Plans had been laid for a few weeks for Dave Hill, Paula Goodbar and I to spend a day at the Japanese Garden in Portland and yesterday was the chosen day.  Unfortunately Paula had to cancel so Dave and I headed out early to meet with our friend and exceptional photographer, Bruce McCammon.  It was just a delightful day – good friends, great weather and the park was in beautiful Spring condition.  Very few people but that said I managed to walk the wrong way on a one-way route and ending up hearing about it.  Oh Well!!

Not far out of town I did the trick of ‘throw out the anchor – dive the car to side of the freeway, fetch the camera from the trunk, run across a field and shoot the morning sun greeting the valley’.  (I think I rattled Dave’s cage a bit doing this – Rambo photography.)


We met up with Bruce at the Pittock Mansion with the hope of getting some morning light on views of downtown Portland but there was so much haze you could barely see the city.  We moved on to ProPhoto Supply to off-load some money and then back up the hill to the Japanese Garden.  I think we were all a bit annoyed at the increase in the charge to bring in a tripod and just the overall ‘rules’ about photography established by the Gardens’ ruling board.  Left a bit of a sour taste but certainly did not last long and did not dampen our enthusiasm.

We split up with the idea of meeting in an hour – I got so caught up in what I was doing I got back late.  My bad!!

There are a couple of iconic images in the garden one of which is a large coy pond with a great waterfall and wonderfully manicured vegetation typical of a Japanese Garden.



I wandered up the path and worked my way under some branches that allowed me to frame a small waterfall emptying into the upper set of ponds.  Seemed like a wonderful secluded spot to just stop, gather myself and think a bit before moving on.


I shot for at least another 1/2 hour and then met up with Bruce and Dave. We all were anxious to keep going for at least another 30 minutes.  Heading out again I walked down a small path – not 20 feet and found this gorgeous red blooming tree framed by a old growth cedar.  I think it is my favorite shot of the day.


There is a what I will call a meditation garden where I ended up spending the majority of my remaining time – it is so serene. and the stones and raked gravel form a lovely landscape.  I’ve called this photograph “Squaring the Circle”  which I borrowed from a current show at The Art Annex.


Earlier I mentioned that there are at least two iconic views in the garden and one of them is this gnarly twisted small tree that in photographic terms has been shot to death and published so many times.  I was with Bruce about 4 years ago in the autumn and this tree was in full fall color so it was very nice to see it in the Spring.  This is one of those get down low and under the spreading branches with a very wide angle lens.


A little after noon we split up – Dave and I to an Indian buffet for lunch and I suspect Bruce went on home.  I look forward to seeing images from both of them.  The trip was easy, not much traffic and lots of good conversation but “Paula, we did miss you and I hope we can all go back this autumn.”