Tag Archives: mushrooms

Exploring in the Rain

When you visit a rainforest, especially in January, you should probably expect rain.  I could hear the light rain falling even before I was quite awake this morning, lightly tapping on the roof of the lovely Bed and Breakfast where we stayed in the tiny town of Forks (of Twilight fame).  Light comes late here, with sunrise around 8am!

It was gray and wet as we ventured out, heading toward the Hoh rainforest and the Hall of Mosses.  But we weren’t the only rainy day adventurers.  As we registered at the ranger station I couldn’t resist this shot of the hiking boots from the other side of the sign.


All this rain results in spectacular displays of mosses.  Everything that stands still is covered in velvety coats of shaggy moss.  You can see the magnitude of the mosses in this shot of Geoff dwarfed by the mossy trees.

mossy tree

And of course, I continued to be on the lookout for mushrooms.  I wasn’t disappointed.  There were enormous shelf mushrooms that grew tall above my head and tiny mushrooms sprouting from cracks in logs.  This tiny fairy village of mushrooms caught my fancy today growing among the mosses.

mushroom village

As we left the rainforest my eye was drawn to the way the fog hung low behind the treeline.  It almost looks like snow out beyond the river.

low lying fogLeaving the rainforest, we headed north toward Port Angeles and another part of the park.  And after an unfortunate encounter with a park ranger (going too fast along the road near the lake) that resulted in a speeding ticket, we headed up to Hurricane Ridge.  This is the highest part of the park at over 5,000 feet in elevation.  We could see snow capped peaks as we wound our way up and could feel the temperature dropping.  And Hurricane Ridge lives up to its name, the winds were vicious as we got out of the car!  The fog and snow blended as we looked out across the ridge.

hurricane ridge

Away from the ridge, the winds calmed and it was fun to stomp around in the crunchy snow as the rain continued.  Geoff caught this picture of me enjoying my third visit to the snow in the last three weeks.  I think that is a record for me!  (I may not have spent as much time in the snow in the last decade as I have in the last three weeks!)

in the snow

On our way back down the mountain, we noticed a deer family crossing the road in front of us. We slowed to a stop, camera in hand, snapping pictures as they crossed…and then seemed to freeze in an effort to appear invisible to us.  This shot makes the deer almost look like a museum model rather than a living, breathing animal.  I got pictures of all three…

deer near Hurricane Ridge

We ended our adventure with a delicious and relaxing dinner at Next Door GastroPub…even sharing a rich and decadent dessert.  Before heading back to our hotel we took an evening drive around the seaport to try our hand at some nighttime photography.  I’ll end with this shot through the rainy car window of a small coffee shop.

coffee shop through raindrops

Another wonderful day exploring, can’t wait to see what tomorrow brings!

Rainforest Serenity

Where I live it seldom rains…and when it does, it creates all kinds of havoc because we are not equipped to deal with it.  And our environment reflects the lack of water, with plants that take the least water–cacti, succulents, sages and other brushes–thriving, while others only survive because we take the time (and expense) to water them.

Today we snuck away for the long weekend to a place known for rain–and specifically headed off to explore the temperate rain forests of the Olympic Peninsula in the Olympic National Park. We knew that rain was likely for the entire weekend, and still headed off to spend time outside in this environment so different from the one we are used to.

Somehow, we managed to avoid rain today, but had plenty of evidence of its presence.  As we walked among the giant evergreen trees (spruce, cedar, and firs) I could feel the calm settle over me.  Out in the cool, damp air among the towering trees, the sun had to work to reach the ground.  The serenity was tangible, but seems difficult to put into words.

light in the center

I started to notice the water droplets hanging from tree branches as I brushed against them and caused my own little rain storm.  And then I became fascinated with the jewel-like quality of the water, trying to capture it with my camera.

drops from the branches

I noticed ferns and mosses and lichens all around me and I started to play with my camera, trying to capture the light as it danced and played hide and seek in the forest.

moss in the light

And I started wondering about mushrooms…why hadn’t I seen any?  At about that moment, I came around the corner and noticed this beauty growing on a fallen log.

mushroom close up

There were more…and more as I began looking closely.  I love this entire colony we found growing on the flat face of this stump.

mushrooms on a log

Geoff caught a picture of me leaning in closely with my camera trying to capture the unique beauty of fungi!

leaning in close

We left the rainforest and headed toward the beach…hoping to catch both the low tide and sunset before darkness pushed us indoors for the night.  And you know that I spend plenty of time on the beach…but these wide, wild, untamed beaches are very different from the beaches I frequent.  The tide was low and sand seemed endless.  Instead of driftwood, drift logs were in evidence!  We spent only a short time walking the beach as we took in the sunset.

logs on the beach

And as we headed off to a tiny town that would be home for the evening, we made one last stop after sunset, but before darkness had settled.  I love this post-sunset glow that shines pink through the silhouettes of trees that frame the ocean beyond.

post sunset at ruby beach

I didn’t know I was looking for serenity today, but it found me as I explored the beauty of the Pacific Northwest.  I can’t wait to see what tomorrow will bring!




Weekly Photo Challenge: Get Close

Do you speak in images? Enjoy taking photos to document your experiences or just to express what you notice in the world? Love to share them with others? Welcome to the weekly photo challenge! I post a new challenge each week…check in regularly and join the fun!

Just yesterday I noticed some unusual mushrooms growing in the garden box outside my classroom door.  I snapped a quick picture (you can see it on my instagram feed) and went into the classroom to prepare for the day.  Later in the day when I looked into the box, the mushrooms were no longer there.  Did someone pluck them out?  This morning I looked in the box and noticed just a couple of these same mushrooms growing.  I decided to take the time to attach my macro lens and get close to these mushrooms.  And I’m glad I did…once again, they seemed to vanish as the day began to warm.

mushrooms up close

And sometimes I like to get close even without the aid of the macro lens. The pines I met while I was in Ohio were different from the varieties I am used to.  I got close to this one as I looked through at the green beyond…and green like this is very unusual where I live!

pine tree

Sometimes there is an unexpected invitation to get close.  I couldn’t resist this sign asking museum visitors to lean in and pick up the items in the box…to really examine them closely.  It’s such a different message than the “look only with your eyes” message that is so common.

please touch

I’m not sure about this fence.  I got close to the fence…but is the message of the fence to stay back, don’t get too close?

through a fence

And sometimes I use cropping as a way of getting even closer than I’m able to with my ordinary camera lens.  In this case I took a photo of my oatmeal and coffee in the carry tray…and then cropped to make it fill the frame.  The other photos above all are unedited…but this one has been cropped (but no filters applied).


So this week’s challenge is to get close. You might pull our your macro lens and try your hand at magnifying something small…or you might lean in and see how close you can get.  You might even think about getting close more metaphorically…how else might a photo “read’ close? You can also consider using an editing tool to create the feeling of getting close from a photo that wasn’t all that close.

You can post your photo alone or along with some words: commentary, a story, a poem…maybe even a song! I love to study the photographs that others’ take and think about how I can use a technique, an angle, or their inspiration to try something new in my own photography. (I love a great mentor text…or mentor photo, in this case!)

I share my photography and writing on social media. You can find me on Instagram and Twitter using @kd0602. If you share your photos and writing on social media too, please let me know so I can follow and see what you are doing. To help our Weekly Photo community find each other, use the hashtag #close for this week and include @nwpianthology in your post.

So snuggle up and get close!  I can’t wait to see what you find when you get close with your lens.


Too Much of an Interesting Thing…

When I first spied the mushroom in my front yard I saw it as a photo opportunity.  I watched it grow, seeming to magnify right before my eyes.  I watched it for days until I found it kicked across the yard one morning–and then, once it was turn upside down, I captured what I had missed by looking at only the outside surface with my camera.

The following week I noticed a few more mushrooms growing in my lawn.  Again, I watched them grow…this time with some “portholes” to look inside and see what was beneath the surface.  I got out my macro lens and worked to capture my secret view of the underside of the mushroom.

And then this morning it seemed that an entire forest of mushrooms has exploded on my lawn!  One was so round and on a tall stem…looking almost like a lollipop.  When I got home–late (meeting and then traffic)–that forest had ballooned, each mushroom doubling in size from this morning.  And while my photos don’t really capture the drama of the growth, my eyes registered it.


And now I’m thinking that these fascinating mushrooms are becoming a problem.  What started as an interesting novelty has become a bit of an eyesore.  Just where do these mushrooms come from?  What effect do they have on my lawn?  How do they multiply?  What is making them thrive in my lawn?  And now…how do I get rid of them?

Early morning update:  As my husband was leaving for work, he came back into the house saying, “The fairies are having a field day at our house!”  I looked out the door…the mushrooms are enormous this morning!  They ballooned overnight–and the biggest among them are between 6 and 8 inches across.  Here’s a picture trying to capture the magnitude.  (The photos don’t really capture the size adequately!)


Lessons Repetition Taught

This week’s focus on repetition for #sdawpphotovoices took me in some unexpected directions.  For four days this week I took a picture of a mushroom growing in my yard.  I noticed it first on Tuesday when I got home from the first day of school.  On Wednesday when I got home it seemed significantly  larger and rounder, so I had to take another picture.  On Thursday I was looking forward to seeing the change when I got home…and no disappointment…I was wondering if it would pop!  But Friday morning it was evident that someone had kicked the mushroom.  I found it across the yard, upside down–which presented yet another photo opportunity and learning opportunity!  I could see that what looked like a round mushroom was actually more like a rounded umbrella covering the stem from view.  Here’s a few views of my mushroom.

Mushroom three days in a row

Mushroom three days in a row

Mushroom through a macro lens

Mushroom through a macro lens

The #scaly inside of a mushroom.

The #scaly inside of a mushroom.

The repetition of taking a photo of the same thing day after day had me paying close attention and asking myself questions to expand what I already knew.  I love that photos help me learn!

The focus on repetition also provoked me to drive to work using a variety of routes. (More about that here)  I didn’t want to take pictures that I had already taken, so I varied my route and looked for interesting photo options.  I rediscovered the value of exploring, even when it is as simple as taking an extra five minutes on the way to work to stop and take a photo or two.


So…among the lessons learned this week through my photography are both to look again and again and again–there is value in repetition–and to change things up, look for variety, and be sure to take a few minutes each day to do something you enjoy simply because you enjoy it.

What does photography teach you?