Photographing Glowing Mushrooms in Singapore

Singapore is house to numerous bioluminescent fungi. Out of over 148,000 recognized species of fungi internationally, over 70 of them are recognized to exhibit bioluminescence.

All recognized luminescent species are white-rot fungi, which signifies that it breaks down lignin in wooden. Lignin is chargeable for the assist tissues in vegetation and lends rigidity to wooden and bark, which is why timber and logs with white-rot fungi are usually moist, gentle, spongy, or stringy. This wooden decay varieties a important part within the forest’s nutrient cycle.

Why Do Mushrooms Glow?

There are restricted research accomplished to find out the explanations for the glow. Essentially the most generally advised speculation is that the sunshine attracts different invertebrates which assist to disperse its spores. Experiments had been accomplished with plastic mushrooms with and with out lights, the place the one with simulated lights attracted much more bugs. Nonetheless, utilizing plastic mushrooms overlooked many different elements so it was nonetheless inconclusive.

I’ve had numerous readers asking which UV mild I used for the pictures on this put up. Please be aware that the bioluminescence is of course occurring and doesn’t require any UV publicity. We are able to see the glow with our bare eyes!

Which Bioluminescent Fungi Can We Discover in Singapore?

The two mostly sighted species of bioluminescent fungi are Mycena illuminans and Filoboletus manipularis. The flowering our bodies of each species are umbrella-shaped and comparatively small at 1 to 2cm in diameter. Mycena illuminans is gilled and depressed within the middle, whereas Filoboletus manipularis is pitted and has a barely pointed middle. I’ve encountered different species earlier than however had been unable to find out their IDs.

Household: Mycenaceae Overeem (1926)

Mycena illuminans Henn. (1903)
Mycena illuminans Henn. (1903)

Household: Tricholomataceae R.Heim ex Pouzar (1983)

Filoboletus manipularis (Berkeley) Singer, 1945
Filoboletus manipularis (Berkeley) Singer, 1945

Unidentified

Unidentified
Unidentified
Unidentified

Are Bioluminescent Fungi Uncommon?

Bioluminescent fungi are seasonal and have a tendency to flower in the course of the wet season. A pleasant huge cluster with vibrant bioluminescence is taken into account uncommon as most would solely final for a day or two earlier than dropping its glow and wilting. Due to that, we rely closely on sightings amongst mates and pictures from hikers in Fb teams.

How To {Photograph} Bioluminescent Mushrooms

For these new to photographing these wonderful fungi, listed here are some fundamental suggestions.

Tripod. A small tripod is crucial. Most of those fungi are discovered on fallen logs at a low peak, which signifies that a big tripod would prohibit your angle for composition.

Behind the scenes: After a few years of makes an attempt, I’ve discovered to be ready with a chair, and a tiny tripod loaned from Chris.

Cable Shutter Launch. Use a cable to set off the shutter launch, and use the mirror-up mode for DSLRs. This reduces any digicam shake when the shutter button is pressed.

Lens. For giant clusters, convey a wide-angle lens. Typically there might not be sufficient area to place your digicam should you used an extended lens.

Digital camera. A full body digicam can be very useful for clearer pictures at excessive ISO. Sadly, this guidelines out lots of the entry-level cameras.

Settings. I usually use f/8, ISO 1600, 30s. It is going to fluctuate considerably, relying on the brightness of the glow and focal size of the lens used. I’d attempt to keep away from exposures over 30 seconds as that will virtually all the time generate scorching pixels.

Small Group. It might be a lot simpler to {photograph} this with a good friend or two, however not in an enormous group. It’s tough to ask everybody to stay within the darkness for prolonged durations whereas one or two are taking pictures.

Oops. A few years of expertise couldn’t forestall the pants from tearing after squatting in odd positions.

Stray Gentle. Examine for any gear that emits mild as any mild may have an effect on the ensuing publicity. e.g. flash or digicam LEDs, cell phone screens, and so on. That is another excuse for entering into smaller teams.

Bioluminescent Mushrooms Gallery

All through the years, I’ve been on the hunt to {photograph} the biggest and most lovely clusters of bioluminescent mushrooms, envisioning a scene of Pandora from the film Avatar. Right here’s a fast abstract of my sightings thus far.

Mycena illuminans. My first sightings of bioluminescent mushrooms have been with the assistance of James Koh means again in 2012 after I first noticed pictures of them on his weblog. He kindly discovered some for me throughout a hike, and regardless of only a few particular person flowering our bodies, witnessing them for the primary time was actually tough to neglect.
Mycena illuminans. It wasn’t lengthy earlier than I discovered myself caught with these glowing mushrooms, determining totally different compositions to intensify its magnificence.
Mycena illuminans. These fungi are normally discovered on fallen logs. Sometimes we might discover them on upright timber. It normally signifies that the tree is already dying or useless. This cluster has distinctive bioluminescence!
Mycena illuminans. View from under.
Filoboletus manipularis. First time encountering this species. The cap has already misplaced a few of its glow.
Filoboletus manipularis. To assist others visualize this sight, I did an animation to point out how the scene seemed like earlier than and after switching on the lights.
Filoboletus manipularis. Earlier than lengthy, I used to be out in seek for the subsequent greater cluster.
Filoboletus manipularis. I additionally experimented with huge angle pictures to incorporate all the scene into the background.
Filoboletus manipularis. On one event, my mates had discovered an enormous cluster whereas I used to be abroad. I may solely see their pictures and hope that some could be left after I returned house. As quickly as I put down my baggage, I rushed to the spot (received misplaced a couple of instances with varied totally different instructions) however was dissatisfied to search out that the majority of them had wilted. Nonetheless, there have been extra little spots of flowering our bodies popping out! It was like somewhat galaxy of mushrooms.
Filoboletus manipularis. The subsequent big cluster that I encountered was only a few months after the final one. Not the freshest nor brightest, however the largest!
Filoboletus manipularis. Once more, an animation to visualise the scene.
Filoboletus manipularis. I then tried to combine in some mild to seize each the forest and bioluminescence.
Filoboletus manipularis. It was after one other yr earlier than I discovered the subsequent cluster, whereas I used to be reviewing the Laowa 12mm F/2.8 Zero-D lens.
Filoboletus manipularis. I had a bioluminescent mushroom drought for five years and was alerted to a stupendous cluster in some mushroom teams on Fb, due to Bennett Tan. Nonetheless, most of it had already wilted by the point I received there.
Filoboletus manipularis. The final try reignited our curiosity in these shrooms, and with some luck, we discovered the largest and brightest cluster but! Due to Chris for the heads up!
Filoboletus manipularis. Nearer view of the cluster.
Filoboletus manipularis. Animation once more, all the time helps.
Filoboletus manipularis. Fortunately, I had the Laowa 15mm 1:1 macro lens with me. This cluster was barely 30cm from the bottom, so taking pictures of it from under and getting most of it in focus proved to be very difficult.
Filoboletus manipularis. Huge angle shut up from the facet.
Filoboletus manipularis. Lastly, a shot of all the scene with some unintended blue LED publicity from my flashlight’s battery indicator. Appeared fascinating sufficient for me to maintain the picture.

I hope you’ve loved this collection!


In regards to the writer: Nicky Bay is a macro photographer primarily based in Singapore. You could find extra of his work and comply with alongside along with his adventures by way of his website and Flickr photostream. This text was additionally revealed here.

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