Garden Closed

The Naples Botanical Garden made the decision to close to the public as of this morning. That means that I won’t be able to go tomorrow morning even though I didn’t feel at risk there when I went early in the morning. There were very few people and most of them were spread throughout the garden walking their dogs. When I would leave at around 11:00 there would be a line at the ticket windows and there was a steady stream of cars coming in the entrance.

I will miss my visits for the rest of our stay but am willing to sacrifice my pleasure for the well-being of our country. If we all sacrifice now, maybe we can keep others from suffering in the future weeks and months. I was at a small party at our neighbor’s home last night and our conversation went to the usefulness of social isolation. Jim and I are still going out but we limit our outings to places that aren’t densely congregated. The purpose, as I see it, is to limit the number of people we come in contact with to lesson the chances of spreading the virus.

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I’m not worried about running out of photos from the garden to use for future posts. I have thousands of them – many very good. Over the past few weeks I have been intrigued by the clump of water lilies a few feet off the boardwalk through the lily pond. As I was studying the beauty of its composition and wishing I could wade into the pond to get better shots, I noticed one lone lily facing me. What a perfect opportunity to examine their the anatomy – without getting banned from the garden for life.

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Tomorrow I plan to make an early morning trip to the beach, my first of the season. Naples has a very long public beach on the Gulf of Mexico so it is never crowded. Finding a parking place for sunset is the biggest challenge.

We continue to be respectful of the virus and are thoughtful in our plans for going into public places. We are not panicked because I don’t see how that helps me; it only clouds my thinking with the risk of causing unnecessary stress and harm. And I am finding great humor following the memes on Facebook about the irrational rush to stockpile toilet paper. If my greatest risk is running out of toilet paper, then life will be just fine.

 

Red in the Garden

I didn’t think I had many red flowers from the Naples Botanical Garden but as a went through my files I found a few. I really liked these, although red flowers usually aren’t my favorite and the are generally had to photograph in the harsh southwest Florida sun. There have been many that I took and then deleted because they turned out flat or had highlights that couldn’t be corrected.

I wasn’t able to label all of them because frequently I can’t get to tags and there isn’t a sign to be photographed for later reference. If you know what they are please let us know in the comments.

This post is brought to you in response to Nancy Merrill’s prompt of “red“.

Calming Beauty of Orchids

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My daughter and three grand-daughters are visiting in our small condo this week, so I’m feeling a miner assault on my solitude. Nothing serious – nothing some post processing and publishing of orchids can’t fix.

Fun Foto Challenge: Leading Lines

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This challenge, brought to us by Cee, is to post photographs of either vanishing lines or leading lines. I love taking photos of paths and roads so I’ve lots of photos of lines coming together in the far distance. But this week I have been thinking a lot about leading lines as I have been going through old files – deleting and editing. I enjoy the art and science of composing photos that are pleasing to our senses – either when I’m taking a photo or through cropping in post processing.

When I go through a file of newly taken photographs, I evaluate them as to whether they touch me emotionally – and then whether they are technically good enough to share with others. I like photos that make me smile, sooth my spirit, excite my story telling nature. I like photos that meet my need for beauty. As I was going through some old files today, I realized how important line and composition are for making a photo aesthetically pleasing.

On our way home in 2017 we stopped at a state park to the west of Gainsville, Florida. We walked down the boardwalk and I took lots of photos of the Santa Fe River and it’s tributaries. I have a series of photos that I was evaluating from the perspective of disappearing lines.

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I felt pulled down the river by the turquoise line on the bottom, seen through the crystal clear spring water. I didn’t physically go down this tributary (the water is a consistent but cool 72 degrees F) but I know there is something special beyond that bend.

I took another photo of the same tributary but from a slightly different perspective…

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From this perspective there isn’t a break in the log at the bottom. Emotionally I am stopped from entering the water’s flow, from exploring beyond the bend.

And then there is the third photo. The people in this photo seem to stop my eye, but only¬† to say “hi” to each group and chat a minute before I move on to that final bend and anticipated solitude.

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I don’t like the feel of the middle river photo, but the first and third are equally pleasing. They both invite me in, the door has been left open to me (just a little), but I’m invited into a different story depending on which photo I enter.

And that concludes my thoughts on leading lines – which probably for some is a good thing.

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What? Leading lines? I don’t see any leading lines.

My fun is in response to Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Vanishing or Leading Lines. Click here if you would like to see more or want to join the fun.

Butterfly Days

There have been a lot of butterflies around our home here in southern Florida – but very hard to photograph. They tend to disappear in the time it takes me to move my camera up to my eye. There have been even more in the Naples Botanical Garden.

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I think this is a Cloudless Sulphur (Phoebus Sennae) – what drew me in was how well camouflaged it is among the leaves. I found it funny that the spots on the wings look just like spots I have removed from leaves with Lightroom’s spot remover. How clever nature is.

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In the Brazilian Garden, I had a chat with one of the volunteers who pointed out an orchid that was growing in a tree behind the pavilion, down toward the lake. I headed down to take a look…

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but was distracted by this little beauty, an Atala.

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What my camera (or Lightroom) couldn’t capture to its fullest is the iridescent turquoise spots. My eye was drawn to the orange spot on the wing, down close to the body. And he posed for me – maybe enjoying the heat of the sun in contrast to the cool morning air.

My goal that morning was to enjoy the quiet and tranquility of early mornings in the garden, so I continued down the path along the lake toward the bench down the way. Little did I know I would be entertained by an osprey nesting on the other side of the lake.

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There were probably eggs in the nest because, after this stance to ward off the attacker, she spread her wings down low to shield the eggs. As I sat watching her I heard some people behind me commenting on a daisy tree. So I followed my curiosity a few feet behind me…

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and it was – a Daisy Tree, with lots of butterflies fluttering mostly around its 15-20 foot canopy. But a couple fluttered lower – within camera range.

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Notice how the orange spot on the wing is the same color as its body. I wonder if this spot confuses attackers so they hit the spot instead of the more vulnerable body. Any butterfly experts out there who knows the facts?

This is a new one for me – a Gulf Fritillary and I think it rises to the top of my list of beautiful butterflies. Even with its damaged wing.