these Alan! #2 seems to be a consistent pick for favorite, and I'm glad to see #4 getting some love as well. That was actually one that I struggled to take due to the hanging sections on the underside. I had to work to make sure they didn't prove too distracting of elements. I'm glad to see I managed to make something work out of it.

Alan Brown's picture

After getting back from a few days away and seeing the images on a screen larger than my phone I am now really liking #1 also.
The detail is really punchy and the effort you put into hiding a distracting background admirable (it paid off!).

Matthew Lacy's picture

I'm glad to hear such words of validation from you on #1.The lighting landing on the subject was naturally brighter for some reason, which allowed me a lot more leeway in post when adjusting the background to be darker. I love the shape of the subject, as it almost reminds me of a hut or cottage of some sort.

Robert Tran's picture

Dude, composite a frame in #2 to portray the mushroom looking at its alter-ego through a mirror and you got yourself some awesome whimsy action. Love the bokeh on all. Minimal - not so much for me, but they’re great regardless.

Matthew Lacy's picture

That is a very neat idea, Robert. It would be quite an interesting image if I got that to work out indeed. Thank you for such a creative suggestion!

Julian Ray's picture

Fun explorations Matthew.
I would suggest framing them to show a little more of the ground they live in as that will give more context and information than the shallow DOF BG. More grounded as it were.

Your low POV gives your images an intimate feel.

The complimentary colours, unique lighting, and etherial feel of #2 has my eye returning to it again and again.

To show what I'm banging on about I played with your image a tiny bit. Not in any way to tear down what you did but to quickly (and crudely) illustrate what I mean.

Thanks for sharing Matthew. I look forward to seeing more of your discoveries.

Matthew Lacy's picture

Thank you for taking the time to put together such a thought-out response, Julian. I must confess that I'm a little lost by your first comment. I'm not sure what a "shallow DOF BG" is. I get the shallow depth of field, but the meaning of the last acronym is beyond me.

I had actually intended to revisit the site of #2 and try for a new perspective with more ground in it, but when I returned the next day, they were gone. I only later found out from a camp counselor that a group of 5th grade boys had taken joy in kicking at all the mushrooms they could find, including the subjects of #2 and the one I've attached below.

This actually robbed me of another retake opportunity, as the one below was too far underexposed and out of focus to produce a usable image. The one below was an extreme example of the low POV that made it stick out to me even with its problems.

As you touched upon in your response, and I mentioned to Joe above, the lighting in #2 does it many favors, and I actually tried to replicate it in post on #3 and #4. I'm glad to see that you have enjoyed it as well.

Julian Ray's picture

Hey Matthew, sorry for the letter soup.
BG= Back Ground
DOF=Depth Of Field
POV=Point Of View
This version is fun too.
Keep 'em coming!
TTFN 😀

Chris Jablonski's picture

WTF? LMAO LOL GTFO, IMHO

Julian Ray's picture

TMI!
LMAO

Matthew Lacy's picture

ROY G. BIV!
MVEMJSUN(P)!

Chris Jablonski's picture

Hi Matthew! Experimenting as ever! Good on you. Definitely the first for me - it's more "you", at least what I first think of when I see your name after your miniature sci-fi figures. It took a moment to realise this first one is a fungus, not some space warrior bravely facing dark alien forces. I like its drama stemmimg from the powerful contrasts in tone and colour, and the overall simplicity.

Matthew Lacy's picture

Thank you for your take on this, Chris! I will say that the first is my favorite as well; in fact, I put them 1-4 in a personal taste ranking when making this post. I think that #1 comes the closest of all of them to qualifying as "minimalist photography", which is where part of its appeal lies for me.

#1 was on that I actually put more work into than the others, because in addition to clearing the foreground and focus plane of distractions, I had to obstruct a building from the background. I achieved this by planting some small branches with large leaves in the ground behind the subject. You can tell where this happened in the final product, as the darker area in the upper left corner is produced by the leaves. It's a similar trick to the one I did in this, but it definitely worked better in #1.

Chris Jablonski's picture

Smart thinking, Matthew! But don't tell people your cheats... oops, I mean specialist techniques.