The Oyster Mushroom

Pleurotus ostreatus:  or more commonly called The Oyster Mushroom. These mushrooms grow in clusters on alive and dead trees. I discovered this small cluster a few nights ago while in search of frogs & salamanders. When my flash light lit up the mushroom it looked as if it was on fire. It resembled smoke just pouring out from under each mushroom. They were releasing their spores, which travel to the ground and other trees, where it waits for other spores to land. When that happens it then can start growing new mushrooms. They release their spores at different times based on temperature, humidity and the age of the mushroom. There are estimates of more than 100 million spores are released in a one hour time frame.

This was a very beautiful situation, this small mushroom, during the middle of the night, was giving life to more mushrooms. My goal was to create an image of beauty & peacefulness.

When I first saw it releasing it's spores, I knew immediately that it would make a beautiful photograph. I spent about 20 minutes working with LED lights and an external flash to try and light it correctly to show off all those spores. The images shown here were taken at 1/200 of second for the shutter speed, I set my aperture at f/8 because I was shooting pretty close and wanted to bring more depth to image and finally the ISO was pretty low at 100 because I was shooting with an external flash. I placed the flash directly below the mushroom to light the spores and to create the feeling that it was glowing.