Tuesday, October 22, 2013

A Visit to the Portland Japanese Garden

Japanese Garden Header copy
This weekend we were lucky enough to have a bit of morning fog here in Portland...well, unless you ask the local weathermen, who seem to find fog more terrifying than flying piranhas armed with assault rifles. While I spent Saturday morning taking photos around the garden, I decided that if it was foggy again the next day, I'd head up to the Japanese Garden.

As luck would have it, Sunday was just as (if not more) foggy...so Norm and I left the house at the horrifically early time of 9:30...a time that, on weekends, is generally reserved for coffee, pajamas and episodes of Parks and Rec on Netflix.

entry in the fog
As we parked and strolled up to the entry gate, I was already enchanted...I've been here many times, but never in the fog, and it lent such an air of mystery to things.

maple branches in fog
Never before had the backdrop of conifers seemed so perfect...as they towered above, disappearing into the mist.

foggy moon bridge wide h
There were A LOT of people...more than I've ever seen at one time in the Garden...but the fog seemed to dampen most of the noise.

cranes
The crane sculpture is always a good photo opp...kudos to whoever was in charge of placing it.

wide view of pond
While normally I'd have to make sure not to include too much of the sky, with the soft haze of fog, I could pull back further.

under moon bridge
Koi passed languidly under the Moon Bridge.

photographer and maples
While beautiful, this is by no means the peak of color...in a week or two, this tunnel through the Maples will be even more intense.

foggy moon bridge v
This is another shot that normally would have been much tighter, as I'd have to avoid that background area in favor of foreground...but the fog let me pull back for a wider shot, even including some of the overhead canopy.

maples leaves
So often, in the Japanese Garden, I'm constantly looking down, constantly scanning the ground for interesting vignettes with fallen leaves, but this day, I found myself looking up more...noticing the knobby colonies of moss amidst the denuding branches.

looking down stream at lantern
I was looking down the stream at this lantern when I heard movement beneath me. Unbelievably, a photographer had crawled through the garden and was UNDERNEATH the bridge...totally VERBOTEN! An alarmed Garden employee rushed up to chastise her. This was part of a trend for the day...obnoxious photographers.

foggy forest
Shaking my head, I continued across the bridge and up a small incline...and was struck by this area, which I've walked past numerous times before. Suddenly, however, like so much of the garden, it was transformed by the fog.

lantern closeup
The stone lantern from before, looking back at the bridge. It's hard to tell, but this lantern is as big as a person!

intense maple foliage
More glorious, saturated Maple foliage.

maple with scattered leaves wide v
This is one of my favorite vignettes in the garden...everything here works perfectly together, from the placement of the trees to the undulation of the ground...the carpet of fallen leaves is the proverbial icing on the cake.

closeup of maple foliage
I guess I couldn't get enough of those Maples!

koi
While I usually prefer the water here to be covered in fallen leaves, I have to admit, it's nice having a clearer view of the beautiful koi.

small waterfallpathway
Everywhere you look here, there is such beauty.

katsura leaves
I walked up this path, smitten by the scattering of golden leaves...and when I inhaled I knew...

Katsura
Katsura! There is no mistaking that tell-tale scent of cotton candy!

zig zag path
There is just so much detail here...the plants, the hardscaping, every bit so meticulously planned.

gateway
Further into the garden, a gate beckons you forward.

stone steps
And a twisting stone staircase winds plunges down to a lower area.

hosta pond
I had to squeeze my way across a narrow stone bridge here, past a photographer who had decided to set up camp.

gravel garden
I needed a little Zen after that...and found it here, at one of the raked gravel gardens...again, the fog adding a perfect note of mysticism to the scene.

gravel garden h
For some reason, this is the loveliest the upper gravel garden has ever looked, to me.

gravel garden v
There was just the perfect balance of color, light and structure this day.

more photographers
As I may have mentioned, for some reason, the photographers this day seemed especially oboxious.

photographers
No where was that more evident than right here...at THE FAMOUS TREE. There was practically a queue of people waiting to take pictures there.

Rude photographers
The worst was this guy in the foreground...he was camped in that same spot when we got to the garden...and was still there when we left...at least 90 minutes later...RUDE!

macro maple foliage vertical
I'll admit, we photographers can get a little crazy at times...and I nervously asked Norm if I had ever been so annoyingly oblivious...he assured me that I hadn't (although I have a feeling he may be biased)!

maple leaves 1
Either way, I resigned myself that I wasn't going to get "that shot" from under the tree...which is ok...I have quite a few. I settled for taking other photos...details that sometimes go unnoticed.

mossy ground
It was kind of fun, in a way...not feeling pressure to get one amazing shot...I was free to explore and look around.

leaf suspended in front of cranes
It was then that I noticed just how many spiderwebs there were in the garden...and how many leaves seemed to be floating in mid-air because of them!

suspended leaf v
I was kind of obsessed with finding as many as I could...although most were hard to photograph.

spider web horizontal
And, of course, you have to take a moment to appreciate the artistry of the webs.

spider web vertical
They really are quite beautiful.

webby tree closeup
I was craning up to get a picture of this particular web, above my head when I suddenly realized...

webby tree deep focus
...that the ENTIRE TREE was festooned with webs. I'm such a dork, I grabbed the sleeve of the stranger walking by and exclaimed..."Whoa...look at all those crazy webs". He almost fell into the stream behind us as he started backing up, mouth agape at the spidery spectacle.

vertical maple with scattered leaves
It was sadly at this point that my camera stopped working...much to my chagrin. I must be getting more mature, because I didn't burst into tears and stomp out of the garden, pushing small children into the pond on my way out. I sighed and continued on, enjoying the day.

foggy forest by gravel garden
If you are ever in Portland, especially in the fall...and ESPECIALLY on a foggy day, I recommend you head up to the Japanese Garden for a visit.

moon bridge v foggy
There's no other place in Portland quite like it...for a brief time, you feel transported, and even with all the hubbub on a busy day, you can still find a moment of Zen.

89 comments:

  1. Oh, you got some amazing shots, in spite of the other photographers hogging all the good spots. I literally gasped when I saw that shot of the tree covered in webs. And the first one of the leaf stuck in mid-air with the out-of-focus herons behind -- just amazing! My hand wanted to flick it off my computer screen. We have been stuck in a relentless blanket of fog here for several days now, and I AM kind of sick of it. But your pictures were wonderful. Thank you for sharing them.

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  2. Wow.
    No, really. Wow. I can't even pick a favorite: too many contenders
    I'm sending my sister a link to your blog, she is going to love this post.
    Having your camera stop working may have been a blessing. It allowed you to enjoy the rest of the garden without 'working' , just being :–)

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  3. Beautiful shots!! It makes me want to drive up there RIGHT NOW to go see the Autumn splendor. I also gasped at the picture of all of the webs.

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  4. Simply stunning. I love that place, and I have never even visited it, just seen your photos!

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  5. When I saw the post title I thought to myself "I've already seen Scott post about this last year... no need to read again". So glad I did, as the fog made this incredible place even more magical!

    I suppose to top it in the future you'll have to wait until there's an October volcanic explosion that sends just a little bit of glittering diamond dust raining down on everything. ;)

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  6. Wow! Absolutely gorgeous. When are you publishing your coffee table book?

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  7. Truly stunning! This is the kind of weather I was wishing for when I visited the garden a few years ago.

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  8. This post entertained me for a long while, just poring over your pictures. I am not a fan of Japanese gardens because I find them too consciously designed for the camera, overly perfect and stilted. But the fog changes everything and softens the overt preciousness. Your photos show a dreamy landscape with personality (and spiders!) and feeling. Amazing fog. Amazing pictures.

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  9. Fantabulous Scott !! Gorgeous foggy day with eye popping colour from the maples. I really like the single leaf handing mid air and the long strands of webbing.

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  10. Wow! Now I see why this garden was voted the best Japanese garden in North America by Sukiya Living (the Journal of Japanese Gardening). I envy you because I will probably never visit it. And I thank you for the beautiful photographs. The only thing Sukiya Living dislikes about this garden is the crane sculpure (not appropriate for a real Japanese garden).

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  11. This place always seems far from the hubub of the city, but the fog wraps it in an extra layer of mystery. I especially enjoyed your running commentary about how it changed your point of view. The 'macro maple foliage' shot...brilliant! Since the obnoxious photographers were hogging the obvious vantage points, you dove deeper into the experience and transcended the ordinary. Bravo!

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  12. OMG the most beautiful photographs of anything I have seen in a long long time. Congrats, Scott, on such a beautiful blog post. I will forward to my friends in Japan, I think they will especially love this! Cheers!

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  13. Oh my my Scott, these photos are just exquisite.I've visited this garden a few times but always in summer and I your decision to go up on a foggy fall day is nothing short of brilliant. Hats off to you ..this is a grand slam.

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  14. So beautiful...I'm at a loss for words!

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  15. You outdid yourself, these are gorgeous. We saw so much bad behavior from people there too. I almost chewed out some girls who kept hopping fences and climbing into the mossy areas.

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  16. The tapestry of rich colours, stunning, absolutely stunning! And thanks for including koi shots too!

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  17. Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful! I have been enjoying your wonderful photographs while drinking a cup of coffee, but the stimulus all came from the images not the caffiene. I'm going to add this post as a link into my Garden Bloggers Foliage Day meme, which was yesterday 22nd of every month. It is too good to miss. Thank you Scott.

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  18. WOWWWW! Incredible pictures!!! congratulations!! the place is wonderful, I must visit Portland some day.

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  19. What a fabulously set of pictures! Fog and gray days seem to make fall colors pop and you've captured that exquisitely (as well as the plethora of competing photographers).

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  20. OMG absolutely superb. Outstanding photography Scott!

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  21. I've been there years ago and think the fog is a superb addition.

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  22. Thank you for taking one for the team by both waking up early and dealing with rude photographers - your photos are gorgeous and the fog adds so much tranquility to them.

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  23. Your images are breath-taking, Scott. I knew I was in for a treat when I read your title. The Japanese Gardens are always beautiful but in the Autumn air they are simply divine. You call it "Fog" but we always called it the "Morning Mist" and it was indeed magical to experience. I shared your images with my husband as they drew on so many memories of our time in Portland. This time of year the spider webs were always abundant and you captured them exquisitely. The golden glow of the mist is like the touch of Midas. We experienced that glow in our own gardens this week, though quite devoid of that magical morning mist. That happens rarely here. Yeah, we will always miss Oregon. Thank you for a great start to my day.

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  24. I enjoyed this post right before bedtime last night, your beautiful photos relaxed me so I didn't have the energy to comment then. Thanks for a good nights sleep!

    I've got my calendar marked so as not to forget the reciprocal admission with the Chinese Garden for the month of November, hopefully you're right and the foliage will still be gorgeous then. Although it wouldn't upset me if those crazy photographers were long gone.

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  25. Absolutely breathtaking. I was just talking to Rebecca this morning and told her that I bet the Japanese garden was beautiful this time of year.

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  26. Beautiful post Scott, you are always an excellent photographer and I think these photos along with your narrative of the day are your best ever.

    Thank you for bringing this gorgeous place to us through your lens.

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  27. I don't think I've ever seen pictures of a public garden more beautiful than these. The combination of foliage color and fog created magic.

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  28. Wow, what a perfect garden for seeing in the mist. Just fabulous fall color, and I love the spider webs.

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  29. OMG so gorgeous!!! The fog definitely did add a zen flair to things.Nothing like being immersed in autumn.

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  30. It looks so peaceful and serene Scott apart from those photographers :) We have a Japanese Garden not so far from here which I'v never visited at this time of year. Must remedy that situation.

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  31. Killer lighting with all the fog or at least dampness. It is what space must be like here, at least until you get lower into the smog...sigh. While the foliage colors are nice, I really caught the mounded, pruned plants and the mounded landforms. Your comment about *so* early...I like to be dressed and going by 7:30 am, or I feel my Saturday is a failure:-)))

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  32. Glorious! The images of magically floating leaves and the web festooned tree, well and everything else, were very special. I'll be much nicer about the fog from now on. "Flying piranhas armed with assault rifles" made me laugh out loud! Are you sure that it wasn't a troll under the bridge? Kudos on the maturity thing. It's nice to know that there'll be fewer soggy children in Portland. Is your camera o.k?

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  33. Wow, Scott! You are an amazing photographer, and in my view have earned the right to be a bit obnoxious. I love it that you pointed out the webs to a stranger. I frequently ask others at the grocery store if they know who is singing a song that is piped in if it's an oldie I like.

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  34. great shots! My favorite are the ones of the leaves that look to be caught in midair. Really nice!

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  35. Wow, wow, wow. Stunning photos. Can you arrange a tour in the fog for the Fling??

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  36. Hei! What a beautiful blog you have. I have been looking at your shots for a long time. Very exiting and inspirering. I found you because I was googling allium 'Graceful Beauty'. Anne

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  37. Elizabeth StetenfeldOctober 31, 2013 at 8:13 PM

    Stunning photos, Scott. The color is so saturated, and the fog makes it that much more magical.
    There's a Japanese garden not to far from me, and I thought about going there this fall but I missed the peak color while I was in London. All those professional photographers in one place would make me nervous. ;-)

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  38. Even if some photographers did hog some of the best spots, your pictures are stunning. I think this is your best work, and you've taken a lot of gorgeous pictures!!


    I cannot get over the color of those Japanese maples.

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  39. This is fantastic, one of the best collections of photos of a Japanese garden I've seen. Great photos and light, but also a really nice sense of walking through the garden taking it all in.

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  40. Thanks, toedrifter...glad you enjoyed the photos...it was a great day for them!

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  41. Thanks so much...glad you enjoyed the photos...the light was divine that day, which made my job all the easier ;-)

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  42. It really does raise the tension level with that many photographers there...but even with that...it's too beautiful to stress out much ;-)

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  43. OMG...I wish! That's one thing...as beautiful as this garden will be during the summer...it's really during the fall that it shines!

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  44. Thanks, Donna...glad you enjoyed the photos...I certainly enjoyed taking them ;-)

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  45. I agree, Jen...it was a stroke of luck that I happened to notice them :-)

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  46. Hahahaha...I love that, Sue! I've been known to do things like that too...although I'm usually a bit on the shy side.

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  47. Hahaha...it was definitely a sort of troll, Peter ;-) Sadly, no, there is a shutter malfunction (same thing that put it out of commission last fall). I actually ran out THAT DAY and finally bought a new camera! I'm pretty poor right now...luckily it's heading toward winter, so I don't have to feel too bad...no more plant sales for a while :-)

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  48. Hahahaha...if it makes you feel better, David, I'm usually awake by 6am...but on weekends, I dawdle, have coffee and take photos of the garden until at least noon ;-)

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  49. You simply must go, Anna...I bet it's beautiful!

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  50. It's so true...the fog added so much atmosphere and mood...no amount of photoshop trickery could equal it :-)

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  51. I love them too, Jason...at least when I'm not walking into them!

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  52. It's absolutely my favorite of Portland's public gardens, Kris...it's so well done.

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  53. Any time, Shirley...so glad you enjoyed the tour :-)

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  54. OMG...yes! It might be just past it's peak right now...but she should go as soon as she can (if she hasn't already)....it's magical!

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  55. Oh yes...I always forget about that as well...or it's on a day that never seems to work out..I'll have to look it up tonight!

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  56. Glad I could give you a taste of home, Carolyn...it's Autumn days like this that I look forward to all year!

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  57. Hahaha...you're very welcome...it really was a pleasure...all things considered ;-)

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  58. Seeing it in the fog was almost like seeing it for the first time...it was that amazing!

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  59. Thanks, Deanne...it's a beautiful place!

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  60. It's so true, Sue...that soft, filtered light is so perfect for capturing rich, saturated fall colors!

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  61. You really must, Lisa...you'd love seeing this garden in person :-)

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  62. Thanks, Christina...that's a great idea...I always seem to miss the memes these days!

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  63. Any time, fellas...I thought of you when I saw the koi :-)

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  64. OMG...there must have been something in the air...the people were acting ridiculous that day...the attendants actually had to escort one lady out of the garden because she was having a very LOUD cell phone conversation...sheesh!

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  65. Thanks, Andrea!

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  66. Thanks...I really had a blast up there...these are the conditions photographers dream of...I was lucky to be able to take advantage of them :-)

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  67. Thanks...that means a lot...especially considering you were actually there (in Japan) not long ago!

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  68. It's so true, Ricki...walking back down from the garden is almost like waking up from a dream...it's so far removed from the mundane, everyday life below :-)

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  69. Never say never Denise! That's so funny...I don't usually like a lot of garden sculpture...but I do kind of like those cranes...then again...what do I know about traditional Japanese Gardening!

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  70. Thanks, Patty...I love those shots too...they were so fun to capture!

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  71. I totally get that, Laurrie...it's not a style I'd ever want for my own garden...but they are so beautiful to photograph...especially when the fog blurs the lines :-)

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  72. I so wish you could have had these same conditions, Gerhard...you would have loved it!

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  73. Hahahaha...I wish, Michael!

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  74. Hahaha...glad I could keep it going for another year...I do often hesitate at revisiting something so often...but there's always a way to focus on things differently :-)

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  75. I hope you can visit sometime...it's even better in person ;-)

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  76. Hahahahaha...I'm glad I'm not the only one...all those webs really did take my breath away!

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  77. It's a little bit true...sometimes I do feel like I spend so much time and effort trying to capture things in photos that I forget to just enjoy them :-)

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  78. Hahahaha...I'm glad you enjoyed those webs, Alison...they are so beautiful...as long as I'm not running into them!

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  79. Nice to meet you, Anne...so glad you found my blog :-)

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  80. These are some of the most beautiful autumn photographs I have ever seen. The colors of the gardens are absolutely breathtaking!

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  81. Thanks, Lee...it was an amazing day...I was lucky to be there are just the right time :-)

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  82. Les from A Tidewater GardenerNovember 11, 2013 at 5:27 PM

    Sometimes light, subject and opportunity all collide and produce a great chance for photography. I am glad you took full advantage. These are some fine photos, and I would allow a little obnoxiousness on the part of a photographer, if it meant shots like these.

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  83. It's so true, Les…sometimes we just get lucky with the conditions!

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  84. Wow, you got a really really great Japanese garden there!
    I was born in Japan and now living in Canada, and this post really reminds me of my home country!
    Especially Kyoto! All the photos are so beautiful!
    And the spider webs, cool!


    I recommend you to visit Japan someday and Kyoto or Nara, for sure.
    They have great temples, shrines and gardens.

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  85. I would LOVE to visit Japan someday, Yuki!

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  86. What a lovely place.. can't explain how it feels to see the pics.. really good ..
    thanks

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  87. How I wish the Portland Fling were being held in the fall now, Scott. Your pictures are so beautiful. Thanks for sharing your foggy day visit.

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  88. Glad you enjoyed it!

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  89. Haha...I actually would love it if the Fling was in the fall...it's my favorite time of year...and personally, my favorite gardens are fall gardens :-)

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