Christmas Bells

Christmas Bells
Christmas Bells - Blandfordia nobilis

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Luminous Fungi

I have seen Omphalotus nidiformis previously, but on Saturday I found some really nice, fresh ones.
Omphalotus nidiformis as seen in daylight.
scalloped edge cup with golden and grey tones on top
underneath, creamy gills resembling the "oyster mushroom" group.
They are toxic (producing vomiting), but not lethal apparently.
I certainly do not recommend ingesting them,

I decided to try something I had heard about, namely, trying to photograph them glowing in the dark.

Fortunately, my friend David Wallace was having a birthday, and he happens to have a Camera tripod. So, I cut two of the Fungi and took them to David's Birthday Party.
Happy Birthday, David - can I put these luminous fungi in a dark room, please?
What's weird about THAT?

After Liz offered the use of the main bedroom for a "dark room", I set up the tripod.
I can only set the exposure time (on my Nikon DSLR) for 30 seconds, and to get any "glow" to register, I had to opt for the maximum ISO setting available to me. So the results are very grainy.
However there are some results to see.

This is the first time I have done this.

It surprised me that they look green (on the camera) because by the naked eye, they just look dull white. But someone suggested that in fact the colour on the camera is probably accurate, just that our human eyes do not register colour in very low light conditions. Something to do with our "rods and cones".
"The retina contains two types of photoreceptors, rods and cones. The rods are more numerous, some 120 million, and are more sensitive than the cones. However, they are not sensitive to color."

So there it is. In order to see in low light, we sacrifice the colour sensitivity.
The things one can learn from studying Luminous Fungi.

Omphalotus nidiformis
The gills are clearly visible in their own light

Omphalotus nidiformis
Two fungi together.
The stems are showing up black, not bioluminescent
but the gills show up really well.
The funniest thing for me, was explaining to many of the other people at David's Birthday Party what the Weird Guy in the Hat was doing showing people into Liz and David's bedroom.

It usually took people's eyes about 20 seconnds to adjust to the dark, and I discovered that the Fungi glowed more strongly when I sat on the bed and held the Fungi against my leg. Seemingly the warmth promoted the biological function which produces the luminosity.

So, nothing weird about that, right?

Happy 50th Birthday, David.

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