An American Homage to French Artist Monet in Seattle’s Japanese Garden

Water lilies and autumn Japanese Maple reflections

Gardens welcome us by delighting our senses, and often by distilling some of the best aspects of nature into a small space. On my late October visit to Seattle’s Japanese Garden, in the Washington Park Arboretum, I enjoyed peak autumn colors on a clear, sunny day.

Formal gardens are not my usual subject; my tastes usually run to the random and ragged aspects of wild nature. Yet, when I photograph wild nature, I search out a kind of simplified essence of nature, and isn’t that exactly what a Japanese garden is?  So I easily slipped into my role as nature photographer and came away with a lot of colorful work in an afternoon.

The photographs presented here occurred when I was channeling Claude Monet; the water lilies and autumn reflections made for some impressionistic photography, and I felt like I was immersed in Monet’s garden at Giverny.

A graceful blending of autumn color and pale leaves

Koi with an almost radioactive orange color

Lily pads and autumn reflections

Japanese maple with pleasing bokeh–a term American photographers adapted from Japan to describe the quality of the out-of-focus areas behind the main subject. By using a shallow depth-of-field with a lens known to be good for its bokeh effect, a photographer can create a composition that soothes the eye.

A cacophony of color and design in the Japanese Garden’s pond

Straight from Monet’s sketchbook

Layers of color and texture

I have posted several previous blogs about the Washington Park Arboretum in Seattle.  Go to:

Azaleas in Seattle, Pretty in Pink, and Spring in Seattle.

To see my web site, which includes photographic prints for sale, please go to LeeRentz.com. I also have some inexpensive, smaller pieces for sale at an Etsy Website.

To see thousands of my photographs in large file sizes for use in magazines or other printed materials or electronic media, go to my PhotoShelter Website.



Author: leerentz

BS and MS in natural resources, with early career work as an artist and nature center director. Became a full-time photographer in 1990. Sells photographs at art shows nationwide. Publication credits include National Geographic, National Geographic Adventure, US News & World Report, Prevention, National Wildlife, Audubon, and scores of other magazines, books, calendars, and electronic media.

7 thoughts on “An American Homage to French Artist Monet in Seattle’s Japanese Garden”

  1. Wow, grew up in Pacific Northwest, doing my own photography and paintings – but these images are serene! What a blessing that the photographer has shared them and opened our eyes to their beauty.

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