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Japan’s Imperial Palace



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For the Love of Bonsai
Photograph by Sam Abell

Morning rain glistens on a venerable maple, one of 350 bonsai in the private gardens of the Imperial Palace. In such potted landscapes mossy rocks suggest mountain ranges, while twisted trees represent those sculpted by wind and weather.

“Unless you love bonsai, you can’t work here,” says Fumio Iizuka, assistant manager of the Imperial Garden Department. “You have to be willing to work with them all day long, to figure out when they need water, when they need to be turned toward the sun. Each one has its own aura, to which you need to be attuned. You can’t say one is better than another because it is shorter or taller than most. We have many different kinds of trees, just as we have many different kinds of humans. You have to accept each one on its own terms.”



Camera: Canon EOS
Film Type: Fujichrome Provia
Lens: 50mm
Speed and F-Stop: 1/15 @ f/5.6
Weather Conditions: Rainy
Time of Day: Midday
Lighting Techniques: Natural light

SPECIAL EQUIPMENT OR COMMENTS:
I used a tripod to provide sharpness for the longer exposure.


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