Sunday, 29 July 2012

Tranquil Japanese harmony in Saratoga

Hakone Gardens is a privately-run estate garden in Saratoga, near the south-western edge of San Jose, California.  It is a tranquil piece of Japanese harmony hidden along Big Basin Way (State hwy 9)  just south of the Saratoga Village centre - a gem not to be missed if you are in the area or driving through.  The Gardens, created in 1917, have been around for almost a century and some of its trees for even longer.  I was there for a wedding and took these photos before the event.  The bamboo garden turned out to be the best backdrop ever for the wedding photos with just the right amount of shade and light filtering through.


Kois and turtle compete for attention

Complete with waterfall and lily pads 

Bamboo garden

Sunday, 8 July 2012

The "Marilyn Monroe Towers"

Amazing condo buildings are a common sight in Chicago, but who would expect to see such spectacular buildings in Mississauga, Ontario?  Well, it's only a half hour drive from Toronto and the past couple of years when I visited the Mississauga City Centre for an annual concert, I couldn't help but marvel at the way these two buildings look - the voluptuous shapes, alluring from every angle and particularly dazzling in late afternoon.  I'm sure if I had hung around for sunset, they would look stunning.   They won the Best Tall Buildings in the Americas prize in 2012, awarded by the Chicago-based Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat.  I will follow with some equally stunning Chicago buildings in the next posts.

Thursday, 5 July 2012

The Gardens - Almost free concert

We were at the Gardens again tonight.  Fabulous concert in the Edwards Summer Music Series with Suba Sankaran and her father Trichy Sankaran, master drummer.  The master had the drum in total control, manipulating the rhythm and the sound with such dexterity it's totally awe-inspiring.  You can hear a sampling on his website.  I had not gone back to Indian music after I fell asleep at a Ravi Shankar concert many years ago - my mistake.  Tonight, I'm quite content just listening to the drums - it's complete in itself.  But Suba Sankaran has a lovely voice - a pleasure to listen to but the drummer is the star tonight.  And the gardens in the evening light provided a suitably dramatic backdrop - wrapping up a gorgeous summer day in the city.

Monday, 2 July 2012

The Gardens

Right in the middle of uptown Toronto is a green oasis of beauty and calm - Edwards Gardens.  I'd always loved its accessibility and the peacefulness it offers - the expansive grounds and the walk down the valley provide ample opportunities for the photographer.   With the adjacent Toronto Botanical Gardens, there is the bonus of seasonal changes in the floral displays.  You can see some of them here.

One of many giant willows in the Gardens

A Monet!