Posted tagged ‘patterns’

Spring in Seattle

February 12, 2010

Azalea blooming in early February

2010 has brought Seattle the warmest January we have seen in over a hundred years of record-keeping, which might seem odd to those dealing with record-setting snowfall in more southerly parts of the east coast.  This is an El Niño year, which brings strange weather patterns to the whole Pacific basin and over much of North America.  Our warm temperatures and Vancouver’s trucking in snow for parts of the Winter Olympics are part of this El Niño effect.

As a result of the warm weather, our first sign of spring, the flowering of the hazelnut trees, occurred just about the first of January, and I heard frogs croaking on warm days.  While jogging in Bremerton, I saw the first miniature irises in bloom.

In early February I made two trips to Seattle’s Washington Park Arboretum, located along Lake Washington near the University of Washington campus.  The arboretum is beautiful any time, but I especially love the flowering trees in spring, and this was my first opportunity in 2010 to see early witch hazels and azaleas in bloom.  Within the arboretum, the J. A. Witt Winter Garden is the focus for early spring color, as well as bright winter twig and bark colors.

In this portfolio you can see traditional approaches to garden photography–as well as some more impressionistic images that have their own beautiful aesthetic.  Enjoy the spring through my photography, even if you are trapped in a snowstorm!

Persian Violet (Cyclamen coum) around base of Tall Stewartia

Harry Lauder’s Walking Stick (Corylus avellana ‘Contorta’)

Scotch Heather (Calluna vulgaris ‘Robert Chapman’)

Early Azalea Blooming

Purple Hazel (Corylus maxima ‘Atropurpurea Superba’)

Chinese Witch Hazel (Hamamelis mollis)

Paperbark Maple bark (Acer griseum)

Impressionistic view of Harry Lauder’s Walking Stick

Orange Beauty Witch Hazel (Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Orange Beauty’)

Muskogee Crape Myrtle (Lagerstroemia x ‘Muskogee’)

Plastic Fence and Azalea

Wilcox Footbridge, built in 1911

Paperbark Maple bark (Acer griseum)

Peeling bark, backlit by a low winter sun, of Paperbark Maple (Acer griseum)

Ruby Glow Witch Hazel (Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Ruby Glow’)

Impressionistic view of backlit bark of Paperbark Maple (Acer griseum)

Bark detail of Paperbark Maple (Acer griseum)

Western Red Cedar (Thuja plicata) branches casting shadows

Green-barked Dogwood (Cornus stolonifera ‘Flaviramea’) with Black Mondo Grass (Ophiopogan planiscapus ‘Ebony Knight’)

Colorful coppiced shrub dogwood (Cornus sp.); coppicing means cutting back branches to the ground each spring, which encourages new twig growth, and new twigs have brighter color

A lavender early-blooming azalea (Rhododendron sp.)

Ruby Glow Witch Hazel (Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Ruby Glow’)

Another view of Harry Lauder’s Walking Stick

And still another view of Harry Lauder’s Walking Stick

Patterned bark of Hers’ Maple (Acer grosseri var. hersii)

A cherry (Prunus sp.) blooming in early February

Moss on a huge tree glowing under overcast skies

For more information about Seattle’s Washington Park Arboretum, go to:  http://depts.washington.edu/wpa/index.htm.

To see my web site, which includes photographic prints for sale, please go to LeeRentz.com

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





January 5, 2009 On Thin Ice

January 6, 2009

2009_wa_1751wp

Understanding natural design is a right brain/left brain exercise. We sense beauty and become inspired through the artistic right hemisphere of the brain, and understand the reasons behind natural design through the rational and analytical right hemisphere of the brain.  This is oversimplifying, of course, but it does point out our varied ways of sensing the world.  Van Gogh was undoubtedly right-brained in his perceptions of the world, while the fictional Spock was completely left-brained. When I come upon an element of nature that I don’t 2009_wa_1756wpunderstand, my brain searches for reasons behind the beauty that I capture with my camera.   Nature is filled with patterns that are governed by physics and evolution.

I live on small Fawn Lake in the Puget Sound region of the USA, a place renowned for rain. Our maritime winters are indeed moist, with a climate resembling England or Scotland. I maintain a rain gauge each year, and in a typical year we get about 65 inches of precipitation–mostly rain, but occasionally we get snow. In December 2008, 17″ of snow dumped on us, closing schools and businesses and making roads almost impassable right before Christmas, when people wanted to be out shopping. Then our lake froze over.

I was out of town for the holidays, but when I returned, I noticed a strange pattern on the frozen surface of Fawn Lake.  There were hundreds of ice formations that looked for all the world like synapses in the brain: see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Synapse. 2009_wa_1753wpThese dendritic (think tree branches) formations each had a hole in the center with branching tentacles radiating out from the center hole. When I photographed them, the temperature was above freezing, and the water in the dendritic formations was liquid. It looks to me as if rainwater and meltwater flow from the tips of the tentacles to the hole in the center. But what caused these holes to begin with? And why are they fairly regularly spaced across the lake? Is water flowing into or out of the hole in the center? This inquiring left brain wants to know, and I would appreciate your suggestions. I will update this entry if someone has a definitive explanation.

This phenomenon has been observed before, and you can see pictures by other photographers from several locations at:  http://flickr.com/photos/91347191@N00/109697496

 

2009_wa_1754wp

To see a variety of my photographic work, including photos for sale, please go to LeeRentz.com

Click on the photographs below for versions with captions.


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