Picture This Photo Contest: February 2010

– Posted in: Garden Photography

February’s Picture This is sure to be another winner. We are delighted to have Roger Foley, a renowned garden and landscape architecture photographer, as the judge for this month’s contest.  His awards, publications, photo gallery and books are too numerous to mention individually. It’s worth the time to go on his site, Foley Foto to learn more about him and his work: the site is a feast for the eyes. Roger’s latest book, A Clearing In The Woods, is now available  online.

So, without further ado, here is what Roger has to say:

“I’m excited to be judging February’s Picture This competition. The theme is Winter Light. To most, this may not seem like the ideal time of the year for garden photography: but if you’re willing to brave the elements you may find that there are plenty of opportunities for beautiful photographs. Winter sunlight can be bold and graphic in the way it falls in the garden – textures become more pronounced and shadows fall in long, sharp lines like in a film noir movie.

Without so many leaves to block it, winter light can reach into a garden space very early or late in the day to rim a scene in light. These effects can be equally dramatic when shooting a landscape or a close-up, and when you see it working its magic, you’ll forget how cold your feet are, or that you’ve lost the feeling in your bare fingertips.

A fresh snowfall gives us the most dramatic conditions, but the amount of snow can make or break a winter garden shot. Too much snow can reduce most of the garden to a few rounded bumps. When this happens, you can look to the larger landscape with big trees beautifully loaded with snow on every branch. In a garden with a deep snowfall, dried stalks and seed heads will stick up out of the white to create Japanese-flavored pen-and-ink drawings.

A dusting of snow adds its own texture to the landscape, letting some of the garden show through, but lending its own effects of light and shadow and adding a bit of frosting to holly berries and other winter plants. If the wind is up, the swirls of blowing snow will create a fog-like screen over an area.

Look for the effects of ice in water sources and a glazing of ice covering plants. If there is no snow and no ice, the moody winter light in the garden has lots to offer, giving you opportunities for photos that could only be taken at that time of the year. Winter plants in the garden have textures, colors, berries and bark that you won’t see later when it’s finally warm enough to walk outside without ten minutes of preparation.

Some tips for winter photography may help you get going.

– Make sure you don’t overexpose the snow. To do this, you’ve got to pay attention to your camera’s histogram to keep the highlights from blowing out with no detail at all. If you avoid the middle part of a sunny day to go out, you’ll be in a better situation for beautiful light. If you shoot jpegs and can set a picture style in the camera, adjust those setting for low contrast when shooting snowy gardens in sun.

– Beware if you go out to shoot while it’s still snowing. It is tempting, because it’s so beautiful, but unless you have a space to stand that’s under cover, snowflakes can easily drift onto your lens, where they will melt just enough to blur your photos. It may not be visible when looking through the lens or on the LCD screen, but when you get home and call up the photo on the computer screen, it will be depressingly obvious.

– The cold quickly drains batteries of their power, so take a spare camera battery with you. I keep one in an inside pocket of my parka, so it stays warm. I’ll also turn off the camera more often, if I know I won’t be using it for a couple of minutes.

– In the snow, you have to think more carefully about where you put down your camera bag. I’ll bring a large black garbage bag to put under my bag on the ground. If, like me, you use a tripod for your photography, you should protect the bottom leg sections from the snow. I wrap the bottom leg sections with pieces of thick garbage bags and the cover with duct tape to keep moisture out. And when I get home, I let it stand overnight, fully open, in my studio to let it dry out.

– Don’t forget to protect yourself, too. Unlike hiking or doing winter sports, winter photography involves a lot of standing around, so you’ll be colder than you might think. My right hand is always a problem, since I haven’t yet found the perfect gloves that I can easily use for working the camera. Ones with bare fingertips are the best I can do for now.”

And now that I have figured out exactly what the 2010 New Rules for Picture This are (thanks for your patience), they are in effective for February’s contest with no exceptions.

1.  You must have an active blog in order to participate. We love that you send us a link to the blog post that includes your photo. To be eligible for judging, you also need to send us a direct link to the image.
2. 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. Entered photos should be approximately 500 pixels on the long side. (If you’re using Microsoft Office Picture Manager to resize your images, there is a pre-set resize option for “Web – Large”  which comes in at 640 x 480. That would work just fine.)
4. The deadline for entries is 11:59 pm Eastern time on Sunday, February 21, 2010.
Roger has offered up a challenging and timely subject with Winter Light. So bundle up, get those cameras out and have a blast with this month’s theme. Good luck!!
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
43 comments… add one

Leave a Comment

Darla February 1, 2010, 11:55 am

Did I overlook the last day to enter or is it always the same?

Thanks for pointing that out, Darla. The deadline for entries is 11:59 pm Eastern time on Sunday, February 21, 2010.

J.J. Cedar Glader February 2, 2010, 8:17 pm

Here is my entry for February’s “Winter Light”

the blog entry http://nashvillecedarglades.blogspot.com/2010/02/winter-light.html

and the direct to the photo itself

John February 4, 2010, 9:56 am

Well last month I thought it was just an error but since it’s repeated again this month could you please clarify the statement about size. I think of the “long side” as literally the longest side and you ask for that to be 500 pixels, and then you go on to say that a standard 640×480 image would be just about right. So it sounds like what you really mean is that the long side should be no more than 640 pixels, correct?

Sorry for the confusion, John. We’re just trying to get the entries roughly the same sizes: somewhere in the neighborhood of 450-650 pixels on the longest side. If that’s still confusing, let us know and we’ll try to figure out some other standard for the size of the entries.

Brittany Girl February 4, 2010, 2:01 pm

Here is my entry for the Winter Light competition. It is the very last photograph on this posting:


Frances February 4, 2010, 3:45 pm

I hope this is the correct url for just the picture. If not, please let me know.

Picture This Entry


Marjorie Smith February 7, 2010, 6:51 am

We don’t have a lot of snow in our area but we do have ice…my entry is the first picture, in this post…..morning sun reflecting off of ice in my water fountain.

commonweeder February 8, 2010, 8:33 am

Here is my entry for Winter Light.


The photo I am entering is the third and last in the series: Sastrugi 3.

ESP February 9, 2010, 10:39 pm

Here is my entry for this months competition…”Winter Wormwood”.

Post: http://www.eastsidepatch.com/2010/02/5448/
Picture Only: http://www.eastsidepatch.com/2010/02/5448/winter-light-640×480/

Carolyn Parker February 13, 2010, 12:49 am


I’d like to submit the top photo, thanks.

Melody February 15, 2010, 9:18 pm

How set are you all on the size? Mine looks tiny next to many of these. I kept the long side 500, but many other entries are much, much bigger (I have not entered yet, just preparing).

It seems that the size really isn’t affecting the judging, Melody, so it shouldn’t make much difference this month. For now, submit your entry as close to the right size as possible.

Kathy @gardenfornature February 16, 2010, 10:54 pm

Here is my submission for February 2010, Winter Light:



Blog Post: http://gardeningfornature.blogspot.com/2010/02/wordless-wednesday-waiting.html

It is the last photo of the post.


Charlotte February 18, 2010, 7:43 pm

Here’s my entry for this month – winter’s light!

Les February 18, 2010, 8:01 pm

My entry for this month’s contest is of Spartina Grass in the morning sun.

Here is my post:


Here is the photo:


Thank You!

Kari Lonning February 18, 2010, 10:39 pm

“Champagne Ice”
direct link — http://bit.ly/9tO1hD
blog link — http://bit.ly/algglq

Teresa~ Gardening with Soule February 19, 2010, 6:33 pm

Here is my entry, Good Luck to you all, there are some great pictures entered.
This is my post http://blog.gardenshoesonline.com

This is the direct link. http://blog.gardenshoesonline.com/index.php/the-long-winter-shines-some-light/

Kylee from Our Little Acre February 20, 2010, 10:32 am

I decided to join in on the fun this month! My entry is entitled “Bejeweled” and can be found here: http://ourlittleacre.blogspot.com/2010/02/bejeweled.html

Direct link to the photo: http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v31/kbaumle/miscellaneous/ice1.jpg

RobinL February 20, 2010, 1:24 pm
jodi (bloomingwriter) February 20, 2010, 2:46 pm

Well, this is a first for me. Even though I’m in Canada, I decided to join the fun this month. Here’s my photo, ‘Winter Flower by the Seashore’ :


Direct link to the photo without my chattering commentary:


Thank you as always for doing this friendly competition, and in offering up such great advice to all of us.

Melody February 20, 2010, 5:37 pm
Mr. McGregor's Daughter February 20, 2010, 5:57 pm

While I love winter photos, I’m really looking forward to some photos of emerging spring. Here’s my entry: http://mcgregorsdaughter.blogspot.com/2010/02/picture-this-winter-light.html

Here’s the direct link:

Judy February 20, 2010, 7:08 pm
Christopher C NC February 20, 2010, 7:45 pm

I’m with MMGD. Ready for some crocus now. My blog post of Winter Light is here:

The direct link to the picture:

There has been a lot of winter light to choose from this year.

Marlene February 20, 2010, 7:51 pm

Mr. McGregor’s Daughter said it well; I’m at the point where I want to crawl around looking for shoots emerging from the ground but the weatherman thinks I should be watching out for a foot of snow instead!

Patience, it will come!

Here’s my blog entry: http://realworldgardening.blogspot.com/2010/02/winter-light.html

Here’s the direct photo link: http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2693/4349422897_4fa91cda5b.jpg

John February 20, 2010, 11:23 pm

Ok, we’re planning for a springtime photo contest next month right? I’d hate to think that this photo contest had anything to do with extending this winter weather…

My blog entry is at http://macgardens.org/?p=1417

and my direct photo link is at http://wp.macfusion.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/02/Late-afternoon-light.jpg

Thanks again to GGW for hosting the contest.

Rothschild Orchid February 21, 2010, 6:54 am

This was a tough one, it’s been grey for so long here I’ve almost forgotten what the sun looks like.

Here’s my blog post: http://talesfromtumbledownfarm.blogspot.com/2010/02/winter-light.html

Here’s a direct link to the photo: http://i572.photobucket.com/albums/ss164/Cherry_Blossom_1978/Flowers/zniceseeds2flikr.jpg

Kelly (thesorrygardener) February 21, 2010, 1:16 pm

Lovely photos, everyone. Since the Pacific Northwest has been downright tropical this winter, the best I could do was frost.

Blog link: http://thesorrygardener.com/2010/02/21/forsythia-blooms-in-the-winter-light/

Photo link:

bloominrs February 21, 2010, 5:11 pm

Yes, let’s hope the contest isn’t extending the winter weather. It’s snowing here today. Again I had a lot of fun taking photos for the assignment. I see there are many more to visit today too.

My blog post is here

and the picture only is here

joco February 21, 2010, 6:11 pm

No snow left.
Thank goodness 🙂
Pale wintry sunshine.

My picture address is http://picture-this-image.blogspot.com/

Janet February 21, 2010, 8:03 pm

Hi folks! Looks like there are lots of super entries. I finally had time to choose a photo for this contest. Here is my entry.
and the photo alone is here–

Hope the links work correctly. If they don’t I will re-do it.

Heather's Garden February 21, 2010, 8:30 pm

This was a tough, but fun, assignment. I had about a total of one hour of sunlight with snow on the ground in the weeks since this contest was announced. I then spent the last few days trying to decide which of three decent photos I managed to capture would be the best one to enter. My husband was sick of discussing it with me, so I went ahead and posted my final choice.

Full post (it’s the last photo): http://heathersgarden.typepad.com/heathers_garden/2010/02/ggws-picture-this-photo-contest-winter-light.html

Or photo only: http://heathersgarden.typepad.com/.a/6a00e0097e58bd88330120a8c091cd970b-popup

Desiree February 21, 2010, 9:18 pm

Our winter looks a little springy right now. But the light is good! My entry for this month…Thanks for the contest!!!


Picture only:

LINDA from EACH LITTLE WORLD February 21, 2010, 11:01 pm

Here is the link to our blog entry for this month’s contest:


And here is the link to the specific photo (the second last image on the blog post):


Thanks. Though Linda is sending this entry, Mark took the photo on our shared blog: Each Little World.

Chandramouli February 22, 2010, 2:42 am

Wow! Those photos are stunning. I guess I’m late to this blog but anyways, I’ll lookout for the next contest.
I still feel lucky coz I get to see many new blogs and enjoy the beautiful photos from around the globe!

Previous Post:

[shareaholic app=”recommendations” id=”13070491″]