slime mold

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Photography Science

Fantastic Macro Photos Reveal the Microscopic World of Mushrooms and Slime Molds

May 10, 2021

Grace Ebert

Lachnum virgineum. All images © Alison Pollack, shared with permission

Alison Pollack’s preferred subjects are the tiny, inconspicuous organisms that are difficult to spot without a trained eye and microscope. The California-based photographer documents the minuscule fungi that spring from leaves and bits of bark with an extreme macro lens, exposing the rarely visible iridescent speckles, pockmarks, and feathered tissues that cover their fruiting bodies. “My goal is to reveal to people tiny mushrooms and slime molds that they might otherwise never see, or may never even have heard of,” she tells Colossal. “And also to reveal the beautiful intricate detail in these organisms.”

Although her earlier images captured the fleshy fungi in spectacular detail, Pollack has spent the last two years getting even closer to her subjects—which are often less than a millimeter tall—by using a microscope lens that magnifies her findings up to 20 times their actual size. The resulting images document even the smallest features, like individual spores, the veiny web structure encasing them, and the distinct texture and color of each organism.

Find Pollack on Instagram and Facebook to see what she spots next and to order prints of her photos. You also might enjoy this documentary about the vast underground network of mycelium that’s tied to all life on Earth.

 

Physarum album

Didymium. All images © Alison Pollack, shared with permission

Top left: Badhamia utricularis. Top right: Typhula on a decomposing leaf. Bottom left: Polycephalomyces tomentosus on Trichia botrytis. Bottom right: Candlesnuff fungus (Xylaria hypoxylon)

Eyelash Cup Fungus (Scutellinia)

Top: Pilobolus. Bottom left: Comatricha. Bottom right: Badhamia utricularis on Stereum

Arcyria pomiformis

Left: Mycena acicula. Right: Lamproderma

Cribraria cancellata

 

 



Photography Science

Self-Taught Nature Photographer Alison Pollack Tracks the Fascinating Fungi of Northern California

March 21, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

Stemonitis

Stemonitis. All photographs by Alison Pollack

Avid photographer and retired environmental consultant Alison Pollack documents the fascinating phenotypes of mushrooms and slime molds she encounters on hikes in northern California. Her images show shaggy white Comb Tooth fungus (Hericium coralloides), Stemonitis slime molds that wouldn’t look out of place on the dessert menu of an experimental restaurant, and Comatricha that bear a strong resemblance to urban lamp posts. Recently, the north Bay Area-based photographer shared with the Marin Independent Journal that she has had a longtime interest in hiking and mushrooming, but has grown more focused on fungi photography in the last two years. You can follow along with Pollock’s findings, and help her identify unknown species, on Instagram.

Hericium coralloides

Chlorociboria aeruginascens

Tyromyces chioneus

Tyromyces chioneus

Hericium erinaceus

L: Comatricha / R: Hemitrichia calyculata

Crepidotus mollis

Physarum viride

Trametes versicolor

Mycena