Observation 170364: Tylopilus felleus (Bull.) P. Karst.
When: 2014-07-15
(43.0° -70.0° 20m)
No herbarium specimen

Notes: Bold reticulations. Whitish pores stain brown, in woods. Pileus is buff or darker, bulbous stipe, cap flesh unchanging white. Very thick pores and cap flesh, 50/50. Please comment on genus/species.

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Hello Gary
By: Danny Newman (myxomop)
2014-07-19 15:13:44 CDT (-0400)

and welcome to Mushroom Observer!

As you have expressed an interest in making the most out of the site and your contributions to it, first you should consider the base criteria well met:

-in focus, color photo of fresh material
-specific date and location
-description of characteristics, including those not discernible from images

As far as suggestions for how to improve your observations, the sky is the limit. Personally, I believe the bar has been set by x{NAME amadej }{ User amadej }x. His observations are the gold standard by which any other outstanding contribution to the site must be judged, but this is going above and beyond. It is perfectly possible to make excellent observations with less. Let’s start with photography.

Photographs in the field (in situ) and out of the field/in the studio (ex situ) can be equally useful. Field photos show habit (how the fungus is growing), habitat (the natural setting and immediate plant/animal community where the fungus was found), and current weather conditions, all under natural daylight (cloud cover is best, in my opinion — nature’s diffuser!). Studio photos allow for much more control, and can showcase the age and size ranges of a given sp., draw attention to specific features, and provide a size reference (if shot on graph paper or with a scale bar). Some of these benefits are achievable in the field as well, but in my opinion, too much meddling in the field photography makes for an unnatural feel (see HUMAN MATTERS at http://www.mushroomhobby.com/TOP_10_MISTAKES/). Providing both field and studio photography together has a number of advantages, chief among them being that the viewer gets a better idea of “true color” by evaluating the material under two or more different light sources. Even as a user of various pieces of color correction equipment, I always prefer to have separate shots in both daylight and studio light. The ability to compare two images from two separate sets of lighting conditions is like having two witnesses at a murder trial versus just one. Multiplying the lighting perspectives gives the viewer more information to work with when forming an opinion on the “true colors” of the material at hand.

None of this requires expensive, complicated equipment. The bulk of my photo rig is undergoing an annual tune-up at the moment, and will not be back in time for two upcoming trips (North Carolina and Maine). I’m more than happy to rely on my smartphone instead, an will do so with few consolations to the process described above. Where color is concerned, anything from a white piece of paper to a grey card all the way up to an X-Rite ColorChecker (the Rosetta Stone of color correction), plus a minimal working knowledge of Adobe Lightroom, will cover many bases. That and stabilization, good composition, and patience will produce plenty impressive images (every observation of mine from this list – http://mushroomobserver.org/species_list/show_species_list/436 – was shot with an iPhone).

Beyond photography, in the case of this observation, you could take measurements of key features, whether or not they are discernible in photos; describe the substrate and/or nearby potential mycorrhizal partners (tree species); include your reasoning for arriving at a particular ID; etc. Aside from that, the only things left to do I can think of are microscopy and molecular analysis, which require tools to which most of the site’s membership do not have access. This is always a great compliment to any observation, but is by no means expected. No one has ever been harangued for not posting micrographs or sequence data, nor do I expect anyone ever will.

If you are intent on using Mushroom Observer and improving your contributions, the answer is simple: using Mushroom Observer will improve your contributions. This website (along with AscoFrance) is the Internet’s mycology department. It has been the single greatest learning and teaching tool of my young mycological life.

Stick around, keep posting, and don’t be discouraged by a lack of attention to one observation or another. Observations from as many as 30 years ago get dug up all the time for a fresh-eyed look and new conversation. Bumping (adding a comment purely for the purpose of bringing an item to the front of the Activity Log) is OK too, within reason, but where speculation has been exhausted, members will be unlikely to comment further. Many, many times an observation goes quiet because there is insufficient expertise on a given group among the MO membership. Sometimes one or more specialists on that group will be willing to offer their insights, and if we’re lucky, they stick around as the on-call, resident adviser on their particular neck of the mycological woods.

If you have any other questions, don’t hesitate to ask. There are many knowledgeable people here with all kinds of help to offer.

Created: 2014-07-15 22:53:40 CDT (-0400)
Last modified: 2014-07-15 23:13:22 CDT (-0400)
Viewed: 24 times, last viewed: 2017-06-28 11:33:31 CDT (-0400)
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