Picture This – Best of 2014

– Posted in: Garden Photography



Why did this Gingko and Camellia shot become my favorite photo of 2014 ?

We have restarted the popular ‘Picture This’ photo contest in the dead of winter to give you a chance to look back at a whole year of photos.  Get your files organized.  And, oh yeah, by the way it gives me a chance to show off my new eBook and give one away for a prize.  The photo above, my own favorite of 2014, became the cover of Book 4 in the Series: Camera and Computer.

So, our first contest in 3 years will give you an excuse to get organized and an excuse to make a post on your own blog.  The idea is to link together many blog posts so we can all see what the others are doing. Rules at the bottom of the page.

If you are like most photographers you have lots of photos, stashed in files all over your computer.  And in those files are photos you forgot about or never got around to finishing all those little tweaks they needed to make them special.


I edited just this one photo (Euonymus europaeus) in my file #1104 (Platt Garden) just to jog my memory of what was in the file.

So now is the time for a little house cleaning before you start adding more photos. First put all the photos in one place where you can find them.  I have my own dedicated hard drives for my files and most computers come with a default Pictures folder.  But put them somewhere together.

There are any number of filing systems and programs to help you do this, and simplest and most intuitive organize folders automatically by the date the photo was captured.  In this method I highly recommend using year-month-day system 20150124 for January 24, 2015 so that the computer puts them in sequential order.

Then go in and manually add some minimal metadata so you remember what is in that folder, such as June 12 shoot in Virginia: 20140612 Norfolk Bot Garden.  If you have multiple days in a sequence, for instance when traveling, put each day as folder within the first one.

This fun photo in the children’s garden at Rio Grande Botanical Garden in Albuquerque was on the last day of a 5 day shoot, but nestled as a subfolder very easy to find.

This "underground" photos was processed with photoshop to simplify the details.

This “underground” photos was processed with photoshop to simplify the details.

There is a lot more I could go into about organizing, captions, metadata, etc that makes it easy to find specific photos but at least put your photos where you can find them.

Now go through and find your favorites for the contest and make a post.  Here is what I did on my own website – Favorite Photos of 2014.

The judging criteria begin with a strong composition that uses the entire frame to tell your story.  Annie's wedding day

That is a given for any good photograph, but I will be especially looking for a story for 2014.

For the one photo you submit for judging, pick one that has something special from last year.  Did a rare plant bloom ?  Did you travel to see a special garden ?

Did your daughter get married carrying  beautiful bouquet?  Mine did.


Send us you best from 2014 and let’s see what we all did last year. You have two weeks to get this together.  I will announce winners on my next Gardening Gone Wild post Feb. 10.

The gold winner will get a free copy of my eBook Good Garden Photography

Good Garden Photography

The silver winner will get one month membership ($5 value) to the PhotoBotanic Garden Photography Workshop.


1.  You must have an active blog in order to participate. To be eligible for judging, you need to leave us TWO LINKS – a direct link to the image, and a link to your blog post that includes the image (and that says you are entering the Gardening Gone Wild Picture This Photo Contest )– in a comment on this post. Your links need to be correct in order for your photo to be entered into the contest. If need be, check out previous Picture This contests to see how others have done it.

2. You are allowed one entry per contest; your photo must be able to be copied from your site. That makes it possible for us to collect all the entries in one place for easier judging.

3. The long side of the image needs to minimally be 800 pixels

4. Because of the enormous amount of responses we receive, you can’t change your mind once you enter a photo into the contest.

5. The deadline for entries is 11:59 PM Eastern time on Saturday, February 7,  2015. There are no exceptions.

Saxon Holt
Saxon Holt is the owner of PhotoBotanic.com, a garden picture resource for photographs, on-line workshops, and garden photography stories. An award winning photojournalist and Fellow of The Garden Writers Association with more than 25 garden books, he lives and gardens in Northern California. PhotoBotanic - Garden Photography online at www.photobotanic.com. https://photobotanic.com
Saxon Holt

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28 comments… add one

Leave a Comment

Gardening Company Agent January 27, 2015, 3:27 am

This is a great opportunity for every garden enthusiast to show off their work! I applause you for your creative thought. This way you give a great chance for many nature photographers to show the world what they are working on.

Valerie January 27, 2015, 10:00 am

Can’t wait to see the winner! Your daughter’s bouquet was beautiful, and I really liked the angle of that photo. I’m sure it’ll be hard to pick a winner!

Alexandra Campbell January 27, 2015, 10:18 am

Have tried to enter but must have done something wrong – when I put my post in, it says ‘no posts were in…’ but definitely were. And sorry to sound stupid where do I upload the photo?

Saxon Holt January 27, 2015, 5:24 pm

Alexandra – no stupid questions here. When you comment here to the post, include the link to your blog where your photo appears AND include a link to the actual photo. Look how others have done it in previous years: https://gardeninggonewild.com/?p=18762 and check out the comments section to that contest

John Willis January 28, 2015, 3:47 pm

blog post=http://macgardens.org/?p=4401

photo= http://macgardens.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/krinkled-white.jpg

Saxon Holt January 29, 2015, 10:37 am

Thanks John – I appreciate you pointing out the problem we had with comments.

Laura @ gravy lessons January 29, 2015, 7:15 pm

saxon, I love to see gardens through your lens! Here’s my submission. post: http://www.gravylessons.com/journal2/2015/1/28/mrbarnabyandmygarden

photo: http://www.gravylessons.com/s/barnabygardenbed2.jpg

Pam/Digging January 30, 2015, 10:02 am

Thanks for bringing back the contest, Saxon. I always enjoy the challenge.

My blog post: http://www.penick.net/digging/?p=31254

My photo: http://www.penick.net/digging/images/2015_01_30/Autumn_leaves_&_Julia_PamPenick.JPG

Saxon Holt January 30, 2015, 12:30 pm

Thanks Pam. Didn’t I say you were banned as a previous winner or rather multiple winner ? 🙂 Give the others a chance ! No, no – itis great to have you join in. The judging will be fun !

Saxon Holt January 30, 2015, 12:31 pm

Thanks Laura – My own work gets better by seeing what others do too, I look forward to the judging

Jeanette January 30, 2015, 7:21 pm

I am looking forward to the other posts too!
blog post:
minds eye in a flash | earth, wind, fire | favorite photos 2014


Saxon Holt January 31, 2015, 10:32 am

Thanks Jeanette -I think we are all looking forward to seeing what 2014 was like for other garden bloggers…

Craig cramer February 1, 2015, 4:23 pm

Thanks for reviving Picture this. it’s great motivation to get out in the garden with a camera and try to put some of your great photography advice into practice.

Blog post: http://ellishollow.remarc.com/?p=2035

Image: http://ellishollow.remarc.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/turks-cap-detail-portraitx2400.jpg

Looking forward to the next challenge. That said, it will be a few weeks before the snows melt and I have something decent (other than late winter interest) to shoot.

Saxon Holt February 3, 2015, 10:41 am

Hi Craig – Well I figured with all the cold wet weather in much of the country, a photo contest on 2014 photos would be all we could expect anyway. 🙂

Laura February 3, 2015, 11:06 am
SARAH O'NEIL February 4, 2015, 1:06 pm

Hi Saxon. I thought I’d give it another go in the light of day. Here is my blog: https://gardeningkiwi.wordpress.com/2015/02/05/i-love-a-challenge/ and here is my photo: https://gardeningkiwi.files.wordpress.com/2015/02/dsc03453.jpg
It was hard to pick just one picture.
Hopefully this will work. Cheers Sarah : o )

Les February 4, 2015, 8:50 pm

I am so glad you have revived this challenge, but I had to do a little rearranging on my blog to get the links to work. I use Flickr on to post the photos, but they no longer allow direct links to the photo, rather they only allow links to the page where a photo is hosted. So for this challenge I changed my entry photo to a blogger upload, and I hope it will work. Anyhow:

Here is the orginal blog post: http://atidewatergardener.blogspot.com/2014/04/redbud-time-at-chippokes.html

and here is a direct link to the photo: http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-JYC7j5wiAfQ/VNLJ0acq5iI/AAAAAAAAFM8/DBWIEgos_i4/s1600/Ipheion%2BLawn%2B(2).JPG

Saxon Holt February 5, 2015, 12:45 am

Glad you submitted. Fun to see your blog – and summertime in kiwi land….

Saxon Holt February 5, 2015, 12:58 am

Worked fine Les. I sure loved seeing your post, taking me home. I grew up on the James, our house facing the river, 5 miles wide in front of our house in Newport News. While it was nice to see Chippokes in the summer, I was hoping the blog posts would be about your favorite photos of the year, not necessarily favorite photo in another post. This will be fine, the judging is only on the single photo, I was just hoping to see a broader selection.

Les February 5, 2015, 6:01 pm

My entry is actually on two blog posts, the original (which I already sent), and my best of for 2014. Sorry I didn’t give this to you the first time.


Tatyana@MySecretGarden February 7, 2015, 3:16 pm

Thanks! You gave me the inspiration to do a recap of my 2014 garden pictures and reflect on main composition rules.
Post: http://tanyasgarden.blogspot.com/2015/02/2014-garden-memories.html

picture: http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-hnikusjvgjA/VNZUCktof7I/AAAAAAAAQTk/ncANsQbzs78/s1600/DSC_0029-003.JPG

Lindsay SHen February 7, 2015, 6:31 pm

Hello friends, I just left this on the other post, then realised all the entries were on this one, so here it is again just in case! My blog is http://aperturegreen.blogspot.com/2015/02/gardening-with-light-zuibaichi-shanghai.html.
The image link is http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-UyUZCuPwbE8/VNaP5_HK3uI/AAAAAAAAAOY/26DzXAbXsrg/s1600/_MG_0093edit.jpg

I have so much enjoyed seeing the other entries! Lindsay Shen

Beth @ PlantPostings February 8, 2015, 3:04 pm

Thanks for the great tips about photo organizing. You’re right–there are so many photos on the flash drives that I never posted. Some of the photos are decent. This is a good way to showcase them.

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