Today I returned to Bok Tower Gardens in Lake Wales, Florida-about 1.5 hours from Tampa. I went for the first time last April. It is a truly beautiful and magical place. 50+ acres of gardens and nature paths, the signature tower which looks down upon orange orchards and beautiful 1930s mansion you can tour. The house was closed this visit as they are decorating it for Christmas. I have not toured it yet but may return to see the results. If I lived closer I would become a 'member' and go there to simply absorb the beauty and energy of this wonderful place. There is also a gift shop and a nice little cafe on the property.
As pretty as the Tower appears here there is much more to it than there first appear. There are animals carved into it that you do not notice unless you look closer. Also the 'support' piece for the sundial is shaped like a snake. The tower contains a library and bells which ring out throughout the day. Behind the tower is a small lake featuring these amazing lily pads.
I'm afraid this photo does not adequately depict how amazing these looked. Green with hot pink sides. From far away I was not ever sure if they were natural! The lighting was not ideal for me to capture them the way I wanted to.
Here in black and white you can see the detail on the sides of them. Really amazing. There are also 2 swans that live here but I didnt get a great shot of them this time. They are a lot of fun to watch.
I really love this shot of a piece of iron work next to the tower. Its one of those photos I can just look at for a long time. It is always a goal with my photography to capture images that hold the viewers attention for more than just a glance. The rest of this post features a variety of Sunflower photos I took while there.
One of the best pieces advice I can give to those interested in photography is take lots and lots of photos and have patience. There is often so much more there then meets the eye. Be willing to take the time when approaching flowers like this to try different angles and compositions. Many of these were taken on my tripod. Often the slightest change in angle or height makes a big difference.
This is one of my favorites and I took it with my 100mm Macro lens of the back of the flower. I would not have thought to do this a few years ago. I love the green part that most people never look at.
This particular flower captured my attention because it seems to be slightly heart shaped. I love that it has not fully opened yet. Again it is a photo I could explore with my eyes for quite some time.
How amazing does the inside of this flower look? The detail stuns me. I am equally as in awe of the texture of the petals. I love flowers!
I was hesitant to do a black and white/sephia but I really like this one. The detail in the petals is especially striking here. Simple is good.
Finally this is my 'sun' shot. It reminds me of the sun with rays shooting out from it. So beautiful! I have some more photos from my day at the gardens I will feature in my next post. I took some really cool photos of some cool little frogs that were hanging out near a magical pond near the mansion. I will be adding a few of these sunflower photos to my new shop on Etsy.com where you can purchase some of my very best nature/art photos! My shop is here http://www.etsy.com/shop/Stephaniellen. I list most items as either 11x14" prints or 16x20" ready to hang 'stand outs' but other sizes are of course available as well. This is a great site make up of home made craft and art items by other small business people all over the world! There is also a similar site called foodzie.com, similar concept but with food items.
I highly encourage a visit to Bok Tower Gardens, an extremely beautiful and peaceful place!