PHOTOS: Discovering The Hidden World Of Fungi In Western North Carolina

Aug 31, 2016

For E.J. Dwigans, the intersection of nature and photography is where he most likes to be.

"My favorite place to take photos is the forest, any forest," said Dwigans, 26, of Brevard. "There are so many hidden facets of nature that many people never get the opportunity to see."

Instagram: @shroomiej

Dwigans has always been interested in photography but became more serious about it five years ago when he started taking photos of fungi and plants to identify when he got home after hiking.

Luckily, he often finds himself outdoors as a North Carolina State Park Ranger at Gorges State Park.

"While I don't get paid for my photos, my reward comes from teaching people about things they never knew existed that can be found right in their own backyard,"  he said. "I am often able to fuse my love of nature photography with my work, teaching visitors about the hidden and unseen world around us."

#wuncphotos: Share your North Carolina photos with WUNC on Instagram
Related: Finding Beauty And Adventure In Everyday Moments

Dwigans sometimes uses a Canon EOS t3i for his photography but more often than not, he shoots on his iPhone6.

His advice for people: "Make time for nature. Walk through the woods and when you do try to slow down, notice the little things because what you discover might astound and inspire you."

Note: This is the third installment in an occasional series profiling North Carolina photographers.

"This edible Cauliflower Mushroom often looks more like flower than fungi," said E.J. Dwigans.
Credit E.J. Dwigans / www.instagram.com/shroomiej

Shaggy-stalked Bolete (Heimioporus betula). This bizarre looking mushroom is common in the mixed pine-oak forests of Southern Appalachia.
Credit E.J. Dwigans / www.instagram.com/shroomiej

Mushrooms like this Oak Bracket Polypore exhibit guttation, in which excess water is excreted through their pores.
Credit E.J. Dwigans / www.instagram.com/shroomiej

Jack O'Lantern Mushrooms.
Credit E.J. Dwigans / www.instagram.com/shroomiej

False Turkey Tail mushroom. The true Turkey Tail mushroom is a powerful medicinal with anti-tumor properties.
Credit E.J. Dwigans / www.instagram.com/shroomiej

This soft, fluffy slime mold is known as Chocolate Tube Slime.
Credit E.J. Dwigans / www.instagram.com/shroomiej
Honey Mushrooms after a short-lived rainstorm.
Credit E.J. Dwigans / www.instagram.com/shroomiej
Northern Tooth Fungus. These mushrooms feed on the innermost portion of a tree causing heart rot. Eventually the tree may weaken to a point in which it will snap in a strong wind.
Credit E.J. Dwigans / www.instagram.com/shroomiej