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Picture This – Winter Trees

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Our loyal readers know “Picture This” has been a popular Gardening Gone Wild photo contest over the years, where we invite professional garden photographers to pick a theme and hand out awards.  It has been a great way for readers to learn together and link their contest photo in their own blogs to the GGW community of garden photographers.

Well, the contest is a lot of work for us and our our guest photographers, so it needs to evolve.  Rather than simply discontinue the fun, it will run occasionally with our in-house professional garden photographer – me.  As I develop my e-book on garden photography I will post how-to lessons under the Picture This category, and invite anyone to post their own interpretation of the lesson on their own blog and link it to GGW, where I would urge each contestant to go and comment.

As a group each of the students will be able to learn from the collective critique and I will do my best to offer follow-up critique myself as time allows.  This is a bit of an experiment as I decide what works and how students learn. Continue Reading →

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Picture This Winners for November 2011

Our wonderful judge, Charles Mann, chose to write a comment about each of the entries rather than handing out awards this month. I think each of you who participated will find his thoughts extremely helpful. As always, a big thank you to to Charles for offering an unusual and worthwhile subject this month…..Fran Sorin

“Greetings photographers!

Despite the late season, eight entries were received during the November Photo Contest and I was pleasantly surprised by the quality, creativity and playfulness of the Portraits submitted. Here are some of my thoughts about each one in the order of their appearance:

Oh Want a Beautiful Garden / Chicagoland: Love it ! This picture has just about everything going for it. The subject is cute and spontaneous while the light and setting is a dreamy collage of warm fall colors. The out-of-focus foreground and backdrop bring the eye to the subject, who floats up into the frame like an elf or an angel. Allie’s mischievous grin,- not to mention that oversize hat, takes us back to the kaleidoscopic view we all had when were Little People in a Big World. The glow of the back-lighted leaves and plants works very well to illuminate the whole composition overall. I would like to see this photo cropped or shot again with Allie larger in the frame, as the proportion tends to dwarf her a little bit, and we want to have a better look at her expression and to have her be a more prominent part of the picture.

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Picture This Photo Contest – November 2011

I’m delighted that Charles Mann, photographer extraordinaire is returning to judge this November’s Picture This contest. Charles, who has been a freelance and stock photographer for over 16 years, specializes in imagery of gardens, horticulture, New Mexico culture, and southwestern scenic landscape. He has photographed four books : Cutting Edge Gardening In The Intermountain West, Secret Gardens of Santa Fe, Viva Guadalupe and Celebrating Guadalupe…..Fran Sorin

Without further ado, here’s Charles!!


Take a shot at your friends and neighbors

I’ve chosen a Contest topic that, I imagine, often strikes fear into the hearts of most photographers and their subjects as well – portraits. As often as we want to see their beautiful gardens, we are curious about the beauty of the gardener as well. It is not only interesting, but fun to include faces as a part of our photo-making repertoire, and it does not have to be as daunting as it seems.

A young man clutches his newly purchased at the annual plant sale held by the Missouri Botanic Garden in St. Louis.

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Winners for Picture This Contest – October 2011

Why oh why do we put our dear readers through this ?!  It is hard enough to judge the wonderful entries but is seems like agony to many of you who enter.  I read all your posts and more than one seem to wonder about winning and the judges’ criteria.

from Grandmother's Eden

How can This Grandmother’s Garden fantastic photo not be a winner ?  She clearly understands the contest theme “Fill the Frame” – the photo is carefully cropped, using the entire canvas to achieve a nice balance of meadow and woods.  The focal point is nicely off center and I really get a sense of a vibrant, verdant mountain meadow.  I want to be there.

So then, why is this not a winner?  I think when you see the others you will realize the competition is very stiff and if you want to get the real inside story go to each of the bloggers’s original post where I have posted constructive criticism.  There are 14 entries I have singled out for direct feedback on their blog, and will do nothing but lavish praise on them here. Continue Reading →

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Picture This Photo Contest – October 2011

This months theme is Fill the Frame.

succulent tapestry

We will be looking for photos that use the entire canvas with well constructed compositions.  The succulent tapestry above from Jeff Moore’s garden in Solana Beach, CA was carefully composed in the camera’s viewfinder to include blocks of complementary plant material, overlapping triangles with strong lines and shapes to achieve a balance that fills the entire frame.

Let’s look at other ways to consider the topic of ‘Fill the Frame’.

I well remember the first time I saw culinary sage (Salvia officinalis) flowering in a garden.  I could not believe that I had been so unaware of the spectacular flowers, nor could I believe my good luck in finding it in such a fine garden.  I knew I had a great photo opp.

herb garden with flowering sage

Like many of us when we know a good photo is staring us in the face, I quickly took a picture before the moment passed.  All I got was a snapshot of the garden, not a picture of the flowers.  I had not stopped to analyze what I was seeing and what I wanted to say.

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