After my recent trips to Maine (see Part 1-12) & Rhode Island, it was time to get back to traveling a bit closer to home, here in Florida!   With the 4 day weekend for the Thanksgiving holiday I decided I had time to drive south about an hour to Sarasota and visit Marie Selby Botanical Gardens.

This is one of my favorite places to photograph flowers and I was pleasantly surprisedas the orchids in the conservatory were blooming more profusely than any other time I have been there!

I spent over an hour in the large conservatory as there were orchids, anthurium, bromeliads and much more blooming along each path.

I was anxious to see how these images came out as I was using a new lens that I recently purchased, a Tamron 180mm F4 Macro.  I was not disappointed!   Even though this glass is not as fast as my favorite lens, Nikon 105mm F2.5 Macro, it did a great job even hand-held in lower light situations.   I did increase the ISO to 800 & 1000 in some very low light situations but still ended up with some amazing images.

I finally needed a bit of air after the conservatory started to get warm so I headed outside to the gardens and had plenty to shoot out there.

Info on Marie Selby Botanical Gardens from Wikipedia:

The Marie Selby Botanical Gardens (15 acres, including 9 acres of display gardens) is the only botanical garden in the world dedicated to the display and study of epiphytes, especially orchids and bromeliads, and their canopy ecosystems, with a focus on botany, horticulture and environmental education. Ongoing research and exploration for tropical plants attracts worldwide attention of international scholars and plant enthusiasts. It is located on the grounds of the former home of Marie and William Selby (of the Texaco Oil Company) at 900 South Palm Avenue, in the heart of Sarasota, Florida, USA, and open to the public 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day but Christmas.

The Gardens feature the most diverse living and preserved collections of epiphytes in the world, and feature more than 20,000 living plants including 5,500 orchids, 3,500 bromeliads and 1,600 other plants.The living collection is accompanied by an herbarium, with dried and preserved specimens of tropical flora; the world’s second largest spirit collection consisting of vials of mostly orchid flowers in preservative fluids; and a library. More than 150 expeditions to the tropics and subtropics have contributed to these collections. Selby Gardens’ botanists have discovered or described more than 2,000 plant species previously unknown to science.

For the casual visitor, the Gardens maintain banyans, bamboo, live oaks, palms, mangroves, succulents, wildflowers, cycads, bromeliads, a butterfly garden, a fragrance garden, an edible garden and a koi pond, on a site bordering Sarasota Bay. The interactive Ann Goldstein Children’s Rainforest Garden is designed to help children develop a lifelong appreciation for rainforest plants.

The gardens are a great place to take a leisurely walk, sit on a bench (there are many of them) and enjoy the peace and quiet or walk the many paths to explore the various types of plants & trees.

The Payne Mansion is on the grounds and is a beautiful venue used for events sponsored by Marie Selby Botanical Gardens or for outside events such as weddings.    My favorite event is the annual photography show that is displayed in the rooms of the mansion.  The show features photos taken at the gardens and around Florida.

The large plants and trees gave me an opportunity to do some more abstract type work as well.


Before leaving I had to make one more pass through the conservatory in case the light had changed on a subject that I did not want to miss!   Sure enough there were a few more images to be made.

After walking all of the paths, I stopped at the small cafe to grab some lunch.   On the way out I checked out the extensive gift shop which includes a garden shop complete with many orchids, bromeliads and other house plants.

Even out along the sidewalk on the wall that surrounds the grounds there are often more flowers.  No Passion Flowers this time but I did find a very interesting trumpet flower.

If you are in the Sarasota, Florida area, I highly recommend a visit to this amazing bit of land tucked between the city and the bay!

Check out their website for more information and upcoming events.

Please visit my gallery for these and additional images.

That is all for now!



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