IT’S a joy to be relaunching our Picture of the Week feature after an extended break, and to kickstart the new series we have a delicate portrait of a saffrondrop bonnet mushroom taken by regular contributor Graham Parkinson.
It’s one of a series of recent fungi photographs he’s posted on local nature and wildlife forums, some of which featured in our October calendar feature about the Chilterns.
Inspired with a love of wildlife as a child, Graham found that lockdown in 2020 proved the perfect opportunity for him to explore his longstanding interest in photography, and in the past three years his pictures have proved a big hit with nature lovers.
Birds and insects feature prominently, but his great pleasure has been embarking on seven- to 10-mile walks exploring new areas around his Marlow home and capturing what he can of the local flora and fauna.
Using his Ordnance Survey OS Maps app to plan new routes, his journeys have taken him from local favourites like Homefield Wood and Quarry Wood to Bisham, Burnham Beeches and beyond, from the banks of the Thames to the many walks between Ibstone and Christmas Common.
“It’s been extremely rewarding, capturing wildlife I’ve never seen before,” he says. For a long time he didn’t bother with fungi, lacking a good lens that would enable him to take “interesting” shots.
“I’ve now got a macro lens and From a photography point of view what has interested and challenged me is trying to create a lovely photo of them rather than just a record shot,” he says.
“They’re fascinating organisms, really quite beautiful. It’s sort of like landscape photography in miniature.
“I was out again yesterday in beautiful woods and sunlight. It’s quite magical walking through the woods trying to first find fungi and then find ones where I can make a nice shot.
“An added bonus is that there’s always something else to see. Yesterday I watched two bats hunting all around me, in bright sunshine at 1pm.”