I’ve been shooting time lapse photography of nature around the world for over 4 decades. I film things that are too slow, too fast, too small and too vast for the human eye to detect. Fantastic Fungi is my current consciousness-shifting project which digs deep into the potential benefits of honoring the mycelium network. Ask me anything!

Check out this trailer for the film: https://fantasticfungi.com/trailer

Get lost in The Mush Room: https://fantasticfungi.com/mushroom

Moving Art Season 3 for you here: https://vimeo.com/359188406

Moving Art Season 2, in case you missed it: https://vimeo.com/262123218

Proof: https://www.facebook.com/FungiFilm/photos/a.363363587149876/1408612819291609/

Comments: 124 • Responses: 22  • Date: 

gif546 karma

Is Paul currently wearing his mushroom hat?

Louie_energy74 karma

He's always wearing his mushroom hat when he wants to connect to the mycelial network.

scandinavio39 karma

Are mushrooms affected by climate change? If so how?

Louie_energy60 karma

Great question! Mushrooms are affected by climate change due to increased temperatures drying out the moist soil they inhabit and the increase of forest fires and their intensity scorches the top soil where most of the mycelium live. After the Big Sur fire the locals have reported no mushrooms this season :(

FriendlyCraig30 karma

How's life on the Discovery?

Louie_energy30 karma

It's a journey through time and scale that broadens your horizons, expands your perception and opens your heart to the rhythms and patterns of the universe that touch the deepest part of your soul.

IndependentEducator617 karma

Ever tried magic mushrooms?

Louie_energy44 karma

I have experienced sacred medicines including those in the fungal kingdom. It was really important for us to include the John Hopkins Psilocybin trials and studies in Fantastic Fungi to show how it can help people with depression and anxiety.

lectroid13 karma

What are your thoughts on the film The Creeping Garden (2014)?

Slime molds are weird and I'm convinced they'll take over.

Louie_energy30 karma

I haven't seen The creeping garden. I'll be sure to check it out,

As for slime molds, they look weird but they are intelligent, without a brain or central nervous system and only one cell thick. Experiments have shown that slime molds can design a more efficient subway system by navigating a maze that mirrored the subway station in Tokyo. I guess that's kind of weird but also really cool. Nature never wastes a single molecule and if they are more efficient than humans, then maybe they will take over the earth.

babaganate10 karma

Do you ever refer to fellow mycologists as "my-colleague-sts"?

Louie_energy20 karma

Ha! I will now. I go refer to fellow mycologist as Fungis and Fungals.

bknight210 karma

Been a big fan for a while! I’ve watched all three seasons of moving art and have told numerous people about it, love your work! When did you get started in cinematography? Do you have any tips? I have been in photography for a little bit now and would like to take a stab at making short 3 minuteish videos that are inspired by moving art. Im taking a trip in a couple weekends to New Hampshire for fall foliage and this will be my first attempt. Do you have any advice on video limitations as well? My camera only shoots up to 60fps unfortunately.

Louie_energy12 karma

I started after graduating film school and pioneered timelapse because shooting one frame ever ten minutes was less expensive than shooting 24 frames per second. It also filled my sense of wonder to see things through the portal of altered time and scale.

Tips - Follow your passion and film what touches your soul, it's not about camera gear it's more about chasing the light and capturing the magic moments that can unfold in mysterious ways ( if you are patient)

Kirilllov7 karma

Do you have much to say about eating mushrooms raw vs cooked? As far as medicinal benefits go, is one way better than the other?

Louie_energy20 karma

Cooking mushrooms destroys any toxins or carcinogens and many nutrients in mushrooms are accessible after they have been cooked including powerful antioxidants.

ImpossibleBridge5 karma

You fav tek !?

Louie_energy12 karma

Capturing in hi-resolution what the naked eye can't see, making the invisible, visible.

aerizk4 karma

Where would one start to learn about mushrooms? Ever since I heard Mr. Stamets talk I wanted to learn more but there is just so much information, its easy to get lost for someone new

Louie_energy6 karma

Paul's book mycelium running is a great start. We also have a Fantastic Fungi Book just released that is a wonderful overview of everything that has to do with mushrooms

I'd also seek out if your city/town has a local mycology society.

InfernalWedgie4 karma

Do you have a favorite Basidiomycete? If so, which one?

Louie_energy13 karma


Of all the higher kingdom fungi I love the bridal veil ( Phallus indusiatus). It's the most spectacular in timelapse.

SirBobIsTaken3 karma

What is your favorite mushroom to eat? What is your favorite mushroom to photograph?

Louie_energy28 karma

Favorite edible mushroom lions mane cooked with sage and rosemary. Favorite mushroom to photograph is psilocybin cubensis

rdosage2 karma

In Moving Art Season 1 on Netflix, subtitles would randomly appear. Things like "[Birds Chirping]" would just show up on the screen seemingly without any rhyme or reason - and I didn't have subtitles turned on. Two questions:

1) What was that about?

2) What was your favorite random subtitle?

Louie_energy15 karma

We are required by netflix to include closed captioning for people with hearing loss, I have no idea how it could have appeared with CC turned off. Maybe you have a ghost in the machine.

Given that there is no narration in the series, just music, my favorite subtitle is "music swells"

deathof1000suns2 karma

Do you have a timelapse of claviceps purpurea growing? In a 5gal carboy with hydroflourochlorocarbon feeder tubes? Are you willing to risk losing fingers and hands to grow rare fungi?

Louie_energy5 karma

claviceps purpurea

I don't have a timelapse of it and I'm not willing to lose my fingers or hands growing rare fungi. Safety first.

DryPersonality1 karma

What is your vision for your art? Do you do it just because, or are there reasons.

Louie_energy12 karma

I use the art of cinematography and filmmaking to channel the beauty and wisdom of nature's intelligence. I feel that artists have a responsibility to make the world a better place.

CelestialTampering1 karma

Hi, Louie.

1.How long was the process of shooting and editing?

  1. How was it like working with Oscar-winning actress Brie Larson?

Louie_energy5 karma

The film from start to finish took 13 years

Working with Brie Larson was fantastic, I wanted her voice to symbolize mother nature and as the first female superhero in Captain Marvel it also sent the message of don't mess with mother nature.

HowToSuckAss1 karma

Hello! Near where I live, Morel Mushrooms are very popular to pick and sell for a decent price around parts of the year.

What about them makes it so much harder to farm or grow them yourself? I understand the basics of mycology and have grown a few species myself but have never tried or looked into why Morels are often hunted for.


Louie_energy6 karma

They saprophytic fungi and very hard to grow. I know they thrive after burns and you can increase your chances with wood chips and recreating "burns". I've never tried to grow them but best of luck if you do!

softheartx1 karma

Are we going to have fantastic beast 3 ?

And I am a great fan of your work

Louie_energy3 karma

Wrong movie, but I'll happily make a fantastic fungi 3 :)

lil_kreen1 karma

Would it be possible to film that fungus at work which they made self-healing by impregnating concrete with spores?

Louie_energy1 karma

It would take a long time for the fungi to decompose concrete, but if you have the time anything is possible.

cyhskatie1 karma

Is it true that the typical grocery store button mushrooms are unsafe to eat raw?

Louie_energy2 karma

It's safer to cook them in order to remove any toxicity or contaminants.

MonolithV1 karma

Paul's appearance on the Joe Rogan podcast was one of the most entertaining and informative podcasts I have ever heard. My question is how did Paul convince you to do this project?

Louie_energy4 karma

I met Paul 13 years ago at a Bioneers conference. I then showed him some of my time-lapse mushrooms on my laptop after that we bonded and it was a beginning of a adventure filled bro-mance

squatOpotamus1 karma

Is their a mushroom you or Paul would consider the most intelligent?

Louie_energy1 karma

I cannot speak for Paul, yet I guess each mushroom has it's own unique intelligence. I can't pick a favorite/smartest they are all fantastic.