True Nature Tales: Woodland Stroll


Coral Fungus & Christmas Berry Bouquet
(Click on photographs to view bigger.)

Having requested Mt. Tamalpais to be my photographic muse for thus a few years, and having put closure (or one thing near that) on these years of inspiration by making a ebook with a lot of my favourite photographs (which I lately up to date), I felt prefer it was time to present it a relaxation. Onerous to imagine that was round six years in the past. Since then I have been climbing extra with my spouse as an alternative of specializing in images, though I nonetheless run a few path cameras, and naturally the smartphone/digicam at all times comes alongside on our hikes. I additionally wish to trip as much as Mt. Tam on my ebike when it is time to inspect the path cams, one thing I began doing early within the pandemic when the mountain was closed to vehicles.

Madrone Berries in Mushroom Cap Bowl

So yesterday I drove up with my digicam gear to poke round within the woods, partly impressed by a ebook I simply completed studying for the second time, known as The Invention of Nature – Alexander von Humboldt’s New World, by Andrea Wulf. Humboldt collected sufficient pure historical past information throughout his five-year journey to generate a lifetime of books, research, and lectures on what he discovered. He impressed a youthful Darwin to set sail on the Beagle, and he impressed Thoreau to make Walden a basic of literature as an alternative of a dry tally of observations.

Silvery Madrone Leaf

I picked up certainly one of Humboldt’s books, Views of Nature, however have not begun studying it but. I am hoping to search out some inspiration in there for once I ultimately return to running a blog extra frequently. In any occasion, I started my stroll within the Tamalpais woods beneath a cover of madrones. The forest flooring was suffering from leaves and numerous berries, most of which have been already fading to black as chemistry and forest decomposers went to work on them. I’ve seen flocks of band-tailed pigeons feeding on madrone berries previously, however I questioned in regards to the seeming overproduction of fruit as I stood in a forest with no obvious birds round. Simply the sound of sunshine rain putting leaves within the cover above and on the bottom at my ft.

Grandfather Oak Lined With Moss

I used to be glad I would introduced an umbrella, and in addition that I would dressed extra warmly than I do once I’m climbing. Even so, after a couple of hours of poking round, with knees good and muddied, I used to be chilled to the bone. I considered Humboldt and his love for information and chided myself for forgetting to carry a thermometer.

Faerie Cave

A digicam generally is a fantastic instrument for gathering scientific information, however I confess to being extra within the subjective enterprise of recording inside impressions. The emerald-colored cave above struck me straight away, however I solely needed to make one {photograph} within the massive group of mossy boulders, so I set down my digicam gear and walked round to see if another a part of the jumble would name even louder. None did.

Moss and Lichen Colonizing a Rock

However the moss wasn’t carried out with me but! As I continued on my wander of surprise I used to be once more drawn to a mossy landscape-in-miniature. All these unbelievable life types, and all metabolizing in excessive gear, doing all the required work of rising, discovering safety, and casting the following technology into the world, whereas the rain lasts.

Witch’s Butter

There are two completely different species known as witch’s butter, and in accordance with California Mushrooms (Desjardins, et al.) the 2 will not be carefully associated. After I noticed this still-fresh-looking specimen I needed to {photograph} it in a means that might present which species that is. I remembered that Tremella aurantia is a parasite on Stereum hirsutum and needed to incorporate each species within the shot. The factor is, I am unsure I’ve truly carried out that right here since I do not know certainly that the considerably decayed, leafy fruitbodies subsequent to the witch’s butter are literally Stereum. I additionally did not keep in mind to strive to determine if the department of wooden it is rising on was Douglas fir or tanoak (the 2 most definitely suspects for softwoood vs. hardwood), which is one other diagnostic attribute to separate Tremella from its distant cousin Dacrymyces chrysospermus.

Amanita Cleansed of Her Warts

I believe that is both Amanita gemmata or one thing near it, regardless of the dearth of veil remnant “warts” on its cap. An in depth examination does present faint white dots on the cap. I determine the warts have been washed off in all of the rain. I used to be within the scrape mark on the cap. Was it created by a passing banana slug? Or did it one way or the other get scraped by bark because the mushroom pressured its means up from its thready mycelial origin beneath the forest duff? If I lean towards the slug scrape, I ponder why so little was eaten. I ponder if a slug senses a chemical response that warns it off a doubtlessly toxic meal.

Turkey Tails

I lately discovered a beautiful fruiting of turkey tails on a hike with my spouse alongside the aspect of Bolinas Ridge, and naturally I took an image with my digicam telephone, however I hoped to search out one thing simply as good with my DSLR. I did not see something as large as that, however this patch rising out the tip of a fallen department was contemporary sufficient and simply large enough to entice me. I am unsure what the reddish tinge on the wooden comes from, nevertheless it jogs my memory of a photograph I took of a purple droplet hanging from a fungus that my botany instructor at Santa Barbara Metropolis School additionally thought was curious, and he merely known as it “some form of metabolic byproduct.” Mushroom poop.

Summary on Madrone

These patterns of bark jogged my memory of Kandinsky work for some cause. I’ve photographed this similar stand of madrones a number of instances. In the summertime the bark that is tan on this view generally turns inexperienced. Moss tries to colonize madrone however can solely preserve a foothold till the outer layer of bark peels off. 

Summary #2

With so many potential compositions, I made a decision, as I did again on the mossy boulder area, to restrict myself to just some. I used to be additionally near shivering by this time and was wanting to get again to the automotive. I loved getting out to do some images with my DSLR as soon as once more since it has been awhile, and I appreciated having extra time than I take whereas climbing to ponder the lifetime of the woods—what it means to me spiritually in addition to its energy to enliven my curiosity about its fascinating intricacies—that’s the subject material for any nature photographer.

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