Holiday Lights at Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden

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Click here to view this video on YouTube

Yesterday we decided to visit the Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden to see the Christmas lights. We got there early and it was still light outside. Some of my photos have digital noise, there was not enough lighting and I bumped the ISO up to 6400.  My camera doesn’t do too well at a high ISO, and for me I rather have some noise than blurry images.  All images and video clips were shot with a Canon T2i and EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM lens.

The Orchid tree composed of more than 300 orchids.

At 16 feet tall the tree only includes orchids and ferns on a metal frame. One of the most spectacular aspects of the tree is the vast number of varieties of orchids.

My sister by the palm trees.

I was photographing my niece, she is right in the center of the waterfalls.

To get a clean sharp image of the Christmas lights a tripod is a must and I saw many photographers walking around with a tripod last night. The next 4 images of the Christmas lights were shot at manual mode, f/6.3 to f/8, exposure time 15 sec to 30 sec, ISO100, and tripod mounted.

The coffee bar area is a lot warmer than outside.  I only stayed in here for a few minutes and headed back outside to shoot some videos.

Hot chocolate

They have crafts for the children also.

Lee purchased a dragonfly wooden ornament.

Orchid night shots


  1. Wonderful with all these lovely orchids. And that Orchid Tree is amazing and the colors are beautiful composed – I rally would like to see that! (said the gardener 😉 ) – And Lee is ALWAYS beautiful!!

    • Hi truels, the Orchid tree looks amazing, I wonder how they water them since it sits in the middle of the pavilion. I like to go back and visit the garden in the spring, I just wish it is closer to us.

  2. What a beautiful light decoration they have made outside, and for the inside it almost look like summer sunshine. Lee is so sweet at the photos, I think she enjoy to visit this place, and I understand why. The only place I can think of which look a bit the same, is Tivoli in wintertime. They are also doing a lot gardening.

    • Hi Giiid, I remember Tivoli from your blog. It’s a pleasant surprise to see tropical plants being used as a Christmas tree and the weather was not too cold that evening so it was nice walking around seeing all the beautiful lights.

  3. Interesting looking Christmas tree, must takes them a lot of hours to put that together. I assume you didn’t use any flash on all the pictures. I really like the last three pictures.

    • Hi seeharhed, I didn’t use any flash for these images. The orchids were dimly lit and had enough lighting that I didn’t have to use my flash but I did have to shoot these last 4 shots at ISO 6400. My popup flash was too harsh even after dimming it down some.

      The Orchid Christmas tree looks amazing, I’ve never seen anything like this before. The ticket was pricey ($12 per adult, $6 for children) but well worth it.

  4. I wish we had something like this here. It’s so incredibly beautiful there and Lee is looking so much older lately. Love these photos as usual Nye. They are just so breathtaking and fun looking. The orchid tree is quite amazing.

    • Thanks Geni, this garden is about 1 hour drive for us, I would love to visit it again in the spring when they have the butterfly exhibit. Their Holiday lights decoration is beautiful, I think this is one of my favorites comparing to all the places that I have visited in the past years. Lee is taking a growth spurt this year, I’m sure she will be as tall as me in no time. 🙂

  5. souwan took me here a couple of years ago. its such a beautiful garden! the lights look so pretty too!

    • Hi Lisa, this is our first time visiting the garden, I would love to see it during the day time.The lights are pretty but not as many animated ones like the Tanglewood lights and it’s cheaper at the Tanglewood also.

  6. They are so creative to have used ferns and decorate with orchids. I have seen Rosemary bush trimmed as Christmas tree and it smells really nice. But this Orchid tree is a real winner!

    And of course the girls are adorable. 🙂

    • Cambree, I couldn’t believe when I first saw the orchid tree and from a distance it looks just like a normal Christmas tree. I guess it is very appropriate for the garden. The girls loved the gift shop more than seeing the lights, my niece bought the knitted scarf and Lee the ornament. 🙂

    • Hi Scott, the tripod works wonder but I couldn’t get my family to freeze their smiles for me for 30 seconds and they also don’t understand why my camera is so slow when it’s mounted on a tripod. It’s like I’m running around all evening trying to catch up with them. 🙂

  7. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to uncle Bo, Nye, and Lee…from Christopher and Benjamin. Tell uncle Bo that Ben wants his coffee, this kid wants and eats anything.

    That place looks really nice. Maybe I’ll get a chance to go one day.

    Can you photo-shop a Salvador Dali’s mustache on Bo for me?..haha. It will make Christopher & Ben’s day.

  8. Thank you for sharing the pictures and video. Benjamin watched the whole video, pointing at the lights.

    • Hi PaNoy, I think your boys will love it. If you are not into photographing the Christmas lights I think Tanglewood might be better for the boys and cheaper also. Bo couldn’t understand why you think he looks like Salvador Dali, he might have to wear the mustache for the boys the next time he sees them. 🙂

      We wish you and your family a Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year.

  9. Nye,

    Thanks for sharing the beautiful picture of The Orchid Tree. It must have been amazing to stand in front of it.

    • Hi Kim, you are welcome and glad that you like it. The orchid tree is beautiful and a nice surprise to see it being used as a Christmas theme. I hope you and your family have a happy and healthy holiday. 🙂

  10. Very late Merry Christmas, Nye. I finally have enough internet to see all these photos and they are just lovely. I’ve been flitting from post to post enjoying all the flowers and Lee’s smiles and the food. And your campout at Lake Norman! I’ve been there. In fact I once had Thanksgiving dinner at a restaurant overlooking the lake. It is a very interesting world.

    • Hi Gerry, thanks for seeing all the photos, I know it is so hard to load with slow internet connection and I hope it was not such a long wait for you. I am so much behind in reading blogs and hope to catch up soon. Camping has been interesting for us, and we can’t wait for Spring and Summer season to roll around. 🙂

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