August’s Picture This Photo Contest

– Posted in: Garden Photography

Pea pods and stems-David Perry.jpg-resizedAugust’s Picture This Photo Contest continues our tradition of having extremely talented photographers as judges. We’re delighted that David Perry is our judge for this last full month of summer. Any of us in the gardening world who are familiar with David’s work  know what an extraordinary talent he is: with a wide range of subject matter.  For those of you who don’t know David, this is an opportunity to familiarize yourself with him and his work. David also has a thoughtful and multi-layered blog.

GGW080309[1].jpg-Late summer blooming perennials-HCG-resizedThis month’s prize from High Country Gardens is a selection of late summer-blooming perennials. And what could be better than these plants to liven up the late summer border? As usual, David Salman has hand-picked all  the plants for Picture This. We love having him involved with GGW and participating in the contest. 

Below is David Perry’s choice of subject matter for this month, along with a detailed explanation of why he chose this one, as well as what he’s looking for in the winning entry.

David Perry-bee on sword shaped leaves.jpg-resized“This month’s Picture This Photo Contest subject is “Down on Your Knees” and is a call for garden pictures taken from knee level or lower.

Watch any great preschool teacher and you will see someone who spends much of the day on her/his knees. Kids don’t respond well to adults that tower over them and talk down to them. They respond to grown-ups who are willing to come down to their level, meet them eye-to-eye. And strangely enough, the world down there at kid level looks vastly different from the grown-up world above. You want to understand kids and get along with them, you need to get down there where they can relate to you.  It’s like that with a garden too. Too many of us take the majority of our pictures from standing height, which really limits both our visual understanding of a garden and the sense of intimacy we can capture.

The problem is, our photographic possibilities are vastly limited way up there, in much the same way that one’s strawberry picking possibilities would be limited. You want the best berries, you’ve gotta get down near the ground, look beneath the leaves, resign yourself to muddy knees.

Ornamental Grass-David Perry.jpg-resizedSo, this month, I’m asking you to ‘get down on your knees’ . . . or down on your belly, and show me some essential aspect of a garden that simply cannot be appreciated from standing eye level. The point of this contest is to encourage you to look and see from less expected perspectives, to do more than bulls-eye your photographic subjects while  standing safely at the edge of things. I want to see pictures that take me into the depths of a garden, that record the play of light and shadow while looking upward, or straight across.

Insect on stalks of leaves-David Perry.jpg-resizedYour pictures can be of nearly any garden subjects, but I really want photographs that allow me to see plants, flowers, insects, plant-pairings, or textures in ways that are fresh and unexpected.  The images should be about seeing first and the garden subjects second.  They need to evoke mood, and elicit some sort of emotional, poetic, or “Oh my goodness!” response.  Which means that they will strive toward the intimate, as opposed to being just one more variation on a shot we’ve all seen a couple of hundred times before.

And, I’d really encourage you to shoot for this one, rather than looking through your files to see what you might already have on file. Go on. The world is teeming with life and energy just now.  Get down on your knees and show us something we haven’t seen in quite the same way before.”

For those of you who are new to Picture This or just need a reminder on how it works, here’s the drill:

1. You’re allowed to submit one (1) photograph:  add the photo to your blog or website and then link it back to August’s Picture This post. Any photos sent to one of our e-mail addresses or from your e-mail address will be excluded. Also, I know it’s difficult to choose your favorite photo but please don’t send in more than one entry.

2. The deadline is 11:59 p.m. on Saturday, August 22nd. Again, we won’t be accepting any entries after that time,  no exceptions.

3. As always,  please have fun when taking photos! With this month’s subject matter, my hunch is that most of you are going to be getting down on all fours or crouching in some hidden places to snap some images. Picture This was created so that all of you have a place where you can share photographs and hopefully learn more about photography and how to hone some of your skills. Each month, more and more of you are participating in the contest: and we love it. Keep it up!

picture_this_gold[1]picture_this_silver[1]Recently, we created badges for the first- and second-place winners. They can be placed on the front page of  your blog so all can know that you have been a winner of Picture This.

One final note: GGW’s Picture This now has its own page on Facebook. Check out the Picture This page and become a fan!

Fran Sorin

Fran is the author of the highly-acclaimed book, Digging Deep: Unearthing Your Creative Roots Through Gardening, which Andrew Weil, M.D., recommends as "a profound and inspiring book."  

A graduate of the University of Chicago with Honors in Psychology, she is also a gardening and creativity expert, coach, inspirational speaker, CBS radio news gardening correspondent, and Huffington Post Contributor.

Learn more about Fran and get free resources that will help you improve your life at

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Fran Sorin
76 comments… add one

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Randy August 5, 2009, 8:45 am

My post is up for the photo contest and it can be found at the web address below. Good luck to eveyone!

The gestalt of this photo goes way beyond the colors, texture, clarity….really beautiful! Fran

Nancy Bond August 5, 2009, 9:28 am

Sounds like a very fun challenge. 🙂

It is a great idea. We’d love to have you join in! Fran

Caroline August 5, 2009, 9:57 am

Here’s my entry! Good luck, everyone!

Fabulous! Having 3 different elements photographed up close is a great idea! Fran

Debra Lee Baldwin August 5, 2009, 11:06 pm

I love everything about this…the subject matter, the description of what David is looking for (and how to do it) and the entries so far. What a delightful and visually intriguing contest!

Agreed…pretty cool. Fran

Cachet Retsos August 6, 2009, 2:06 am

Just submitted my entry. Good luck to everyone!

Just gorgeous….the use of light, composition, perspective and color are terrific. Thanks for joining Picture This. I think this is the first time I’ve seen you here. Good luck! Fran

Bri August 7, 2009, 12:45 pm

Here’s my best go at it!

Best of luck to all!

The colors, textures and perspective are all there….beautiful. Thanks for participating and good luck! Fran

ESP August 7, 2009, 8:17 pm

Here is the Patch’s entry!

Looking forward once again to seeing all the entries. Great that this has become a regular feature, a lot of fun.

Philip…what a unique photo and from such a different perspective: plus the movement, subject matter and light element to make the end result very compelling! Fran

Michelle D. August 7, 2009, 10:29 pm

I’m a frustrated yet enthusiastic camera owner.
I can’t really say that I am much of a photographer, but I really enjoy the photography process, the experimentations and occasionally some of the results.

a link to a Passiflora photo that I’m still wrestling with :

Beautiful passiflora. I so rarely see a white one…this is delightful. Also, if you don’t mind, add a link on your post back to GGW saying that your photo is a part of the Picture This Photo Contest. This will bring other readers over to us that might want to participate and look through all of the photos throughout the contest. Good luck!! Fran

Ditto August 9, 2009, 1:23 am

Great stuff so far.

It was fun to just go pick a spot in the garden and sit down. I’m always impressed at jut how many little things are bustling around in any given spot.

What can I say except magnifique? Fran

Pam/Digging August 9, 2009, 12:00 pm

My entry is up:

Cheers, Pam

For sure the most unusual photo so far of this month’s participants. The quality of your shots are consistently excellent. Fran

Jean August 10, 2009, 12:56 pm

My goodness, there are some spectactular entries so far! Here’s my little entry:

Jean @ Dig, Grow, Compost, Blog

I would never underestimate your photographic ability…the texture of the close up shot of the mushroom is delightful. Thanks for entering! Fran

Radhika August 10, 2009, 3:31 pm

I learnt about this contest at a talk I attended by Saxon Holt in May and have wanted to enter ever since. You need to scroll to the bottom of the page to see the contest entry

Cheers, Radhika

The California Snow Plant is so real that I have the urge to grab it….the photo is out of this world. Fran

Town Mouse August 10, 2009, 10:58 pm

My entry is here:

Maybe I didn’t completely follow the rules, but I did not miss the deadline. Thanks for hosting!

Town Mouse-
Although I really like all of your photos, I’m glad you chose the upward view of the sun playing through the redwood…also love the shadows on the trunk. Well done! Fran

Susie August 11, 2009, 1:56 pm

Wow, what beautiful entries so far. Mine is of the Salvia elegans – Pineapple Sage in my veg garden. The afternoon light was making those cool red blooms shine!

Hi Susie-
I too love Salvia elegans. You did a fine job of capturing its beauty. Unless I hear otherwise, I am assuming that the first photo is the one that you want submitted into the contest. Thanks for participating! Fran

David Perry August 11, 2009, 6:53 pm

Without commenting individually at this stage, I do feel compelled to comment collectively.


There are some real gems here so far, and from such interesting points of view. How on earth am I going to select a ‘best’ when the time comes?

I do hope that those of you feeling at all shy about entering one of your own images will go ahead and jump on in.

Sharon August 11, 2009, 11:06 pm

Such great photos linked above. My entry is:

Love the daisy shots springing out the left side with the blurred background. Great idea. Fran

Dave August 12, 2009, 10:17 pm

I made my post with my entry for the contest. I’ve seen some great photos on the other blogs!

Well done! The cool greyish background adds a sense of mystery to the artemesia…I feel a bit like I’m in England when looking at it. Good luck! Fran

Rothschild Orchid August 13, 2009, 4:42 am

I don’t know if I can enter as I’m from across the pond, but I had great fun going around the garden on my knees!

Rachel aka Rothschild Orchid..
Am glad you did enter! The sharpness of the leaves tips along with the soft texture of this melianthus with the veining underneath is compelling and well done! Fran

patientgardener August 13, 2009, 10:46 am

Heres my entry – really enjoyed this challenge

Patient Gardener-
Whoever thought that seeing the underneath of hellebore leaves could be so enthralling. For sure the veins add another dimension…just beautiful. Fran

Heirloom Gardener August 13, 2009, 2:38 pm

There are already so many great photos posted. Here is my entry of Sowbread Cyclamen that I just took on my knees and forearms:

Heirloom Gardener,
The crisp, delicate and pastel petals are gorgeous! Good luck. Fran

Frances August 13, 2009, 8:21 pm

Here is my entry:


Wow! However you captured the essence of that hellebore up close is beyond me…it is just sublime…and yes, the bee added an extra element as well. Fran

RobinL August 13, 2009, 9:12 pm

Wow, such great entries already! I’ve never entered before, but thought I’d join in.

Am so glad you decided to enter and what a great photo. You definitely captured a unique view from the back of the flowers….the colors are so delicate that I feel like an artist painted them onto the petals! Good luck! Fran

Shady Gardener August 13, 2009, 10:09 pm

Hi! This is my entry:

Hey Shady Gardener-
It was actually the leaves scattered on the ground that grabbed my attention. I could hear them rustling about. Well done! Fran

healingmagichands August 14, 2009, 4:13 pm

Here is my entry from The Havens.

Healing Magic Hands-
I love the fact that the preying mantis is the centerpiece of the phot with the light playing off the photo from the background. Unique and fantastic! Good luck. Fran

abby August 15, 2009, 12:04 pm

I love doing one post a month. And learning something at the same time.

Here is my effort for August Harvest time: KNEE-HIGH to a grasshopper

I feel like I’m looking at an Impressionist painting….wow….what can I say? Another winner! Am assuming that you want the first one entered for the contest. Also, when I tried the link, it didn’t work so I just plugged in the URL for your blogspot!! Good luck. Fran

Bob Pool August 15, 2009, 9:06 pm

This is my first time to enter, and here is my entry.

Am glad you’re participating. The detail and colors of your little ‘pal’ are outstanding as if the softness and striation of the leaf on which it is perched. Good luck! Fran

Pomona Belvedere August 16, 2009, 3:35 pm

I’m joining the fun. My entry is the top photo in this post:

I’ve really been enjoying checking out the other entries – it’s a macro macro world.

The mule’s ear with the shadows playing off of it is gorgeous. Good luck! Fran

Ellen Zachos August 16, 2009, 6:01 pm

Here’s my entry:

Thanks for the interesting challenge, David!


Mmmmmm….I have never seen a tree photographed from that perspective…magnificent! Fran

Christopher C NC August 16, 2009, 11:00 pm

David I read your instructions several times then went and shot a few pictures. Here is my entry with a couple of the rejects.

I love all three of them…and of course, I do have a favorite! But each one’s perspective is really interesting. Good luck! Fran

Teresa~Gardening with Soule August 17, 2009, 9:21 am

It’s great to see what other people’s perspectives are. Everyone’s photos are so great! Good Luck to everyone.
Here is my entry.

Fantastic! I love the thorns of the rose bush depicted so precisely with the horizontal blue flower head. Fran

Chookie August 17, 2009, 9:58 am

Here’s mine — definitely in the oh-my-goodness category, and I have no idea why it came out this way!

Your photo of the nanking cherry does have a psychedlic quality about it but the softness from the blurred branch in the background really changes the feel of the photo! I like it alot. Fran

mjb August 17, 2009, 10:55 am

greetings. here’s my photo entry:


Who ever thought that Lady’s Mantle could offer such complexity and beauty? But you managed it! good luck. fran


Linda August 17, 2009, 11:18 am

Hello! Here’s my entry to August’s challenge:

Thanks for the opportunity!

Great stuff Linda….love that little frog with the blossom on his back perched on the finely photographed leaf! Fran

Lois J. de Vries August 17, 2009, 11:48 am

My entry is from scrunched-up knee height, so that I could get the full impact of the lavender plant (one of my favorite topics) in the foreground:

Beautiful….and lavender is one of my all time favorite perennials/woody shrub! Good luck. Fran

Garden Lily August 17, 2009, 8:17 pm

Here’s my entry of brightly coloured mushrooms in a magical sort of boggy place:

The fairy photo doesn’t count, I know, but it’s fun to imagine.

Just fabulous. The color and texture of the brown mushrooms up close with the stones and groundcover are perfect. Two things though….are we to assume that your first photo is the one you are entering? Secondly, the link you gave us is broken. Please go back in and repair….otherwise David may pass it up (which would be a shame!) Fran

jo August 18, 2009, 8:22 am

Difficult assignment this month.
Lovely variety of entries.
My post is up here:
Softly, softly

J0-Dreamy, etheral and for sure, a unique perspective. beautiful! FYI….the link you gave us is broken….I just plugged in your blog and it was at the top of the page. But if you are planning to post soon, I suggest you make sure that the link is working…otherwise, David could end up missing it! Fran

Lisa Beerntsen August 19, 2009, 12:57 pm

Hey, loved the challenge topic–and looking at the entries thus far. Here’s mine:

Dear Lisa-
Love your photo…great subject …the delicate seedlings with their texture, the dew or rain drops perched on their edges,….it’s a visual feast! Thanks for entering! Fran

Linda Steider August 19, 2009, 3:15 pm

Wow, what incredible photos! Good luck to everyone!! This is my first photo contest, & it was fun to photograph a specific viewpoint:

Am delighted that you decided to join us. One would never know that this is your first serious entry into a photo competition. The delicacy and soft color that you captured in the verbascum up against the blurred grass is both compelling and really, really good. Fran

Jenny August 19, 2009, 4:22 pm

Right at the last minute! Here is my first time post. Thanks for inviting.

Just magnificent. The butterflies almost look as if they were staged there for a photo shoot. I’ve never quite seen anything like this photo! Fran

Kerry August 19, 2009, 4:42 pm

Here comes the bride. Dinner plate dahlia, ‘Cafe Au Lait.’

All I can say is ‘Wow’. I never knew that a dahlia could look so sensuous when up close. Magnificent shot! Fran

Ramble on Rose August 19, 2009, 9:26 pm

This is my rookie entry…here you go!

Sure am glad you joined in…especially after reading your post about it. Love the butterfly lightly perching on the lilac. Fran

the inadvertent farmer August 20, 2009, 10:30 am

I’m going to throw my photo in the ring…this is a first time for me, I must admit I’m quite excited ….then again I don’t get out much, lol!

Here is the link to my post with my ‘tomato napper’ photo. Kim

Dear Inadvertent Farmer-
Great and unique entry! And I love the story you tell and showing the two shots of the tomato. Am delighted that you’re participating! Fran

BloominRs August 20, 2009, 11:00 am

I made a blog just for these contests and finally got the nerve to enter. Thanks for GGW-the writings here and the wealth of links to others blogs I found through these contests gives endless inspiration.

Hoping this works
Red Birds in a Tree

Boy, am I ever glad that you pushed yourself to enter. An excellent shot….the birds in the trees along with the agastache really works, especially with the soft background of the perovskia….congrats for entering and welcome, welcome, welcome. It’s great to have you here with us! Fran

Mr. McGregor's Daughter August 20, 2009, 11:21 am

It took me forever to make a choice, but I finally did, so here’s my entry.

Sweet shot….the lack of brightness adds something to it….a sort of reflective quality. Am glad you’re on board for this one! Fran

Lona August 20, 2009, 1:08 pm

I have submitted a picture for the contest. This is such a wonderful idea and it was so much fun to think about angles and backgrounds from a different view. Good luck to Everyone! There have been some amazing entries.

Dear Lona…
Sweet, moving and beautiful. Good luck! Fran

Dee/reddirtramblings August 20, 2009, 1:59 pm

Here’s my contribution. I loved this.


Your photo juxtapositioning the harlequin bugs with a dying flower is stunning….but the words you wrote are truly magnificent. Thank you for sharing a snippet of your thoughts, feelings and life with all of us…and how it all relates to ‘Down On Your Knees’. Your soul is shining through and is a beacon of light. Fran

Barbara August 20, 2009, 9:43 pm

Here’s my submission for the Aug. contest “Down on Your Knees”. I had to get on my knees to realize there was a butterfly inside the hosta bloom. I’m new to your site and enjoy it.

We’re glad you found GGW and are participating in the contest. Great entry….how sweet to see a butterfly with a blooming hosta…good luck. Fran

Gary August 20, 2009, 9:57 pm

I just had to get in on this! Here is my submission:

Thanks for the challenge!


We’re so glad that you happened to wander over to GGW in the midst of your move…..your photo is calming and intriguing….good luck with the move and the contest!! Fran

foghorn August 21, 2009, 12:10 am

Free perennials? Free perennials? These litle guys need some more carbs!

1st entry. Thanks for turning me onto this sight.

All I can say is ‘WOW!’…just an incredible photo. Thanks for entering. Fran

Liz August 21, 2009, 3:40 am

I realise I am not in the US, but I have entered your competition anyway in the name of fun…

Here’s my blog entry:

Debbie August 21, 2009, 8:23 am

There are some spectacular photos submitted already which, I must admit, made me a bit hesitant to submit my entry but here goes…

Best of luck to everyone and thanks for sharing your photos.

I love the fact that the butterfly is the main attraction with the agastache as the foil that it plays off of. Fantastic photo. Am so glad that you got ‘unhesitated’ and decided to participate. Fran

GardenJunkie August 21, 2009, 9:23 am

These are all such wonderful photos – so fun to see the different perspectives on things in the garden. I’m no photographer but couldn’t resist giving this a shot (ok, bad pun…).–down-on-your-knees-photo-contest.aspx

Dear Garden Junkie-
What can I say except ‘fabulous, fantastical and fun’! Am delighted that you’re participating. Fran

Sylvia August 21, 2009, 10:52 am

Wow…what great pictures! You all are so talented with your cameras!

It’s pretty amazing, isn’t it?? Fran

Giri August 21, 2009, 12:38 pm

One of my first submissions

Monica August 21, 2009, 1:40 pm

Here is my submission for the “Down On Your Knees” photo challenge:

Leslie August 21, 2009, 2:16 pm

What a great subject and wonderful entries! I hereby submit mine:

Cindi August 21, 2009, 3:06 pm

Here is my submission for the “Down on your knees” challenge. First time entering;)

Good luck to everyone! Some really gorgeous shots in here, I’m glad I’m not a judge!

Jackie August 21, 2009, 7:52 pm

If there was a “Beginners Category”, I’d be in it 🙂

Kathryn/ August 21, 2009, 10:07 pm

What a wonderful contest and lovely showcase for excellent international talents! Very fun. And you have the perfect judge in David Perry, one of our very best in the community. Well done! Looking forward to visiting blogs and seeing who wins!

Jennifer August 21, 2009, 10:08 pm

This the first time I have ever entered a photo contest.

There sure are some wonderful photos submitted. Good luck to us all

Daisy August 21, 2009, 10:39 pm

Mine is up – I’m letting my daughter guest post for this one. She has a fabulous eye for unique perspective, and this theme is perfect.

Jeff Prostovich August 22, 2009, 11:00 am
Craig @ Ellis Hollow August 22, 2009, 11:08 am

Almost missed the deadline. Thanks for the reminder post.

My entry is at the top of this post, with some also rans below it:

abby August 22, 2009, 11:47 am

Who is this mysterious’ foghorn’ with that absolutely knock-out entry?
That must be the most beautiful nature photo I have ever laid eyes on. Wish I could tell him so, but can’t find a blog link.

Laura Livengood Schaub (InterLeafer) August 22, 2009, 3:06 pm

What a fun assignment! Here’s my link, thanks!

Meredith/Great Stems August 22, 2009, 6:01 pm

Phew, got my entry in just time. I love everyone’s photos!—-hello-little-spider.html

cat August 22, 2009, 9:16 pm

I left my entry on my blog at:

thank you so much for the contest!

Sue August 22, 2009, 10:16 pm

I finally made up my mind which one of the over 400 photos I had fun taking late this afternoon, which didn’t turn out so good, to enter. Here’s my url:

Raji August 22, 2009, 11:21 pm
Sylvana August 22, 2009, 11:31 pm

My first Picture This!
My entry can be found at:

Kate August 22, 2009, 11:45 pm

Thanks for the inspiration. My entry is the last photo in the post. I’m new at this, so I hope it’s okay that it’s not the only thing in the post.

Meems August 23, 2009, 12:39 am

Great theme this month. My entry is finally posted… hope I scooted in under the wire.


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