National Arboretum In Winter

In early February, I went to the National Arboretum for the local Gesneriad Society chapter meeting. I wandered around the front area of the Arboretum and snapped a few photos, which you can find on Petal Tones, the chapter's blog that I contribute to on occasion.

Some of the photos, however, were more artistic than the others--I actually had some sort of thought behind the shots, rather than just-the-facts photographs to share what seemed interesting. So I'm posting them here, too--edited a bit, you may notice!

One of the most and least edited of these photos was this forlorn shot of empty bonsai shelves. The major editing I did was just rotating and cropping the photo to have straight lines (I think I just kind of waved the camera in the room's general direction and snapped a photo rather than stopping, lining everything up, and shooting). The desaturation was a minor thing, because on a cloudy winter's day, this area looks almost exactly the same as it does in this photo (with perhaps muted blue in the stone walkway and a tiny bit of brown in the faded woodwork). The desolation of this shot reminds me of a once heavily trafficked major artery of a city cordoned off by a traumatic event, leaving residents shell-shocked and housebound. Eventually, however, the populace will venture out, emerging from their dormancy and forgetting all previous tragedies, bursting forth with renewed energy and life--and the bonsai will be returned to their shelves to revel in the spring and summer sun.

Along a similar vein, this Ginkgo biloba screamed "Ginkgopalypse" to me. When I initially took the photo, I was just interested in the stunning architecture that really is only visible during the winter, while the tree is leafless. But when I opened the photo to crop and touch up, I thought "I need to make this monochrome. And contrasty. And end-of-worldy. The ginkgo demands it." I'm not as much a fan of Gimp as I am Photoshop, and I find it to be clunkier, but it gets the point across, I think--and Gimp's free.

I think these flowers would look a bit more cheery in bright winter's sunshine, but this Chimonanthus praecox (wintersweet) has a confident beauty that withstands even the wet chill of winter rains. Also, y'know, the flowers are all up in a row, and that's artistic and whatnot.

When most of the landscape looks barren and grey, these Sedum get their chance in the spotlight, showing off their winter colours and healthy glow. I like how the patches of different Sedum kind of interlock like fingers sliding between each other when you fold your hands.

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