As a photographer, I get to spend many of my days documenting things that are new and captivating to me. It’s a big bonus to an already awesome job. Mushroom hunting has always seemed interesting to me, and when the time came to choose a new subject for the walls of Peter Lowell’s I knew exactly what I wanted to feature. Luckily for me, it was mushroom season.
Dylan and Tyja Taube, two Sebastopol locals who grew up mushroom hunting with their father up in Mendocino, were kind enough to let me tag along. I joined the brothers on 3 different hunts, spread out over a couple months. Mushrooms flush at different times of the year, so this way we were able to capture a variety of local mushrooms as they bloomed. Our first hunt was for porcinis.
I meet up with the boys and we set out before dawn. The crisp morning air and wet forest sets the perfect scene. The forest is quiet and still but the guys, with their experienced eyes, move quickly. They home in on subtle bumps in the groundcover and ever so delicately rustle up the leaves. I am surprised at how perfectly they know what they are looking for and how quickly they can identify it. They know that the subtlest of lumps under the leaves are going to provide porcinis. Each mushroom comes with its own unique environment, and the boys seem like they are natives to the porcini world. We found more porcinis than I had ever seen before in my life. My first mushroom hunting experience in Northern California was more than a success.