Serendipity at the Garden

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When I walked into the Naples Botanical Garden this week I didn’t have much of an agenda, except to try out my new rolling cart to carry my tripod, camera, and an extra lens or two, hoping to take some of the pain out of doing my Tuesday photography strolls. I continuously look for ways to remain active by taking stress off my body while I exercise. Those of us with fibromyalgia continually walk the fine line between getting enough exercise to reduce pain and not overdoing the exercise which will create pain.

I am also coming close to the end of my winter stay in Florida and my trips to the garden are numbered – two. On the one hand I have walked these paths so many times this year that I worry there won’t be anything new to photograph, but on the other hand I know I will miss these visits that always lead to something new among the comfort of the familiar. On this day my goal was just to have a gentle time, letting nature fill my soul with beauty and peace. I took my photography equipment just to try out the cart – and just in case I decided to practice and refine my skills a little. Repeating the familiar is good for that.

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I stopped on the boardwalk entrance because a hanging flower in the early morning light caught my eye and I decided to see if I could capture its magic. A man walked up and commented on it – he also had a rolling bag. I didn’t succeed with the image of the flower but we walked on, chatting about this and that. Seems we had the same first stop in mind – the water lily pond. He didn’t see anything worth photographing so he walked on. I lingered a while because it is one of my favorite spots – and I contemplated what garden employees would do if I walked into the pond to get closer to the lilies out of my lens range.

When I walked across the boardwalk, the man I had been walking with was exploring ways to use a light defuser to soften light on the center flower of a bomeliad. I offered to hold it for him and we talked some more. We lingered there for quite some time sharing macro photo subject finds and ideas with each other.

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We shared excitement and space as we worked to find the best angle to catch reflections in the droplets of water. We talked about equipment and the Photography Club of Naples.

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Without his presence I probably would have walked right past these plants because I had seen them before and taken several photographs – none of which have been posted. My time with him reminded me of my many stops along dirt roads in Michigan, with friend Julie. I look forward to returning to my routine with her – isn’t it funny that very seldom do we have just losses OR gains. Most of the time, maybe all of the time, we have to give something up as we are gaining something new.

We parted ways and I spent some time sitting on benches along my stroll taking in the landscape – maybe to reinforce this now-somewhat-familiar vegetation in my brain neurons so I can remember them when I am away. I also spent some time chatting with a volunteer in the Florida Idea Garden, maintained by the Naples Garden Club.

I didn’t veer from my weekly tradition of stopping for a scone and ginger limeade at the cafe…

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where I sat in the shade and gazed at water lilies and palm trees. Next week I think I will carry a notebook and pen in my cart so I can jot down my observations and reflections. The cart worked great for this type of photo shoot. I am looking forward to using it when I visit the Japanese Garden at the Fredric Meijer Botanical Garden in Grand Rapids, Michigan a little later in the spring.

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13 Comments »

  1. I especially liked how your photos with the water droplets turned out. Pat, I didn’t realize you were a snowbird! I’ll look forward to your views of nature from Michigan.

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    • It is like live in two entirely different worlds. In fact, I have a hard time posting photos of Florida when I am in Michigan. They just don’t fit. πŸ™‚

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