Author Archives: kgrafphoto

Monet’s Interpretation

“The Meadow”
Heatherwood Summer

We just finished carving out and planting a new meadow in the lower section of Heatherwood. The colors are already bursting out for its first summer season. Reds, purples, yellows, blues, oranges, and all different shades of greens are scattered about. We have a lot of bark covered ground showing through most of the areas. It will take a few years for the perennials to fill in. We have patience and are enjoying the individual plants as each one breaks into bloom. Hopefully we will have a flow of changing color throughout the summer and early fall. This is just a start. We will record the activity of the meadow and adjust as we go along. It will also be a “Never Ending Journey.”

I created this image today. It was my first time out photographing since I had my foot operation. I’ve been hobbling around for the past three plus weeks. I still can’t put any weight on my foot, so I got a little creative and hopped on my lawn mower and drove around our new garden meadow. I stopped and recorded many images from above. Getting the best perspective and composition was very difficult, and sometimes impossible. But, I just had to get out with my camera. When I started processing the images, I noticed that they were all a little out of focus. I guess the high frequency vibration of the lawn mower didn’t help my unsteady hand. So, I decided to cheat a little and convert the images into a blurred impressionistic versions. Thank you Topaz!

The Oak Grove

“Looking Into the Oak Grove”
Yakima Arboretum, Washington

This image of oak trees in the Yakima Arboretum found me this spring before the Covid-19 restrictions. Luckily the Arboretum was allowed to remain open during this period. I was able to make several other visits to see the cherry tree bloom, the magnolia bloom, and the crabapple bloom. Several times I felt that I had the Arboretum to myself. It was a great time to just wander and let images come to me.

My walks through the Arboretum help me visualize what our little place in Selah could be in 15-20 years. This spring we planted five oak trees. We have spaced them out to create a grove where we will be able to watch them grow. It will take several years for them to be tall enough to support an understory of smaller trees and shrubs. In the meantime the grove will look bare, but I will be able to squint my eyes and imagine what it will be like when they mature.

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.