Angel's Wings

aka Pleurocybella porrigens - found this one with a bunch of others on a log by the trail so I had to get in there. I think this is the first time I’ve ever photographed them. When very fresh they are very white, but these were a few days old and turned a buttery yellow.

Specific Feedback Requested

Any ideas for improvement are welcome.

Technical Details

Is this a composite: No
Tripod and CPL

Focus bracketing using 0/+ method, probably +4 step. 13 images taken.


Lr for initial processing and a little crop. Zerene for stacking and retouching (PMax). Lr again to fix issues around white balance, clarity and color. Ps to remove some distracting bits in the background.

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Kris, what a nice find. I don’t think I have ever seen one of these. I kind of like the buttery color, but having never seen it in white may have something to do with it. I can’t think of anything that would improve this. Nice shot.

Wow – wonderful backlight! Buttery is the perfect description. Almost sort of Chanterelle-like. The moss is a great accompaniment.

Thanks, ladies. I don’t think I’d seen them either, @Shirley_Freeman. I’ve photographed a lot of mushrooms, but it’s always fun to find a new one. I thought the same thing about the upward-sweeping gills, @Diane_Miller - that this might be a kind of chanterelle, but they’re not. And not particularly edible either. At least I think I remember reading that. Not deadly or anything, but not tasty either.

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I’ve always avoided fungi when looking for subjects with a white background because they lack transparency. You just smashed that myth.

My only adjustment would be to heal some color into the dark area on the upper right.

Also, this is a question, not a criticism, but why 13 images in a stack? Couldn’t you use an f11 or even f22? The camera is on a tripod so that the shutter speed could be even lower, and you might take the ISO higher. The Leica lens should handle a small f-stop easily.

Maybe others can chime in, but I don’t understand the use of focus-stacking with more than 3 or 4 images. It seems that letting the lens handle the DOF rather than introducing computational artifacts from all those images.

Again, not critical, but curious.

No problem, Paul. Learning and understanding others’ experiences is why we’re here. Here’s my thought process for this photo -

While focus stacking is mostly to achieve greater depth of field, it’s also about background - with this one it’s a jumbled mess back there and if I used a very small f/stop it would be more crisply in focus and a huge distraction. Yup, the Leica can stop down and hold crisp focus throughout the frame and I do that when the background isn’t going to be an issue.

In terms of the number of images in a stack it is dependent on three things - the size and depth of the object you want in focus, the distance between focus points (called a step in focus bracketing functionality) and the f/stop used for each image. If I used a smaller aperture I could increase the step distance between shots (make it greater) and get a way with fewer images. That works good when the background is already smooth, but not so great when it isn’t. So in that case I open the lens, shorten up the distance the camera moves the lens by for each shot, and increase the number of images in the stack so that I get what I want in focus.

Does that make sense?