Monday, August 4, 2014

Looking For Waterfalls, Finding Mushrooms

Courtney and I took a hike on the lower end of the Flat Laurel Creek trail yesterday afternoon. I had read that there were three waterfalls along this trail, and with the unusually mild for August weather, it seemed like a good opportunity for a Sunday afternoon hike. I was also looking for an excuse to try out a new handheld GPS I had just bought.

The waterfalls turned out to be fairly unspectacular. The high overcast that makes for good waterfall lighting eventually turned to broken clouds and periods of bright sunlight. That's better for hiking, but terrible for waterfall photography. The contrast that occurs around waterfalls in bright sunlight is more than any digital sensor or film can handle. You end up with impenetrable shadows and/or blown out highlights. No amount of Photoshop magic can make it look right. It's always best to go back early in the morning, or wait for an overcast day.

Even though my hopes for some good waterfall photos were dashed, I did find some beautiful mushrooms along the trail. I know nothing about mushroom identification, so I have no idea what species these two are, or if they are edible or not. I just know I love the colors. The problem with mushroom photography is you have to lay on the ground to get down to their level. Since they usually grow in somewhat damp areas, getting a little wet and dirty is the price you will pay. On the positive side, mushrooms don't sway in the breeze like most other plants in the wild!

If anyone knows what species these are, let us know. (Click on photos to enlarge.)

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