• John Nat Arifin

Photographing Fungi in Rainforest of South-East Asia.

Photographing Fungi in Rainforest of South-East Asia.

The Beautiful And Magical Kingdom of Fungi

Photographing Fungi in Rainforest South-East Asia

Photographing Fungi in Southeast Asia

Fungi growing on a piece of dead branch that we discovered while hiking on the forest trail. Picture was taken in Gunung Gede National Park Indonesia.

Many of us would have encountered fungi in our lives either through our favorite cream of mushroom soup or the moulds that grow on a piece of stale bread. Fungus is a simple fast-growing type of plant such as mushroom or mould. While some fungi are edible, others can be poisonous or deadly. Fungi come in various colours, shapes and sizes. I spend many years hunting and

Photographing fungi in Rainforest of South-East Asia especially during the wet season. Equipped with simple photographic equipment and a tripod, I enjoyed photographing fungi in South-East Asia. Here are images of different fungi from Indonesia and Singapore.

Fungi in Rainforest of South-East Asia is everywhere Fungi are distributed all over the world, especially in moist regions. They grow rapidly in warm and humid conditions. In South East Asia, many of the fungi species have yet to be discovered by man and science. It is not easy to identify them because there are too many species and they have very short life span.

What is the role of fungi? Fungi have important roles in many aspects of our daily lives. However, there are ailments caused by fungi such as ringworm, athlete’s foot and other skin diseases. On the other hand, certain fungi are also used extensively to fight disease and infections. The best-known antibiotic is Penicillin derived from a fungal mould called Penicillium and used against bacterial infections.  We have also derived other benefits of fungi for the fermentative production of food and beverages such as cheese, beer and wine with the yeast-fungi. In nature, fungi breaks down dead plants and animal matter to help recycle important chemical elements such as carbon and nitrogen back into nature for living plants to grow.

When and where to look for fungi? Fungi usually appear days after a very heavy and continuous rain. To look for it you must start early in the morning while cool mist is still lingering on the ground. The most exciting thing in finding fungi in the wild is discovering them in places where you never expect them.

Are fungi in South-East Asia edible?

While many of us think of fungi as delicacies to be consumed, not all fungi are edible, even if they look similar. You should not touch or disturb wild fungi. The next time you walk through the forest, keep an eye on the decaying branches and leaves as you may be pleasantly surprised and thrilled by the beautiful and magical kingdom of fungi. I enjoyed photographing fungi in South-East Asia.

How to photograph fungi?

Fungi usually grows in very dark and damp places where lighting is poor and defused. They normally grow on the grown where you have to be on your knees. The most common mistake in photographing fungi outdoor is the use of a single flash to illuminate the fungi. Direct flash photography gives a very harsh lighting with lots of shadows. It is advisable to use natural light and reflectors to light up the dim area. Using tripod and natural light is the best way to capture fungi in the natural environment.  A macro lens had the advantage in focusing close-up but the wide angles have pictorial advantage in showing the environmentThe lenses that I used were 24-50mm for the environment shots or 100mm for close-up and macro photography. Here are images of fungi that I photographed in Rainforest of South-East Asia.

Photographing Fungi in Southeast Asia

Fungi of Cookenia family has attractive colour. Picture was taken in the rain forest of Ujung Kulon National Park, Indonesia

Fungi Nature PHotography SIngapore--3

An entire colony of Bracket Fungi (Ganodermataceae family) growing on dead tree trunks in the rain forest. Picture was taken in Bukit Timah Nature Reserve Singapore

Fungi Nature PHotography SIngapore--4

Bird ‘s Nest Fungi shaped like a bird nest usually growing on the forest floor. The hollow cup containing small “seeds”-which are called spores, resembling a small bird’s nest with eggs. The spores are easily splashed out of the cup by rain drops onto the surroundings. Picture was taken in Bukit Timah Nature Reserve Singapore

Fungi Nature PHotography SIngapore-1-2

Marasmius. This is one of the small mushrooms with the stalk as thin as our hair. Notice that two of them are growing on dead leaves on the forest floor. Picture was taken in Bukit Timah Nature Reserve Singapore.

Fungi Nature PHotography SIngapore-1

The Stink Horn fungi (Phallaceae family) have unpleasant smell that attracts flies and subsequently help to disperse the spores. Notice the white “veil” growing under the cap. Picture was taken in Singapore Botanic Gardens


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