The Storrier Stearns Japanese Garden was created by Kinzuchi Fujii between 1935 – 1940 for Charles and Ellamae Storrier Stearns. Fujii (1875 – 1957) designed and built Japanese landscapes across Southern California in the first half of the 20th century. The Storrier Stearns Japanese Garden (located in Pasadena, California) is his only remaining garden. It is also the only intact example of a major Japanese-style garden created before World War II for a residence in Southern California.
This pond-style stroll garden features a fifteen-foot waterfall and a formal teahouse on approximately two acres of land. The garden is considered by many to be a masterwork and it demonstrates the adaptability of Japanese culture in modern America. Under the direction of Dr. Takeo Uesugi, landscape architect, professor emeritus at Cal Poly Pomona and a Fellow of the American Society of Landscape Architects, The Storrier Stearns Japanese Garden was faithfully restored from 2007 – 2013.
The rain started during the night… yes, actual wet stuff! It’s been raining on and off all day and is still raining this evening. It may be tapering off now and there is no more rain in the forecast for the foreseeable future. It’s been chilly too, only a high of about 48° F (about 8.8° C). I’ve been thinking about snow and how wonderful it would be if it snowed for just one or two days in the flatlands of Los Angeles (we do get snow in the mountains and foothills). Well, that is unlikely and also fortunate because people don’t know how to drive in the rain, let alone snow! But in the meantime, I’m looking back at my trip to Yosemite National Park in February 2018.
On the last morning of our trip I woke up early (as I usually do), opened the drapes and was surprised to see it was snowing. It had been cold but we weren’t expecting snow. I woke up my roommate by yelling, “It’s snowing!” She stirred in her bed and said, “Yeah, right,” and went back to sleep. She didn’t believe me.
I ran outside with my camera and started shooting. Such a wonderful sight. The scene above was the view from our window. It doesn’t get much better than that! I was back in Yosemite at the same time this year but no snow in sight.*
Yosemite is magnificent in any weather but in the snow it is magical! I feel fortunate to have been there at the right time in 2018.
*Correction: just to set the record straight, looking at my photos from this year I now remember there was some light dusting of snow at the higher regions but nothing we could walk in.
After spending over an hour to get back to WordPress Classic here I am! I hope I can remember how to do this next time. I’m told WP will support this version until at least 2022 or “as needed.” I will require that “as needed!” I was about to build my own website from scratch as creating one with HTML and CSS and doing all the layout and graphic design would be easier for me than figuring out this Gutenberg block content manager mess. But that’s just me!
Anyway, as I won’t be doing any traveling for a while I thought it would be a good idea to start a weekly (or whenever I can get to it) post with some photos from previous travels. I’ve been having fun re-processing some of my older photos as I gain more experience with Lightroom, Photoshop and Topaz. Although I adore going places and taking photos, my bigger pleasure is in the post processing.
In my twenties I set up shop in the bathroom at night with a makeshift darkroom with all the stinky chemicals… I fancied myself as the female Ansel Adams! My long-suffering partner at the time had to make an appointment to get access to take a pee. But hey, I had to put up with his stuff too… so it was more than an even exchange as far as I was concerned! Probably not from his perspective…
In 2018 some friends and I took a trip to the Canadian Rockies with wild fires raging all around us. There were times we weren’t sure if we could access certain areas. After spending a night in Calgary in Alberta, Canada, we left the next morning for Waterton Lakes National Park.
When we got out of the bus and stood on the shores of Lake Waterton I was so disappointed. The smoke blocked our views. But I just kept clicking to see what I could redeem in Adobe Lightroom when I got home. Chances were I wasn’t coming back.
I shoot in RAW and JPG. The top photo is the interpretation my Canon DSLR camera served up as a JPEG. The next photo is what I managed to salvage in Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop. Not too bad.
But as I am now using Topaz Labs (an amazing program in so many creative ways) as a third step after Lightroom and Photoshop, I wanted to push the image a little further.
And I’m happy with this dramatic version. When I took the photo my eye was attracted to the snowy ridge behind the lower ranges of mountains and that’s what I wanted to focus on. The camera can only do so much. It’s up to me as the artist/photographer to present what I saw in my mind’s eye!
As a member of the Huntington Library, Art Museum and Botanical Gardens in San Marino, California, I miss strolling through the acres of plants, trees and flowers during the closure. In the meantime I feel fortunate to live in a beautiful neighborhood where a lot of homeowners take their landscaping seriously. Last Saturday I took my 50mm fixed lens for a stroll along Braddock, looped around Carlson Park and back along Farragut… a little over 2 miles.
Here are the results:
When I first bought the 50mm (1.4) lens I thought I had made a mistake. I didn’t like being trapped in that focal length after being used to my go-to 18-135mm lens. But as usual, with the camera equipment I buy, I left it too long to return the lens. So I had to make the best of it. Now it’s my second favorite lens next to my zoom. It forces me to see everything from one perspective. I have to physically walk up to my subjects or back up to get the view I want. It’s a challenge I enjoy.
Within the next week or so I intend to retrace my footsteps with my 18-135mm lens and see what I can capture at the wide angle and telephoto ends. Of course when I walk the neighborhood I am safe. I am wrapped up from head to toe like a mummy. I am sure I look like the angel of death with a black hat, black face mask, scarf, wearing a high neck sweater and jacket, etc. I notice since I have been wearing my face mask people tend to distance themselves from me more often, which is fine with me!
During this strange time in our lives we need all the beauty we can get. I hope you can all step (safely) outside in your own neighborhoods to appreciate the gifts nature gives us.