I have a habit of standing near the trunk of large trees and following the limbs up to the sky. I almost always find an interesting abstract if I twist around a bit to get just the right composition. One time back in Peace Valley Park near Doylestown, PA, I slipped standing on a log and fell into the crotch of the tree and got stuck. Luckily after several minutes, I was able to wriggle myself free. I am not quite as persistent to get the right angle these days!
“Japanese Garden Pond” Yakima Arboretum, Washington
I must remember, “simplify, simplify, and simplify” when I use a wide angle lens. For this image, my subject was the Japanese lantern balanced by the rock jutting out into the pond. All the additional stuff to the right was not essential and just cluttered the image. I just needed to “foot zoom” a few steps closer to make it a better image.
I must remember to get in close and intimate when working with a wide angle lens. On the positive side, working with infrared allowed me to achieve a reasonable dynamic range with the harsh highlights and shadows.
I am humbled with my progress, but still encouraged. As my website theme highlights, my photographic excursions are a “Never Ending Journey.”
“Japanese Garden” Yakima Area Arboretum, Washington
Today’s post moves away from Heatherwood to the Yakima Area Arboretum. Almost all of my recent photography work has been in our Heatherwood garden. I feel like I need a little change. Reviewing this week’s “Nature TTL” web site, I noticed the weekly challenge to be wide-angle images. It has been over a year since I created my last infrared images in the Palouse. So I gave myself the assignment to go to our local arboretum and photograph wide-angle infrared scenes. I quickly noticed how “out of practice” I was. I had to focus much harder on managing contrasts between tones, highlights and shadows, as well as details. Critiquing my work, I feel it was about a 3 on a scale of 10. But that is OK … it just means that I need to practice more! More to follow on future posts …
“Patio Rock Garden in Infrared” Heatherwood Summer
I needed a little change, so I thought I would post an infrared image of our summer garden. This image is of our new rock garden planted during the spring of 2021. By early summer, the plants had taken hold and started blooming. It will take a couple of years for this area to catch up with our rock garden and meadow planting areas.
This small Japanese lantern and the rock marks a division in Heatherwood’s Japanese garden. Which path do I follow? Do I take the easy path toward the sound of the water? Or do I venture up a curving path to explore up above? Each path has its own little surprises. Take your choice …
I am getting ready for an infrared photography workshop with Tony Sweet on Whidbey Island. I thought I needed to do a little practicing. In this section of Heatherwood, we are trying to create a woodland garden. It is a work in progress, and right now we have only small trees and a few “sun-loving” shrubs planted. The dark bark provides a striking contrast to the IR highlighted trees. In a few years, hopefully the ground will be covered with shrubs, ground cover, and shade-loving perennials. The envisioned garden path will provide the contrast needed for an IR image.
The town of Elberton has as a history similar to many of the late 19th century towns in the Palouse. It flourished for a while, then went into an irreversible decline.
In the 1870’s Giles D. Wilber built a water powered sawmill which provided lumber for nearby farms and barns. The Oregon Railway and Navigation Company build a rail line through the valley in the early 1880’s. The town was plated in 1886 by Sylvester M. Wait and was named after his son Elbert. By the end of the decade, Elberton had a sawmill, flour mill, post office, two general stores, blacksmith and wagon shop, two grain warehouses, livery stable, and a church. During the 1890’s, the town continued to grow. Fruit trees were planted as a major crop. By 1900, the town had a population of 400.
After the turn of the century, the town began to decline. The sawmill moved to Idaho after all the nearby timber had been cut. The town experienced a devastating fire in 1908 and severe flooding in 1910. Elberton then rapidly declined.
During my little exploration, all I could see that remained of the town was the railroad trestle, the church, old building foundations, a few pieces of farm equipment, and several remains of old non-native landscape shrubs and trees. It was an interesting off the beaten path excursion.
“Soon to be Demolished Barn” The Palouse, Washington
On a midday wander along the little Palouse River, I spotted this old barn with a nice background of a railroad trestle and a stream. As I was photographing the barn, an elderly man walked up the road and stopped to talk. He said that he had been living in a little workers house just up the road around the corner. He had been asked to leave because the area was being plotted for a new housing development. He then told me that within the next month or two that this barn was going to be demolished for a home site.
It is sad to see the Palouse’s history fade away piece by piece. Part of my enjoyment of visiting the Palouse is to meet the locals and listen to their memories and experiences of the life in this beautiful area.
“Two White Barns and Steptoe” The Palouse, Washington
I started out searching for these iconic two white barns in the fields of the Palouse. I first focused my images on the two white barns. I wasn’t excited about what I had created. They were just nice photos of two white barns. I stepped back and asked myself why I was making the images. It was the wonderful Palouse sky and the quaint farm setting in the rolling hills around Steptoe Butte. I switched my perspective to the overall setting and away from the iconic barns.
Wandering country road, old farm equipment, and an old school house … how many memories do these represent? One hundred and fifty years of history have changed this area from sagebrush and native grasses to some of the richest dry land farming areas in the world. Decades of dilapidated used farm implements are scattered across the area. The old one room Skeen schoolhouse once served the children of the pioneer families.
As we were photographing, an old farmer who lived across the street came over to check up on us. What an opportunity would it have been to just sit down and and spend a couple of hours listening to him talk about the “Good Ole Times.”