Bok Tower Gardens, Part 2

Today’s post features the most unique feature of Bok Tower Gardens … the tower, itself (In Part 1,“Bok Tower Gardens, Part 1”, I featured a few images of the garden landscape).

The tower consists of multiple levels (all closed to the public). The entrance to the tower consists of a beautiful, brass door. On one of the upper levels of the tower, resides a “60-bell Carillon Bell & Playing Cabinet”. At noon, an expert carillonneur, a full-time position, plays an assortment of music, using these bells … meanwhile, visitor’s to the garden flock around the tower to sit and listen to the wonderful bell concert!

At the top of the Tower, 205-feet above the base, are eight marble heron statues. 

 

Bok Tower

Bok Tower

Bok Tower

Bok Tower

Bok Tower

And before leaving the gardens, we visited the Visitor’s Center. In this area, a scaled model of the Bok Tower was located:

Scale model of Bok Tower

If you’re ever in the area, I recommend you visit this beautiful garden! Coming up, some of the wildlife encounters from Florida!

 

Photographic Equipment Used:

  • Canon 5D Mark III
  • Canon 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS lens
  • Handheld
  • ISO 250
  • Aperture variable
  • Shutter variable
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Bok Tower Gardens, Part 1

Today’s post, part 1 of 2, features a wonderful garden that I visited for the first time, during my recent trip to Florida. The Bok Tower Gardens is located in Lake Wales, Florida, and is 130 acres in size.

The gardens were established by Edward W. Bok. During visits from their Pennsylvania residence to their winter retreat near Lake Wales, Florida, Mr. Bok became enchanted with the beauty and vistas from nearby Iron Mountain. At 295 feet above sea level, one of peninsular Florida’s highest points, Iron Mountain offered views of dramatic sunsets. Awed by the tranquility of the area, he wanted to create a place that would “touch the soul with its beauty and quiet,” and chose it as the perfect setting for a bird sanctuary. He purchased land to transform into a sweeping landscape of lush gardens featuring a majestic Singing Tower housing a 60-bell carillon. Originally called Mountain Lake Sanctuary and Singing Tower, he presented this extraordinary gift to the American people Feb. 1, 1929 as an enduring token of his appreciation for the opportunities he had been given.

Today’s images show some of the interesting facets of this beautiful garden. Upon entering the garden, visitors are greeted with a saying that Bok’s grandmother once told him:

Bok Tower Gardens welcoming sign

And on the wall at the nearby Bok Gardens Visitor’s Center, is a famous quote of Mr. Bok:

Wall sign at the Bok Tower Gardens Visitor Center

Once inside the garden area, the landscape is a gently-flowing landscape that truly is eye candy:

The picturesque landscape at the Bok Tower Gardens, Florida

The picturesque landscape at the Bok Tower Gardens, Florida

And at the foot of the 205-foot Bok Tower, is a reflecting pool. One of the most interesting plants here was a giant Amazon Lily … although not in bloom, it was still quite an interesting sight to see:

During my visit, it was quite windy, so images of the colorful flowers/plants were difficult to capture (without a tripod), but still such an inspirational place to visit!

In Part 2, I’ll feature the Bok Tower and some of the interesting things associated with it.

 

Photographic Equipment Used:

  • Canon 5D Mark III
  • Canon 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS lens
  • ISO 250
  • Aperture f/16
  • Shutter 1/15 sec. to 1/100 sec.

 

 

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Holy (Sea) Cow!

It’s good to be back, again! For those interested in my absence, I explain at the bottom of this post.

I recently took a 4-week travel trip to Florida.  This was a combination vacation to see friends, as well as a photo trip. My first stop on this trip was Crystal River, where I was able to snorkel with manatees (aka, “sea cows”). I learned that the manatees are having a struggle this year, with the widely ranging temperatures that Florida has been seeing.  Bottom line is that their food supply is being eaten up, as they are staying in the warmer waters … if they stay in the warm waters, there is little vegetation to eat … if they leave the warm waters for the cooler, Gulf waters, they are risking freezing to death. Not an easy choice to make!

Here are a few of my favorite images I captured at Three Sister’s Spring, a warm water refuge in Crystal River:

Manatee

 

Manatee

 

Manatee

It’s always fun to be with our wild brothers/sisters that we don’t get to see on a regular basis, including the lovable manatees!

 

Photographic Equipment Used:

  • Pentax Optio W60 waterproof camera (purchased many years ago for snorkeling with sea lions in Baja, Mexico)
  • Fixed 5mm-25mm lens
  • Camera in automatic/under water mode
  • All images shot as jpeg files and edited in Lightroom and Photoshop

 

Now, for “the rest of the story” … For the past few months, my postings have been very sporadic.  The reason … over the several months, I have been working around my home and getting it ready for sale … the reason?  Actually, a couple of factors here:  (1) as I “age” (hopefully, gracefully!), I was finding it much more difficult to keep my acreage up to snuff … constantly mowing, cutting up downed trees from storms/winds, keeping the multiple flower beds weeded and maintained.  And secondly, I met a wonderful lady from the Lake of the Ozarks in September 2018.  After spending a lot of time together in the past 18 months, we became engaged.  So, that made my choice to sell pretty darned easy!

It didn’t take long to sell my 9.5 acres in rural Cass County.  As things worked out, I closed on Friday, February 07, then moved (to the lake) on Saturday, February 08, and Bobbie (my fiance) and I headed out for Florida on the morning of Sunday, February 09.  We arrived back home a little over a week ago.  Since then, it’s taken some time to unpack things, organize two households into one (still many things to do), and then to find and set up my computer … but here I am!  I’m planning on getting back on track with postings really soon … and with a lot of new outdoor areas to explore and photograph!

 

 

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A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

Today’s post comes from visit to the Lake of the Ozarks over the weekend. Arising early Sunday morning, I watched the southeastern skies as the sun began to make it’s appearance. As sunrise neared, it became quite evident this would be a very colorful sunrise, so I quickly dressed and headed outside. Here is what I was treated to:

Sunrise over Lake of the Ozarks

Sunrise over Lake of the Ozarks

Sunrise over Lake of the Ozarks

As the sunrise progressed, a pair of Canada geese glide out from behind a nearby dock (and swimming a bit slower than my shutter speed!):

Sunrise over Lake of the Ozarks

Sunrise over Lake of the Ozarks

Photographic Equipment Used:

  • Canon 5D Mark 3 body
  • Canon 28-135mm IS lens
  • Bogen 3221 tripod, with IS “Off”
  • ISO 200
  • Aperture f/16
  • Shutter 1/2 sec. to 1/20 sec.

 

 

Posted in 2019, Bird Photography, Birds, Blog, Landscape Photography, Nature Photography, Sunrises/Sunsets, Travel Photography | Tags: , ,
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American White Pelicans

Today’s post features some more recent American White Pelican images that I captured about a week ago at the Lake of the Ozarks (MO) :

American White Pelican

American White Pelican

American White Pelican

American White Pelican

American White Pelican

Coming up … how good are these guys at fishing?

Photographic Equipment Used:

  • Canon 7D Mark 2 body
  • Canon 100-400mm IS lens
  • Handheld, with IS “On”
  • ISO 200 thru ISO 800
  • Aperture f/5 and f/5.6
  • Shutter 1/250 sec. thru 1/1000 sec.

 

 

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Call of the Wild

Today’s post features an image I captured last week at the Lake of the Ozarks (Missouri). With the recent large sways in the morning temperatures, a lot of fog/steam has been occurring at the Lake. On this particular morning, a lone gull was sitting on a dock buoy in heavy fog, calling out in the early morning:

Gull calling out in the fog

Not only have American White Pelicans been busy fishing at the lake, but the gulls have been very common lately, fishing for small shad.

Coming up … more American White Pelican images

Photographic Equipment Used:

  • Canon 7D Mark 2 body
  • Canon 100-400mm IS lens, shot at 400mm
  • Handheld, with IS “On”
  • ISO 400
  • Aperture f/5.6
  • Shutter 1/6000 sec.

 

 

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Fun Friday: “Another Bad Hair Day!”

Today’s “Fun Friday” post features a migrating American White Pelican with his head feathers standing up, as if having a bad hair day.

I spent a little over a week recently, at the Lake of the Ozarks. One day, as I worked outdoors, I looked up to see a handful of American White Pelicans flying overhead, as they made their way to the lake. Of course, my camera gear was inside (Murphy’s Law), but I quickly ran inside and grabbed my gear. Here is one of my favorite images of the day:

American White Pelican

I was very fortunate … a small group of 5-8 pelicans remained in the cove for 3 days, giving me lots of opportunities for more photography.  I’ll be sharing some of my captures in the next post or so.

Photographic Equipment Used:

  • Canon 7D Mark 2 body
  • Canon 100-400mm IS lens, at 400mm
  • Handheld, with ISO “On”
  • ISO 800
  • Aperture f/9
  • Shutter 1/2000 sec.

 

 

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Falls Park

Today’s post features a night image that I captured at Falls Park (Sioux Falls, SD) back in September.  This is a panoramic image, created by combining multiple images (I believe I used 8 in this panorama) in Lightroom, to get a single, panoramic shot:

Coming up … for the past few days, I have been busy capturing images of American White Pelicans as they migrated through the Lake of the Ozarks … I will share some of my favorite images in upcoming posts.

Photographic Equipment Used:

  • Canon 5D Mark 3 body
  • Canon 28-135mm IS lens, with IS “Off”
  • Bogen 3221 tripod, with ballhead
  • ISO 400
  • Aperture f/16
  • Shutter 3.0 sec.
  • Eight images were captured and combined into a panorama, using Lightroom Classic editing software
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Fun Friday: Downhill Slalom

Today’s “Fun Friday” post features a Bighorn Sheep ram that was climbing around the slopes of the Badlands, while the rest of the group was grazing on the tall prairie grasses at the bottom.

Although “sure footed”, this ram had quite a ride to the bottom of the rock formation, when he was ready to join the group:

Bighorn Sheep ram

So much fun to observe nature in action!

Photographic Equipment Used:

  • Canon 7D Mark 2 body
  • Canon 100-400mm IS lens, with IS “On”
  • Handheld, with ISO “On”
  • ISO 200
  • Aperture f/8
  • Shutter 1/500 sec.
Posted in 2019, Blog, Fun Friday post, Mammals, National Park, Nature Photography, Travel Photography | Tags: ,
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Mallard drake

Today’s post features a Mallard drake that was swimming next to the dock, while I worked in the butterfly garden at the Lake of the Ozarks:

Mallard drake

Mallard drake

Coming up … more action with the Bighorn rams of the Badlands NP.

Photographic Equipment Used:

  • Canon 7D Mark 2 body
  • Canon 100-400mm IS lens, with IS “On”
  • Handheld, with ISO “On”
  • ISO 200
  • Aperture f/5 and f/7.1
  • Shutter 1/160 sec. and 1/500 sec.

 

 

Posted in 2019, Bird Photography, Birds, Blog, Nature Photography | Leave a comment