Random Sights and Diversions

Photography Media Reviews Commentary

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Tranquility

Tranquility. Fuji X100. 23 mm. ISO 640. 1/60 sec at f/16. Digitally manipulated. Copyright Joanne Mason 2014.

Tranquility. Fuji X100. 23 mm. ISO 640. 1/60 sec at f/16. Digitally manipulated. Copyright Joanne Mason 2014.

This tree was shot in a Japanese garden on a warm summer afternoon. Standing by itself in a small clearing, the tree was a scene of serene calm and tranquility. The contemplative colors and textures in this impressionistic image convey, I hope, that sense of tranquility and peace. This image is another in the continuing series of impressionistic and digitally manipulated images.

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Secret Garden

Secret Garden. Digital Manipulation. Copyright Joanne Mason 2014.

Secret Garden. Digital Manipulation. Copyright Joanne Mason 2014.

Continuing in the digital composition vein, I won’t try to enumerate all the steps in producing this. It has involved everything from HDR processing to solarization and then some more. The image was assembled from multiple shots all done with the Fuji X100 at 23 mm, 1/60 sec at f/16 and varying ISO.

So the question I’d like to ask about this has to do with the “essence” of something, particularly a visual or natural scene. If we look at a scene, we can say, “I want to make an image that captures the essence of this scene.” Is such an essence unique? Is there but a single essence of something? Must it be literal or replicate a scene exactly? How does such as thing as the essence of a visual scene correspond to the imagination or what the mind’s eye sees? To me, it is possible to study the above image and envision in the imagination a very real, lush, rich garden full of wild plants and flowers, a wild merging of texture and color, greens and pastel shades of red and pink and purple. And to come upon a natural scene in the garden, it is possible to conjure the same image in the mind’s eye. In some sense, such an image must contain the essence (or an essence) of the scene.

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Water Lily

Water Lily. Nikon D200. Micro Nikkor 105 mm. ISO 200. 1/125 sec at f/16. August 2014. Copyright Joanne Mason 2014.

Water Lily. Nikon D200. Micro Nikkor 105 mm. ISO 200. 1/125 sec at f/16. August 2014. Copyright Joanne Mason 2014.

Water Lily. I particularly like the way the flower is reflected in the water in this image. Shot in the Hammond Museum Japanese Garden in South Salem, New York.

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In Situ Water

In Situ Water. Nikon D200. 22 mm. ISO 200. 1/640 sec at f/6.7. June 2014. Copyright Joanne Mason 2014.

In Situ Water. Nikon D200. 22 mm. ISO 200. 1/640 sec at f/6.7. June 2014. Copyright Joanne Mason 2014.

This is another image from the In Situ Gardens series. I don’t know if the image captures the unique appearance of this installation. The interplay between the rock of the pedestals (water burbling out and running down), the foaming water, and the glass globes floating in the water was fascinating.

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In Situ

In Situ (Connecticut Countryside). Nikon D200. 24 mm. ISO 200. 1/500 sec at f/6.7. June 2014. Copyright Joanne Mason 201.

In Situ (Connecticut Countryside). Nikon D200. 24 mm. ISO 200. 1/500 sec at f/6.7. June 2014. Copyright Joanne Mason 201.

“In Situ” is the name of a garden estate in western Connecticut, 8 acres of gardens situated in the middle of the Saugatuck Waterfall Natural Area. In Situ is a garden where sculpture, music, fashion, and culinary are exhibited in the open. The estate is managed by a foundation which provides scholarships to underprivileged college students who aspire to attend leading art schools in the United States.

I visited the gardens recently as part of the Garden Conservancy’s spring 2014 “Open Garden Days.” I was most impressed with the extraordinary landscape art on display throughout the gardens. This image – which to me is a quintessential early summer scene in rural Connecticut – serves simply to introduce a series. Subsequent images will show some of the remarkable art and sculpture on display here.

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Old Fountain 2

Old Fountain. Nikon D200. 12-24mm Nikkor f/4. 24mm. ISO 800. 1/250 sec at f/19. Copyright Joanne Mason 2012.

Here is another image of the fountain I’ve shot several times recently, again altered to emulate a vintage and aged film print. (Click image for larger.)

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