Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Book Review #6

(Image found at foragerpress)

This weeks book review is David Arora's Mushrooms Demystified. So far all my reviews have been fiction, but I think field guides are just as important in influencing my photography. There is the obvious reason of there being photographs in the book for me to look at, but that is not the main influencing factor.

Field guides are useful in teaching through examination. The book is used to learn and identify by teaching the best ways in which to examine mushrooms. But, to use the book correctly, identifying relies on a lot of studying through drawing, photography, and comparisons of mushrooms. This is where the photography part comes in for me. I'm not very good at drawing, so studying mushrooms that way doesn't work to well for me, but when I use a macro lens on a mushroom and examine every little nook and cranny, I notice details I never would have seen by just studying a mushroom with a naked eye.

Orange milky cap (not really edible)

King Bolete (edible)

Jack-o-lantern (poisonous)

Chantarelle (edible)

I'm excited for fall and to forage again soon, take photos, and maybe try drawing again. I'm in California in the Bay Area so I high-tail it to Santa Cruz during our Fall mushroom season. Where, if you forage, do you go?

(DISCLAIMER: Do not go out, pick a mushroom, and then eat it. Many people every year poison themselves that way. If you find something, study it, and presume it to be edible, you should still contact someone, like a member of the Fungus Federation of Santa Cruz or some other group near you, email them or go to a fungus fair, and have them correctly identify it for you. I am serious. They're are really helpful and love to spread knowledge about mushrooms.)

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