Peter Lik’s Tree? No, it’s not.

The Tree.

Dragons Breath - Aaron Reed Photography

In the city of Portland, Oregon there is a world-famous Japanese Maple tree, located just inside the gates of the Portland Japanese Garden just waiting to capture your spirit and imagination. When you visit the garden and see this tree in person, or view beautiful photographs like the ones I share with you below, you may fantasize about the magic of this tree and the story of where it came from. It is difficult not to envision a small world of fairies or other mythical creatures creating homes here, built from the small ferns that surround it, scavenging the “forest” for mushrooms and other edibles. In reality, this glorious Japanese Maple that helps draw over a quarter million visitors each year to the garden, may have much more humble beginnings than you may think.

History of the Garden

In 1958, Portland became a sister city to Sapporo, Japan, helping to create a broad interest in Japanese culture. Soon after, several business leaders and the Mayor of Portland decided it would be wonderful for Portland to have a traditional Japanese Garden. On June 4th, 1962, the City Council created a commission to establish the garden on the site of the former Washington Park Zoo. The Japanese Garden Society of Oregon was formed in 1963 by Portland citizens interested in promoting a more intimate relationship between the Peoples of Japan and our city and state. Takuma Tono, a Tokyo Agricultural University professor and internationally recognized authority on Japanese landscape design, was commissioned to design and supervise the development of the garden and he began landscaping the garden that year. In the summer of 1967, the Portland Japanese Garden formally opened to the public. The 5.5-acre Japanese garden is composed of five separate gardens: Strolling Pond Garden, Tea Garden, Natural Garden, Flat Garden, and Sand and Stone Garden.

Back to the Tree

Firebird - Aaron Reed Photography

This beautiful Japanese Maple tree that so many have grown to love, was not an original planting in the garden. No one is 100% sure of exactly when it was planted, or where it came from. Speaking to Adam Hart, Senior Gardener of the garden, after looking through historical photographs, I was told that this laceleaf maple was most likely planted sometime around 1971 and is between 65-70 years old. According to Mr. Hart, the tree was not very impressive when it was first planted, so there aren’t many photographs of it from those early days and the photographs he could find showed a fairly small and unspectacular specimen. The origin of the tree is also a mystery, but many of the laceleaf maples were donated from people in the community and while we are not sure that this was the case, you can see other spectacular laceleaf maples in the yards of beautiful homes along the road leading to the garden.

A Tree for all Seasons

Each and every season brings about change and rebirth inside the garden and the tree is no exception. It is spectacular all year round and an incredible photographic subject any time of the year.

White Lightning - Winter - Aaron Reed Photography

White Lightning – Winter – Aaron Reed Photography

Green Dragon - Spring - Aaron Reed Photography

Green Dragon – Spring – Aaron Reed Photography

Believe In Magic - Fall - Aaron Reed Photography

Believe In Magic – Fall – Aaron Reed Photography

The Peter Lik Effect

World renowned, Australian born photographer Peter Lik has captured numerous images of this tree throughout the years including pieces titled “Tree of Life” “Tree of Zen” and “Inner Peace”. With galleries around the world combined with the natural beauty of the tree itself, it is no wonder that almost every time I share a photograph of the tree someone says “It’s the Peter Lik Tree” or, “I have loved this tree ever since I saw Peter Lik’s version of it…and yours is as good or better!” I guess it just goes to show how the success of an image can follow you and in some ways become a part of who you are as a photographer.

I was born and raised in Portland, Oregon and spent the majority of my life there. In 2008, when I picked up my first camera, I began looking for places inside the city that I could photograph and stumbled across an out of focus, dreamy interpretation of this tree by a fellow photographer named Zeb Andrews. I had never heard of Peter Lik at this time and Zeb’s image was the only one I had ever seen before visiting the garden myself in the fall of that year. I have returned every year since then, capturing the tree in all four seasons.

In early 2013 I began offering a portion of my work as limited edition pieces, including the majority of my photographs of this beautiful tree. Since then I have sold hundreds of pieces from this collection, with the majority of them being large format prints on high gloss ChromaLuxe aluminum sheeting. Living Lightning, released in February 2013, has currently sold 130 of the 200 pieces in the limited edition. Dragon’s Breath, also a limited edition of 200 was released in November 2013 and has sold the first 40 pieces in just the past 7 months. The success of these images has even caused some to start calling this tree the Aaron Reed tree which I think it equally humorous to calling it Peter Lik’s.

Despite what others may think or how they choose to reference it, this majestic tree is not Peter Lik’s, nor is it mine, nor anyone else. The greatest value of this tree lies in the fact that it is there for everyone to see, to wonder, to experience and to share in a weird little city called Portland. :) For those who may have never been and would like to see the garden during the peak of fall color, the 3rd week in October is a pretty good bet for a time to choose to visit. Don’t hesitate, because this tree can change from green to orange to red and finally drop its leaves all in the course of a week. If you do visit, I hope you enjoy the tree and the rest of the garden as much as I have and will continue to, year after year.

If you are interested in purchasing pieces from my Limited Edition collection, including all of my captures of this tree including “Dragon’s Breath”, “Living Lightning”, “The Green Dragon”, “White Lightning”, “Believe In Magic” and my newest addition “Firebird”, please visit my website at http://www.aaronreedphotography.com or simply send me a message below:

Living Lightning - Aaron Reed Photography

Living Lightning – Aaron Reed Photography

Aaron Reed Photography Artist Proof & First Prints

Beginning today, I have officially started releasing Artist Proof’s (AP) and First Printings (FP) of select pieces from my Limited Edition Collection. Before today, these were only offered to priority clients who purchased multiple pieces from my collection. Limited selections have now been opened to the public and are available through my website.

About Artist Proof’s – AP

In addition to my Limited Edition pieces that are held to 50, 100 or 200 total pieces depending on the specific piece, I also offer 1 Artist Proof (AP) of each piece. All Artist Proofs are printed at 30″ x 45″ on High Gloss Hi Def ChromaLuxe with Museum Grade backing and are ready to hang with no framing required. Each of these Artist Proofs are signed and numbered with A/P #1 of 1. Only 1 Artist Proof of each image will ever be printed, increasing their value and rarity. Each of these pieces is an investment and will increase in value at a higher rate than pieces from the body of the collection itself. Each Artist Proof requires an investment of $2500.

First Printing – FP

When I designate one of my pieces as a Limited Edition piece, I choose the total number of prints to be offered in the collection. I withhold the First Printing (FP) of each piece in the collection to keep for myself, or to be offered as the very last print sold of that Limited Edition. The First Printings are also printed on High Gloss Hi Def ChromaLuxe Metal sheeting at 30″ x 45″ with Museum Grade backing and are ready to hang. These pieces are signed 1/50, 1/100 or 1/200 depending on the piece. Hand selected pieces are chosen based on overall popularity and can now be purchased in advance of the selection selling out. As with Artist Proofs, First Printing’s also carry a higher value and will increase in value at a faster rate than pieces from the body of the collection itself. First Printing pieces require an investment of $2000 for each piece.

To be sure that your selected piece is available, please contact me directly to receive an invoice for purchase. Artist Proofs and First Printings can both be personalized, making these an incredible opportunity to purchase as a gift for a loved one or business partner.

More of my work, including my entire Limited Edition collection can be seen at http://www.aaronreedphotography.com

UPDATE 5/22/14 The Artist Proof’s for The Sea Serpent, Kings and The Prowling Panther all sold today and are no longer available.

AP and Firsts 1500 UPDATED

Limited Edition Hi-Def ChromaLuxe Metal Prints by Aaron Reed

Limited Edition Fine Art Luxury Nature Photography ChromaLuxe Hi-Def Metal Prints by Aaron Reed

High Definition, high gloss Metal Prints produced with Industry leading ChromaLuxe products are my preferred method of displaying the vast majority of my work. Metal prints are a brand new and exciting way to produce high quality photographic prints that are unsurpassed in beauty, depth, detail & durability. Metal prints using ChromaLuxe panels are scratch resistant, waterproof, will not yellow or fade over time. Two independent and highly respected research and testing laboratories have conducted environmental life tests on ChromaLuxe Photo Panels and have concluded that ChromaLuxe Hi_Def Metal prints are the longest lasting photo medium in the market.

The UV resistant coating is bonded to .045” aluminum sheeting that in turn is used to create a fine art piece using a process called Sublimation. A digital image is printed onto a special transfer paper and then using a heat press, the transfer paper is pressed onto the surface of the aluminum sheet at 400 degrees Fahrenheit, which causes the sublimation inks to “transfer” from the paper directly into the poly-based coating. The print is not ON the surface of the aluminum but fused INTO the surface of the piece.

The vibrancy and dimensionality of ChromaLuxe products rivals any photographic product and exceeds the quality of traditional paper prints when placed behind inherently imperfect glass. My limited edition prints created with this product and process are simply second to none.

I offer all of my prints, including my Limited Edition collection in three sizes (36 x 24, 45 x 30 & 60 x 40) All three sizes come supported with various types of professional backing materials that create a ready to hang piece that does not require framing of any kind.

If you would like to learn more about ChromaLuxe products and their incredible durability, check out this video below. To see all of my available Limited Edition Fine Art prints using this incredible printing process please visit my website at http://www.aaronreedphotography.com

Limited Edition Hi-Def ChromaLuxe Metal Prints by Aaron Reed

The Rise – Image Of The Week 20% Sold Out – Aaron Reed Photography

The Rise

This week my image of the week is another limited edition piece from my collection titled “The Rise of Mt. Shuksan”. This piece is a limited edition of 200 and is over 20% SOLD OUT. If you are interested in purchasing one of my limited edition pieces please visit my website at http://www.aaronreedphotography.com

From Wiki:

Mount Shuksan is a glaciated massif in the North Cascades National Park. Shuksan rises in Whatcom County, Washington immediately to the east of Mount Baker, and 11.6 miles (18.7 km) south of the Canadian border. The mountain’s name Shuksan is derived from the Lummi word [šéqsən], said to mean “high peak”. The highest point on the mountain is a three sided peak known as Summit Pyramid. There are two named subsidiary peaks: Nooksack Tower and The Hourglass.

The mountain is composed of Shuksan greenschist, oceanic basalt that was metamorphosed when the Easton terrane collided with the west coast of North America, approximately 120 million years ago. The mountain is an eroded remnant of a thrust plate formed by the Easton collision.
West side view of Mount Shuksan in summer as seen from Artist Point

Shuksan is one of the most photographed mountains in the Cascade Range. Photographs with its reflection in Highwood Lake near Mount Baker Ski Area are particularly common. The Mount Baker Highway, State Route 542, is kept open during the winter to support the ski area; in late summer, the road to Artist Point allows visitors to travel a few miles higher for a closer view of the peak.

For LOVE or MONEY?

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There are two distinct but quite different types of people who purchase artwork of any variety including fine art photography, the connoisseur and the collector. There are yet others who are a combination of the two that appreciate beautiful art, a great value and the opportunity to see a return on their investment. I would like to share with you how you can have the best of both worlds and how one man in Phoenix, Arizona has turned his business and his love for art into an amazing gallery for all to enjoy.

A collector will usually choose a piece that already holds significant value in the eyes of the general public & the art world. This does not mean they do not also enjoy the piece, it simply means that their first priority is usually the value of the piece and whether or not they expect this value to rise in the future. Before anything else it is a business decision. This type of collector often cares very deeply about how those around them feel about their purchase and many times will choose a piece simply for bragging rights or for show.

The connoisseur simply appreciates quality artwork. As with any form of artwork, the piece still needs to speak to the person considering it for purchase yet the current value and potential investment are less of a concern, if a concern at all. The connoisseur will fall in love with a piece, without concern about how others feel about it. The piece will usually create a deep connection with them, whether tied to a past experience, a precious memory, a friend or family member or simply a beautiful feeling. Whatever the reason, this person purchases a piece for the LOVE of the art.

In the world of nature photography, there are countless photographers offering you their interpretation of the world around them. Unlike a painter or sculptor, any two photographers can stand in the same place and create beautiful images of what they see through the lens of their camera. Both of these visions may be appealing to you as someone considering a piece of art for your home or business, but typically only one will stand out, or speak to you on a deeper level. In my opinion, this is the voice you should listen to when you consider a piece of nature or landscape photography because ultimately nothing else matters. A piece of fine art photography from a well-known artist currently valued at $35,000 may be worth $10,000 or less five years from now. In contrast, a piece from an up and coming artist currently costing just $1,000 hypothetically has much more room for growth in value as well as less investment risk. In addition, if you can find an artist whose work you appreciate for the art itself, you may be able to purchase multiple pieces from them, bringing even greater beauty and real value to yourself and those you are sharing this work with.

For example, world-famous photographer Peter Lik regularly commands prices in the tens of thousands for his work. He offers limited editions that can be as large as 950 pieces, including up to 45 artist proofs. If you purchase one of these pieces, say number 145/950, and the edition never sells out, chances are the piece you purchased will not increase in value over time because the gallery that sold you the piece is still offering this same piece in their collection. One way to determine the actual current value is to take a look on the auction site eBay. One of these same pieces that the gallery lists for $35,000 or more, may be currently offered from multiple sellers, for far below the price currently being offered by the gallery. If you purchase this piece today as an investment, you may find yourself needing to sell it at a time when the market is soft, causing you a significant loss on your investment.

These are just a few of the reasons that I suggest purchasing a piece that you fall in LOVE with first, considering its current and perceived value second to that. This will help protect you from potential disappointment and possible regret in the future. I am a fine art nature photographer who chooses to offer my work at a great value to my clients. Many of the pieces I sell have very low profit margins. While I do operate a successful business with my photography and hope to continue to do so in the near future, I also enjoy being able to offer my customers high quality fine art luxury nature photography at affordable prices.

Last week, a gentleman named Charles, an Orthopedic Surgeon from Phoenix, Arizona recognized this value and capitalized on it in a major way for him and his clients. A doctor’s or dentist office is the perfect place for high quality nature photography due to the aesthetic and soothing properties it can bring to those who view it. Instead of purchasing just one piece of fine art photography for $35,000 or more, Charles was able to purchase a total of 34 amazing pieces of limited edition artwork for his office, transforming it from an uninviting office building into an amazing art gallery! The pieces Charles purchased, were all Limited Edition Metal Prints that I offer ranging in size from fully framed pieces measuring 36″ wide x 24″ tall, all the way to 80″ wide by 43″ tall. The majority of these pieces were larger than 45″ x 30″. After receiving a large quantity discount, for just under $25,000 Charles was able to completely fill the large office as well as every single patient room with beautiful nature photography. In addition, the Limited Editions that I offer range from just 50 to 200 total pieces, with some of them already nearing 75% sold out. The potential for increased value in these pieces is very promising, but this value has already been surpassed by the peace and serenity that has been given to his clients on a daily basis.

The choice is yours, for LOVE or money, investment or real value. The images above and below this post are the ones Charles ultimately decided on and if you ever find yourself on the unfortunate end of serious injury in Phoenix, you may just find yourself in a room full of beautiful art. The much more pleasant way to go of course would be to visit my website at http://www.aaronreedphotography.com and choose a few pieces for yourself. As always, I want to say thank you to those of you that support up and coming artists like myself and hope you are able to appreciate my work for many years to come.

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Front Page Website Final

Part III: Don’t Ask Why….Ask When?

The Tree

In part two of this series I talked about overcoming self doubt. This is a stumbling block that affects us all, as photographers and people in general. With the constant barrage of high quality imagery regularly shared on various social media sites it is easy to get caught up in the madness and the noise inside your head.

So here you are, increasingly excited about your new-found joy and it has started to take on a life of its own. You have started making new friends out of complete strangers on the internet. For the first time in your life you have not one, but THREE or more favorite weather outlets that you look to for information about upcoming forecasts. You have started regularly finding yourself outside at 4 o’clock in the morning with your camera pointing it at the ground, the sky and the trees. You have even begun to visualize compositions in the passing scenery as you drive in your car. You my friend have a sickness, the disease of photographic obsession.

It has been a year or so now since you got serious about photography. People on the internet and your friends and family have started showing appreciation of your images. A co-worker expressed an even greater interest and after telling you how amazing & beautiful your image was they asked you if you sell your work! You feel like a rock star now. In the five minutes since they asked you to sell them a print you haven’t heard another word they have said. You are engaged in a fantasy inside your own mind where you have quit your job and find yourself repelling out of a helicopter onto a secluded beach. You have your camera in one hand and a pen in the other, ready to sign autographs for the group of loyal fans that have been waiting for you to land since last night. One of them even has a t-shirt with your face on it….

You snap back to reality when your boss, with a very unpleasant look on his face, asks you about the report that was due 2 hours ago. You realize that if you are ever going to be able to quit your day job to become a professional photographer, you better start selling some prints. You just sold an 8” x 10” print to your co worker for $20. It cost you $7 to have it printed and $4 to have it shipped to your house. You do some simple math and you realize that to make a respectable income from your photography you are going to need to sell approximately 6500 more 8 x 10’s. Ok, maybe you should try for some larger print sales. If you think I am talking to you, sit back and relax because it’s going to be a long ride but I honestly want to try to help you. I would like to see you to succeed.

It is crucial that you realize that this is not the music industry, nor are you an actor or actress. No one is going to “discover” you and propel you into fame & untold riches. Besides, despite what your Mom keeps saying you are just not that good yet. If you want to sell your work you are going to have to dig deep and sell yourself. Some call it salesmanship, others call it hustle. Whatever you choose to call it, you need to get some of it fast. There are a finite number of potential customers out there and a seemingly infinite number of aspiring photographers and many of them are extremely dedicated and producing VERY good work on a regular basis.

Here is where the twist comes in. I know many amazing photographers who rarely sell anything. It’s not that they don’t want to; they just don’t know how to sell themselves. I also know many less than amazing photographers and even some terrible ones who seem to sell their work right and left. So what is the secret? What more can I do to sell my work? Tune in to part four of this series, don’t ask why…ask what and I will try to answer this burning question for you. In the meantime, if you enjoy looking at pretty pictures please have a look at my website at http://www.aaronreedphotography.com and consider a print or two. I still have a few thousand to go this year. ;) Thank you again for following this series and sharing with friends and family who may find it helpful. I truly appreciate it.