My mornings are slower in the fall. It’s darker and a bit colder, so I start my day by slipping into knitted socks and making a pot of coffee. The warmth of the cup warm my hands and the caffeine helps me wake up. I might journal or draw for a bit, then I light some candles in my home office and get to work. I spend the morning editing photos, emailing clients and planning for upcoming trips, lessons or photo shoots. Then I make some lunch and after being re-fuelled I don my foraging gear and head to the forest.
We have had a very rainy autumn this year. But there is something special about the forest after a heavy rain. It is quiet, smells rich and earthy, and the colors and textures are deeper when wet. The soft moss sinks down and gives way under my weight as I head off the beaten path towards the thick of the trees. In the forest I get to be alone with my thoughts, there’s no distractions from screens or sounds from neighbours and cars. It’s just me and nature. Mushroaming requires all my senses as I move through moss and ferns, scrambling over rocks and ducking under trees while scanning the environment. The thrill of the hunt for mushrooms is so exciting and I let out a whispered “yes!” whenever I find a good patch.
I have my basket in hand, mushroom knife on my belt and a small pack with an extra layer, coffee, water, a first aid kit and my notebook. My camera hangs on my shoulder, so light that I barely notice it. It’s good that it is small and can handle getting wet as the mushrooms I am searching for don’t grow on the open, well maintained paths. If someone told me I would be out zig zagging through a forest for 2-3 hours on a daily basis I’d chuckle and tell them that it sounds strenuous and boring. But looking for mushrooms I loose track of time. Mostly looking down, scanning the ground around me and constantly thinking “but what if there’s more mushrooms over there that I’d miss if I turn around now?”
I push deeper and even though I plan to just be out for an hour, that easily turns into several.
I am so happy that the OM-5 is finally here! It’s suits my style and how I work perfectly. Especially paired with my favourite lens, the 20mm F1.4 PRO. They are both small and lightweight, so they are not in the way of my outdoor activities. But they are incredible and I never miss a moment or feel that there is something I can’t capture with these by my side.
Because I have my camera with me I am out even longer. As I look for mushrooms I stop to capture the vibe of the forest, the beautiful mushrooms and colors and textures. The warm, earthy colors of autumn are so in tune with me and my visual style. The photographer in me is at her best right now.
At some point I come across a good sitting log and decide it’s time for a break. It’s nice to sit down and give the legs a rest, refuel energy with a cup of warm coffee while revelling in seeing the food in my basket. Since I have all my senses working hard while foraging, mostly looking everywhere and having my brain work hard to decide if what I saw in my peripheral was a mushroom or not, sitting down is as much a mental break as a physical one.
This forest is my backyard. It’s a short walk from where I live, and this is where I come to get a screen break, recharge my batteries and get inspired. I know it as well as my own back pocket, and even if I mostly look down I don’t get lost. My internal compass just knows which direction home is.
Upon returning I often have a basket full of food and a memory card full of new images.