Autumn Blues

Japanese Garden

Autumn Blues

Pre-dawn fog along the James River near downtown Richmond, Virginia can take on many forms. There's the pea-soup type fog that hides everything in a soft, floating blanket of white. There's the patchy fog that alternatively hides and reveals at the whim of the breeze. And then there is the thin, misty fog that obscures, as if drawing a gauzy veil across the world, yet reveals just enough to the careful observer. That last type of fog can also take on some interesting colors when the conditions are just right.

Case in point: my image titled "Japanese Garden." Taken on a cold morning in mid-November, the fog over the river was the result of the temperature difference between the air and the water in the river. The sky overhead, however, was clear and blue in the time around sunrise. In November, the sun rises over Richmond at an angle that hides the sun until it rises above the trees. The sun had already risen at the time this image was made, which was bathing the scene in the blue light of open sky, but it had not yet risen high enough to cast any direct light onto the scene itself.

The result was a thin fog that took on the color of the light from the open sky. The leaves remaining on the trees added their autumn colors to the scene. The stark white bark of a Sycamore tree provides a counterpoint to the pastel cool and warm colors elsewhere in the scene and serves to draw the viewer's eye into the image.

A pleasant surprise awaits those who linger on the image: a Great Blue Heron stands with its back turned on the small mound of sticks and tree limbs in the lower middle of the scene. Blending in perfectly with the color of the fog, I never saw the bird while I was photographing that morning. It was only while preparing the image for printing the first time that I noticed it.

I titled this image "Japanese Garden" because the colors put me in mind of the famous Japanese Tea Garden in San Fransisco. 

To purchase a print of "Japanese Garden" for your home or office, please click here. Thank you for allowing me to share the story behind the making of this image with you. I hope you enjoyed it.

Stephen Girimont