It’s all About the Mushroom

Anne Bonfert

And all of a sudden they are everywhere

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Mushrooms. Everybody knows them, yet rarely anyone really knows what they are. Some are edible. Some only once. They look pretty in nature. But don’t touch them if you’re not an expert.

Advice from a mushroom:
Be down to earth
Keep a low profile
Know when to show up
Start from the ground up
Be a fun-guy!
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Food

I never used to eat mushrooms. I would pick them out of every meal if I had to. And then I don’t know what happened or when it happened. It must have been somewhere during my years of living in Africa. The change.

I add mushrooms to pretty much any meal I am cooking today. Literally. I love mushrooms. Now. All of a sudden.

Pasta with bacon and mushrooms.
Meatballs with mashed potatoes and mushroom sauce.
Stew with potatoes, cauliflower, and mushrooms.
Mushroom soup.
Pizza with ham and mushrooms.
Mushrooms with bacon, cheese, and onions grilled on the fire.

I tried to come up with a dish that doesn’t go with mushrooms. But I couldn’t find one. However, as much as I love eating them I have no knowledge about them. I don’t know which mushrooms grow where. How I can spot the edible ones and which ones look similar but poisonous.

I just buy them on the market or in the shop. In Thailand, Namibia, or Germany. Whatever mushrooms they offer. I’ll cook with them.

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Poison

There is only one mushroom I do recognize. That is the Amanita Muscaria. In German called “Fliegenpilz”. A poisonous one. Its bright color always reminds me not to touch it. Yet someone could not hesitate and took a bite of it. It might have been some snails creeping along the forest floor. I wonder how they are doing now.

The indigenous people of Siberia actually used this specific mushroom to receive and explore spiritual experiences.

Some mushrooms are still used for the same reason. As a drug. To get this spiritual experience that occurs due to food poisoning. But you need to know which mushroom to take and in what quantity. I definitely do not recommend it since I have no knowledge about it.

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Location

Mushrooms love moisture. A wet forest floor covered in moss and slowly rotting leaves is a perfect place to let a mushroom grow. They also often appear on old tree stems covered in moss.

Wherever lots of moisture is saved up is a good living ground for them. They love and need moisture in order to flourish. That is why the German autumn is the perfect time to flourish. It’s cold and wet.

I never used to really pay attention to mushrooms in the mountains or in the forest. Maybe because I didn’t like eating them. But now it is different. I pay attention to every detail on the forest floor.

The strength lies in the details.
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Variety

I am also impressed by how many different types of mushrooms I do encounter on two single hikes through the forest. Some of them look very similar, others have nothing in common with the ones I spotted before.

A few mushrooms look like the ones I cook with. Yet I do not dare to touch them. I do know how similar poisonous ones usually look like. Trying to imitate the edible ones.

I rather just look at them. Take a photograph. Embrace their beauty.

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Camouflage

A few mushrooms you can see from far. Even in dense undergrowth in the forest. But others have such a good camouflage that you could walk past right them without noticing.

Like this tiny one for example. The tiny black stem looks just like a branch. And the head of the mushroom has the color of the forest floor. Brown like the dead leaves covering the ground.

A shiny blaze appears on its surface due to the rain.

And that is why I almost stepped on this one. Just look at the photograph. Did you spot the mushroom immediately? I’m sure it took you a while to make it out. Surrounded by autumns' forest floor. Branches, leaves in yellow and brown, beech-nuts and other seeds fallen from the trees are covering the soil.

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Photography is an art

“You don’t take a photograph, you make it.” — Ansel Adams

On the search for something worth capturing I explore the world. I embrace nature looking around for the small things out there. Trivial objects are being looked at from different perspectives in order to make a great photograph out of it.

I really enjoy capturing nature’s beauty. To show the world how amazing mother nature is. How nature is thriving where we still allow it. We all just need to make ourselves aware of it again. The importance of nature. For us.

I used to take all my photographs with a DSLR camera. But everyone knows how heavy and bulky it is. Sometimes I just don’t feel like taking it with. I don’t want to carry a backpack with me or have the camera in my hand.

Then I just take my GoPro with me. It fits in every pocket and is barely noticeable. Yet I can take high-quality photographs with it and take videos at the same time. But it is not the same. There is no zoom on the GoPro. I have one frame to work with. And it is true the GoPro does take great photographs. In good weather conditions. On dark and misty days it looks a bit different.

Still better than not having a chance to capture these magnificent mushrooms. The last pictures were all taken with my GoPro. I still experiment with it in order to find out how close I can go to an object.

The results aren’t bad. But you can see a huge difference in the photographs taken with my Canon camera. But as I said. Sometimes in life, you have to make a compromise. And this is one of those situations. I don’t think it’s a bad one.

“A photograph is the pause button of life.” — Ty Holland
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These mushrooms overgrown by moss have been once again almost been overlooked by my eyes. Searching for wildlife in the undergrowth and watching squirrels chasing each other took away my focus.

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Embracing nature’s beauty

And this was another day and another article about embracing nature’s beauty. I simply love being out there. In the forest. Surrounded by birds chirping, cracking branches, and leaves rustling in the wind.

Roundup

If you like eating mushrooms like I do but have no knowledge about them then just buy them from the stores. To embrace them in a nature walk in the forest and simply look at them. Take photographs or just embrace their beauty.

Mushrooms are amazing if you think about it what they can give us. But be careful with picking them if you’re not an expert.

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I am a traveler. Photographer. Writer. Teacher. Skydiving instructor. Adventure enthusiast. Nature lover. And fell in love with the African continent. My stories go around travel, nature and all kinds of adventurous activities.

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