As we developed the design for our Japanese Garden, winter color was an essential element. Throughout the garden, we added several conifers that turn to a brilliant yellow to contrast against the greens of other shrubs and trees. We also selected deciduous Japanese maples and other trees that have color in their winter bark. The soft light browns of key rocks add to the color contrast. However, these were gifts, not necessarily part of our planned design. We just got lucky here.
One Japanese garden design technique is to used “borrowed scenes” from the area around the garden. As much as possible the background elements should look like they are part of the near and mid-range scene, giving it additional depth. As we laid out our Japanese garden last summer, we identified several elements for which we positioned them to take advantage of the background hills and landscape. In this image we used our neighbor’s large front yard tree, their pasture, and their fence to give depth to the Kotoji landscape view.
Hoarfrost is amazing. The small ice crystals build up on each other as the frost forms. Here, the hoarfrost continued to build up over a two day period. The frost looks like multiple sharp spikes on the exposed Japanese maple branches.
I was prepared for a sharp prick when I touched a branch. As soon as I got close the frost melted. No pain!
I enjoy morning walks around our garden. The filtered sunlight through our flowering crab apple tree to hostas against our house wall caught my eye.
The sights in our garden change daily. I really need to take a little walk daily with my eyes, mind, and heart open and camera in hand.
Beauty is everywhere. It surrounds us wherever we turn. It may take the form of an iconic landscape, unique piece of architecture, engaging street scene, or even an out of focus rose.
I enjoy a change of pace from time to time.
I looked out the window and watch the fog roll in. Ghost images appeared where just a few minutes earlier trees stood. I couldn’t resist going outside to try to capture the feeling. I was thinking, “Look at all these cool silhouettes!” It only took a few moments for my fingers to freeze, making it difficult to operate my camera. I took a few images and scurried back into the warm house.
Frequently I look out my window and see this American Kestral perched on a pear tree watching over the pasture below. This seems to be one of its favorite spots. This morning, I waited for the sun to rise a little and shine through the morning fog to silhouette the Kestral. It was a beautiful way to start the morning.
Looking out my window before the sun came up on the Winter Solstice, I saw some bilious clouds forming. I knew a fantastic sunrise was on the way. I grabbed my camera and just waited. I was rewarded with this beautiful view from my patio. What a beautiful gift and wonderful way to start a new day!
How can I make a simple branch covered with frost pop out from its surrounding??? Just move around to position something interesting behind it. I found a faded clump of Japanese Forest Grass for a background. Using a shallow depth of field caused the grass to look like a radiating energy force field. I could feel the energy emerge as I recorded the image.
Brilliant beauty is everywhere. This single red maple leaf, edges covered with hoarfrost, made me stop in my tracks. It was just hanging there waiting for me to discover. Just a few ice crystals held it captured on the branch. After taking several photos, I turned around to look for other treasures. I glanced back, the red was not there. The leaf had fallen to the ground.
Lesson Learned: Never pass up a gift!