Portland’s Japanese Garden in the Snow
Monday 16 January 2017 — Category: Other Photographers
As I wrote in my last Japanese Garden article, during Oregon’s nine-month rainy season it can be a challenge to find a dry, sunny day for a photo outing. Therefore I am constantly checking the weather forecast to find a suitable day for my monthly photo outing to Portland’s Japanese Garden.
As you can see from the forecast to the right, last Thursday, January 12, looked ideal. Especially since it was the day after more than a foot of snow fell at the Garden. Since this would be my 11th monthly trek, I was eagerly anticipating photographing the same old locations with a new snowy outlook.
To my great disappointment, it wasn’t to be. The very snow which was going to be so awesome to photograph was also the very same snow which caused the Japanese Garden to close its doors. Because of the subfreezing temperatures, the snow was not going to be melting any time soon. In fact, the snow is not expected to dissipate significantly until a Pineapple Express rainstorm hits the area Wednesday, the 18th.
Every night for five nights in a row, I have woken up sometime after midnight to check the Garden’s Web site to see if it was going to be opened that day. But all for naught, because the Garden steadfastly remained shut each day the snow continued to be on the ground.
This is very disappointing and frustrating. How can I photograph the Garden in the snow, when they close the doors because there is snow on the ground?
To add insult to injury, on the Japanese Garden’s Facebook page, they have been announcing their closure each day accompanied by a different photograph of the Garden in the snow. What’s the deal? Are there some teacher’s-pet photographers who are allowed into the Garden even when it is closed? Or are they pictures taken by the Garden staff?
Either way, they have been tormenting me by posting the very photographs that I want to be there in person to take. It seems to me that there would be plenty of visitors like me who would like to visit, experience and photograph the Garden in the snow. So why deny us?
I suspect that it has a lot to do with our litigation-drunk society. If one person were to slip and get injured, the Garden would probably be sued for millions. Of course, they could make visitors sign some sort of waiver, saying that visitors take upon themselves the dangers of the snowy conditions. Or they could require visitors to have chains or crampons on their boots, like I used when walking around my snowy neighborhood.
But no ... the safe and boring way out of this dilemma is to simply shut the Garden down completely and deny anyone that rare experience of visiting and photographing it in the snow. Party poopers and killjoys!
In July 2015, I posted an article describing my disappointing evening at the Japanese Garden, due to their unwillingness to light the numerous tōrō (stone lanterns) scattered around the Garden. As a result, in that article I posted photos by other photographers of the kind of shots I would have gotten had the lanterns been lit.
I have done the same thing in today’s article. Since I was denied this photographic opportunity, and was tormented by snow photos on Facebook, I have taken those photos and posted them here. Each picture is linked to the original on the Garden’s Facebook page, so you can see a larger version, and find out who the photographer was.
Well, there is no use dwelling on the disappointments of the past. I still need to find a non-rainy day to visit the Japanese Garden in January — on a day that they are willing to open their doors. Then one more visit in February, and my twelve-month project, which was delayed for a year, will finally be over. I have to admit that it will be a great relief to finish!
For details of my past Japanese Garden outings, see the list of articles. And for all of MY photos taken at the Garden, see either the list of albums, or the conglomerate Portland Japanese Garden (All Years) super-album.
UPDATE: Lucky me! Two weeks after the snow storm, I was able to photograph the Garden with some remnants of the snow and ice! See A Frigid January at Portland’s Japanese Garden for all the details.