The Astonishing Biodiversity of Fungi Blooms in Max Mudie’s Macro Photographs
“I’m not the first person to say it, and I’m not going to be the last, but when you find out how integral fungi are to our existence, it makes everything else feel insignificant,” says Max Mudie, whose foraging expeditions reveal the otherworldly elegance, diversity, and minutiae of the myriad denizens of the “wood wide web.” Documenting a range of fungi and slime molds living in the U.K., the Sussex-based photographer is fascinated by the sheer breadth of colors, sizes, and textures he encounters in both rural and urban spaces. “I like to try and find as many species as possible,” he tells Colossal. “The more obscure, the better.”
Mudie’s lifelong love for mushrooms blossomed when he moved back to a rural area around five years ago, and he couldn’t resist the opportunity to forage, document, and cultivate specimens. He regularly joins a local group of amateur mycologists on walks to find and identify different types, and a recent highlight included documenting a bioluminescent species. Even with more than 140,000 types of fungi on record around the world, new discoveries are made all the time. He loves the thrill of stumbling across species that are rare or aren’t listed in textbooks, which requires some sleuthing and team effort to identify. “I feel like I’ve barely scratched the surface of such a vast subject,” he says. “Many species out there are yet to be described, meaning there’s lots of work to be done—making this, for me, one of the most exciting subjects to focus on.”
In many cases, the specimens Mudie encounters are so tiny that powerful macro lenses are required to capture their intricate details. He often shares behind-the-scenes footage of his finds on Instagram, where you can also follow updates about upcoming print releases and events.
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Moss Drapes from Trees in Ethereal Photographs of England’s Forests by Neil Burnell
England has long been a haven for rich woodlands of oak, birch, hazel, and pine, chronicled in famous stories like Robin Hood’s Sherwood Forest or the real-life 11th century king William the Conqueror, who established a “Forest Law” that claimed woodlands as hunting grounds for kings. In the 19th and 20th centuries, native forests were increasingly transformed into pasture for grazing livestock, replaced with modern developments, or re-planted with commercial timber. The remarkable atmosphere of Dartmoor’s forests are captured by Devon-based photographer Neil Burnell (previously), who focuses on the mystical, otherworldly environments through all four seasons.
Burnell was inspired as a child by a visit to Wistman’s Wood, a remote, upland area of old, gnarled oak. “Little was I to know the lasting impression this would leave me with as a young lad, as I find myself re-imagining how I felt, and how I could spread this awe and wonder through my passion for photography,” he explains. Although Dartmoor National Park currently advises that visitors avoid walking through Wistman’s Wood to allow it to heal from damage caused during lockdowns, Burnell’s images offer a glimpse of moss-coated limbs and fern-covered forest floors that seem to freeze time. He also visits dense stands of conifers, with canopies that create dreamlike effects as they block the sunlight from reaching the ground below.
Burnell often teaches workshops around South West England that focus on nature and landscape photography, which you can learn more about on his website. You can also find more of his work on Behance.
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Enchanting Photos Frame Meandering Industrial Relics Along Taipei’s Jianqing Historic Trail
The Taipingshan National Forest Recreation Area in northern Yilan is one of Taipei’s prized ecological destinations for its mist-covered scenery and lush vegetation that thrives in the dewy environment. It’s also home to Jianqing Historic Trail, a winding pathway that follows abandoned sections of railways and crumbling trestles that are relics of the region’s past as a major logging hub. Taiwanese photographer Masuki Rina visited the overgrown tracks to document its ethereal and enchanting atmosphere in a captivating series, which shows fog hanging over the landscape, moss covering wooden ballasts, and foliage sprouting from nearly every inch of the frame.
Rina shot dozens of images from the trail, which she shares on Behance, along with her other landscape and street photography. (via Plain Magazine)
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A Hazy Stream Drifts Across a Spring Landscape in an Enchanting Series of Long-Exposure Photos
Back in spring, Swiss photographer Jennifer Esseiva visited the remote forests of Vallorbe, Switzerland, as the trees and rugged, wooded terrain emerged from their winter stupor. There she captured the lush mosses and foliage that cloaked the area in a thick blanket of greenery and the recently thawed stream flowing through its midst. Now compiled in an enchanting series aptly titled Fairyland, the ethereal, long-exposure photos depict the trickling body of water as a hazy fog that clings to the landscape.
Esseiva plans to revisit the dreamy location this winter after snowfall, so keep an eye on her site and Instagram for updates. (via Moss and Fog)
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An Eerie, Fairytale Forest and Silhouette Creatures Sprawl Across a Three-Story Mural by David de la Mano
Set against a forest in shades of blue and white, a dark, twisted fairytale lines the entrance hall of the Catholic University of Uruguay. The three-story mural by David de la Mano is titled “Cosmos” and uses the Spanish artist’s signature silhouette figures and thin, branch-like lines to create a sinister narrative consumed by mystery and disorder: hybrid creatures escape down a stairwell, an army marches along the balcony, and myriad characters twist and flail in chaotic clusters.
Completed with the assistance of artist Andrés Cocco, the large-scale piece is derived from the shared etymological root of “university” and “universe,” which means a totality or everything that exists. “Cosmos” evokes Fernando Gallego’s 15th-Century painting of constellations and the zodiac that once cloaked a vaulted ceiling at the University of Salamanca library in de la Mano’s hometown, although this new iteration is devoid of stars. “It is a work full of mystery… There is my own iconography. There is the idea of migration, a constant in my work from years ago,” the artist says in a statement. “The stars were replaced by two forests. There is a dark forest that does not let you see, and there is a clear forest in which the light comes.”
After spending years in Uruguay, de la Mano is back in Salamanca, and you can follow his works on Instagram.
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Sunlight Filters through Misty Spruce Forests in Enchanting Photos by Kilian Schönberger
In 2020 alone, a combination of droughts and a raging bark beetle infestation spurred by the climate crisis diminished Germany’s spruce tree population by record numbers. The European nation lost an estimated 4.3 percent of the evergreen species, which tend to grow in both commercial and naturally established forests in the Bavarian Alps and along the southeastern border. Photographer Kilian Schönberger (previously) visited these regions in the early part of 2021 to shed light on the enchanting beauty of the wooded areas that are undergoing substantial transformations.
Endorsement for Spruce Forests captures the species’ ethereal nature as sunlight filters through fog and morning mist, casting a warm candy-colored glow on the landscape. Pink light illuminates the barren branches that splay outward alongside trees covered in needles, while other shots show the rough, labyrinth-like paths that wind through the hilly terrain. Despite their durable material, the spruce take on a delicate, gentle quality in Schönberger’s photos, which are informed by his understanding of the trees’ natural rhythms:
Huge woods were destroyed by the bark beetle within a few weeks. Since the lowlands are not the natural habitat of the spruce the bark beetles just restored the balance of nature… In the Eastern Bavarian mountain ranges with higher precipitation, I was looking for natural spruce forests and found a wood wonderland. That’s the area where almost homogeneous spruce forests will also grow in the next decades.
Schönberger frequently travels from his home in the Bavarian Alps across Europe, and you can follow his adventures on Instagram. Prints of Endorsement for Spruce Forests are also available on his site.
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