“Zen Flame”, Portland Oregon
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“Zen Flame”, Japanese Maple Tree, Portland Japanese Garden

I first visited Portland’s famed Japanese Garden nearly 20 years ago.  It is truly a beautiful place.  Pools, bridges, Koi Ponds, temples, and layers of elegantly manicured plant life make for a magical garden experience.  The amazing tree you see in this image is famous amongst photographers.  Historically, I’ve avoided photographing this mystical tree and the Japanese Gardens because it felt a bit too like photographing wildlife in a zoo, a bit canned.

Backyard Garden, Bend Oregon

My little zen garden, Bend, Oregon.

As I’ve aged I have become an avid gardener.  When I’m at my home office, having an “Admin day”, I take periodic breaks that are filled with gardening time.  I find that dirtying my hands while weeding trimming or harvesting tomatoes is an excellent way to clear my mind.  It has become a special ….grounding activity.  It is my little Zen Garden .

Fresh tomatoes on the vine, peppers, Zucchini, aromas of basil and rosemary, blooms of Petunias, Bee Balm, and Nasturtium, the excited zipping of Rufous Hummingbirds.  It’s a little slice of heaven!

I love my little garden, my gardener friends love their gardens and they at least feign interest in my periodic garden updates. My zen garden made me reconsider photographing the Portland Japanese Gardens.  It is a truly special place, a beautiful place and an emotionally moving place.  Why wouldn’t I try to capture some of this elegance on film?  Well, I did!

I traveled to Portland three different times this autumn with the specific intent of capturing the amazing vine maple you see above and wow and I glad I did.  It is absolutely mind blowing.  The vascular branches the intimate details of every leaf on the tree.  The subdued background colors and textures magnify the brilliance of this magical tree.  I captured this tree with shades of yellow and green, then Oranges and eventually rich reds.  I’m not sure which color palette I prefer but I’ll start with the image you see here.  This gorgeous image will make a stunning print.  Please contact me with any questions about my newest work ore even about my little backyard garden!


1 Comment

  1. mary nuwer

    Do you know what the name of this Japanese maple is? I have a number of Japanese maples and love them.


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