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Bok Tower Gardens Photo Assignment 2022 - Part 1

Updated: Feb 16, 2022

Recently I did a photo walk at Bok Tower Gardens with a few folks from the Bradenton Photo Group. I had a great time exploring the grounds and seeing some familiar haunts. No matter how many times I stop by, there is always something new. Of course, it was a bit chilly... in the '40s. All in all, it was a pleasant experience.

The primary purpose was to photograph the gardens with different results from previous visits. The landscape changes dramatically throughout the year, and it's fun to try and capture those changes. The park constantly challenges me to find something new.

I had a list of ideas for this photo assignment I wanted to snag while I was out there.

  • Early morning shot along the road to the Tower.

  • The Tower in the reflection pond.

  • Red Reflection

  • Black and White Photos

  • Photos for upcoming photo classes.

  • Fun little Macro shots along the way.

My list included shooting something with a red reflection. When I opened the car door, I saw a lone red rose next to my car. It didn't quite fit the theme, but it had red. I knew I needed an ant's eye view of the rose, so I placed the camera on the ground and made it level with the flower. I'm caught between two titles for it "Lost Love" or "Love Endures." Please leave me your suggestion in the comments below.

A red rose on the ground
Lost Love or Love Endures

Shot at f/3.2, 1/2500 sec with an ISO of 200 at 18mm (M43)

For most of the day, I used my circular polarizer to help reduce the glare from that big ball of radiation in the sky on the blue skies. Where it came in very handy was the reflection pond. I love reflections, and with Bok Tower floating in the water, I thought it was a great shot.

A watery refelction of carillon bell tower
Bok Tower Under Water

Shot at f/2.8, 1/200 sec with an ISO of 1250 at 12mm (M43)

When faced with landscapes covered in waves and shades of green, I tend to view them as black and white images. You can see a more excellent tonal range usually hidden by the green. There's a great spot in the gardens where you can watch the world go by. I ended up making it black and white with an infrared tweak. In most black and white infrared photography, the greens are ghostly white.

A black and white landscape with a body of water.
Window by the Pond

Shot at f/2.8, 1/500 sec with an ISO of 200 at 12mm (M43)

I'm calling the following image "The Embrace." I processed it in black and white to emphasize the shapes of the trees and enhance the bright areas. It reminds me of an Ent - a walking talking tree - coming down to embrace you as you step into his woods.

A black and white landscape with a giant tree and sunbeam
The Ent's Embrace

Shot at f/2.8, 1/500 sec with an ISO of 200 at 17mm (M43)

The light was glowing otherworldly, especially with the fern leaves backlit. I color graded the image yellow to give the greens a warmer hue.

A giant pot with green ferns growing around it
Basking in the Sun

Shot at f/2.8, 1/400 sec with an ISO of 200 at 31mm (M43)

The last image here was one of the first ones I photographed. It's my ritual to capture an image along the road up to the Bok Tower. Orange groves and power lines surrounding the gardens give it friction. I try to find some way to make the transmission towers stand out and see the beauty within their structures. I did end up replacing the sky and giving it a golden hour color grade. Did the edit succeed? Please let me know in the comments below.

Shot at f/6.7, 1/1000 sec with an ISO of 640 at 300mm (M43)

I'm not sure what I would do differently - I think next time, I won't shoot anything at eye level. I have a lot of those. I'll try to shoot from the ground and point up or high up, pointing the camera down. Still, I had a great time walking the grounds and listening to the carillon bell tower. I made some excellent captures and pushed myself a bit further.

Here is a list of the equipment I used.

  • Olympus OM-D E-M1 MkII

  • M.Zuiko 12-40mm f/2.8 pro

  • M.Zuiko 75-300mm f/4.8-6.7 II

  • PRO Master HGX circular polarizer

Lighting Details:

  • Available Sunlight from 10 AM to Noon with clear blue skies.

Editing Details:

  • I used Capture One 21, Aurora HDR, Luminar 4, and Photoshop CC to edit the files.

Remember to leave a comment below!



January 30, 2022

PS - A special thank you to everyone who joined me on the BoK Tower Photo Walk.

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