On a roll....the yew band wagon

Tachigi

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Well in a previous thread by Taylor I said that I would get her to read some articles about photography. Well maybe I should havedone some reading first myself. Any suggested readings after I planted my foot firmly in my mouth with my suggestion to Taylor.

This is a collected yew that begged to be a cascade after a few years I'm getting closer. Thought I'd practice with the camera and lighting. Then post to share. Any critique is welcomed and encouraged.
 

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irene_b

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Horrible!!
That stand sucks! You need Al to make a quality Stand for you!
The pot does nothing but hide the beauty of the bark on the Yew!
You need a tall cascade pot for this one!
And to show how sympathetic I can be you can send me the pot.
Irene
 

Vance Wood

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Beautiful tree! The photograph kind of troubles me, it looks as though you have played around with the image quite a bit in some sort of photo tweaking soft ware. If this is so I would truly love to see the tree a-natural, I would bet it stands pretty good on its own merits. If this tree truly is as shown you have a soon to be masterpiece, if it is not you have a definite eye for where you want it to go and that says volumes for its future.
 

Tachigi

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No tweaking Vance except to take a shadow out of the background cloth. One of the premises with this post was to get some advise or direction on photography. It seems that all pictures of late seem to be grainy and the image looks unnatural. This photo does not do this tree justice in the least. However as I said before....Taylor and I are trying to learn ways of capturing trees on the camera.

Actually you have a bit to do with this photo. I saw the picture of your maple you shot at night and thought the tree displayed nicely with that lighting. We tried a night shot it didn't work for us as yours did for you. Which is obvious based on your observations :)

The tree at collection and then about two years after collection in natural light
 

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irene_b

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Is the scoop a double?
Irene
 

Tachigi

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Is the scoop a double?
Irene
We talking ice cream here Irene? ;) It comes from a collection of erin pots that I sell. And its a lot bigger than a gravy tureen :)
 
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Well, you did ask for it. ;)

I'll ignore the photography and concentrate on the image presented.

I like the rustic feeling of the stand, it adds greatly to the overall image, especially the pot. I do however feel it is to big for the style presented, forcing the container to be placed off center to the right to allow the cascade to flow down uninterrupted. A smaller surface area would bring the focus back up to the tree, as it is it steals the eye as is apparent by the comments above.

The stand is also too massive for this tree, even with a smaller surface area, the stand is overpowering and would be more suited for a massive trunked bonsai. Possibly replacing the wide side rails with narrower ones or carving out the existing would help lighten the visual load. Another possibility may be the removal of the cross rail, this would give the stand the illusion of greater height, again lightening the visual load.

I like the pot and feel it is well chosen for this tree. I do not like the slabs placed on the soil, they look contrived to me. I realize the tree is planted extremely high and the slabs may serve some purpose here, but I can't help but to think that a single stone inset into the soil would be more visually pleasing.

The cascade bonsai itself is well on the way to having some real nice foliage pads, the stairway to heaven is well defined, the ramification looks very nice and the tree is healthy and appears to be thriving. The lowest apex is too bushy, it does not reflect the "attitude" of the upper pads, some fine wiring and definition would do wonders here.

I am sure you know that the straight trunk section is out of place and draws the eye, some movement here would add greatly to the image presented. The jin on the top is too white for my taste.

Overall this is a very nice cascade which is only in need of a couple minor adjustments to be a great bonsai. You should be proud of this cascade, it is a wonderful example of the style.

I like it.


Will
 

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Wow, with all the discussion on art here, I would have thought the thoughts would be better put into practice on actual bonsai and display....


Will
 

Tachigi

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I normally hold my tongue in critiques till all are finished, not wanting to taint the critique and comments. I think though this is as far as it will go. Seems another thread is all the rage. Soooo.....
Well, you did ask for it.
Yep I did, I enjoy all points of view good, bad, or indifferent. They are all tools to use.
I'll ignore the photography and concentrate on the image presented.
Thank you for that merciful pardon....I would still like to know what writings are out there on photographing bonsai. I thought there was a article at AoB, was unable to find it.
I like the rustic feeling of the stand, it adds greatly to the overall image, especially the pot. I do however feel it is to big for the style presented, forcing the container to be placed off center to the right to allow the cascade to flow down uninterrupted. A smaller surface area would bring the focus back up to the tree, as it is it steals the eye as is apparent by the comments above.
My stand collection is very limited. The stand I built from an old piece of furniture. To use as a more or less a utilitarian piece for study groups and impromptu photographs when a pot is wet or the pot feet have grit on them. Would not break my heart if it were marred. I agree with you that it is to big for this style and carries an enormous amount of negative visual weight.
The stand is also too massive for this tree, even with a smaller surface area, the stand is overpowering and would be more suited for a massive trunked bonsai. Possibly replacing the wide side rails with narrower ones or carving out the existing would help lighten the visual load. Another possibility may be the removal of the cross rail, this would give the stand the illusion of greater height, again lightening the visual load.
Agreed as I stated above. Your suggestions on lightening the visual load are good. Which I may incorporate to help with the image for future impromptu photos.
I like the pot and feel it is well chosen for this tree. I do not like the slabs placed on the soil, they look contrived to me. I realize the tree is planted extremely high and the slabs may serve some purpose here, but I can't help but to think that a single stone inset into the soil would be more visually pleasing.
Thank you for that observation. Was a labor of love by myself, and Vic Harris of Erin. Wanted to give the feel of a tree that had collapsed on a mountain slope. As for the stones...I would agree from that photograph. In person it has a different feel to it. I posted some shots from different angles that I believe gives it a different feel and a little more believable. However, I missed the mark. As bonsai today are most often shared through the Internet in a straight on shot of the display. I will confess that the stones would have been easier to manage than a surface covered in moss as in the picture in the above post. Had a hard time keeping it all green due to several different light conditions over the surface of the pot. I had reservations doing the stones, but my wife, with her good common sense said, take them off if you don't like them, but see what it will look like.;) I will invariably end up with all moss again and possibly a single stone as you suggested.
The cascade bonsai itself is well on the way to having some real nice foliage pads, the stairway to heaven is well defined, the ramification looks very nice and the tree is healthy and appears to be thriving. The lowest apex is too bushy, it does not reflect the "attitude" of the upper pads, some fine wiring and definition would do wonders here.
It is healthy and thriving the upper portion is all but set and the way I want it. I agree that the lower pad is to bushy. There is a method to this visual madness. As I'm sure you know "most" trees are tend to be apically dominant. In a situation like a cascade the lower portions of the cascade tend to suffer, at least in larger bonsai. So to deal with this problem I hold the growth in the upper tree in check the best I can forcing the energy down the cascade to the "bushy" pads below. Once I get the ramification and back budding I want that pad will be thinned and be given more definition.
I am sure you know that the straight trunk section is out of place and draws the eye, some movement here would add greatly to the image presented. The jin on the top is too white for my taste.
Unfortunately there is a old life line that died long before I collected this yew. It runs down the back side and there fore makes bending this section off trunk pretty much impossible at this time. I had Colin try and give it ago. He begged off saying the risk was not worth the reward. I know in the future I will deal with this as it is the greatest imperfection of the tree. I have separated living tissue from dead before, however doing it to a yew is slightly different at least in my previous attempts. I still want more practice before I attempt.

The shari was just cleaned and sulpur applied for its winter slumber. So that coupled with a night shot and a flash...well you get Mr. Clean white. As in past years when this tree emerges from its slumber the shari should have a nice patina to it.

Thanks for your time, observations, and comments Will.
 

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irene_b

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I feel that the deadwood emphasies the struggle between life and death on the stairway and would not remove even a small part of it. It speaks to me of the struggle.
Perhaps the pot on a taller ovalish chunk of wood would capture its essence more in the struggle of life and death.
The rocks do not reflect the nature of these trees on a mountain and perhaps should have more of the native rocks placed as a land slide to the edge. To me this would bring the story of the trees struggle to survive on a mountain's edge to the forefront of the picture.
As a collected tree I like the way it has flowed and do not use the normal/common rules when viewing.
I believe you have captured a point in the history of this tree.
Irene
 

John Hill

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Tom,
I think it has come along way in just a few years indeed. As the years go by it will only get better! I myself would be very proud of it.

A Friend in bonsai
John
 
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Tom,

Carl's article can be found here meanwhile it is being reworked for AoB. Rob K. has wrote an excellent article also on this subject, the first part was in the last ABS Journal I believe and will hopefully be on-line soon.



Will
 
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Tom,
As to the photography, I myself have some of the same struggles. Shadow makes it almost impossible to really assess a tree in a photo. The best photos at Art of Bonsai seem to have been done with a professional backdrop and a three-light setup, one in back for depth. In the meantime, I have had good enough luck with a large piece of black fleece material. This eliminates most shadows, and is a very good inexpensive waypoint on the way to a more professional setup. Filtered sunlight or a lightly overcast day is also a very inexpensive way to get better photos, lol.

The article Will linked is excellent, I highly recommend it.

Insofar as the tree is concerned, I like it very much. It's showing the result of excellent care and styling.

The first point that strikes me is that even held back, the crown of the tree covers the jin a bit much. A little more than a hint might be a good thing.

Proceeding down the cascading branch, I would raise the left foliage pad a little and lower the right one a little. As it is, they look like a horizontal slash across the cascade. This may or may not ameliorate the straightness of the descending branch.

At the end of the cascade, you are certainly doing the right thing by letting it get bigger to strengthen it. I look forward to seeing it in the future.

I share Will's concern about the stand and the rocks, which you have already addressed. These scoop pots are not my favorite, but for the right tree, I think they work. Because this tree rises so much from the nebari, I think a more traditional square cascade pot might be more appropriate. Or perhaps a deep round pot. I'd like to see several pots with this tree in virtuals to check out what might be right. I think a red unglazed formal pot might be great.

I know this is a different vision for the tree than you have expressed so far, but I think the detail work you have done on this tree would be best displayed that way.

Tom, great work! I would be proud to have a tree like this.
 

grog

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I couldn't tell you why but adding that foliage really makes the image work. It's nice as it is but the straight section seemed very pronounced. The change in the virt make it work much better for me.
 
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Raising the height of the apex and widening the pads certainly improved the image presented. Good eye Walter.



Will
 

Tachigi

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Tom,

Carl's article can be found here meanwhile it is being reworked for AoB. Rob K. has wrote an excellent article also on this subject, the first part was in the last ABS Journal I believe and will hopefully be on-line soon.



Will
Thanks Will...Taylor and I will take a good long read.
 

Tachigi

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Chris, Thanks for the tips will give it a go.
 

Tachigi

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Maybe something like this.
Thank you Walter for contributing to this I do appreciate the time you took to do the virt. I did wrestle with the thought of a live or dead apex . What I finally decided on (right or wrong) was that the straight deadwood being naturally detailed to a high degree told more of a story in contrast to to the downward curve of the living trunk. Letting the long straight deadwood trunk accentuate that at one time this was an upright tree. That coupled with the high rising back of the pot would give reason to the image. So that it would not be just be another image of the cascading style. Hence my decision not to add more foliage to the apex to hide that detail.

I must confess I was under the impression on Will's post about the straightness of the trunk. I thought he was referring to the cascading portion. Which for me could have a little more subtle movement in it.

Once again thank you Walter.
 
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