Contained Paradise

On Sunday Andrea and I went to the Mitchell Park Conservatory, aka 'The Domes.'  I was craving the perfect photographic opportunity for my new prime lens and what better subjects than a bunch of freakishly beautiful flowers? I was a little nervous about us being those creepy photographers with giant cameras dangling from our necks, but something rather interesting happens inside The Domes: every single SLR owner in Milwaukee comes there to take pictures, apparently, and we were surrounded by fellow crazy photogs. It was quite a relief to see that nobody even cared about our cameras and I don't think we received one 'what is that psycho doing?' stare from anyone during our entire trip. 

Once I got over the shock of being surrounded by SLRs I became an investigator and could not stop stealing glances at the glorious lenses and fancy camera bodies around me. It was like, "Ooooh--Andrea, look at HIS lens. Break me off a piece of that," and if we weren't happily married women you might even think we were surveying potential boyfriends. But no, we really do get that excited about photography equipment. Isn't it sad?

So anyway, here's the deal about The Domes: there are three separate rooms encased by glass domes. Each room has a distinct climate and allows plants to live in their natural setting. They have an Arid Dome, which is hotter than Hades and instantly causes you to gasp for air like, "OMG it's so freaking humid in here. Am I in St. Louis during the summer?" {You know I love it, so it's not a bad thing for me, but I can only imagine my northern husband in such a climate....nightmare.} This Arid Dome just so happened to contain the most stunning flowers with are likely natives to places like Hawaii, the Caribbean, and anywhere warmer than this Artic state. 

The Tropical Dome was pretty sweet, too, and I believe it housed many of the flowers you'll see in this post as well. This was the dome that caused my intense yearning for a tropical vacation: sunny beach, drink in hand, and camera in the other. Sigh. But then I remembered I was still in Milwaukee and we will not be taking an actual vacation this year, so I sucked it up and made the best of my artificial tropics under a giant glass dome. 

The Show Dome changes theme regularly and Sunday was the last day for the Lego you can imagine the mayhem surrounding this occasion when it comes to little kids sprinting around like wild banshees. We avoided all things that resembled legos and stuck to our guns with the pretty flowers.  We also managed to put down our cameras after taking an obscene amount of pictures just to chat for literally two hours. Ah, the wonders of girl talk. It's the best therapy around aside from red wine and coffee, of course. 

I am very excited about these pictures, you guys. Maybe it's just because they aren't of a certain white dog or a lot of white snow [what, there are other subjects in the world?]. I'm sure part of my excitement has to do with my new lens and the fabulous bokeh it produces. I hope you enjoy as much as I do, and if you feel so inclined----leave a comment indicating your favorite one or two shots for a future blog banner. I'm feeling inspired:)

1. Pinks and purples, sugary sweet, and lots of bokeh. 
sugary sweet girlie flowers

2. This is an orchid, right?
hello, orchid

3. Some tiger-y printed petals:

4. The focus is way off here but I love that spotty bokeh in back. LOVE. 
purple rain

5. Oooooh, aqua, yellow, and pink! A new favorite color combo:
petals plus bokeh

6. Big fatty hawaiian flower of some sorts, plus a little subtle bokeh:
are we in Hawaii?

7. More orchids with pretty spots:
tiger print

8. I swear I didn't do much retouching at all here, the lens made it so watercolor-y:

9. Fun with a grate:
love the grate

10. Rocket-like and very futuristic, if you ask me:
rocket of nature

11. You know my love for berries, right?
berries are my fave 1

12. Staring down the vine of this pink beast:
up the grapevine

13. I titled this one 'Loner' on Flickr:

14. For anyone who loves yellow, here you go. Very Spring, no?
sunshiny delight

So yes, vote on your favorite if you please. I really like shooting flowers and can only dream of a day we see true buds of anything around here. Then again, I will be in St. Louis in a month so maybe that is my best chance....can't wait!


  1. Wow, what fab pictures Julia! I've been drooling over all of your recent pix posts but haven't had time to comment much... you're definitely acquiring some mad photog skillz though! Such awesome images =D

    Anyways, my faves are #2 and #5... those orchids are gaw-geous!

    Keep the pics coming!

  2. Gorgeous! My fave are #8 and #10 for sure! :-)

  3. I think I like #6 best (I think it's called a hibiscus?)

    Isn't a good dose of girl talk all you need sometimes??? I couldn't agree more!

    ...and you know, taking a trip to the domes to escape the frigid temps isn't a bad idea. Never thought about doing that!

  4. 1,5,6,8,9!!!!!

    You summed up our trip perfectly! Suffocatingly hot "arid dome", salvating over other lenses and a much needed girl chat :)

  5. I can't decide.... 1,2,5,10,& 12 all stand out to me.
    Beautiful shots!

  6. Wow Julia! These are great! My favs are 8,11, and 14. The same lens is in my cart on Amazon but I haven't clicked order yet. I don't know what is stopping me though!
    Anyway, the photos look great!

  7. I love these! I love #4, even if it is out of focus. I think it looks cool that way!

  8. Favorites: #6 and #8. I love taking pictures of flowers too! I have some that I took with a super old Canon 5mp point and shoot that turned out pretty good. I can't wait till I save up enough to buy a good camera!

  9. Ooooh, so beautiful! Numbers 5, 6, and 8 are my faves. I love the one that looks like watercolor - too cool. And although I missed seeing Henry as your subject, those flowers are gorgeous!!

  10. Wow, these pictures are awesome! My faves are 2,5,8,10.
    I LOVE orchids. And pretty much anything tropical that reminds me of a warm vacation!

  11. I love #1 and #8! You've definitely got mad photog skillz Julia!

  12. GORGEOUS!!! Love the berries and the yellow, so cool.

  13. I have to pick just one??? 9, if I have to choose. Your pictures are just stunning, though. You are becoming quite the photog.

  14. Ohhh, fun!! Gorgeous photos. I can't wait for blooms to start popping up here!

    #1, #5, and #8 are my faves.

  15. oooh! *clapping* I can't decide which is my favorite, but to me the stand-outs are #1, #10, #14. And I like the loner too...

  16. Wow! Incredible photos!!

    You sure do know how to work that camera - impressive.

    Keep sharing! :)

  17. Ahhh you so made me want to go and buy that lens! Those are great photos! I love #1

    Totally jealous over here.

  18. #8 is my absolute favourite, but I love 1 and 5 too! They are beautiful photos!


  19. Ooooooo....I like the red rocket (uh...that sounded really bad, right?) flower!
    Great job!


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