Both of these photos (image 1, image 2) are from the Portland Japanese Garden; the first image was inspired by Daniel’s eye-catching shot of Nitobe Memorial Garden this past autumn. It just so happens that both the Portland Japanese Garden and Nitobe Memorial Garden are renowned as being among the most authentic Japanese gardens outside of Japan. These two gardens share many similarities in their architecture and flora. As well, both have the intricate, yet harmonic, representation of nature typical of a Japanese garden.
Although my picture isn’t as colourful as Daniel’s due to the season, I think it does well enough to capture the essence of a Japanese garden. I mainly tried to emulate the defined roof and barriers that contrast the scene and draw focus onto the landscape. This effect reinforces that framing with darkness (in these cases, structures), can be a great tool to compose a photo.
Both of these photos were taken on a wintry afternoon in mid-February, when I visited Portland for the first time. Only the earliest signs of spring were on display that day. I imagine that the best time to visit is in the autumn, when the trees–in particular the Japanese maples–have foliage of rich colours. Still, the overwhelming “green-ness” of the Pacific Northwest winter landscape never fails to amaze. It was a Saturday afternoon, perhaps one of the busiest times of the week, but the garden seemed happily-shared by its visitors.
My experience in the Portland Japanese Garden reinforced the evolving and far-reaching popularity of botanical gardens that I’ve recently become aware of. While my interests in gardens so far are for experiencing nature and photographing, those two reasons are just a very small sliver of the many reasons people value and visit gardens, such as art, spirituality, recreation, history, or science. The extensive upkeep and maintenance of gardens such as the Portland Japanese Garden is an example of an ever-changing work of art.