Archive for the ‘Japanese Gardens’ Category

Visionary Landscapes

Monday, November 6th, 2017


My new book Visionary Landscapes has just been released by Tuttle Publishing and it can be found at your local book store, chain, Japanese garden, or online venue. A description given by the publisher follows.

Japanese gardens are found throughout the world today-their unique forms now considered a universal art form. This stunning Japanese gardening book examines the work of five leading landscape architects in North America who are exploring the extraordinary power of Japanese-style garden design to create an immersive experience promoting personal and social well-being.

Master garden designers Hoichi Kurisu, Takeo Uesugi, David Slawson, Shin Abe and Marc Keane have each interpreted the style and meaning of the Japanese garden in unique ways in their innovative designs for private, commercial and public spaces. Several recent Japanese-style gardens by each designer are featured in this book with detailed descriptions and sumptuous color photos.

  • Hoichi Kurisu – transformative spaces for spiritual and physical equilibrium.
  • Takeo Uesugi – bright, flowing gardens that evoke joyful living.
  • David Slawson – evocations of native place that fuse with the surrounding landscape.
  • Shin Abe – dynamically balanced “visual stories” that produce meaning and comfort.
  • Marc Keane – reflections on human connections with nature through the art of gardens.

Also included are essays on the designers and mini-essays by them about gardens in Japan which have most inspired their work, as well as commentaries by patrons and visitors to their North American gardens.

The book focuses on recently-created gardens to suggest how the art form is currently evolving, and to understand how Japanese garden design principles and practices are being adapted to suit the needs and ways of people living and working outside Japan today.

For more information, you can go to my Amazon author page here.

Tips for Photographing a Japanese Garden in Spring by David Cobb

Wednesday, March 26th, 2014

Tips for Photographing a Japanese Garden in Spring

By David Cobb

 

Portland Japanese Garden

Portland Japanese Garden

Recently I took a stroll through the Portland Japanese Garden to admire the cherry blossom blooms, and I took my camera along in case something caught my eye. When photographing for the book “Quiet Beauty: Japanese Gardens of North America,” I noticed the spring and fall seasons were different in the garden. The light was better, the garden seemed fresher due to recent rains, and there was much more color. Here are a few tips for photographing a Japanese garden in spring.

Get there early: The earlier the better in spring to take advantage of that beautiful light. Gardens are best to photograph in soft light, so mornings, overcast days, and sunset can bring the best light to your garden photography. Mornings are preferable because spring days can bring windy weather later in the day.

Fort Worth Botanic Garden

Fort Worth Botanic Garden

Watch your red channel: The histogram on the back of your camera is an average of your red, green, and blue channels. When photographing the red spring blooms of azaleas, rhododendrons, and camellias you’ll need to be aware of your red channel. The average on your histogram might look fine, but your red channel could be clipped off the charts. This means you’re losing detail in the blossoms of those flowers, and when you lose detail the flowers look like sheets of color.

Morikami Museum & Japanese Garden

Morikami Museum & Japanese Garden

Backlighting: This can be the best and most dramatic light in the garden, and the most difficult to photograph. When photographing backlighting I often use a lens hood to avoid image flare, but when it’s captured correctly the backlighting adds a beautiful glow to an image.

Donald C. Tillman Water Reclamation Plant

Donald C. Tillman Water Reclamation Plant

Don’t include the sky: There are few reasons to include a sky in your garden image, unless you’re interested in a sun star or to include a fabulous sunrise or sunset. When you visit a Japanese garden or any garden, photograph the garden and minimalize the sky.

Nitobe Memorial Garden

Nitobe Memorial Garden

Photograph water features: For some reason water features in a Japanese garden seem cleaner and fresher in the spring. Maybe it’s the spring rains or maybe it’s that the gardeners have caught up on all their chores, but spring is a wonderful time to include water features.

Japanese Friendship Garden

Japanese Friendship Garden of Phoenix

Use a polarizer: I can’t stress this enough in garden photography, and a polarizer will make or break a shot in a Japanese garden. There are a lot of reflective plants and leaves in the garden, so a polarizer will cut down on those reflections and help saturate the color of the garden image too.

Minnesota Landscape Arboretum

Minnesota Landscape Arboretum

Photograph blossoms by structures: There are a number of structures in a Japanese garden, so I always try to compose a few blossoms near them to give a hint of the spring season. A few flowers and a little greenery also go a long way to help soften the harsher angles and elements of a man-made structure.

Japanese Tea Garden in Golden Gate Park

Japanese Tea Garden in Golden Gate Park

Change your perspective: This tip is good for any season or for any type of photography, so change your perspective and quit shooting at eye level. Crouch down, get on your belly if you need to or get high and shoot down, but change the viewpoint to create a more interesting and dynamic image.

Shofuso Japanese House & Garden

Shofuso Japanese House & Garden

David Cobb Interview on the “Back Page”

Monday, June 24th, 2013

 

David Cobb Interview on the “Back Page”

By David Cobb

 

Last March I sat down with Jody Seay for an interview on “The Back Page,” to talk about my images in the book Quiet Beauty: Japanese Gardens of North America.” Her show is distributed to various PBS affiliates around the nation, and the following video is the result.

The Back Page

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