Japanese Maple Anticipating Spring (2 of 2)

Hello! Below is the second of two galleries of Japanese Maple leaves in my garden, as the tree comes to life to signal the coming spring. The previous gallery — see Japanese Maple Anticipating Spring (1 of 2) — was taken while the leaves were still wet from recent rains but for these photos I waited another day until the tree had dried out. That allowed me to get finer visual detail out of the berries, which should be apparent if you view any of the images full size.

Thanks for taking a look!

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Japanese Maple Anticipating Spring (1 of 2)

From Seeing Trees: Discover the Extraordinary Secrets of Everyday Trees by Nancy Ross Hugo:

“[Leaf] shape varies not just between species but within species and even in individual trees. You could spend a lifetime attending to the variety of forms in a single species of Japanese maple (Acer palmatum), because leaf forms in cultivated varieties … vary from fern-like to star-shaped, from shallowly cut to deeply cut, and have colors ranging from chartreuse to dark green, red, maroon, and even pinkish. Tree lovers could check Japanese maple cultivars off their life lists the way birders do warblers, but the owner of a single open-pollinated Japanese maple could be equally entertained just observing the size, shape, and color of the leaves on the thousands of seedlings that come up under such a tree.”

A sure sign that spring is not too-too far away: a Japanese Maple right behind my house produces tiny clusters of new leaves decorated with red/burgundy berries. I took the photos in this gallery the morning after our long rains finally stopped (for a few days, anyway). Raindrops still clung to many of the berry pods, weighing them down and giving them a nice full look even though they’re typically smaller than a pea. The berries only last a few days and fall off as leaves open — after which I sweep piles of them out of the courtyard! — so I was glad to get a break in the rain and take their pictures.

Here are the first eleven images; I played around with background bokeh and colors — especially where blurry berries added a little red, yellow, and green — as well as some backlighting just to see how the shapes looked against filtered sunlight.

A second Japanese Maple gallery and more Oakland Cemetery architecture photos coming soon … thanks for taking a look!

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Japanese Maple Spring Berries: A Gallery

For just a few days each year as spring starts to roll in, one of the three Japanese Maple trees on my property produces clusters of red seedlings along with the emerging leaves. The seedlings — which look like clumps of tiny berries — are much prized as a delicacy by the local squirrelry: it’s not unusual to see a scurry of squirrels embracing the branches, slashing at the seeds with their Freddy Krueger claws, stuffing them behind their pointy teeth … and gnashing away. I leave a bottle of antacid tablets in the yard, because — gluttons that they are — they always overeat. 🙂

Yesterday after another of our interminable rains, I took a crack at getting some photos of the red clusters — they’ll be gone in a week! — but it was a bit too dark, too windy, and raindrop blobs on the leaves weren’t cool-looking like my tiny bubbles. So I threw out yesterday’s images and after running some errands this morning, tried again. With (temporarily) drier weather, less wind, some soft light through an overcast sky, a little patience, and a bit of Lightrooming, I got better results today.

Thanks for looking!

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