Photographing The Florida Botanical Gardens

Photographers will love photographing the Florida Botanical Gardens almost any month of the year. There are a multitude of gardens leading one to another with walking and sitting spaces all along the journey.

I photographed these images in early February while preparing for my Florida Botanical Gardens Photo Tour/Workshop.  This is a perfect workshop for all levels of photographer.  It is great for beginners who are just learning how to expose images and compose and just as nice for more advanced photographers who are working to add beautiful flora images to their portfolio.  The big plus is that it’s totally interactive.  I work with each photographer in the field, and when we are done shooting, we’ll go back the Beach Art Center to cover photo editing, cropping and prep for presentation.


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For the shot above I was zoomed in all the way, 400mm. This singled out the flower. Because it was bright I used Sony's exposure compensation dial to underexpose by -.7, so the shot was shot at ISO 400, f8 at 1/160th sec. I usually use a bit higher ISO on these shots to help minimize any camera shake. In post I added a small vignette around the edges.

Photography Methods

    I used a full frame camera with a 100-400 lens for all of the photos on this post.  I've learned that sticking with one camera and one lens can help in strengthening your composition and help choosing subjects for your images.  Shooting with a single camera body and a single lens makes your approach much simpler because you don't have a lot of options.  You need to find a way to compose and expose with what you have.  In doing so, you force yourself to look for the "wider" shots sooner and you learn to use and manage your depth of field so as to focus on the subject.

Here, simplicity rules the day.  The easier the shot to look at, the simpler the composition and exposure, the more attractive the end result is.  The only thing I had to do in editing this image was to lower the luminosity for Red in Lightroom.


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This reflection in the Lily Pond at the Florida Botanical Gardens is a great way to photograph during a period when the light is very high and typically harsh.
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As you enter, you are greeted by the Butterfly garden. Take time to admire the whimsical sculptures and mosaic stepping stones crafted by the garden’s own volunteers!

You’ll walk through palm gardens leading to tropical fruit garden where you’ll see over a dozen different varieties of banana and plantain. You can discover how a pineapple grows and find the source of sugar. Citrus, mango, papaya, and other exotic fruits are here for all to enjoy & photograph.

All along you’ll see native Florida plants wildflowers, groundcovers, trees and shrubs as well as some swamp areas where signs indicate you may encounter Alligators and other animals. I have noticed Anhinga, Limpkins, Egrets and Great Blue Heron as well as different types of turtles.

One of the focus areas is the Wedding Garden & Tropical walk both filled with Hibiscus, Camellias, Frangipani (Hawaiian Lei Flower).

I plan to go back on a monthly basis on what may end up being a monthly photo tour so keep in touch by signing up for my email list.

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