Monthly Archives: June 2020

Isolation #2

“Past, Present, & Future”
Cherokee Dogwood
Heatherwood Autumn

This is another example of “Isolation.” My mission for this photo excursion was to collect isolated macro images that represent the early autumn of our Japanese Garden. I am in the process of preparing annual image collections of how our Heatherwood Garden changes from season to season throughout the year. For this specific photo shoot, I walked around the Garden and tried to collect compelling images that would represent the details of our autumn garden.

The uniqueness of this image is that is illustrates the yearly life cycle of a dogwood tree bloom. The yellow protrusions are the remnants of the spring blossom sepals; the leaves are turning to their autumn color before they fall for the winter; the red berry is the fruit for the wintering birds, and the purplish bud is the future blossom for next spring. The dew drop adds additional interest while the tips and edges of the leaves draw the viewers eye to the subject.

Isolation

“A Peek of the Kotoji”
Heatherwood Fall

I have recognized that I have recently fallen back on making nice snapshots versus compelling images. I tend to fall back into “ruts” from time to time. During this period of “social distancing” and my surgery recovery time, I am looking back on some lessons I have taken on-line from David DuChemin.

The focus on this image is “Isolation.” My exercise last fall was to isolate and enhance the subject and eliminate distractions. My target subject was the Kotoji. I walked around our Japanese Garden to first identify a perspective of the Kotoji that was different from the many that I had taken before. I collected images of a tightly cropped full Kotoji lantern, close-up of detailed Kotoji elements, the Kotoji with the foreground and background, etc. I then continued to walk around and tried to frame the Kotoji with other elements in the Japanese Garden. Finally I worked on creating a “peek” of the Kotoji through a background Japanese maple.

To focus on the subject, I set my focal point and exposed for the front edge of the lantern’s top. The lantern was framed with a void through the Japanese maple. I used a narrow depth of field to blur the maple tree leaves and branches. In post processing, I further blurred and darkened the surrounding leaves and branches to lead the viewers eye to the Kotoji.

This image is not one of my best, but it was an excellent learning experience to purposefully focus on creating a compelling image.

Color

Whitman College Library Mobile
Walla Walla, Washington

Color, color everywhere. The central skylight and abstract mobile spreads light and color through the central area of the Whitman College Library. It provides such a warm and energy charged feeling that a student could not help from absorbing the surrounding stacks of knowledge.

Light and Shadows, Clouds and Sky

“As the Hills and Sky Roll By”
The Palouse, South Eastern Washington

In my last posting, I used a long exposure to blur the clouds in the image. In this image I let the camera do the work as I panned the camera along the rolling hills to create the blur. I saw clear contrasts between the light and shadows on the rolling hills and the white clouds and the blue sky above. In addition, I was gifted the contrasting orange-brown color of the hills against the blue color of the sky. Together they all combined for a nice abstract.

I am yearning for the Palouse!

Spirit Clouds

“Emerging Spirits”
The Palouse, SE Washington

What a wonderful gift was given to me while meandering along some back roads north of Walla Walla in the Palouse. Layers of clouds were moving above. It was breezy and fairly dark. It felt like a storm was about to come in. I had an eerie feeling around me. My partner stayed in the car while I ventured out.

I took a long exposure to capture the movement of the clouds. I looked at my image and got excited as I saw rays emerging from the barn almost fighting with the clouds moving across the image. Two different air streams were layered on top of each other. One set of clouds was moving easterly while the other was moving south easterly toward me.

It is time for me to go to the Palouse to wander again. The rolling hills, old homesteads and clouds are calling. Hopefully some local travel will be possible in the relative near future.

Manet

Manet Exhibit
The Getty Museum, Los Angeles

I’m missing traveling. I am afraid it will be a while yet before we will feel comfortable getting on an airplane and flying to some distant location. So until then, I will review some of my past trips and do a travel post for a change of pace.

When in Los Angeles, I try to make a special trip to the Getty Museum. There is always something new on exhibit. The architecture of the buildings is fantastic and the gardens are gorgeous. Plan on spending at least a full day when visiting.

Below is a photograph of Manet’s original painting of Jeanne which is replicated on the stairs leading to the exhibit.

“Jeanne”

Looking Back, Looking Forward

“The Badlands”
Wall, South Dakota

I’ve been laid up for the last couple of weeks and have not been able to get out and do any photographing. As such, I have been catching up on various photography topics. Jason O’Dell just put out a webcast on the Badlands that caught my eye. Jason, thanks for the stimulus. I was there for just a few hours as I drove across country from Philadelphia to Washighton. The day wasn’t the best for photography, but I was able to come up with a few that had potential. My visit was more of a scouting trip, hopefully for a return visit when I can spend the time to explore. I look back to my short visit. I look forward to when I will return.

Dogwood

Dogwood Bloom Against Japanese Maple
Heatherwood Spring

As I stroll along in our Heatherwood Garden, I always have a camera, at least my iPhone, with me. This Spring, our variegated dogwood only had a few blossoms and they were 7-8 feet from the ground. I looked around to see if I could get a good sky background, but all we had were grey nondescript clouds. I stood on my tip toes extended my arms and tilted the iPhone down just a bit to pick up the deep red of a Japanese Maple as a background. It pays to be tall.

I don’t have to go far for a photographic safari. Everything I need is in our back yard.

Place to Rest and Contemplate

Leu Gardens
Orlando, Florida

One of my focal areas for photography is public and private gardens. I couple this interest with collecting ideas for our own landscape development of Heatherwood. Many of my photographs are simple records of interesting things elements. For others, I try to create an image that reflects the feeling I have for a specific garden design. Yet, for those special ones, I try to create an image that provides a unique perspective of what I see. My adventure through a garden is multi-dimensional. Many times I come up with ideas, but no real “keeper” images. Other times I leave with a nice portfolio of images that presents the beauty of my visit. Other times I come up with a few (maybe one) images that I feel illustrate a little creativity.

The above image is one where I am trying to create the feeling that I experienced when I saw this vignette. It is a peaceful setting where I could relax in the shade, enjoy the beauty of what is around me, and contemplate what is right with this world. It represents a design element that I am trying to create with portions of our Heatherwood landscape. Of course, here in Central Washington, the moss covered trees and tropical vegetation will be replaced with conifers, local trees, and understory vegetation.

Our Return

Space Shuttle Atlantis Abstract
Kennedy Space Center Museum, Florida

We have finally returned to launching Americans on a US launch vehicle from US soil. The SpaceX launch vehicle with the Crew Dragon onboard provided this signifiant milestone in our revitalized Space Program on 30 May. We have a new horizon of Space exploration ahead of us with defined programs to return to the moon and send Americans to Mars. This will happen in my life time!

I remember the launch of the Sputnik when I was in grade school. This was followed by our country’s aggressive program to put a man on the moon by the end of the decade. I remember the Gemini Program highlighted by Shepard’s first flight into space and John Glenn’s record orbit around the earth. I remember the failures and successes of the Apollo program, culminating in Armstrong’s first step on the Moon in the summer of 1969. I also remember the miracle of Apollo 13.

While at Boeing, I had the opportunity to work with several of the engineers and leaders who were an integral part of the Apollo Saturn V rocket program, the Lunar Rover program and the Space Shuttle program. I moved to Washington, DC and was Boeing’s technical liaison between our Seattle staff and NASA. I met Michael Collins, the astronaut who stayed in the command module while Armstrong and Aldrin walked on the moon. I worked with General Abramson, the ex-Shuttle Program Manager, on Strategic Defense Initiative programs. I watched the Challenger disaster with several of my Boeing associates in our Washington, DC Control Room. One of my bosses became the leader of the Space Station Integration program. I was part of our National Space Program.

When we exited from space launch programs with the last Shuttle flight in 2011, I felt a deep loss of US leadership in Space. Now after 9 years, we have made our first significant step toward the World’s New Horizon. We have returned … How proud it makes me feel.