Japanese Garden

Snowy egret

Snowy egret

Japanese Garden, Van Nuys, California.

It was a big bird day at the Japanese Garden: Canadian geese, Egyptian geese, various kinds of ducks, cormorants, and a number of snowy egrets.

As we were leaving I was able to take a number of shots of this snowy egret as he/she was fishing.

I enjoyed using the Canon G7X quite a bit: the tilting LCD made this shot easy, the longer zoom range (than the Sony RX100) allowed me to get closer to the bird, and the front control wheel’s clicks made zooming faster and easier than with the Sony. The white bird was a bit blown out but I’m not sure the Sony’s similar sensor wouldn’t have done the same thing. The Canon is a much sturdier camera with better ergonomics and even if it’s not as popular, I like it better than the Sony, which I found tough to use both in winter with gloves and all the time because it’s so slow to respond.

Floating ginkgo leaves

Floating ginkgo leaves

The Japanese Garden, Van Nuys, California.

Back home in Connecticut fall is almost over: almost all of our leaves are down, the last of the oaks will be down this week no doubt (I have to do at least one more big cleanup when I get home). Here in Los Angeles, the gingko trees are shedding leaves and this was a nice collection of them that was floating on the water of this sewage treatment plant.

Yes, for those who tuned in late, the Japanese Garden is a very small part of a much larger sewage treatment plant. What a great idea to let this not quite finished grey water feed plants, fish, and birds.

Knot

Knot

The Japanese Garden, Van Nuys, California.

This garden employs one professional Japanese gardener who we’ve met many times. He does lots of things in the garden including training trees with armatures and by tying lateral branches down to keep them growing sideways instead of up.

This twine was attached to both a branch and this railing around the lotus garden. The knot stood out: clean and beautiful.

This is what I love about many traditional things in Japan (and those same things expressed outside of Japan): there is a focussed attention to the smallest detail, like a fractal, attention to detail at the same level all the way down and all the way up.

Japanese Garden through my mother’s eyes

Japanese Garden through my mother's eyes

Japanese Garden, Van Nuys, California. We returned to this great garden and while my 99 year old mother is mostly experiencing it through memory (she can’t walk or see well anymore) she enjoyed being wheeled around the paths.

I’m always trying to get new images of my mother but frankly, she’s declining and I’m having a tough time capturing her spirit.

I did like this reflection of the main pond at the garden in her sunglasses, and while she may not be seeing the detail this image shows, she’s taking it in through other senses and memory. Actually, she was nodding off when I took this.

Note: I cropped her mouth because if I catch her at the wrong moment her mouth has a less than attractive look; she knocked some teeth out in a fall and the resulting gap is unattractive.

Ginkgo on lotus

Ginkgo on lotus

This image is a high contrast JPEG right out of the Ricoh GR, the RAW, even with aggressive processing didn’t look as “painterly” as this so I chose this one.

Japanese Garden, Van Nuys, California. We returned to this great garden and while my 99 year old mother is mostly experiencing it through memory (she can’t walk or see well anymore) she enjoyed being wheeled around the paths.

The many ginkgo trees were shedding enough leaves so there were dried ginkgo leaves on lots of surfaces, including lotus leaves on a small pond.

Ginkgo on lotus

This image is a RAW image out of the Ricoh GR with minimal processing except to choose a monochrome preset I built in Lightroom for these kinds of shots. Lots of great texture here and the JPEG out of camera didn’t show it.

Looking up at bamboo

Looking up at bamboo

Japanese Garden, Van Nuys, California.

It was extremely hot at the Japanese Garden when we visited on Monday and there were only a few birds and the plants looked pretty beaten down by the heat. I’d been meaning to try to get some images of the small bamboo grove they have there so these are my first go at it. These are high contrast JPEGs processed in the Ricoh GR. I have the RAWs but I really liked this processing better for these shots.

Looking up at bamboo

Looking up at bamboo

Lotuses

Lotus

Japanese Garden, Van Nuys, California. I’m back in Los Angeles and back at the Japanese Garden shooting “loti” (lotuses) again. Thank god it was breezy as it was hot (hotter tomorrow) but not so great for shooting spindly flowers.

The above image is a RAW file processed high contrast in Lightroom. The Ricoh GR’s high contrast JPEG blew out the faces of the petals so I went to the RAW file to get more detail there. Nice to have both files.

Lotus

Japanese Garden, Van Nuys, California. I’m back in Los Angeles and back at the Japanese Garden shooting “loti” (lotuses) again. Thank god it was breezy as it was hot (hotter tomorrow) but not so great for shooting spindly flowers.

This lotus seed pod is the high contrast JPEG processed in the Ricoh GR. The RAW file showed more detail but less contrast and was less interesting visually. Nice to have both files to mess with.

Lotus

Lotus

Japanese Garden, Van Nuys, California. We visited this great garden again yesterday. Even though I’m not sure what my now 99 + year old mother can see and hear there, she always wants to go. The lotuses are in bloom although I tend to like the lily pads in their decomposed state better for my kind of photography. Still, there’s nothing like a lotus flower to show off what makes a flower a flower (think sex organs).

Lotus