This section is from the book "Studies of American Fungi: Mushrooms, Edible, Poisonous, Etc.", by George Francis Atkinson. Also available from Amazon: Studies of American Fungi: Mushrooms, Edible, Poisonous, Etc..
The field notes which may be taken upon the collection will depend on circumstances. If one goes to the sorting room soon after the collection is made, so that notes can be made there before the more delicate specimens dry, few notes will answer in the field, and usually one is so busy collecting or hunting for specimens there is not much inclination to make extended notes in the field. But it is quite important to note the habitat and environment, i. e., the place where they grow, the kind and character of the soil, in open field, roadside, grove, woods,.on ground, leaves, sticks, stumps, trunks, rotting wood, or on living tree, etc. It is very important also that different kinds be kept separate. The student will recognize the importance of this and other suggestions much more than the new "fungus hunter."
When one returns from a collecting trip it is best to take the plants as soon as possible to a room where they can be assorted. An hour or so delay usually does not matter, but the sooner they are attended to the better. Sometimes when they are carefully placed in the basket, as described above, they may be kept over night without injury, but this will depend on the kinds in the collection. Coprini are apt to deliquesce, certain other specimens, especially in warm weather, are apt to be so infested with larvÁ that they will be ruined by morning, when immediate drying might save them. Other thin and delicate ones, especially in dry weather, will dry out so completely that one loses the opportunity of taking notes on the fresh specimen. Specimens to be photographed should be attended to at once, unless it is too late in the day, when they should be set aside in an upright position, and if necessary under a bell-jar, until the following day. As far as possible good specimens should be selected for the photograph, representing different stages of development, and one to show the fruiting surface. Sometimes it will be necessary to make more than one photograph to obtain all the stages. Also on different days one is apt to obtain a specimen representing an important stage in development not represented before. The plants should be arranged close together to economize space, but not usually touching nor too crowded. They should be placed in their natural position as far as possible, and means for support, if used, should be hidden behind the plant. They should be so arranged as to show individual as well as specific character and should be photographed if possible natural size, or at least not on a plate smaller than 5x7 inches unless the plants are small; while larger ones are better on 6x8 or larger. Some very small ones it may be necessary to enlarge in order to show the character of the fruiting surface, and even large specimens can sometimes have a portion of the hymenium enlarged to good advantage if it is desirable to show the characters clearly. The background should be selected to bring out the characters strongly, and in the exposure and developing it is often necessary to disregard the effect of the background in order to bring out the detail of texture on the plant itself. The background should be renewed as often as necessary to have it uniform and neat. There is much more that might be said under this head, but there is not space here.