Picture This Contest – April 2011

– Posted in: Garden Photography

 Rob Cardillo is returning for another round of judging for this month’s Picture This Photo Contest. It goes without saying that we love having him!

Rob’s latest book in collaboration with Adrian Higgins, Chanticleer: A Pleasure Garden, should be released any day now; it can be pre-ordered. It is a rich chronicle over 2 seasons of one of America’s most loved gardens. It is filled with Rob’s sensual, inspiring photos and Adrian’s thoughtful and descriptive words.

And some good news for all of you folks from the Delaware Valley….. Rob’s outstanding exhibition of 40 of his Chanticleer photos at The Wayne Art Center has been extended until April 24th.

You can learn more about Rob and his work on his website and blog….Fran Sorin



 Rob’s subject for this month is Let’s talk about Light.



 “Photography is all about light and any good garden photographer must hone his or her ability to see and work with the sun in all its shades, colors and moods. Good lighting can transform an ordinary landscape into a heart stealing moment. And bad lighting can render the most gorgeous of gardens into a burned out mess.

 So, how do we learn to become a better light painter (the actual translation of the word “photographer”)? First, we need a common language to describe a few attributes of light. In general, I divide outdoor lighting into two broad categories — Soft and Easy; and Hard and Fast. Soft light is what we experience on cloudy days when there are no distinct shadows. It’s generally a flattering light for many garden landscapes and close-ups, especially subjects with lots of fine textures and nuanced shades. Colorful flowers seem to glow from within and we can shoot from all angles and often throughout the entire day. It’s easy!


Hard light casts hard shadows and is not so accommodating. Overly dark areas and burned out highlights are not uncommon especially when the summer sun is high overhead. Hard light has a direction too and can limit the angles we might choose. It’s usually best at the beginning and end of the day but that’s also when it moves fairly quickly. That’s the fast part. With hard light, you often have to react with speed as pools of shadows and light shimmer through the garden.


The direction of hard light can have a profound effect on your photo. I find that hard light hitting the front of your subject (front lighting) is good for some architecture and little else. Side lighting, where the sun is to your right or left, is great for revealing textures and can add a palpable sense of depth to your images. But back lighting, the hardest to master, is where all of the fun is. Because much of the plant world is translucent, back lighting often reveals exquisite leaf veination and can turn flower petals into stained glass.


I’m posting some images from my recent book on Chanticleer that show how light shapes the landscape and creates atmosphere. Your task this month is to submit an image that shows some sensitivity in matching the right light to the right subject. Vistas, plant details, people, dogs, bumblebees and elves are all fair game. In fact anything that you can find in or near a garden will qualify. Good luck!”


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

3. The deadline for entries is 11:59 PM Eastern time on Sunday, April 24, 2011.

Entries that meet the above rules will be added to a separate gallery page.  If you enter but your photo does not appear in the gallery  within 24 hours, please review your entry to make sure you followed the rules.

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 www.fransorin.com.

Google+ | LinkedIn | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest  

Fran Sorin
50 comments… add one

Leave a Comment

Shawna Coronado April 3, 2011, 8:11 am

I’m so excited to enter the contest this month. My photo is from my trip to Mexico – I took the photo two days ago. I visited the Cenote Jardín de Edén; a real live “Garden of Eden” in middle of the Yucatan Peninsula.

Here’s the link to my blog post on the experience. The top photo is the contest entry –

Here is the required link to the photo directly – http://lh5.ggpht.com/_bivbTnRfrVE/TZhwOT-jD5I/AAAAAAAACFo/oLdrleMQO2Y/s1600-h/Jardin%20de%20Eden%5B10%5D.jpg.

I also included other photos and videos of the experience, but the top photo on the blog post is the one I want to enter.

I hope you enjoy – WOOT! 🙂

Shawna Coronado

Jack Holloway April 3, 2011, 8:52 am

A wonderful subject, and some breathtaking examples to inspire us! I sense a change in my daily schedule for a while – out with the camera on a tripod at first and last light REGARDLESS…

Lynn April 3, 2011, 9:30 am

This sounds like another great, yet challenging theme. My mind is in full gear thinking of how to go about this.
I wanted to comment that my husband walked into the room as I was looking at the last picture that Rob posted, of the little house surrounded by the gardens. My husband got all excited thinking that I had found the perfect house where we want to move to! Oh well. It’s still a beautiful picture!

Kate @ Gardening and Gardens April 3, 2011, 1:02 pm

A very informative post on photography and lighting. thanks for sharing! I’m going to check out my blog now for some photos that might be worthy of the contest…

Tess The Bold Life April 4, 2011, 6:53 pm

Hi Rob,
These photos are stunning. I grew up on a 88 acre produce farm where we worked along side our migrant workers. I love being out in nature and I have a new camera. I don’t have a garden in AZ but I do have a botanical garden I’m going to and see about taking some photos. Again these are simply stunning. Wow wow and wow!

PlantPostings April 6, 2011, 9:43 pm

The Chanticleer photo with the backlit plants in all their splendor is priceless! Thanks for all the great tips!

Aerie-el April 7, 2011, 12:54 pm

Hi Fran and Rob,

Thank you for the insightful, educational, and inspiring information and challenge! I always learn something new from you.

Here is the link to the image I’ve entered:

Here is the link to my blog post:

Such a great subject you’ve given us. I look forward to seeing all the images entered!


Alison Kerr | Loving Nature's Garden April 7, 2011, 10:33 pm

This contest sounds fun. My entry is a garden pond photo taken on my UK trip last summer. The garden is in Norfolk, England. It’s a beautiful spot.

This link is to the photo: Norfolk garden pond

I included the photo in my article 5 Steps to a Dream Garden

Thanks for the opportunity.

Jennie April 8, 2011, 9:05 am

Just in time for spring…a photo of flowering quince that I took last April at Longwood Gardens.

Link to photo: http://pgjennielove.files.wordpress.com/2011/04/3445624687_fb0b509987_b.jpg

Link to blog post: http://pgjennielove.wordpress.com/2011/04/08/flowering-branches/

Alison April 11, 2011, 1:14 am

Here’s my post with the picture and the link back to Gardening Gone Wild.


Here’s a link to the picture.


Is there a gallery somewhere? I don’t see a link to it.

It will be up and running either today or tomorrow. Fran

Donna April 14, 2011, 5:48 am

Thank you for the informative post and hosting the contest. This was a harder than usual assignment and was a more difficult decision to enter for a budding photographer.

The post is at: http://greenapplesgarden.com/2011/04/14/ggw-picture-this-contest-april-2011/

The image is at: http://greenapplesgarden.files.wordpress.com/2011/04/mapleleaf.jpg

Landscape Lover April 14, 2011, 3:00 pm

Last month I was lucky enough to see Rob Cardillo’s photo exhibition at the Wayne Art Center, and each image was so exquisite it almost made me gasp. I vowed to give up photography then and there! So rather than try to match the glorious, ethereal softness of his photos of Chanticleer, I am submitting an image of a garden designed to be viewed in the hard, blazing light of North Africa.
Here’s the post: http://landscapelover.wordpress.com/2011/02/25/marrakech-gardens-old-new/
And here’s the link to the image: http://landscapelover.files.wordpress.com/2011/02/majorelle-22.jpg

VW April 14, 2011, 10:44 pm

Direct link to photo: https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/mZ2Cp8a7o3yC3uMpOovSaw?feat=directlink

Blog post link: http://vwgarden.blogspot.com/2011/04/ggws-picture-this-contest-lets-talk.html

Light certainly is the magic ingredient in photos! Perhaps I appreciate it even more after enduring yet another 6-month-long grey winter here in Spokane.

Deb Wiley April 15, 2011, 11:35 am

Attracted like bees to the glowing red beacons, people tumbled out of their cars, almost desperate to be in the midst of such splendor. This picture of a little girl posing in a Dutch tulip field not only reminds me of a perfect moment, it symbolizes what gardening is all about: Joy.



Deb Wiley April 15, 2011, 11:40 am

I guess I need to say that this is my entry for the contest!

Attracted like bees to the glowing red beacons, people tumbled out of their cars, almost desperate to be in the midst of such splendor. This picture of a little girl posing in a Dutch tulip field not only reminds me of a perfect moment, it symbolizes what gardening is all about: Joy.



Kerry Hand April 16, 2011, 2:46 am

This is my entry for the contest.

Usually the region here in Central Otago has hard dry light. We don’t do haze. Even more I believe than the “Pacific Light” that the painters talk. but everywhere has it’s soft times, and sideways light. And this is one of them



forest April 16, 2011, 1:50 pm

I love the way light makes for ever-changing moods in the landscape. Here’s my entry:



Carol at OhWhatABeautifulGarden-Chicagoland April 17, 2011, 12:54 pm

How perfect. I had often stared at my refrigerator (yes my refrigerator) over the last few weeks. In morning’s first light, a nearby plant cast an intriguing shadow. Thanks to GardeningGoneWild, I knew what to do about it … use it as inspiration for entering this month’s photo contest. The topic was ‘light’, and the vignette’s most important aspect was just that. Wish me luck as I enter my first ever photo contest!

Here is the photo:

Here is the posting:

Carol at OhWhatABeautifulGarden-Chicagoland April 17, 2011, 1:01 pm

How perfect. I had often stared at my refrigerator (yes my refrigerator) over the last few weeks. In morning’s first light, a nearby plant cast an intriguing shadow. Thanks to GardeningGoneWild, I knew what to do about it … use it as inspiration for entering this month’s photo contest. The topic was ‘light’, and the vignette’s most important aspect was just that. Wish me luck as I enter my first ever photo contest!

Here is the photo:

Here is the posting, which includes the other contenders:

Angelyn April 17, 2011, 4:25 pm

I chose the challenge of photographing in “hard and fast” light — mid-afternoon of a sunny spring day.

The link to the photo:

The link to the blog entry:

Caroline @ The Shovel-Ready Garden April 17, 2011, 6:39 pm

Rob and Adrian’s new book looks amazing! Can’t wait til it comes out.

Here’s my photo:

And the blog post:

Lynn April 18, 2011, 10:02 am

Boy this was tough. Every month these get harder and harder but in a good way!
Here’s my blog post: http://mamazuke.blogspot.com/2011/04/gardening-gone-wild-april-contest-light.html
and here’s the direct link to the photo:

Connie @ Hartwood Roses April 18, 2011, 7:33 pm

I took this photo the other day. The most wonderful light came through the clouds and was shining across our field to the woods beyond, with dark storm clouds looming. It was perfect, and all I had to do was aim and shoot … it doesn’t get any easier than that.

Image link:

Blog post link:


Caroline @ The Shovel-Ready Garden April 18, 2011, 8:20 pm

OK — not sure if my blog post was supposed to say I am entering the contest, or my comment here is supposed to say I am entering the contest. Since it’s been 24 hours and my photo is not in the gallery, let me be clear: I am entering the contest!! (And thank you for hosting!)

Here’s my photo:

And the blog post:

Cat April 18, 2011, 9:47 pm

Rob, your work is so inspiring! Thanks for judging the contest and many thanks to Gardening Gone Wild for hosting!

My blog link: http://www.thewhimsicalgardener.com/2011/04/painting-with-light.html

My photo link: http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-bAqJ5Xl6Yxc/TazhulW-a8I/AAAAAAAABHk/VXYwhoPftzw/s1600/purple-iris.jpg

Heather's Garden April 19, 2011, 10:20 pm

So nice to be entering GGW’s Picture This contest again — thanks for hosting it! And great information on light and what you’re looking for, Rob.

My photo: http://heathersgarden.typepad.com/files/img_3801-resized.jpg

My post: http://heathersgarden.typepad.com/heathers_garden/2011/04/ggws-picture-this-photo-contest-lets-talk-about-light.html

Terri McKee April 20, 2011, 11:31 pm

Here is the link to my wordpress blog entry.

Here is the link for the photo I have entered with.

Very excited to see all the entries and cannot wait to see who you choose. Any comments or suggestions are always welcome.

Thanks for the fun….Terri

Terri McKee April 21, 2011, 12:44 am

Very excited to see others photos and to share mine as well!

Malinda April 21, 2011, 2:27 pm

Thank you Gardening Gone Wild and Rob Cardillo! These contests are so much fun, I always enjoy seeing the different photos -and I learn a lot!

I’m submitting the following photo for this month’s contest:


Here’s the link to my post:

Les April 22, 2011, 5:46 pm

Thank you for hosting another month of fun, and I am glad to see som many people participating. Looking at the gallery I realize I am not entering the only Iris picture, but I can’t help it, they are very photogenic.

Here is the link to my blog:

and here is the direct link to the photo:

Thanks again!

Ankush April 23, 2011, 1:28 am

I loved your post and the idea of his contest. Here goes my entry of a snail:

And the picture can be directly downloaded using this link:

Have a nice weekend!

Charlotte April 23, 2011, 2:30 pm
Katina April 23, 2011, 4:49 pm

Thanks for the photo topic. Of course the photo I liked the best is the one I got right before the battery died. Funny how that works.

Image: http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-939NSvfYiDU/Tatf1G_S0sI/AAAAAAAAFWE/ZD7Gzp5UynI/s1600/IMG_9136.JPG

Blog entry: http://gardeninginaustin.blogspot.com/2011/04/lily-p-utian.html

Marie April 23, 2011, 7:11 pm
Onenezz April 23, 2011, 7:17 pm

Hi! Thank you for holding contests like these. I enjoy the challenge to improve my ‘skills’.

Here’s the photo : http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-DMzTdPD9AI0/TbLtXsnEUaI/AAAAAAAAEUY/QL6aqUtFkrI/s1600/IMG_0764.JPG

Here’s the link to the post : http://onenezz.blogspot.com/2011/04/paper-wasp.html

Cathy April 24, 2011, 5:10 am

I was especially delighted to see this contest because I recently purchased several of Nancy Ondra’s books for which Rob was the photographer extraordinaire.

It was after I wrote a review of one of the books on my blog and was searching for more of Nancy;s books that I found this web site. When I joined, the current blog post was announcing this contest. It was definitely kismet!

Rob, your lessons on light have followed me through the garden all month. I suspect you’ll be able to see your influence on my photos throughout the gardening year! I learned so much from this post and it has made me much more aware of light as I shoot photographs of the various beds. It’s not such a utilitarian task any longer but an artistic endeavor.

Here is a link to the post in which I blog about the contest:


Here is a link to the photograph that I chose, although I must say, it was a tough decision!


And this is another post, which I added this morning, describing how we actually changed that area to make it more accessible for me. It includes the original photograph as well as an updated picture of that area.


JACK HOLLOWAY April 24, 2011, 1:28 pm

Well, here I am too, more out of principle than conviction about my entry… my blog post is at http://sequoiagardens.wordpress.com/2011/04/24/come-to-sunny-south-africa/ and the picture at http://sequoiagardens.files.wordpress.com/2011/04/weeping-cherry-and-japanese-maple-over-the-stream.jpg
Good luck to all! Jack

Craig @ Ellis Hollow April 24, 2011, 8:11 pm

I think this is the closest I’ve come to missing the deadline on one of these.

Post is here: http://remarc.com/craig/?p=1233

Image is here: http://ellishollow.remarc.com/images/20110421hellebore3x2400.jpg

Great timely theme. It was great to have plants and light to work with to stretch my modest photography skills.

John April 24, 2011, 10:29 pm

Thanks for holding the contest. It’s always fun to see what folks come up with.

My photo link is http://wp.macfusion.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/Bench-in-the-fairy-circle-1.jpg

and my blog post is at http://macgardens.org/?p=2347

Darla April 25, 2011, 7:08 am

Uh oh, I may have entered to late…sorry.

You did. But next month’s post is also on light. So get ready and get your entry in as soon as the post goes up! Fran

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