In the presence of angels

On a recent Sunday afternoon, Marty and I took a gaggle of photo-friends on our boat to a small island, an hour’s run from downtown Kodiak. Once anchored, we piled into the inflatable skiff with our tripods and camera bags and hit the beach to hike among Sitka spruce trees, dripping with moss and September rains.

Kodiak, Alaska, photography, workshops, puffin, dinner cruises

Our boat, the M/V Sea Breeze, at anchor in a quiet lagoon near Kodiak, Alaska. We use our trusty vessel for wildlife viewing trips, photo workshops and gourmet dinner cruises.

Most of the group took off to the north in the direction of sea lions that gather on barnacled rocks. My friend Pam and I had smaller ideas: Autumn is mushroom season and we were anxious to explore the mossy understory.

While I was looking forward to an afternoon of picture taking, I was also hoping to hoof the trails for a cardio workout. But within minutes of entering the forest, I spotted a huddle of celestial white mushrooms growing sideways along the side of a fallen log.

“Hey Pam, what are these ‘shrooms?”

“I think they’re angel wings,” she called out from behind a stump.

When I knelt down for a closer look, I noticed how the light, filtering through the trees, illuminated the mushrooms from within, like alabaster wall sconces.

The angel wings were in perfect condition; yet to be discovered by curious, nibbling creatures. I set up my tripod and took a variety of exposures on either side of the “correct” exposure. Later, at my computer, I worked in layers within Photoshop to emphasize–ever so slightly–some of the magical inner glow enhancing Nature’s own composition; a delight to work with. Here is the final result:

Angel Wings, Pleurocybella porrigens, mushrooms

Angel Wings (Pleurocybella porrigens) are favorites of wild mushroom hunters, if nothing else just for their beauty.

After we returned home, I connected with my friend Natasha who had been foraging for wild mushrooms that same afternoon. “I will bring some by for dinner.”

I was delighted when she arrived with a container of angel wings! We sautéed the tender mushrooms in olive oil and served them with roasted squash and salmon.


Welcome fall.

mushrooms, chives, recipe, angel wings

Beautiful, delicate and tasty: Wild angel wings, sautéed in olive oil, and seasoned with salt, pepper and sprinkled with garden chives.

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4 Responses to In the presence of angels

  1. Eva says:

    Lovely photo and story – makes me hungry for the yummy delights of your recipe : )

    • marionowen says:

      Thanks Eva. Angel Wing mushrooms are very yummy; plus, they don’t wither and lose a lot of moisture while cooking. You need to wash them gently, though. Happy shrooming, and thanks for you comment!

  2. Linda says:

    O wow- how beautiful they are. I love what you can do with your camera and your magic fingers. I would love to taste your masterpiece.
    I am still in love with the beautiful pictures you took of the snowflakes! You are one to “capture the magic” that others never notice or even care about. Thank you for sharing.

    • marionowen says:

      You are most welcome, Linda. I guess what is most appropriate for me to say, is thanks for NOTICING and CARING to share you thoughts. I have more posts coming… stand by! Cheers, Marion

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