“Hosta, Japanese Maple, & Ground Cover” Fountainville, PA Garden
Tones, textures, and shapes all combine to provide vignettes of enjoyment for me. Simple things perk my interest. I first see the bright chartreuse of the hosta jump out at me. I stop, focus, and follow the lines and shapes of the leaves. I am drawn into the details. The dense and darker ground cover creates a base supporting the hosta leaves. I raise my eyes and see the small, delicate leaves of the Japanese Maple trickling down over the large hosta leaves protecting them from the bright sun. What a wonderful moment I experience just enjoying the simple beauty of a garden.
It took many years to create this vignette. First, we dug up a portion of our yard and added a good quanty of fill dirt and top soil to create a planting bed. We edged the bed with Pennsylvania blue stone to keep the dirt from flowing over to the grass and gravel walk way. Our first planting was a bed of petunias. They were beautiful but took a lot of maintenance to keep them looking neat. After a couple of years, we planted a Sango Kaku Japanese Maple on the corner of the bed. We planted several sun loving plants around the base of the maple and patiently waited until the maple created enough shade to plant shade-loving plants. We gradually pulled out and transplanted the sun-lovers and replaced them with hostas and other shade plants. Over the years the ground cover spread as the hostas grew. The bottom branches of the Sango Kaku flowed down to provide the shade the hosta needed. Fifteen years after we moved in, we had a beautiful bed with Japanese Maples at each end, medium sized shrubs in the middle, and all the ground covered with ground cover and shade-loving plants. Small vignettes were scattered all around.
Now on the other side of the country, we are starting over to develop a landscape that will have a similar feeling. Now we have small trees and shrubs and a lot of sun-loving plants. The areas between are covered with bark. We patiently will wait for nature to do its work to develop the mini environments to create vignettes like the one above. We celebrate the little things that make up the wonder of nature and life.
Fallen cherry blossoms covered the ground beneath the trees. I was able to get a few images before the lawn mowing gang cut the grass and swept away the beautiful blooms. The past few weeks are typically my favorite weeks in the garden each year. For a few days we are lucky to have the flowering pears, flowering plum, flowering crab apple, and flowering cherries all in bloom at the same time. It is peaceful and beautiful in the garden.
The image below is a new perspective using multiple exposures while zooming out.
A different look is achieved by a long exposure and a zoom pan as seen below.
I was having a lot of fun creating multiple exposures and just experimenting with various artistic ways of processing images when I came up with this combination. I first started out taking individual images of fallen cherry blossoms. I then experimented with multiple exposures (5 exposures in this case). I then further experimented with different artistic presets in Topaz Impression (Georgia O’Keefe II) to arrive at this image.
For reference, below is the 5 image multiple exposure:
When I saw this scene of our front porch, I felt like it was an impressionistic garden painting with all the pink and light green color. So, I post-processed the image that way using Topaz Impression plugin.
When things are working, keep the ball rolling. I was happy with the multiple exposure showed in my last post, so I thought I would try another as the wind was blowing the branches around. The multiple exposure feature of the 5D MkIII allowed me to see the combined image rather than waiting for post processing.
I was taking images of our flowering Bradford pear. I could not get anything that really caught my eye. Then the wind started blowing, the moving blossoms created a surrealistic image in my mind. How to capture this … why not try a multiple exposure. I took a 5 image multiple exposure slightly moving my camera, the wind took care of the rest.
Lesson Learned: Don’t give up. Work the image. Visualize and try something else.
Canon 7D MkII, EF 100mm f/2.8 IS Macro @ f/8.0, 1/640 sec, ISO 400
As I was coming in from my morning shoot of our garden, I saw these two blooms intermingled in a clump of white and yellow daffodils. They reminded me of two close friends , one whispering in the other’s ear.
I cannot recall how many times that I have been getting ready to put my camera away for the shoot when that one last image pops up in front of me. It seems to be one of my most alert times. On multiple occasions, this last image is my select from the whole shoot.
Lesson Learned: Always be ready for the image to come to you!
Canon 5D MkIII, EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro @ f/5.6, 1/400 sec, ISO 400
Out in our “Back 40” we have several bunches of bright yellow daffodils. Ah ha … great background opportunity. Now I just needed to find something to put in front. A few emerging Japanese Maple leaf buds caught my eye. So I put them together. The challenge was to get an interesting composition while the branch was moving in the wind. A relative open f-stop and a moderate shutter speed gave me the best balance.
Canon 7D MkII, EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro @ 100mm, f/8, 1/250 sec, ISO 200
These subtle pink petals of our Star Magnolia caught my eye this afternoon. The tree is in full bloom. The blossoms are in a fresh crisp state which typically does not last very long. Wind and wet weather usually turn the petal edges brown within a day or two after the bloom. I caught it in the perfect state this year.
I softened the image slightly to give it a soft look. It adds to the feeling that I had when I was shooting the image.
Fuji X-T1, XF18-135mm @ 52mm, f/5.6, 1/30 sec, ISO 400
The above image is a collection of fallen Atlas Cedar cones and Ginko leaves in our bird bath. The colors following the winter with all its snow were very muted. I thought B&W would be a good alternative.