Thursday, September 20, 2012

Mysterious Forest Mushrooms

Recently, I was lucky enough to walk through a forest near the Kohler Andrae Park. This park is located along the Lake Michigan shoreline near Sheboygan, WI. The park is filled with natural dunes and a lovely beach. Each September my mom and I take our annual trip to Sheboygan to visit this park and have a picnic. After that, we always stop in the John Michael Kohler Arts Center to see what's new. It's a fun tradition I always look forward to.

This summer has been very hot for Wisconsin, and the day we went to the park was no exception. We ended up having our picnic on some uncomfortably hot sand. It was nice to be able to escape into the woods, because it was actually comfortable in there! As you guys know, I love taking photos, and I took a lot of photos in the woods. My favorite photos were of the wild mushrooms growing on and beneath the trees.

I had a somewhat challenging time taking these photos. This first one for instance, involved standing on a rickety old log and keeping my balance while trying to get near the ground.


It was worth it, because I ended up with a shot I really liked. The mushroom looks like a fortune cookie to me!


This mushroom and the one above it were both growing out of dried up logs that were lying on the ground.


I didn't know what the above photo would look like while I was taking it. This was another precarious shot where I was trying to get near the ground without touching any suspicious plants. I put my camera under the mushroom and just snapped away.


I want to stick some googly eyes on this one, because it looks like it's grinning with a mouthful of sharp teeth.


I have no idea what this fungus is.


Here's another one. They're just growing directly from the tree bark.


I was so happy with how the light was hitting this little mushroom. It looked like a fairy's umbrella to me.


This is the shell of a Beech Nut. It looks like it should be saying "Feed me Seymour!" These were scattered around the ground, as were the Beech Nuts themselves. I guess the little forest animals like to eat those.


I'm not sure if it's just me, but this old rotting piece of wood looked like a skull. That's what I saw right away when I spotted it. You have to imagine a skull that's lying on its side.


On exiting the forest, we came to a tree that was freshly cut and leaking sap. I could smell it and it smelled lightly piney. I know those look like drips of clear water, but they're actually drips of sap!


It probably looks like the drips are in the process of dripping, but they were just suspended there. There wasn't any sap movement that I could see.

If there are any mushroom experts out there who know what kind of mushrooms I photographed, please let me know! This was the first time I'd seen a few of these.

I ran into an interesting page full of old mushroom stories and superstitions: Mushroom Magic and Folklore
There's a little there about "Fairy Rings" - those circles of mushrooms you find growing in nature. I saw one of those once and it was a pretty cool experience.

There are more mushroom videos that you can imagine on YouTube, but this is such a classic! The forest magic and dancing mushrooms of Fantasia:


  1. Fabulous photos! That piece of wood does look like a skull! I also love that mushroom with the big grin. Yep, he definitely needs some eyes. :)

  2. Fantastic photos as always! What kind of camera are you using?

  3. Little Gothic Horrors ~ Thanks! :) So, I'm not the only one who sees that skull. It just seems that some of us are more prone to seeing faces and objects in nature. That toothy mushroom is actually inspiring me to create something...

    Dex ~ Thank you! :) It's so funny that you mention my camera, because I was thinking I needed a new one. I've had this one forever. It's a Canon PowerShot SD600. It works nicely for those up-close detail shots, but the light has to be just right. Low light and scenes at dusk are tricky with this camera. I have to work hard to get a non-fuzzy shot at those times. Otherwise, it has worked well for me!

  4. I LOVE photographing mushrooms! I actually took some shots of pretty yellow ones the other day ;) And you're right, it's always a precarious process! lol But you got some beautiful shots!
    You should totally bring some googley eyes with you next time and randomly leave them on mushrooms. ;) Imagine other hiker's surprise upon seeing them :) Great post, as always ;)

  5. Countess ~ Cool! I'd love to see some of your mushroom photos. If you get a chance, could you please email me some? I'm not sure if I've ever seen a yellow mushroom before.

    What a funny idea! I know I'd get a smile out of finding a googly-eyed mushroom in the middle of the woods. :) Sometimes I've been out for a walk in nature and run across a little piece of nature art. I'm remembering a time when I found rock sculptures (made from piled rocks) lining a river. It would be a lot of fun to run across a fairy door without expecting to see one. I know some people make those lovely little doors and leave them next to public buildings or trees as a surprise for passersby.

    Thanks! I'm glad you enjoyed this one. :)

  6. Amazing shots, Justine! I inoculated some logs in my yard with mushrooms. Hoping to grow some this year. Lovely.

  7. Pensive Pumpkin ~ Thanks! :) That's cool! What kind of mushrooms are you growing? From what I saw in the woods, logs love mushrooms!

  8. Magikalseasons ~ Thanks! :) I suspected you were a mushroom lover from seeing your profile pic and your creations! I didn't know I was a mushroom lover until taking these photos. They are such an interesting part of nature, and there are so many different variations they can come in!

  9. I like the "grinning" mushroom...

  10. Dr. Theda ~ I like the grinning mushroom too, even though he looks a little menacing. :)

  11. Awwww! I haven't watched Fantasia for about 10 years! That little clip of the dancing mushrooms made me smile! So cute!

    I remember during my crazy Runescape obsession, there was fairy rings which you walked into and teleported away to a different location :D haha!

    Those pictures you took look so professional! All the different angles you created are great, you definitely got up close and personal!

    I thought of a grinning mouth full of sharp teeth when I saw the 5th picture down too and the little shop of horrors sprung to mind also! :D ~♥~

  12. Bella Morte ~ Aren't they sweet? I haven't watched Fantasia in forever either. My cousin recently sent me a photo of a painting he made from that part of the movie. So his dancing mushroom painting was my inspiration for adding that video clip. :)

    I think I've heard of Runescape, but I had to google it to be sure of what it is. I'm probably the last person in the world to find out. :) Nice web site for the game anyway! Hmm... So maybe the next time I see a fairy ring, I should jump in the middle of it and see what happens!

    Thanks. :) I was really happy with these photos. I'm surprised they turned out, because it was quite a process taking them. I was trying to stay balanced on a rotting log and not touch any weird plants, insects, or the mushrooms themselves. You never know what might bite you or leave a rash! For all I know, some of these mushrooms might be poisonous. I like to get up close and personal with my photos. Sometimes, I see details in the pictures that I never saw in real life. My own eyes aren't capable of seeing the tiny hairs on a tomato for instance.

    Yeah, I half expected some of these mushrooms and beechnut shells to start talking. :)

  13. Wonderful photos! I just love Mushrooms! And I do see the Skull! Did you see the face in the second picture of the dripping sap from the cut limb? A wonderful trip indeed! :0)

  14. Pumpkin Cottage ~ It really was! I love taking walks in the woods, and it was exciting to see all these new mushrooms. There's probably always something new to see, if you take the time to look around!

    Jeanne ~ Thank you! :) Yeah, mushrooms are fun. There are so many different varieties to look for. Cool! I'm starting to think that I'm far from alone in spotting that skull. I didn't see the face in the tree, but someone else emailed me about it too! I now see the eyes, nose and smiley mouth above the dripping. It's pretty happy looking!