JWSmith Photography | Lik's Tree

Lik's Tree

July 04, 2016  •  Leave a Comment

     This is "That" Japanese Maple, yeah, that one.  Another icon but a bit unusual in that it's an iconic tree.  Not that many that I can think of.  
The Japanese MapleThe Japanese MapleJapanese Garden, Portland, Oregon
Here's the story:
    Kayla and I were in Portland on the way north to Gig Harbor, WA to visit my brother and his family and to explore the area a bit.  Other than Multnomah Falls, the only thing I could think of in the area, photography-wise, was the Japanese Garden and the famous and much photographed Japanese Maple.  I had no idea where it was or what it looked like in person so we just wandered about the grounds (which are beautiful, peaceful and relaxing) looking at the trees, shrubs and flowers while I kept an eye out for that famous maple.  We thought we were done when we made it back to the entrance and still I had not seen the tree.  You'd think there may even be a big sign pointing to it; HEY, THIS IS THE FAMOUS TREE YOU'RE LOOKING FOR! But nothing of the sort appeared, and though it's probably better that way, there wasn't even a picture of it in their brochure.  I began to doubt that I was in the right place. 
     We checked our map and saw that there was possibly one more path we hadn't traveled so we started down that path and I just casually brushed my hand against the boughs of a short maple and happened to glance under those boughs and Viola! Thar she Blows!  I'd recognize those contorted branches anywhere.  But, but, geez it's such a small tree.  The pictures I'd seen make it appear large, with flowing, twisted branches going willy-nilly in all directions.  This tree didn't rise above my shoulders and I had to bend down and under its boughs to see its glory, and all the while I expected to walk under it and gaze upward to discover the beautiful, light diffused canopy.  I felt a bit let down.  But, I knelt and craned my neck to get underneath; eventually having to sit upon the walkway and scoot myself as far under the boughs as the walkway would allow in order to compose a few images.  I could here people walking behind me and I'm sure they were wondering what the hell I was up to. 
    "I see you've found our Lik tree," said a voice from above and behind me. 
    Lik tree? I thought to myself. I thought it was a maple...  Oh, Lik!
    I leaned back and looked upward to see a woman in what appeared to be an official shirt with an embroidered garden emblem.  
    "Peter Lik?" I said in a voice that probably revealed disdain. 
    "Yes, he made this tree famous."
    "Oh,  I didn't know.  I didn't think we'd find it we were about to leave."
    "Oh my, you could have asked any of us, we all know where it's at.  Glad you finally found it, enjoy your time here."  And, off she went. 

    I had no idea the tree had any connection to Peter Lik.  It somehow lessened the experience, not sure why.  I do have to give him kudos for finding the composition.  It really is a bit hidden.  The tree is inconspicuous as it stands along the garden path looking like so many other Japanese Maples. 

    Before we left we went to the gift shop where they had Lik's prints of the tree on everything from calendars to coffee mugs.  Probably should have went there first. 

    The summer sun was high and contrasty so the colors of the leaves are a bit washed out.  I'd love to go back in the fall to see it with its red dress on. 



No comments posted.