Gardens of light

A week last Friday (Oct 17) I visited the annual Gardens of Light exhibition at the Montreal Botanical Gardens.

I was accompanied by my Instagram mate who was visiting from Tasmania. Paul (AKA #lovethywalrus on Instagram) is a great guy who I first met in February when he was visiting Montreal as a guest of Tourisme Québec and Montréal. Paul was here again to witness the fall colours rather than the blanket of whiteness he experienced on his last visit. Being a lover of all things colourful, I don’t think he was disappointed by the colourful autumn scenes that greeted him and remained throughout the time he was here.

We had met at the #coloursQC Instameet the previous Saturday and had arranged to meet up again before he headed back home. We were hoping to catch a radiant sunset, but with heavy clouds and light rain, we decided to visit the Botanical Gardens and the Gardens of Light exhibition that is currently on display in the Chinese and Japanese gardens.

This year the Magic of Lanterns display in the Chinese Garden plays homage to Zheng He – A Voyage of Discovery. Zheng He (1371-1433) was a great Chinese mariner, explorer and diplomat who commanded large fleets of ships with as many as 28,000 men on 7 maritime expeditions to South and Southeast Asia, East Africa and the Middle East. The Chinese were 100’s of years ahead of the western world in terms of long term sea voyages – even building ships that incorporated gardens to grow fresh fruit and vegetables during the voyages to prevent scurvy.

A flotilla of ships, representing Zheng He’s maritime voyages is the centre-piece of the lanterns of light in the Dream Lake at the Chinese garden.

Zheng He's fleet depicted at the Gardens of Light

Zheng He’s fleet depicted at the Gardens of Light
ISO 10 – 35mm – f3.5 – 1/80 sec (-2ev/0/+2ev)

We arrived before dusk (still hoping, in vain, for a nice sunset) and were able to get some pictures of the bright autumn colours before darkness fell. Although we entered via the Chinese Garden we knew that we would be returning at dusk to capture the magic of the illuminated lanterns…so we decided to check out some of the other external gardens.

In the Alpine garden a tree immediately grabbed our attention, almost luminous in flat light of the overcast sky.

Paul capturing some Canadian autumn colours

Paul capturing some Canadian autumn colours
ISO 400 – 35mm – f1.8 – 1/400 sec

 

Autumn leaves

Autumn leaves
ISO 400 – 35mm – f1.8 – 1/200 sec

 

We weren’t the only ones to be enchanted by its’ vibrancy…

Tree of attraction

Tree of attraction
ISO 200 – 35mm – f1.8 – 1/200 sec

 

While in the Alpine garden, we paused near the waterfall – one of my favourite spots in the garden. These pink/orange flowers certainly drew the eye, and the waterfall made for a nice backdrop. Unfortunately I neglected to check the name of this particular flower.

Alpine Garden flower

Alpine Garden flower
ISO 400 – 35mm – f1.8 – 1/400 sec

 

Leaving the Alpine garden, we headed over to the lake in the Flowery Brooks and Lilacs garden.

Bird house on the lake

Bird house on the lake
ISO 200 – 35mm – f1.8 – 1/500 sec

 

Lakeside tranquility

Lakeside tranquility
ISO 800 – 98mm – f4.5 – 1/60 sec

 

Even some of the Koi fish in the Japanese garden were in perfect harmony with the autumn colours.

Koi fish in the Japanese Garden

Koi fish in the Japanese Garden
ISO 280 – 35mm – f1.8 – 1/160 sec

 

Koi fish in the Japanese Garden

Koi fish in the Japanese Garden
ISO 280 – 35mm – f1.8 – 1/160 sec

 

Rainbow of colours in the Japanese Garden

Rainbow of colours in the Japanese Garden
ISO 280 – 35mm – f3.2 – 1/30 sec

Bamboo

Bamboo
ISO 280 – 35mm – f3.2 – 1/30 sec

 

I happened to see Paul taking a shot while we were in the Japanese garden, and thought there was nice symmetry with the guy in the background also taking a picture.

A popular scene to photograph

A popular scene to photograph
ISO 280 – 35mm – f3.2 – 1/80 sec

 

Even as night drew closer, the autumn colours were still calling to be photographed.

 

Dusk at the Botanical Garden

Dusk at the Botanical Garden
ISO 280 – 35mm – f5 – 1/25 sec

 

Dragon Chinese lantern

Dragon Chinese lantern
ISO 280 – 35mm – f1.8 – 1/160 sec

 

It was still light when we returned to the Chinese Garden, but the lanterns were now glowing and the Ming Dynasty inspired buildings made a perfect backdrop to the fleet of Zheng He’s ships.

Zheng He - Voyage of Discovery

Zheng He – Voyage of Discovery
ISO 280 – 10mm – f7.1 – 1/5 sec (-2ev/0/+2ev)

 

Zheng He's giraffe

Zheng He’s giraffe
ISO 280 – 17mm – f8 – 1/13 sec

 

Dream Lake and the Magic of Lanterns

Dream Lake and the Magic of Lanterns
ISO 100 – 20mm – f5.6 – 0.8 sec

 

Dream Lake and the Magic of Lanterns

Dream Lake and the Magic of Lanterns
ISO 280 – 10mm – f5 – 0.5 secs (-2ev/0/+2ev)

 

Zheng He A voyage of Discovery

Zheng He A voyage of Discovery
ISO 100 – 10mm – f5 – 2.5 secs

 

Chinese Garden

Chinese Garden
ISO 280 – 19mm – f7.1 – 0.8 sec

 

A number of the lanterns on display had been on show last year, including the 3 tigers that last year had been poised at the edge of the Dream Lake. This year they were perched on the rocks, ready to pounce on unsuspecting visitors.

 

Tiger lanterns

Tiger lanterns
ISO 100 – 16mm – f5 – 1/5 sec

 

The Gardens of Light ends next weekend (November 2) and is well worth a visit if you are in town.

If you missed last year, here are some images from the Gardens of Light 2013 when the theme was the living treasures found in the tropical rainforest of Xishuangbanna.

Thanks for stopping by. Until next time.

– Martin

Montréal in Pictures

Your virtual guide in and around Montréal

 

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