Mary and I are fortunate to live a few miles from three great public gardens – the Los Angeles Arboretum, the Descanso, and the Huntington Library and Gardens. The Huntington is our favorite and we have been there at least a hundred times. Here is how to make one of the iconic photos there – the Japanese Garden.
Look – My favorite way to enter the Japanese Garden is through the Rose Garden and walk down the steps (make sure to make a portrait of the guardian lions). Walking down the steps you get a sweeping panoramic view of the entire garden. Some people like to stay on the steps, but I walk down to the road so I can shoot slightly “up.” There is a lot going on here, so the “encyclopedia” shot is a panoramic, or a single shot with the bridge, pound, and temple.
See – I have made this photo, probably, 50 times or more. One of the issues is always the light. We usually go to the Huntington to make macros, so we want a cloudy day. However, flat light usually does not make a great landscape. I have also found that this garden is also strangely arranged to face dead-east. We almost always are there in the morning, but not sunrise, so I sometimes get nice side lighting, but the sky is often times just plain white (not blue). I often times go to HDR to try to get some of the sky and color detail back.
Imagine – a typical response to these shooting issues is to go monotone or black and white. Again, I have done this before, but can not get enough contrast. I have not made an infrared photo yet (because we only go to the Huntington on cloudy days) because you really need bright direct sunlight.
Create – I decided to try and mimic an old postcard from film that was saved as a “keep sake” by one of my grandparents, only to be found by me. I wanted it brownish and a little beat up. I think this photo works and evokes that feeling in me of remembrance and nostalgia (see cover photo).
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