GGW Picture This Winners – March 2010

– Posted in: Garden Photography

Our theme was Awakening and it sure looks like spring woke up everywhere – finally.

It was a joy to see spring around the blogisphere and I thank all our contestants for sending in photos.  It was not hard work to go through all the photos, it was a pleasure.  The awakening and promise of early spring is a giddy time and I sensed the energy and optimism in all your pictures.

I love the energy of these young fern fronds that Frances sent in from fairegarden.  You can just imagine these young ‘uns coming to life.  And the Gladiolus bursting from the ground that Melody sent us from merriemelodie “while sprouts encircle, watching in delight” really capture the awakening theme:

There were many fine entries that did not make the final cut simply because, well, in all honesty some of the photos you presented me were not as well composed and tightly cropped as they could be.  I did like seeing all the photos, but this is a contest after all, and there is nothing wrong with cropping your images to get to the heart of the message.

Notice how Country Mouse uses all the frame in this wonderful new-leaf photo ?  Even though only a small part is in sharp focus, all the soft redbud color fills the frame and is an important component of the mood (though I might have cropped up from the bottom a wee bit to make an even more paronama view)

Another fine leaf unfolding was sent in by Kim from too much stuff that also uses the out of focus area to compliment the shapes of awakening leaves of her Hydrangea.  I can almost feel the spring coming to life in her garden.

And I can feel the emerging beauty in this daffodil, knowing it is about to yawn, stretch, and greet the day.  How fine an eye Randy has at Creating our Eden to catch this moment before the frost melts.  ( But I might have used less vignetting at the edges.)

Another fine moment is this magnolia opening, from Kimberly at barefootgardening its pink petals forcing open the bud to greet the spring at my own favorite arboretum in San Francisco.  (No, I don’t know Kimberly and using subjects I know and love myself have no influence . . . )

OK, by now you are wondering how there could be more.  How did I possibly narrow down the huge number of entries to the final four, two honorable mentions and the silver and gold. How could I not award anything to the six I already showcased ?  How could I not give Rothschild Orchid a prize for the exquisite crocus photo?

In the end, I simply had to decide which really created an emotion for me, not knowing the context or story behind the photo.  While I did read a number of the blog postings after I judged, I wanted each photo to speak for itself.  Remember this when you decide which photos to enter into a contest – it will be judged outside of the story behind it.  It should tell a story, but not be dependent on the knowing the true story.  The camera always lies.

As to the actual prize winners I draw attention to my original instructions which gives “special consideration to unusual and creative interpretation of the awakening theme”.

This daffodil from bloomingcrazy is easily the most unusual and creative photo we received and I love the sunrise mood, focus, and creative angle.  Oh, how I wish I were allowed to open up the exposure and saturate the yellow tones to my own personal taste, but Danny is the photographer and gets the first honorable mention even if I would do it differently.

I am sure glad Heather at Heather’s Garden sent in her lupine photo.  She demurred about a second choice, but this wins our second Honorable Mention.  While I might have used a reflector card to add a bit more light to the bottom leaves emerging from the soil, the exuberant emphasis is clearly the still opening leaves – like bursting stars awakening.


The Silver goes to a classic of a garden picture, the type many publishers look for – spring flowers in the snow, sent in from Casa Coniglio.  Not only do I clearly see the awakening mood of this determined anemone, I like the simple composition the white snow makes surrounding the green and blue.

A different awakening mood comes from this month’s Gold Medal Award from Craig at Ellis Hollow.  The tender young Eranthis blossoms, butter yellow against the moist dark garden floor are simply alive, awaking, and soon to fill the frame.  I want to be there myself.  What a moment !  Great photo.


Whew.  Lots of great photos, great to have so many of you willing to share your photos and be judged.  Thank you for sharing your gardens and happy spring !

For those of you who want to participate in a big time garden photography contest complete with entry fees and prizes, check out Horticulture Magazine’s current photo contest which will be judged by renowned garden photographer Rob Cardillo, also a judge for this April’s Picture This Contest and a Guest Contributor here at GGW.  I intend to make his job difficult by recommending some of you – who should think seriously about participating.  I know I will…

Saxon Holt
Saxon Holt is the owner of, 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
Saxon Holt

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21 comments… add one

Leave a Comment

Cameron (Defining Your Home) March 27, 2010, 8:24 am

Lovely photos and I do enjoy the learning from your judging. Congratulations to the winners!

Kim March 27, 2010, 8:55 am

Congratulations to all the winners – there are some amazing photos here!

Jean at Dig, Grow, Compost, Blog March 27, 2010, 9:27 am

I love all of the photos you featured here. Great job and congrats to all!

Jayne March 27, 2010, 10:25 am

Congratulations to all the winners. Wonderful photos.

Teresa March 27, 2010, 11:02 am

Great choices. Congratulation to the winners. After seeing a lot of the entries, I would have been perplexed trying to choose. There were so many great ones.

Dee @ Red Dirt Ramblings March 27, 2010, 11:10 am

Congrats to everyone who won. Beautiful, thrilling nature is wonderful to photograph.~~Dee

Craig @ Ellis Hollow March 27, 2010, 11:22 am

I have to give props to Saxon whose post on Point of View Photographs ( inspired me to get muddy knees, elbows and sometimes chest to photograph these little gems.

Melody March 27, 2010, 11:58 am

Congrats to all who participated. I’ve loved looking at all of your photos. 🙂

Congrats to the winners; your pics are gorgeous!

Saxon, I hope I’m not asking too much, but would you mind helping me know what I could do differently/better in the future? I love your work and would value your suggestions.

Heather's Garden March 27, 2010, 12:03 pm

I am so excited! Congratulations to the winners, other honorable mention, and all those whose photos are featured here. Saxon, I love your photography lessons and always learn a lot reading your posts. Interesting suggestion for a reflector, I’ll have to try experimenting with a white index card.

Kimberly March 27, 2010, 11:28 pm

Congrats Casa! Suddenly I’m jealous that we don’t get snow here 🙂 Saxon, thanks for mentioning me, even if I didn’t win, I’m glad you enjoyed the shot.

Pam/Digging March 28, 2010, 1:57 am

Congratulations to Craig and the runners-up!

Mr. McGregor's Daughter March 28, 2010, 11:13 am

Congratulations to all the winners! Your photos made me smile. Happy spring!

Helen March 28, 2010, 3:36 pm

I found this post very interesting, particularly your response to the photos and why you liked them. I hope I will be able to bring some of this into my photos in the future

Nancy Bond March 29, 2010, 12:18 am

Congrats to all the winners. 🙂

Lynn March 29, 2010, 1:08 pm

Congratulations to all the photographers who went out looking with awakened eyes and to Craig & those wonderful Eranthis 🙂

Country Mouse March 29, 2010, 2:11 pm

I posted to Facebook friends that I was chuffed to be mentioned for the redbud leaf picture – and I certainly am. They were confused as to whether that meant I was pleased or not. Are you kidding! Chuffed means pleased and proud, but in an understated British kind of way :0D – Congrats to all the winners and participants. I loved looking at the pictures – such a great theme, makes you hap hap happy! Thanks to Saxon for all the time you spent to make us all hap hap happy too.

patty craft March 29, 2010, 5:18 pm

Gorgeous images! Congratulations to the winners. And thank you, kindly, for mentioning Horticulture’s photography contest. We can’t wait to share our winning photos, too!

Randy March 29, 2010, 8:07 pm

Congrats everyone! Beautiful pictures! I love these contest, you get such good tips and see such wonderful pieces of art.

forest@casaconiglio March 29, 2010, 10:56 pm

Congratulations to everyone who entered! There were so many incredible photos, and some on peoples blogs that sent a tingle up my spine. I want to live there…and there…and there…

…if that’s any indication of what Ellis Hollow is like, I’m packing. Whee!

Debra Lee Baldwin March 30, 2010, 2:30 pm

What a great topic for a photo contest. My fave is Randy’s photo of the frost still on the daffodil. Truly a delicate, fleeting moment in time.

Chookie April 8, 2010, 7:13 pm

Lovely! All of them!

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