Tuesday, April 19, 2016

A little bit of China in downtown Portland, Oregon - The Lan Su Chinese Garden

A couple of weeks ago, my wife and I flew up to Portland, Oregon to celebrate our 25th anniversary and see our daughter, who is currently studying at the University of Portland. If you read the last Portland blog post, you know that we spent a couple of days visiting the Columbia Gorge. While we were at the gorge, I took an iPhone shot of one of the waterfalls and posted it on Instagram and Facebook. (If you are not following me on Instagram and Facebook, be sure to do that, since I try to post a new photo everyday.) After posting that photo, a nice gentleman named Scott contacted me and welcomed us to his home city. He also said that he was the Director of Marketing at the Lan Su Chinese Garden, and invited my family and I to stop by.

One of the great things about having all you blog readers is that I often get a chance to meet new friends wherever I travel!

It turns out that we did indeed have a couple hours free on our last day in Portland, and so my wife, daughter, and I stopped by to meet Scott and see what this was all about. And I have to tell you, we were amazed with this beautiful garden, right in the middle of downtown Portland!

(Canon 5D Mark III, 24-105mm lens at 45mm, ISO 640, f/10, 1/640 sec, -0.3 exposure comp)
We parked close by to the garden, and walked towards the Lan Su Chinese Garden. Since the skies were overcast, I decided to leave my Tiffen HT circular polarizing filter in the car and just grab my Canon 5D Mark III and 24-105mm lens. But just a minute or two later, the skies cleared and we saw some blue through the clouds. Filter or not, I was happy to have something other than a grey sky to work with. I saw this reflection in the water and loved the mirror image effect.

At the front entrance of the garden, I looked up and saw this tiny little hummingbird perched on the dragon.

When photographing, I always look for interesting repeating patterns. When first entering the garden, we saw this amazing stone work. Scott told me that each of the large curved pieces was the same tile as used on the roof of the buildings.

(Canon 5D Mark III, 24-105mm lens at 24mm, ISO 640, f/10, 1/320 sec, -0.3 exposure comp)
This was the first room that we entered. I loved the view of the garden through the ornate windows. I stepped back and shot this through the doorway. I metered for the outside and let the doorway and windows go dark. When editing this photo, I used the lens correction filter in Adobe Photoshop to make sure that all the lines were straight.

(Canon 5D Mark III, 24-105mm lens at 75mm, ISO 500, f/4, 1/30 sec)
Here is a detail shot of the woodwork in this first room. For this photo, I metered on the wood, since this was my "subject" and I wanted it to be exposed correctly.

(Canon 5D Mark III, 24-105mm lens at 105mm, ISO 320, f/4, 1/160 sec)
Also inside this room was a Chinese man who did these amazing paintings. My wife and daughter purchased a hand-painted piece with our last name.

It was fascinating to watch this talented artist work his magic with the simplest of tools. I got down low and took tight shots showing the details of his artistry.

I look at people like this, who can create art without a camera (like my wife) and think "wow - these people are truly talented!"

The painting almost completed.

After getting our painting and leaving that building, we entered the garden. Looking back, I took this photo, not because it was a good scenic shot, but to show you how the garden is placed right in the middle the office buildings in downtown Portland.

(Canon 5D Mark III, 24-105mm lens at 60mm, ISO 160, f/4, 1/100 sec, -0.3 exposure comp)
Here is an ornately carved wood wall.

After walking through this circular entry, I turned around and shot this off-center.

I really liked the view from this location at the far end of the garden. There were a lot of people walking around, but I waited for all them to move on before grabbing this shot.

(Canon 5D Mark III, 24-105mm lens at 28mm, ISO 640, f/10, 1/640 sec, -0.3 exposure comp)
This is my favorite photo from the Lan Su Chinese Garden. I love the colors, the reflection, the bright blue sky, and the puffy clouds. I purposely stood in a spot where I did not see any of the office buildings in the background. All you see in the photo is the Chinese architecture and foliage. I have showed this photo to many friends and asked them where they think I took this. Every one of them thought this was taken in China.

To learn more about Lan Su Chinese Garden, check out their web site. And I would like to thank Scott Steele for the invitation and the hospitality!


If you are interested in purchasing any camera equipment, please click here to go to B&H Photo, as I get a referral from them if you enter this way. It does not change the cost to you in any way, but it helps me keep this blog up and running.

And also, remember that you and your friends can enter your email address at the top right of this blog to get an email any time I write a new blog post or send my monthly newsletter.



Anonymous said...

Thank you for this recent post, I am very interested in finding out more about the artist who created the painting of your last name. Would you have any information you could share on your blog about this artist?
Thank you

danielkehoe said...

Everyone has different taste. My favorite photo in your blog was the circular doorway. I liked the balance and the oriental austerity.

Sheri said...

The artist is often at the Chinese Garden or at Portland Saturday Market. He has created a few names for us, but I can't remember his name.