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The William Bourn Estate at Filoli Gardens in Woodside

Hello, everyone. I’m back from a two night escapade!! I got caught up working on a few things in the garage the night before last, but unfortunately, I can only say for last night is that I was tired and headed off to bed instead of typing out a new posting. I love sharing posts with you guys, but sometimes you just need some sleep. I had all intentions to post something new, since I worked up all the images that I wanted to share with you. But instead of just dropping the photos without really writing about them, I decided to sleep on it and post them today.

I know I said that I would post some of the images taken on the architecture tour in Chicago, but there are just too damn many photos. I probably took as many photos on that boat tour as I do when I go to a Giants game with the camera. So, I am hoping to have some time this weekend to go through them and post the last of my images from my Chicago trip. Stay tuned!!

Today’s posting takes us back to Filoli Gardens in Woodside, CA. I shared with you some macro images that I took of some honeybees that I found doing their thing. I do plan on sharing many images from each one of the gardens, but I think I will start with the residence on the property that was built by William Bourn just after moving away from San Francisco after the great earthquake of 1906. Many well-to-do that lost their homes after the earthquake or fire that consumed the rest of the city afterwards packed up what they had left and moved south into the Peninsula. Thanks to this decision, we have today many beautiful mansions from that period ranging anywhere from Burlingame south through San Jose.

When William Bourn moved south, he set his eyes on Woodside and purchased nearly 700 acres on which to build his estate. The Bourn’s lived the property until their passing in the 1930’s. The property was purchased by the Roth family, who owned it until the mid-1970’s. It was at their passing that the property was donated and is now in the stewardship of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

My favorite part of the entire visit was the Bourn Estate. Although we are only allowed to view the lower level of the estate, which is about 15 rooms, the entire main structure has 43 rooms. Although I am certain that the estate was decorated in a more modern style when the property was donated, the decor has been restored to its original state under the Bourns.

All of the flower arrangements on display through the home have been put together with the estate’s own gardens. The everyday homey touches have been left undisturbed so as to give the impression that the family may return home at any moment now. Although there are quite a few roped off room and the furniture is set up so as not to entice a comfortable sit down with your party, the estate does not give off a museum vibe, even though it is. Many of the objects on display in the home are probably one of a kinds or priceless, but they are under the careful supervision of many volunteers that keep the place running.

I toured the estate mainly with the Canon 24-105mm IS f/4.0 L lens, although there are a few images taken with my Tokina 100-300mm. The Image Stabilization on the lens was very helpful in photographing a number of rooms, as the lighting was rather poor. The rooms with the warm wood paneling, although extremely beautiful, do not lend a hand to refract outside light around the room for better viewing. Obviously, to the human eye, there was enough light. But to a camera, the lighting sucked; therefore, the IS was able to give (or forgive) a little due to my handheld movements.

My favorite room by far was the library. Everything from the wood paneling to the choice of the books on display left me in awe. That’s what I want my library to look like as soon as this blog goes viral worldwide. People will more than likely start throwing money my way, so I’ll have to purchase a huge mansion of my own with a library. Obviously, I’d have to replicate this fabulous library, while still adding my own touches of badass-ery!! Hey, if I’m gonna dream, why not dream big, right???

When I was walking the rooms with my camera in my hand, I was always being critical towards what the purpose of the image would be. Sure, its real simple to walk in and snap away, but that just ends you up with a series of images that are dull and lack interest since it’s just a room. In all of these images I made sure to find an object that I was in love with before composing the image.

For example, the first image of the porch light was taken just before walking into the home. I took about four images, all of different angles. Why? Well, cause my camera only has a 2.5 inch display on the back which doesn’t always help in viewing the image just shot correctly. So, I hope for the best and cross my fingers as I download the images. So, why did I choose this one? I am a sucker for shallow depth of field. In non-camera geek terms, this means that I am telling the camera that I want a small focal point and have the image blurred in front and behind the focus point that I have chosen. Because the focal point of the image is the underside of the fixture and the point is towards the bottom half of the image, there is not much to be out of focus underneath it. But, if you notice the upper half of the image, the fixture becomes more and more out of focus as it goes up. The architectural touches to the underside of the porch are even more out of focus since it’s further away than the light fixture.

I do this again on the image with the red rose vase and the horse statue in the back. I actually took this image with the focal point being the vase and again with the focal point being the horse statue. Why did I choose the vase? Simple. Our brains work in a way that we view images in a certain pattern even though we may not be conscious of doing so. All landscape images are viewed left to right and all portrait images are viewed top to bottom.

We read left to right, so as your eye goes over the image, you first notice the roses being in focus and later scan to the right to notice the horse statue out of focus. At the moment I took the images, I automatically assumed that I would prefer the horse statue being in focus, but I was wrong. Once I got home and looked at the two, I could feel that the horse being in focus threw the image off. If I had shot this image with a wider depth of field so that both the vase and the horse were in focus, this rule would still hold true. The only difference would be that your eyes would just settle on the object that YOU found more interesting. If you were a horse lover, it might have been the horse. If you were a flower lover, you might look at the roses.

Anyway, that’s my take on it. I loved the experience, and I will be returning to Filoli soon enough. Enjoy!!!


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