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Welcome to Life Images by Jill.........Stepping into the light and bringing together the images and stories of our world.
I am a photographer, writer and multi-media artist. Through my blog I am
seeking to preserve images and memories of the beautiful world in which we live and the people in it.

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Monday, 24 May 2021

The amazing bioluminescent green Ghost Fungi

 Hi everyone. I hope you and yours are safe and well. It is late autumn here and the last few days have been wet and cold, so winter is on its way. 

Have you heard of the ghost fungi? I have photographed it before, but didn't know it's name and its unique characteristics until a couple of weeks ago. 

In fact it wasn't until I won the Dardanup Art Spectacular photography prize with this photo, you can see below, of a fungi that I took last year, that a fellow photographer told me it was a ghost fungi.  My original photo is on the left, and my adjusted, winning, photo is on the right. 


A large fungi, growing in overlapping clusters, they are found in southern Australia, and in our area grow around the base or on the trunks of Australian native peppermint trees (
Agonis flexuosa), the fungi — omphalotus nidiformis — are bioluminescent, meaning they emit light.  from: Abc.net.au

Western Australian Aboriginal people referred to the ghost fungus as Chinga, meaning spirit. From: The Conversation.com

24-7 they glow a soft white light which you can see at night, but during the day you can't see this. It is at night when you use a slow shutter speed on your camera that you can capture the luminescent green light they emit. Truly amazing. These fungi were at my son's small acreage. 

How to capture this? You will have to go out at night, need a tripod or solid base to sit your camera and a remote shutter release cable. As these fungi typically grow close to the ground (though I have seen them in trees too), in order to see the underside I laid my camera on the ground. In fact I laid on the ground too. 

You will need to use manual settings and a slow shutter speed. 
According to my friend, I needed an exposure of 3 and a half minutes. I couldn't manage that with my camera (I've researched later how to do this). But I did manage to capture the green with a less slow shutter speed.

These are the settings I used: Aperture f6.3, ISO 640, Shutter speed 30 seconds. 
I laid my camera on the ground, shone a torch on the fungi, focussed the camera on the fungi, half pressed the remote shutter button, turned the light off, and then fully depressed the remote shutter button. The remote release is so you don't get camera shake from pressing the shutter button. 

The focus on this one is a bit out. It's tricky. I certainly need more practise. 

If you don't turn off the torch quick enough you will get something like this you see below. There is a bit of trial and error involved!


This one below I think was affected by moonlight filtering through the trees, whereas the first green one I shared was on the dark side of the trees, so much better colour. 


Focus is out, a bit blurry, and I didn't quite turn the torch off quick enough. 


Truly fascinating and worth playing some more another time. I am really looking forward to my next opportunity to photograph these at night. Unfortunately the fungi around here are collapsing and so just about finished for the year. So will make a note for next year. 

Why do they glow? Some scientists have hypothesised that the light attracts insects that spread mushrooms spores, but a 2016 study found this not to be the case with ghost mushrooms.

Ghost mushrooms are both parasitic, feeding off living tree tissue, and saprotrophic, meaning they eat dead things, in this case rotting wood.

Highly toxic, so please DON'T eat! 

Western Australian Peppermint trees where I found my ghost fungi

More information at:

Thank you so much for stopping by. Have you heard of ghost fungi before? 

I value your comments and look forward to hearing from you. I will try to visit your blogs in return. Have a wonderful week. 
I am linking up to the link-ups below. Please click on the links to see fabulous contributions from around the world - virtual touring at its best!
   

All Seasons
MosaicMonday at Letting Go of the Bay Leaf
Sharon's Sovenirs 
Our World Tuesday
Pictorial Tuesday 
ThroughMy Lens 
Image-in-ing
My corner of the world through my camera 
Wednesday Around the World at Communal Global hosted by Randomosity. 
       and Little bird - Pienilintu
Thankful Thursday 
Der-Natur-Thursday 
The Lovin' Life Team over at: Deep Fried Fruit
 Month end link up @ Live love craft me
Hello there! I love reading your comments. If you scroll down to the bottom you can comment too! I would love to hear from you.

10 comments:

  1. Your photos are amazing! And it's so interesting and intriguing! So much in nature we don't understand and never fully appreciate! Thanks for sharing!

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  2. Glowing fungi! Wow! We get something in Oregon coastal waters that is bioluminescent. I have not seen it yet.

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  3. Jill this is all so wonderful! I am nothing but a point-and-shooter and really don't understand a thing about the camera settings but I loved the post because the pictures are stunning and just knowing that these amazing ghost fungi exist is a wonderful thing. I appreciate your research (and your photography talents as always). Also it is just so fun to know that you took the first beautiful prize winning picture and then found out from that about its amazing properties. What an unexpected gift! Thanks for sharing it.

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  4. Wow, Jill, this is amazing. I am familiar with bioluminescence, but I associate with critters in the ocean!!! We are never too old to learn something new, or photograph something new, even if it means getting on the ground! Thanks so much for a double whammy this week - the photos and the photography lesson! Love having you at Mosaic Monday!

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  5. I wouldn't know whee to start to take s photograph like that so I stand back in admiration. They are beautiful ages of this unusual fungi.

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  6. So sorry Jill about all the typos!!

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  7. Wow, this is fascinating! And I admire your photography skill - your winning photo is fantastic

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  8. The things I learn! Great images.

    So happy to see your link at 'My Corner of the World' this week!

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  9. It is like a flower from another planet.

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  10. Beautifully captured images! Some of them seem surreal! I always look at Mushrooms on my early morning walks on misty mornings and wonder if they are edible, but never brave enough to just give them a go, although as a child in England we would regularly go 'mushrooming' in the early mornings in search of a hearty breakfast!

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