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3. Sydenham Hill Wood Fungi

  • Oct 20, 2013 · 11:00 AM
  • This location is shown only to members

One of the most ancient woodlands in central London, there are more than 200 species of tree and flowering plant here (such lily of the valley which is not known elsewhere in London) as well as foxes (of course) wood mice, all three species of woodpecker, four species of bat, tawny owl, kestrel and sparrowhawk and the amazing stag beetle. Together with Cox’s Walk and Dulwich Forest it is an incredible space and wildlife habitat.

It is a place we'll likely try to come back to the photograph the bats at night, but on this trip we will be concentrating on finding and photographing as many of the species of fungi as we can. Some, like the fly agaric, are beautiful mushrooms with bright colours and a very dodgy social history, others are harder to spot (like the hare's ear fungus that pretends to be dead leaves), but all can make amazing photos. I will also give you a good background to the species we find as well as some interesting facts and figures about them.

As is customary we will gather afterwards in a local hostelry to take a look at our work, review our day and get to know each other a bit better.

You'll need:

• your camera (any camera will give great results, including smartphones, compacts, bridge cameras and SLRs);
• any lens that focuses closer than about 30 centimetres from the object you are shooting;
• macro lens; wide angle lens;
• tripods that can sit close to the ground;
• flash gun; or even better…
• ring flashes are amazing and cheap ones are available (see below for more**)

Cost:

• There is no cost for this Meetup. Beer afterwards is always welcome :)

Location:

• The entrance at the southern end of the woods on Crescent Wood Road. The following grid reference pasted into your web browser will give you the exact point:[masked] [masked]
• Trains and buses: nearest stations are Sydenham Hill, Forest Hill and buses are frequent
• Parking: Surrounding streets have quite reasonable spaces

Notes:

There is no cafe, toilet or shelter here so dress for the potential weather and shoes with good grip are recommended to stay safe on muddy inclines. Wheelchair access is possible, but by appointment only.

Notable risks:

• Fly agaric fungus is one of several poisonous mushrooms to be found in this venue, so care must be taken to not touch them, pick them, eat them…
• Squirrels throwing acorns at you ;)

** Ring flashes can cost hundreds of pounds if they are TTL enabled (your camera works directly with them to set the exposure correctly) but non-TTL ones which can be proper flashes or consistently lit lights are very very cheap. They attach to the front of your lens and provide great even light for close up shots. Check this example out at about £30: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Macro-Light-Olympus-Pentax-A380-A450/dp/B003LAGNSO/ref=cm_cr_pr_sims_t

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  • Matthew M.

    Guys and girls, I have to say I'm absolutely bowled over by the quality of the photographs coming out of Sunday's trip to Syndenham Hill Woods. I'll comment on specific photos in a bit, but please please keep them coming. They're great!

    1 · October 22, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Thanks for another great outdoor event, I thoroughly enjoyed it. Looking forward to the next one.

    1 · October 21, 2013

  • Lesley

    Sorry Matthew just realised I called you by your surname by mistake!
    Am very sleepy that's my excuse!

    October 20, 2013

    • Matthew M.

      no worries, it happens all the time ;)

      October 21, 2013

  • Eric S.

    Well organised and very informative.

    1 · October 20, 2013

  • Eric S.

    Hi Martin, Thanks for an excellent meeting. I learnt a lot and look forward to your next meeting. Thanks for giving us your valuable time and knowledge.

    1 · October 20, 2013

  • Lesley

    Thank you for a great meet up, very well organised and informative
    Thanks again for sharing your knowledge Martin.

    1 · October 20, 2013

  • Claire B.

    Another great meeting. My first, and enjoyable, attempt at macro. Thank you Matthew for your fabulous organisation. We expect nothing less now :)

    1 · October 20, 2013

  • John C.

    Well done Martin, very well oganised

    1 · October 20, 2013

  • Rajan

    As expected it was an excellent day, beautiful location. learned a lot of new stuffs. It was pleasure meeting u all. Thanks Matthew

    1 · October 20, 2013

    • Matthew M.

      Thanks for braving the delays at London Bridge and making it to south east London, Rajan. I'm looking forward to seeing what you captured!

      1 · October 20, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Matthew had identified in advance where a variety of fungi were located and gave us all a map showing the locations. He also took us on a tour of the woods, pointing them, before we all split up to do our own thing for 3 hours.

    2 · October 20, 2013

  • Theresa

    Had a great day. Very well organised, great location for shooting fungi and the rain held off. Perfect.

    1 · October 20, 2013

  • David L.

    Thanks for a great meet up. Lack of suitable tripod and tea has meant I've given up for the day. Sorry I didn't get to say goodbye in person. Hopefully see you soon!

    October 20, 2013

    • Matthew M.

      No worries, thanks for coming David. I hope you got some shots anyway.

      October 20, 2013

  • Sue

    Hi, thank you for today. I thoroughly enjoyed it & learned a lot! I was really impressed with myself until I saw what others had produced :) Looking forward to the next one & as I had to leave at two, I definitely owe you a beer, thanks again :)
    Ps we were very lucky with the weather!

    1 · October 20, 2013

    • Matthew M.

      My pleasure, Sue, I am glad you had a good time. I am sure what you shot was great Remember that it is about the learning curve just as much as what comes out of the camera. I'm looking forward to that beer ;)

      October 20, 2013

  • David L.

    Hi, trains are a bit up the spout. Won't be walking far though so if you don't spot us give us a call.

    October 20, 2013

    • Rajan

      Im still stuck in londonbridge station.. pls pass me ur mob number to get in touch..

      October 20, 2013

    • David L.

      Hi Rajan. Sorry, only just picked up this message!

      October 20, 2013

  • Rajan

    Im in londonbridge station... all the trains to foresthill either delayed or cancelled

    October 20, 2013

  • barbara

    Good Morning... I can't make today, not very well... really sorry. Hope in another occasion soon.
    Have a lovely Sunday!

    October 20, 2013

  • Kris

    Have RSVP'd Yes but depends on the trains.

    1 · September 24, 2013

    • Matthew M.

      Thanks Kris, I'll keep an eye on TFL and post alerts closer to the time when the weekend travel advisory is released. You can never tell with TFL ;)

      September 24, 2013

    • Matthew M.

      Hi Kris, TFL says it is ok for tomorrow. Engineering work is taking place overnight but the new cross to sydenham line opens at 0915, so plenty of time for our 1100 start. Good luck with the travel!

      October 19, 2013

  • barbara

    i'm not very well today, hopefully I'll better tomorrow to join the group. Would you mind giving me you number, just in case?
    See you all soon!

    1 · October 19, 2013

    • Matthew M.

      Hope you're able to make it tomrrow, Barbara. I went today for the scoping trip and there's lots of lovely specimens to shoot. My number is[masked], just in case!

      October 19, 2013

  • Debbie B

    Hi Matthew, sorry I'm not feeling too good so I probably won't make it tomorrow. I'll be signing up for the Barnes meetup though. Have a great time tomorrow everyone!

    1 · October 19, 2013

  • Sue

    Hi, I'm excited about coming (my first meeting) & I have a 105mm lens. However the cheap flash rings on amazon don't seem to be the right size. Any ideas, or am I missing something?

    October 1, 2013

    • Matthew M.

      If you've a 105mm lens you'll need to be roughly 20-30cm away from the subject at a frame-filling minimum. It won't focus closer than that. But that's enough. If you're using a bean bag you'll be able to get into some great angles too.

      October 18, 2013

    • Sue

      Thank you...I've yet to make my bean bag :-) See you on Sunday.

      October 18, 2013

  • Harry S.

    Sorry don't think I can make it, as now have to work,have a good one.

    1 · October 4, 2013

  • Matthew M.

    Hi everyone, I had an email asking about the suitability of a particular lens yesterday and it occurred to me that I have left something out of the kit list - extension rings. The major manufacturers sell their own sets for a lot of money, but a company called Kenko sell sets of three rings for around £140. These rings sit between your camera and lens and turn many normal lenses into macros - often with really incredible results.

    So, if you don't have a macro lens and don't want to spend £[masked] on buying one these rings might be a good solution for your upcoming Meetup!

    September 27, 2013

  • David L.

    Just bought a macro lens so this is very timely!

    September 24, 2013

    • Matthew M.

      What did you buy, David? I am still using a secondhand Sigma EX 105mm f2.8 with manual aperture ring that I bought years ago and I love it. 105mm seems to be about the right focal length for me to get good detail but not need to be so close tot he subject to get into its space...

      September 24, 2013

    • David L.

      I bought a Canon 100mm f2.8 USM which was recommended by a couple of friends. Haven't had much a chance to play with it yet but looking forward to test driving it this weekend.

      September 24, 2013

  • Harry S.

    If anyone lives near Heathrow I'll be driving so can always offer a lift .

    1 · September 24, 2013

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