Sunday, November 11, 2007

Snow is here!

Today we had the first snow this winter.
This pine (Pinus sylvestris 'Saxatilis') was a regular nursery tree when I bought it three years ago and started working on it. Right now it is a mess that really needs wiring but I liked the patches of snow on its branches, so I chose it for capturing our first snow.

The snow has just arrived today but it is already melting.
I wonder what we will have by tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

My trees in 3D

It is quite difficult to capture works of such an expressedly spatial art as bonsai on a two-dimensional photograph. Branches that in reality are far away may seem cluttered and chaotic in the two-dimensional projection of a photograph. That's one of the reason why many times pictures of nice bonsais look awkward on a picture. To some extent this can be countered with lighting, I usually direct the light so that the front of the tree gets more light while the back branches are more in shadow, which makes it possible to convey a sense of depth.

However using anaglyph photography it is possible to create real three-dimensional pictures.

These pictures have been created to be viewed with the common red-cyan anaglyph glasses (you can buy cheap red-cyan glasses made from paper and colored plastic film).

The point in anaglyph images is to create two photos from a small distance (along a line perpendicular to the viewing direction) simulating the views of our two eyes, then copying these two pictures to one so that only the red channel of the left image is used and the red channel is removed from the right half. If you view the result with a red-cyan glass your left eye sees only the left image while your right eye sees the right image.
Such images can be created with any decent photo manipulation programs (e.g. Gimp) but you can also use specialized software to speed up the process. I have used the program called Plascolin on Linux.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

My new Acer

Yesterday and today our club has presented the Bonsai Show 2007 in Budapest. I took part in the show with 3 three trees, but I'll report on this event on my exhibit blog (soon).
Besides the exhibition, there was a vendor area where plants, pots, tools and pre-bonsai material was sold. I have bought this very nice Acer ginnala today from Erik Tomko from Slovakia, and I just love this tree. I have always wanted a nice graceful maple, and while this ginnala is not exactly as graceful as a palmatum it is much more delicate than the field maples (Acer campestre) I have. Also it is more frost-resistant then the palmatums and has a nice red autumn color.
It has some faults, like the thick root on the right side, but overall has a great feeling and I will work on eliminating these faults. It looks like it has never been wired but grown with a clip-and-grow method. I will have to remove some weird branches and wire it next spring, but this is a very promising material and with time I hope this will be a very nice tree.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Preparation for the 2007 exhibit - part 1

This weekend the Egyetemi Bonsai Club (University Bonsai Club, named after the University Of Horticulture), of which I am a member of, is presenting its annual autumn show. I am preparing four trees for the show, one of which is this ash tree (Fraxinus).
It has beautiful autumn colors right now, from green through yellow to red. I can just hope that it will last one more week... Who knows, so I took some pictures of it now. It needs some moss and correction of the surface roots (I plan to hide some of the roots).

The picture above is from today, the one below is from May this year. The last picture show the way it looked like right after collection. The leftmost trunk on this picture has been separated from the tree this spring when I potted it up, and it thrived, so it will be a separate bonsai someday... From the original six trunks I have selected three for this design.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Work on a Juniperus stricta

I have bought this shrub in early 2005 in a garden centre. I liked its nicely tapering, straight, upright trunk and thought it would make a good formal upright bonsai.
Then I have started working on it and wired it for countless hours, up to the smallest twigs, but it didn't really work out. One problem was that I started with very low branches, which I have later realized were superfluous for the design. Second, I reasoned that with a formal upright tree only straight branches would be matching. The result was disappointing and I have pretty much lost interest in the tree, so it waited in the garden for a year. Then last year I have actually cut all the branches that I have wired because I realized they are too low.
A few days ago I started working on it again. After seeing pictures of old and huge sequoias in a book by James Balogh I realized that even the most upright Sequoias and Sequoiadendrons will have gnarly, curving branches with time, and this has influenced the new design.
By the way James Balogh's book, titled "Tree - a new vision of the American forest" is an amazing book, I enjoy it a lot. He has a unique technique of making panoramas of trees from different heights and positions, so when he stitches together the final image, the tree appears more-or-less as a whole, but the background is fragmentary. It sounds difficult to explain, but you can check it out here.
I have bought the book in Germany where the translated version is titled "Baumriesen", probably the publisher thought the original title would not arouse enough interest outside of America :)

The pictures are from 05.2005. and 10.2007. (Figure out which is which :-)

The styling is still pretty raw but I will leave the tree for now as it is to let it recuperate.

Autumn colors II.

Still trying to capture the colors of the quince trees on a photo...

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Autumn colors

This little quince group looks beautiful now. Some of the leaves are still green, many are already yellow or turning slightly red. Today it was time to take some pictures before the leaves fall down.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Harvest time

My plum tree is bearing fruits which have ripened by now. Their size is that of a larger regular plum... Yesterday I thought it's time to take some pictures before they fall down.

(The white stuff on the leaves is limescale from hard water)

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

The larch - part 2.

The 'before' shot of the side which became the current front:

I have gotten around to take pictures of the larch as it looks now:

I plan to carve the stub which is in the front now to be really small, only to hint that once there was an other tree there.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Working on a larch

I have bought this Larix decidua yamadori from Karl Thier in Austria (larch doesn't grow naturally here in Hungary). It had an interesting trunk with a nice bark and I have liked its overall feeling. Originally it was a two-trunk raft, the second trunk is just a stub now. This is how it looked like before I have worked on it.

Yesterday I have brought it to our clubs session to work on it. After a little pruning.

In the end I think it has turned out pretty good, I'll show pictures of it later.

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Visiting Karl Thier in Austria - part 1

Last weekend Karl and Sylvia Thier have organized a "day of the open door" at their place near Wien, Austria. Karl has kindly invited me so my friend Sándor and I have set off to visit his "Bonsaiwerkstatt".

Check out my photo report from this event at my exhibit blog.

Friday, May 25, 2007

2 years of a christmas tree

This tree, a Picea orientalis, was a regular christmas tree when I have bought it in a garden center two years ago.

In 2005 I have tried some initial styling by pruning away a lot of the branches and wiring the remaining ones. The overall image is very stiff, it's not much of a sight yet...

Yesterday I have been working on it a little bit. I have pinched back the new shoots, corrected the apex a bit and rewired some of the branches. I have also removed some of the larger branches and shortened most of the remaining ones.I think it's already significantly better, although it still needs many years to have something of a feeling.

As far as it may still be from bonsai, still seeing a tree getting better year after year is the joy of bonsai.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Beech in full leaf

My beech has leafed out, and I'm really fond of it :)

With me for scale...

Ground layer on an older hornbeam

Two weeks ago I went to the clubs (Egyetemi Bonsai Club) "practical" session and worked on two of my trees. One of them was a collected hornbeam which had a strange nebari but otherwise a fine shape. So when I have bought it last year I thought that's a fine specimen for trying out air layering (actually ground layering). This was the second time I was trying this, and since the first time was a week before, there are no results from either yet. We'll see... (But so far the tree has survived the operation). I'll report about the progress, hopefully no sooner than next spring when I check the new roots.
The tree is the one on the right side of the first picture in the ugly green bowl.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Pinus sylvestris yamadori

This is a tree that I have obtained last autumn. It was collected somewhere in the French Alps. This year I have wired and repotted it. This was one of the trees that I have exhibited on the spring exhibition of our club.

This is how it looked like about two weeks ago:

A close-up of the base:

And the way it looked like last autumn.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Beech is leafing out

Last spring I have acquired this collected beech (Fagus sylvatica), and I really love it. This is one of my larger trees, I'm just barely able to move it myself.
This first picture is from last spring:

Once this tree was already in a bonsai pot, but later it was planted out in the garden and neglected.

Last year I have pruned and wired it, but had to remove the wire during the summer, as it was alreay cutting into the branches. This year I have pruned and wired again, and it's beginning to look pretty good imho :)
The second picture was taken about a week ago, when the tree was already mostly wired.

Now the tree is beginning to leaf out, pretty late compared to the other trees. Last year it was also the last tree of mine to leaf out.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Meeting with Robert Steven

In the Nitra 2007 exhibition (photo coverage in my exhibit blog) I have had the great pleasure of meeting Robert Steven from Indonesia. I am a great fan of his work since I purchased his book, Vision of my soul, which is a beatiful book presenting his own bonsai collection, also his works in progress and explaining his artistic approach. It focuses solely on the art side of bonsai.
So when I have arrived in Nitra at the exhibition site, it was a great surprise for me to see him standing at the pavilon gate, talking to a fellow bonsai enthusiast. We got into a conversation and he has shown us (me and my friend Tamás Virág) the juniper he has been working on the previous day. He got a pretty amazing tree out of a chaotic raw material. You can the end result on this picture. We have also been talking about the possibility of Robert coming to our autumn 2008 exhibition as a demonstrator. He is a really nice and friendly guy :)

Then we took a look at the pine tree he has stlyed the day before, and met the Hungarian bonsai collector György Rácz. He is probably one of the biggest yamadori collectors in Hungary and specialises in absolutely large-size trees. Robert and Gyuri have been talking about the collected pine Gyuri was about to style during his demonstration the same day. The pine was a pretty impossible material with quite a few problematic areas. The second picture shows Gyuri and Robert talking about the pine with me listening in between. In my exhibit blog you can see a picture about Gyuri in action, styling the pine.

Later that day I have caught Robert with a small group of bonsai enthusiasts from Slovakia and Poland, sharing his thoughts about the exhibited trees and answering questions. During this tree critique, Robert has been concentrating on artistic issues, just like in his aforementioned book. Many of the critiques he has expressed were about the incongruences he has pointed out on the trees, like a bonsai with a causal, informal trunk featuring a too formal crown. On the third picture Robert is sharing his thoughts about a juniper of Milan Roskos which I have known for some years from exhibitions and am a great fan of. For me it is a very abstract tree and I like it for this. Robert has pointed out though that the hollowed-out, sabamiki-style trunk, which speaks of a long, hard life contradicts the lush foliage of the main branch and suggested removing the entire right-hand side of the tree. I have to agree that the tree looks much more credible that way (although it would lose the strong geometric effect of its lines for which I have admired its design - I liked the proposed new image a lot).

It was a great experience meeting this real artist and a chance to learn a lot from his tree critiques. His enthusiasm and talent for the art and his open and friendly personality makes him a really amazing person.

I am attaching a picture of Milan's juniper so you can see what Robert has meant. This picture was taken at last year's exhibition in Budapest.

The pictures in this post, with the exception of the last one, have been taken by Tamás Virág, thanks a lot Tamás.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Nitra exhibition 2007

Last weekend I have been to the bonsai exhibition in Nitra, Slovakia. The pictures I have taken at the exhibition are in my exhibition blog.

Changes in two weeks

I am starting this page with a tree of mine that I'm really fond of right now. It is a plum tree, Prunus domestica, which I have turned into a literati by a drastic reduction of the crown this spring.
The first photo shows it as it has been flowering two weeks ago.

Now it's in leaf.

The last pictures is from 2006 in its autumn colors, still with the large crown.


unique visitors: Internet Marketing Consultant
Internet Marketing Consultant
page views: Stratco
Pagerankseo tools