The Illuminating Lens

Bok Tower Gardens, Lake Wales, FL – 2020

A friend and I decided we needed to make a quick trip to one of Florida’s iconic tourist destinations to put a final exclamation point on the all too memorable year that was 2020!

So on December 31 we visited the iconic Bok Tower Gardens.

Wikipedia details:

Bok Tower Gardens (also known as Bok Mountain Lake Sanctuary and Singing Tower) is a contemplative garden, and bird sanctuary located north of Lake Wales, Florida, United States. It consists of a 250-acre (100 ha) garden, the 205-foot (62 m) tall Singing Tower with its carillon bells, Pine Ridge Trail, Pinewood Estate, and a visitor center. The tower is built upon Iron Mountain, one of the highest points of peninsular Florida, estimated to be 295 feet (90 m) above sea level. It is a National Historic Landmark that is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, nationally significant for its association with Edward W. Bok and its designers.

Our Visit

It had been several years since I last visited the Bok Tower Gardens so I was happy to get out of the house and to get a chance to see this iconic Florida landmark.

I took my two Nikon mirrorless cameras, my 16-35mm lens, and a couple of Lensbaby lenses (Spark 2 – 50mm optic and Velvet 85). I was hoping to do some more creative images.

Since the last time I had visited they added some new sections and improved others.

The Kids area is not usually an area I check out but the entrance was intriguing so we took a look!

Image taken with Spark 2 and 50mm Optic.
Infrared image.

I decided it would be a great place to use the Spark 2 which distorts the image somewhat.

Giant Nest – Image made with Lensbaby Spark 2 and 50mm optic

There was a long row of “fairy” houses that were a fun subject for this Lensbaby as well.

Image made with Lensbaby Spark 2 and 50mm optic
Image made with Lensbaby Spark 2 and 50mm optic

We then headed back over into the more botanical areas and found that the camellias were starting to bloom. I switched lens on the regular color camera to the Lensbaby Velvet 85mm and proceeded to shoot some colorful flowers!

But I also had my infrared converted camera with me so I was ready for the perfect IR landscapes as well!

Entrance to Pinewood Estate on gardens grounds.
Super color infrared of Pinewood Estate
Courtyard – Pinewood Estate – Infrared
Fountain garden – Pinewood Estate

Then it was time to head up the hill to the iconic Bok Tower!

I always like to get an image of the golden door at the base of the tower but all the time we were in the tower area, there was a person working diligently at cleaning and shining that door!

The ponds around the tower give great opportunities for reflections of the tower, the trees, and foliage around them!

Super Color Infrared

As we were standing next to this pond, an osprey swooped in and grabbed a fish right in front of us. I quickly shot some images but since I was not expecting that, they were all blurry! It’s hard to get a fast-moving bird when you are set up for non-moving plants!

One more final view of Bok Tower as we made our way back toward the visitor center.

Here is one final camellia!

Bok Tower Gardens is one of those places in Florida that you have to visit or you can’t say you have visited Florida. The view from the hill which is the one of highest spots in FL is spectacular!

To see larger versions of these images and many more, please visit my Bok Tower Gardens Gallery.

Please visit the Bok Tower Gardens website for more details and restrictions.

Next up! Kanapaha Botanical Gardens in Gainesville, FL.

That is all for now!


Lynn Wiezycki

Leave a Comment

Help Support this Site by Making Your Amazon Purchases via this Link

The New Nikon Z9

Try Luminar Neo

Topaz Labs Link

Get All the Perks of Luminar Membership

Adorama for all your Photography Needs


Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.