Singing Towers, Flowers And Winey Bus Trips With Pictures With Captions, Oh My!

So it’s been quite awhile since last I took you on a photo journey of the day in a life sort. As you may recall, my last few photo posts were filled with slightly out of focus pictures and my musings as to whether it was the camera or the operator. I am happy to report that I came to the conclusion that since it was a fully automatic camera with no means of manually focusing said camera, the out of focusness (which may not be a real word, but it sounds like it should be, at least to me) was not a result of operator inability.

Happily, unless you are a fan of slightly out of focus pictures, I decided to dig out my old DSLR camera for my latest field trip, though not my latest trip. If you are a fan of my slightly out of focus pictures, then in the immortal words of no one in particular, “Oh well.”

Last Thursday, but not yesterday, because then I just would have said yesterday, I went on a field trip with the garden club. Yes, I spent two hours on a bus with old ladies to visit Bok Tower Gardens, and then climbed back on board for the two hour trip home. But the trip home was better, because they served wine and cheese and crackers. Had they served the wine going down to the gardens, and yes, we were traveling southward so down is appropriate, my pictures might have been out of focus once more. But they didn’t serve wine then, so they are in focus and I know that I have incredible focusing abilities because I manually focused the camera for each shot.

I am a bit of a photography purist in that I don’t like to photoshop my photos. I prefer to try to take a quality image. Now, I take a lot of photos to get a few that I am happy with but that is part of the fun. It has been a few years, okay at least ten, since last I used my DSLR. On this field trip, I sometimes used the shutter priority or aperture priority settings and used the manual setting a few times as well. My goal is to always stay in the manual zone, but baby steps.

Now, if you ever find yourself a little south of Orlando, you might want to visit the Bok Tower Gardens which is located in Lake Wales. Some old rich guy named, not surprisingly, Edward Bok, bought acres and acres of land and built a  60 bell carillon tower of coquina and pink marble that stands 205 feet tall on one of the highest points in Florida. Of course, by highest point, I’m talking about 300 feet. Florida is not a mountain state. The gardens are lushly landscaped and there is a carillon concert every day which is lovely to hear as you stroll through the gardens.

We missed the peak camellia season (late November to December) and peak azalea season (late February to early March) but only by a couple of weeks for the azaleas so there were still quite a few azaleas and azaleas are quite common in Florida. I even have them in my yard.

So without further introductory commentary, here is a trek through the gardens. You’ll have to imagine the bell tower concert.

We just entered the gardens. I'm not a horticulturist so I can't tell you what those flowers are.

We just entered the gardens. I’m not a horticulturist so I can’t tell you what those flowers are.

I was playing with bracketing here, which is where you take two or three photos with slightly different exposures. This was my favorite though it might be slightly underexposed.

I was playing with bracketing here, which is where you take two or three photos with slightly different exposures. This was my favorite though it might be slightly underexposed. I think those are snapdragons, but again, I’m not a horticulturist.

I did the bracketing thing again here, but I was quite pleased with this exposure.

I did the bracketing thing again here, but I was quite pleased with this exposure.

IMG_0328

Yet another bracketing exercise. I liked the shadows on the wall.

I know you're wondering if you're ever going to see the famed singing tower named Bok, but I wanted to show you this pond photo first.

I know you’re wondering if you’re ever going to see the famed singing tower named Bok, but I wanted to show you this pond photo first.

Finally, there it is. You can just see it through the trees. There are lots of oak trees in the gardens which sometimes makes it hard to see the tower.

Finally, there it is. You can just see it through the trees. There are lots of oak trees in the gardens which sometimes makes it hard to see the tower.

Now, we're standing near the base of the tower looking across the reflecting pool.

Now, we’re standing near the base of the tower looking across the reflecting pool.

This photo doesn't really need a caption, but since this is a day in the life with photos and captions, this is the caption.

This photo doesn’t really need a caption, but since this is a day in the life with photos and captions, this is the caption. Oh, did you notice the sundial? It is a bit unusual in that it is on the side of the tower which I guess means the photo did need a caption.

The moral of this photo if a photo can have a moral is don't be afraid to stand out in a crowd. Be the only bright pink flower in a sea of white flowers!

The moral of this photo if a photo can have a moral is don’t be afraid to stand out in a crowd. Be the only bright pink flower in a sea of white flowers!

I know this is a little underexposed, but I really like this photo. I think it's a green thing.

I know this is a little underexposed, but I really like this photo. I think it’s a green thing.

I probably should have mentioned this earlier, but I’m mentioning it now, the gardens were designed by famed landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr. And it is a National Historic Landmark.

I know I said we missed peak camelia season, but that doesn't mean there weren't any to be seen and we are seeing one in this picture.

I know I said we missed peak camelia season, but that doesn’t mean there weren’t any to be seen and we are seeing one in this picture.

This is my artsy picture. I have a 18-55 mm lens so I slowed the shutter speed down and turned the lens from 55 to 18 while taking the picture. Pretty cool!

This is my artsy photo. I have a 18-55 mm lens so I slowed the shutter speed down and zoomed the lens from 55 to 18 while taking the picture. Pretty cool!

So this concludes the the photo with captions part of the post and the post because I don’t have anything more to say. If you read this on your phone while riding a bus listening to carillon music and sipping wine, then you got the full effect. Well, I guess I did have a few more words to say, but now I’m done.

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21 thoughts on “Singing Towers, Flowers And Winey Bus Trips With Pictures With Captions, Oh My!

  1. How much fun – gardens, carillon music, and wine. (Never seen a sun dial on the side of a building). The reflections in the water along with the 3 “stumps’ looks like a painting. What a great place ( and I like the green ferns, too – nice texture, light and dark and stuff)

  2. Wonderful pictures! I love Bok Towers. Never. And I mean never feed the squirrles! It’s like a scene from “The Birds”.

  3. I’m flying into Orlando tomorrow and driving down to Vero Beach to look at real estate. I’ll try and find this on the map and see if I can swing by. The photographs are wonderful – the flowers alone are a reason for me to move to Florida. My husband’s family are Olmsteds (not that I care about him any more!) but it’s sort of cool for my kids.
    What a fun excursion.

    • It shouldn’t be too far out of your way and it is definitely something to see. The concerts are in the afternoon and there is also a house you can tour. Of course, once you move to Florida, you can visit then, too!

      • Yes, it snowed here this morning. Now it’s likely freezing the wet ground…. Oh well. I like the changing seasons. I like the changing seasons. I like the changing seasons. Did I convince you or me yet?

        • Ha! It’s supposed to be chilly here tonight, too, but will be back up near 80 by the weekend. I suppose you like the changing seasons best when they change on time.

  4. Nice photos! I like the dark green thing one (haha) I think it might be a fern (?)

    • I like the challenge, though I suppose some cool effects can be done with Adobe’s Photoshop which I don’t have, though if I had it, I would still prefer the challenge of trying to capture the shot with the right exposure.

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