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.
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:
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.