Is there a more bucolic vision than central Oregon at midsummer?
Kentucky Horse Farm
The grassy, rolling, limestone-based Kentucky countryside looks too perfect. Precise fencing geometries and gently rippling ponds are just too much. I’m reminded of the famous Microsoft Windows XP default wallpaper, “Bliss.” The key to making both images work, I think, is an overall very clean image with just enough small details and imperfections at the edges to show you that it must be real.
December in Florida
When the weather outside is frightful, go to Florida! With sunrises like this to greet me, I might never leave.
There is something enormously satisfying about the moments when a great shot comes directly to me—no setup, no searching, no prep. I looked outside, the scene was beautiful, and all I had to do was compose and shoot. The “easy” feelings keep coming in Florida: I don’t have to shovel any snow, either.
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.)
Watching the Koi
Continuing with my botanical theme lately, here’s another of the oft featured Nitobe memorial garden at UBC, in the middle of the summer.
While I’m on the trend of remembering summers past (and mourning the end of our own summer), I’m also going to reminisce about our trip to the University of British Columbia’s Nitobe Memorial Garden last summer. Look at that lushness. Foliage everywhere. And, as I like to joking call it, the “enormous bonsai tree” framing the soft scene.
A quiet afternoon in the University of British Columbia’s Nitobe Memorial Garden: every path and blade of grass groomed to perfection, the sun wriggles between the leaves to dapple this narrow bridge over a lily pond. Dragonflies dart among the reeds, and the camera captures a perfect moment in time.
Sunset over New York’s Duchess County (as seen from the northwestern edge of Connecticut) glazed the land with an epic but bucolic light. The fields stretched out under a dusting of snow and Christmas lights glinted in the distant houses. The icing on the cake was the smell of woodsmoke on the evening air.
This is what New England is all about.
The empty, remote bits of Vermont have a strangely sinister feeling as the first rumbles of thunder pass overhead and the sky turns that almost-yellow color. The whole world is empty, with not a trace of humans but for a gravel road and the lonely power lines. In a way, it’s astonishing that power is supplied to so much of the country this way.
The University of British Columbia’s campus has the odd quality that many modern campuses do. The vast majority of the buildings are post-war additions, and carry the strong characteristics and visions of each of their respective architects. This particular building caught my eye for the way it integrates a Japanese-style bridge, pool, and island into the courtyard of what could otherwise be a glossy but unremarkable structure.
The combination makes me think of the entrance to some sort of futuristic dojo in a cyberpunk novel. No wonder William Gibson calls Vancouver home.
When I last visited Palm Desert, I found a variety of very strange things. (Some of which I’ve posted about before.) This particular lagoon stores water to keep the dust in the show rings down. I was just astonished to find it; wandering around in the desert, I saw no indication of its existence. When I saw the gorgeous turquoise of the reservoir, and the way the netting reflected off the water, I felt like I’d found an oasis.
Another shot from Robert Sibley Volcanic Regional Preserve, there was a small pond up on a hill overlooking some pastures and the freeway running through the east bay hills. Though they seemed reluctant to be caught on camera there were actually a pair of ducks swimming around this small, overgrown pond.
On the same day that I took this photograph, I found this awesome, half-frozen pond in the back of the forrest preserve. Though the sun was setting and the clouds were already picking up an orange-pink color, from this angle only the bluest parts of the sky were reflected. It had been above freezing for a couple of days, and the ice had melted to the point that it comprised two or three different textures. The brightness of those colors and the variations in the pond’s surface made for a nice contrast with the dormant and dead plants surrounding it.