Nature Framed | Zen Garden

 If you've ever gone for a walk after a snow storm, you would know that there's a particular sound that accompanies the beauty of a snowy white winter landscape. It's the sound of quietness... a certain sound of peacefulness. 

And on one such walk in the snowy woods on a cold January morning, I spotted a brilliant island of jade glittering on the ground. Framed against the pristine white snow, it popped out like a dazzling emerald screaming 'Pick Me Up!'. It was a moss covered, foot long piece of bark that had peeled off in the storm. Touching the soft, undulating, feathery moss, alive and still very green in the depths of winter, I knew I wanted to showcase this in a special way.

This chunk of moss was the centerpiece for this photograph that I call the "Zen Garden". It was inspired by Japanese Zen gardens that are designed for peaceful meditation, reflection and contemplation. I thought it was symbolic of the start of the New Year, where the quiet month of January is usually a far cry from the hectic days of December. A hope for a calm, Zen state of mind as we start the New Year.

Characterized by clean lines, Japanese gardens are simple, minimalistic, peaceful landscapes that inspire tranquility, renewal and discovery.

Plants, water, stones, islands and bridges are elements of Japanese gardens. Design principles are based on asymmetry, enclosure, symbolism and balance. Can you spot any of these in the photograph?

My favorite part of this photograph is the sunbeam lighting up a portion of the landscape, casting long shadows and warming up the composition slowly.

Here are a few photographs of my visits to famous Japanese Gardens that inspired this piece:

Anderson Japanese Garden, Rockford, IL, Japanese Zen Garden
Anderson Japanese Gardens in Rockford, IL.
In Spring.

Anderson Japanese Garden, Rockford, IL, Japanese Zen Garden
Anderson Japanese Gardens, Rockford, IL. 
In Spring.

Japanese Garden, Kyoto Garden in Holland Park, London, UK, Japanese Zen Garden
Kyoto Garden in Holland Park, London, UK.
In winter.

To see my other nature inspired still life photographs of collections of seasonal botanical finds, click on "CAPTURES" below.

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