Amateur Mushroom Hunters Help Scientists – NPR

Taylor Lockwood has actually invented his own fancy equipment for photographing mushrooms in the wild.

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A website for sharing mushroom pictures ended up being a scientific treasure He published that image on a website called mushroomoberver.org, where expert and amateur mushroom specialists satisfy to crowdsource details. “I d always desired to have something computer-based for sharing my observations of mushrooms that I d made over my lifetime,” he says. “When I do time-lapse, youll discover that theres lots and lots of life going around the mushroom– insect life and worms, and all kind of things like that,” he says.

Taylor F. Lockwood

Taylor F. Lockwood

“I may have hundreds or countless photos of things that are unnamed or unidentified, or might be known on some other continent,” he states. He made one of those unforgettable discoveries here in the Monongahela National Forest. A couple of years back, he encountered something he d never ever seen before: a mushroom that appeared like small fingers wearing off-white gloves.

Photographer Taylor Lockwood discovered the uncommon mushroom Hypocreopsis rhododendri growing in the United States, a discovery that thrilled researchers and mushroom followers.

Taylor Lockwood has developed his own fancy gear for photographing mushrooms in the wild.

Taylor F. Lockwoood

Photographer Taylor Lockwood found the rare mushroom Hypocreopsis rhododendri growing in the United States, a discovery that delighted scientists and mushroom devotees.

Lets face it. You are hopelessly surpassed if you are a mushroom researcher. By one estimate, there are in between 2.2 and 3.8 million types of fungi– and more than 90% of them arent cataloged. Mycologists (as fungus professionals are known), do get a huge increase from a surprisingly advanced world of novices– both those who tromp through the forests observing oddball types, as well as those who have helped construct a community that connects the novices with the pros. Sometimes the novices create stunning discoveries. Consider the story of Taylor Lockwood, a 74-year-old mushroom lover and professional photographer. This spring we met in the hills of West Virginia, where he has actually been prowling the countryside in a van he has converted into a camper, an image studio and a workshop. “Im in my Edison mode,” he states, gesturing towards circuit boards and hardware that hes cobbled together. More about that in a minute, however initially the backstory. Growing up, Lockwood invested the 1970s playing electric violin and other instruments in bands out West.

Taylor F. Lockwood

Taylor F. Lockwoood

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Taylor F. Lockwoood

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“Outside my cabin were these stunning mushrooms,” he says. He says sometimes he d dig a hole next to a mushroom for his camera, to get simply the right angle. A website for sharing mushroom pictures became a scientific treasure He published that image on a website called mushroomoberver.org, where expert and amateur mushroom experts satisfy to crowdsource info. “I d constantly wanted to have something computer-based for sharing my observations of mushrooms that I d made over my life time,” he says. “When I do time-lapse, youll find that theres lots and lots of life going around the mushroom– insect life and worms, and all kind of things like that,” he states.

A love affair with mushrooms He likewise worked as a carpentry specialist. And in 1984, while residing on the Mendocino coast of California, he fell in love. With mushrooms. “Outside my cabin were these lovely mushrooms,” he says. “And it was as if these mushrooms took a look at me and said, Taylor, head out and tell the world how lovely we are. And I said, OK, Ill do it.” Lockwood bought cam equipment and ended up being enthusiastic about photographing mushrooms. One of his images is even on a U.S. postage stamp. He states often he d dig a hole next to a mushroom for his electronic camera, to get just the right angle. “I wanted to see them just as a frog would,” he states. His enthusiasm for mushroom photography has actually taken him all over the world. And what he has discovered and photographed doesnt simply have creative interest. He, like lots of amateur mushroom hunters, works symbiotically with the mycologists in universities and federal government labs.

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