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.


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