I am still not able to get out and about much, so I thought I would do a little series of some of the National Parks that I have visited over the years. My first entry is from the Great Smokies National Park in Tennessee.
Springtime in the Smokies is a glorious time of the year. Dogwoods are starting to bloom and light green leaves are emerging from the deciduous forests as seen from this image taken near Cades Cove. The early morning lights turn the light green leaves into an almost gold color.
Roaring streams in lush green stream beds with multiple waterfalls grace the park. Wildlife, including black bears, are becoming active. Morning fog covers much of the area and gradually dissolves to present misty vignettes. Distant hills are covered with a misty haze giving rise to their namesake “Smoky” Mountains.
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.
Shin Deshojo Japanese Maple Heatherwood Japanese Garden
How fast things change. The initial color of the first emerging leaves of this Shin Deshojo is a light pinkish red. Within a week they had turned to this brilliant red. Now, a month later, the leaves are a greenish-red color. Soon they will be a medium green. And then in the fall, they will be a brilliant red again. What a wonderful show this little tree gives us over the year.
The different and changing colors of our 26 Japanese Maples consistently catch my eye. Every time I walk through the garden, I look for something different. It is easy to find.
Now I am back to reality (partially). I am experimenting working in Infrared to see what works best with Infrared images. Clouds, deciduous trees, and grass are always good candidates. Infrared seems to bring out some of the tonality differences among the various types of trees. Here I see the differences between the deciduous trees which have fully leafed out, ones that are in bloom, others that have just started to have leaves at their tips, as well as the conifers.
This image was created using my standard image processing steps: Balance levels in Lightroom, convert to Black and White in Sliver Efex Pro. then optimize in Silver Efex. Pretty simple!
“A Different Perspective” Yakima Arboretum, Washington
I was a little bored today, so I decided to just play around with some recent infrared images of the Yakima Arboretum. From time to time, I get in a little rut of processing images using my “standard” process. Using advice from Tony Sweet a long, long time ago, when in a rut, try something crazy and different. So I did, using Lightroom, SilverEfex Pro, and Topaz Study, this is today’s result.
Flagstone Path in Japanese Garden Heatherwood Spring
This is another one of the little views that we have in our garden. This is what we see as we walk along the flagstone path in the front of the house then turn the corner around the edge. A crab apple on our left and a Shishigashira Japanese Maple and a varigated dogwood on the right frame the view along the curving path. The view is full of color and texture through all the seasons of the year. In the early spring and late fall, the early morning sun breaks over the horizon just above the path.
One of the design techniques in Japanese Gardens is to use a “borrowed” background to enhance the garden’s visual size. Here, we used the orchard and Selah Ridge to enhance the scene from this perspective. In the design process we layed out the path through the garden and the specific plantings to create these types of views. We tried to create multiple view points that would lend themselves to photographic interest.
We are so lucky to be out in “the country”. Here we can create a place to relax and enjoy nature and the world around us. During our Covid 19 “Stay at Home” directive, I have not felt “cooped-up”. All I have to do is step outside into our garden’s little get away. It is so peaceful and quiet as it lightens my spirt to enjoy the peacefulness around me.
The Japanese Garden is in it’s infancy. We enjoy it now as it is, but also visualize how it will be when it matures. Until it does mature, we will slowly add plantings to fill the voids. My imagination runs wild as it explores the many alternatives we have. Sometimes I have a hard time sleeping at night as I dream about the many opportunities.
Acer palmatum dissectum ‘Veridis’ & Yukimi Lantern Heatherwood Spring
How time flies by so very, very fast! It has been a week and a half since I posted my last photo of our spring bloom. Since then, all 26 of our Japanese Maples have emerged with their spring colors. Their spring emergence has been beautiful. They have gifted us with multiple shades of yellow, orange, light green, pink, red, and burgundy. But, how quickly they start to turn to their summer shades.
I was able to record most of the color during strolls through the garden with my iPhone. I hope to put together a little gallery of the various maples and how they evolve through the year.
Mother’s Day is synonymous with the full Spring bloom. In the areas that I have lived, Mother’s Day weekend is the time to start planting annuals. I can visualize Mom bending over on her hands and knees working in her garden.
Mother’s Day has always been a special Holiday for me. It’s been a time when I would do little things that brought a bright warm smile to Mom’s face. All of us kids would fuss over Mom and thank her for all that she did. We could have never asked for a more wonderful, warm, supportive, and loving mother. She was always there for us, no matter the situation. She was the balance in my life as I was growing up and also as I faced challenges throughout my adult life.
So on this special day, let’s all cherish all that our mother’s have given us. Reflect, be thankful, and give Mom all the love in our hearts.
Happy Mother’s Day Mom! My love is always with you!