As you make your way to the southwest entrance of the Chinese Garden, at the Montreal Botanical Garden you will notice what appears to be a large Bonsai Tree alongside a large Boulder. It’s an artistic representation of one of the three elements represented in the Chinese Garden, “STONES”. The three elements being “WATER”, “STONES” and “PLANTS”.
I chose to capture this exhibit in infrared illuminated by the morning sun. This angle well lit in the morning is in my opinion one of the best views giving the viewer an ensemble of the entire display, not only the “STONES”.
The infrared setup consisted of a Nikon D60 mounted on a Manfrotto 055XPROb at around two feet off the ground. I used the Nikkor 18-55 VR kit lens which is a remarkable performer when it comes to IR work giving absolutely no IR hotspot. The Tokina 11-16 2.8 would have been an excellent lens alternative for this particular subject. On my lens I mount an Hoya Circular Polarizer to reduce visible light bleeding and improve IR contrasts. I then use a Hoya R72 infrared filter to filter out light below 720nm. This image was exposed for 30 seconds @ ISO 200 with an aperture of f8. The Nikon D60 allows me to set a custom White Balance for IR which I do before capturing any scen in IR. This will compensate for my choice of filters and the position of my polarizing filter depending on the time of day.
The image is first developed in Nikon’s Capture NX2 and transferred to Photoshop for final treatment. In this case the RED and BLUE Channels were reversed to create what is called False-Colors in IR providing a bluish sky instead of a reddish sky.
The Montreal Botanical Garden’s Web Site gives the following description for this exhibit.
If water represents the earth’s arteries to the Chinese, stone, for them, is the skeleton. Stone is omnipresent in a garden and is perhaps the most distinctive element; it is to the Chinese garden as flower beds and lawns are to Western yards.
The grey rocks in this garden come from Tai Lake (500 metric tonnes imported from China), and the yellow ones from St.Hélène Island (set in the middle of the St.Lawrence Seaway, across from Montréal).
Rock was used as an isolated sculpture, chosen for its resemblance to whatever element or image one wanted to evoke. Heaped together, stones could form more complex mineral landscapes and recreate real mountains.
Pour les Chinois, si l’eau représente les artères de la terre, la pierre en forme l’ossature. La pierre est omniprésente dans un jardin, elle en constitue même l’élément le plus distinctif; elle occupe dans le jardin chinois, la place que les Occidentaux réservent aux massifs de fleurs et de verdure.
Les pierres grises que l’on retrouve dans ce jardin proviennent du lac Tai (500 tonnes métriques expédiées de Chine); les pierres jaunes ont été extraites de l’île Sainte-Hélène (située au milieu du fleuve Saint-Laurent, face à Montréal).
La pierre deviendra une sculpture isolée, choisie pour sa ressemblance avec des éléments qu’on veut évoquer. Regroupées, amoncelées, les roches pourront former des paysages minéraux plus complexes, et elles pourront recréer de véritables collines.