Valentine’s Day at Portland’s Japanese Garden
Thursday 16 February 2017 — Category: Outings
After making recent monthly visits to Portland’s Japanese Garden both on Election Day and on Pearl Harbor Day, it was ironic that my final outing was on Valentine’s Day. Over the past two years any love I had for the Garden — which wasn’t a whole lot to begin with — had worn more and more thin. But still, I was committed to seeing my project through to the end.
Finding a non-rainy day in Oregon in February can be a challenge. Finding an actual sunny day can be even more difficult. When I saw that there was the possibility of some early-morning sunshine on Valentine’s Day, I set my alarm for 4:45 and hoped for the best. By the time I arrived at the Garden at 8:00, the eastern sky was a shifting mix of clouds and clear blue.
Because this was my twelfth photo outing to the Japanese Garden, and because I had had trouble finding inspiration in the past, I was worried that I would not be motivated to take pictures, especially if the weather was overcast. To my surprise I discovered that the fact that it was my last visit was very inspiring. I found myself seeing the Garden through new photographic eyes.
It also helped that there were periods of direct sunlight, even though it was not constant. Early-morning sun dramatically affects the look of the Garden, which is pretty drab and boring when it is overcast. Therefore, I was very happy that I had some decent lighting for my grand finale.
Over the months of looking around the Garden for interesting scenes to photograph, I have developed a great liking for two types of images. I am fascinated by the shadows I find on sunny days. I am also amazed by the captivating reflections I see in the Garden’s various pools.
Occasionally I found myself taking pictures I had shot before, but since this was my last visit to the Garden, I just had to take one more! I never get tired of the breathtaking view of the skyscrapers of downtown, with the 11,249-foot Mt. Hood — the highest peak in the state — in the background about 50 miles away.
I took some unique shots as well. Some of them were new angles on previously-photographed subjects. But a couple shots were of a subject I had never before encountered in the Garden: a cute, chubby Douglas squirrel. I was able to get fairly close to him before he scampered away.
By 9:30 the sunshine was done and so was I. During my 90-minute stay I took a total of 86 photos. The best 37 are on display in the new Portland Japanese Garden, Feb. 2017 album. You can also see all of my monthly photos in the conglomerate Portland Japanese Garden (All Years) super-album.
In my next article — the final one about my outings to the Japanese Garden — I will give a summary overview of my two-year twelve-month project.