When spring shades into summer and the students go home for break, the campus is oddly empty for the best weather it ever sees. The empty dorms feel a bit like the result of a very tidy zombie apocalypse.
In the past, I’ve photographed several Japanese gardens, and even St. Lawrence University’s own North Country Japanese Garden, but I’ve never been able to capture it like this before. From my quadcopter’s vantage point, I captured the geometry of Sykes Hall and the North Country Japanese Garden in the grids of streets and campus paths.
I’ve shown you St. Lawrence University’s zen garden in the past, but never from above. Down in the middle of Sykes Hall, in front of the clock tower, you can see a hint of raked gravel and carefully cut grass. I’m not sure I ever appreciated how many trees we have until I started flying.
The tranquil Nitobe Memorial Garden at the University of British Columbia is a very peaceful place to wander and ponder.
Rose gardens are more frequently Brendan’s purview on this blog (check out this post, or this one), but my visit to Portland, Oregon this summer gave me the chance to shoot some rose gardens of my own. The dramatic sky, the far-off pavilion, the spouting fountain, the acres of roses, and the mis-matched ramp and stairs at the edges of the picture: Peninsula Park Rose Garden hits all the right fairy tale notes. I was lucky to be able to capture it at just the right heavy summer moment—though I have to wonder how it would look in the fuzzy first moments of sunrise, too.
A photograph should “work,” should have meaning, in isolation. I suppose that really means that it should work without any context other than shared culture. Without my words, you can know that this is a Japanese Garden (though perhaps not in Oregon), know that it’s an artificial simulacrum of some elegant natural setting—but can the sense of calm in being in that place be conveyed by the image? (I suspect that this aspect might be the easiest to convey.)
I photographed a zen garden in the Northeast, and now I’ve photographed this one in the Northwest, as well. The Portland Japanese Garden and its spectrum of gold-through-green-to-blue conveys its own “calm drama” in a way much separated from the North Country equivalent.