In Japan, the progress of Spring can be measured in blossoms. First come the ume (plum blossoms), then the mokuren (magnolia), and finally the world famous sakura (cherry blossoms). They are all beautiful. My favorite plum trees are the shidare ume (weeping plum). The blossoms appear along the long, "weeping", branches that hang from the trees almost to the ground. Focusing into a grove of shidare ume with a telephoto lens is sort of like peering into a colorful fog. It's hard to know where to focus, so mostly I let the blossoms be out of focus, creating a soft, dreamy feel, almost like in an impressionist painting. At the agricultural center where I went to see the blossoms, there was also a bamboo forest. I liked the contrast of the fresh green of the young bamboo, with the various shades of pink and violet among the ume trees. In photography, a sense of depth is created through contrasts-- light versus dark, sharp versus blurry, vivid versus subtle. In this case, I tried to use the contrasting colors to add to the sense of depth, and also to use both the bamboo and the ume as frames within the frame. There were also a few magnolia trees at the park that were just starting to blossom. Magnolia blossoms are my favorite, so stay tuned.