Brooklyn Photo Walks | Botanical Garden
The other day , when we were slated to set a record high temp for March, I thought I’d get a chance to check out what was in bloom at the Botanical Garden. We had unseasonably mild weather this past winter so the plants’ chronometers are all out of sorts.
Unfortunately, the Cherry blossoms weren’t in bloom yet, but I have little doubt that they’ll be blooming much earlier than we’ve seen them before. I’ll have to keep checking back week to week..and then day to day to catch them in peak bloom. Though I hope to do this all before the annual festival. It’s likely the organizers are also thinking about advancing the date of the festival to anticipate the peak bloom… I’ll keep watching them anyway to see if I can beat the crowd.
On this walk I decided to sport my Infrared converted Canon D60 as well as my Canon 60D alongside my macro photography adapters. I can’t wait til more leaves bloom so that the Infrared Photography will be really spectacular.
I met an interesting older woman on my walk through the Japanese garden.
Her name is Sue. She stood here for about 10 minutes studying a pair of Japanese Cherry blossoms. I studied and photographed the area around her, but she didn’t budge once as I studied several plants around her.
I crossed her path to have a look at the same trees she was studying in the pictures above and below.
She commented about their beauty in the attempt to commune. And I imagined she’d have much more to say, given she studied them for 10 minutes – or perhaps it was even longer since I’d only just met her there.
She told me that these are an old pair of trees, and that they probably won’t have many more years to bloom. She was apparently very familiar with this old couple.
She watched them grow together over the years, witnessed their blights, and the over zealous pruning by the garden scapers. She was upset by how they’ve been treated , but she was fascinated and happy with how they’ve been able to survive and bloom year after year.
I wanted to keep moving on and continue with my original plan, but I decided to stay and listen to her. She moved around the garden slowly, and wanted to visit each tree as though they were old friends she hadn’t seen in a decade. I ended up learning a lot about the trees and plants in that part of the garden.
I reflected on what was happening, and I realized that I needed to walk the garden with her eyes. Sue was into ancient Chinese and Japanese art, and that seemed to influence how she studied nature. Ancient Chinese art, she said, values the empty space between objects as much as the subjects themselves. The void between trees, plants, and structures is full of potential energy , or so I understood. I’m familiar with the holistic philosophy she espoused, and I’m on board with much of it.
Many of the trees in the Japanese garden have bark with a lot of character. They seem to grow chaotically upwards, and are never found growing in a straight up and down manner. Sue said this reflected the flow of energy, and realistically, that isn’t a stretch of the imagination from a scientific basis. I’m know that Phototaxis plays a role in the manner all trees grow, so following the energy isn’t a far-out “alternative” concept.
This pair of trees was of particular interest to Sue, and she pointed out the concave and convex pattern in their bark. Again, it was the complimentary energy Yin and Yang in that is reflected in this dynamic. I started to look at the whole garden with different eyes after she said this. I need to visit the garden on another excursion simply to study this relationship here.
She taught me a bit about the construction of the garden, and about the relevance of structures such as the bridge in the picture below. Pointing out the theme of circles completed by the reflections in the water. Interesting stuff, and I thought it’d make an interesting photo as well. Like the composition below?
She pointed out one or two final things on our way out of the garden.
I liked the concept of unchanging sturdiness represented by the Pine and Rock, shown below.
I finally left my Garden companion and continued to other parts of the Garden with the time left before closing. The Rose Garden is pictured below.
I learned a lot about my gear ( Canon D60 ) and about the Japanese garden, and the study of nature. I plan to return soon, before the crowd begins so that I can study and perhaps shoot a series to reflect the themes I’ve recently become aware exist in the Japanese garden. Look out for that soon.
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