Picture This Photo Contest for October 2010

– Posted in: Garden Photography


This month, we’re going to challenge you with something a bit different: capturing an image without using a camera. I first learned about this technique from a fellow blogger, Craig Cramer of Ellis Hollow, and we’re thrilled that he has agreed to be our judge.

Here’s what Craig has to say: “This month’s theme is Fall on a Flatbed Scanner. If you can scan a photograph, you can do this. It’s easy. It’s fun. It can help you see your garden in new ways. And it doesn’t take any special equipment or exceptional technical skill – just a typical office flatbed scanner, a basket full of subject matter gathered from your garden and a little time to arrange your material and make the scan.

Inspired by scanner artists like Ellen Hoverkamp , I started scanning flowers and foliage from my garden a little over three years ago for the monthly Garden Bloggers Bloom Day hosted by Carol at May Dreams Garden. Now I’m the first to admit that I’m no artist. But the results have been very satisfying and never fail to elicit comments.

One of the things I like best about scanning is that you can ‘concentrate’ your garden on the scanner bed. It can be the digital equivalent of making a flower arrangement.


You may never get around to planting a monochromatic white garden. But you can make one with the scanner bed.


Or you can bring together foliage from widely scattered plants into a single frame.


Feeling playful? You can arrange your material in ways never found in nature.


Or you can keep it simple. Single, unassuming plants like this Tradescantia can take on new dimensions on the scanner bed.


Nan did a great job of previewing this month’s contest back in July, and details in this post how she went about creating her first scans. (I highly recommend reading it if you’re going to give this a try.) In a nutshell, you:

· Gather materials. (Don’t limit your thinking to flowers.)

· Arrange them face down on your scanner, foreground first.

· Use the preview button to view you composition as you create it.

· Scanning in a dark room with the cover up will provide a dark background, or you can drape cloth or other material carefully over your arrangement to create other background effects.


· When you like what you see, scan and save as you would a color photograph.

· Scan at 300 dpi if you want to print your scans life size. (They make great notecards and calendars.) Use a higher resolution if you want to print scans larger.

· Use an imaging program such as PhotoShop to crop and enhance your image, and resize for posting on your blog.

The software that you normally use with your scanner will work just fine. Visit Scanner Magic for more detailed scanning instructions. If you want more detailed scanning instructions using PhotoShop, see Patri Feher’s flowers.

For more ideas and inspiration, see:

· My bloom day scans.

· Ellen Hoverkamp shows what a real artist can do arranging these digital bouquets.

· Katinka Matson

· Patri Feher

· Scannography artists links to dozens of botanical, floral and other scanner artists.

In judging this month’s entries, I’ll be looking for creative choice of subject matter, pleasing composition, and that certain Wow! factor that I’m sure you’ll know when you see the image from the scanner render on your screen. I added ‘Fall’ to the theme mostly for the alliteration. Just because the foliage hasn’t turned where you are doesn’t put you at a disadvantage. In fact, if it’s spring now where you live, bulbs and other early bloomers make great subjects for scans. Work with what you’ve got around you now, and I’m sure the results will surprise and delight you.


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 – in a comment on this post.

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. The deadline for entries is 11:59 PM Eastern time on Thursday, October 21, 2010.

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.

[All images in this post courtesy of Craig Cramer at Ellis Hollow]

Nancy J. Ondra
Nan gardens on 4 acres in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. In the firm belief that every garden ought to have a pretentious-sounding (or at least pretentious-looking) name, she refers to her home grounds as "Hayefield." There, she experiments with a wide variety of plants and planting styles, from cottage gardens and color-based borders to managed meadows, naturalistic plantings, and veggies--all under the watchful eyes of her two pet alpacas, Daniel and Duncan.
Nancy J. Ondra

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17 comments… add one

Leave a Comment

Toni October 2, 2010, 2:26 pm

I am very new to blogging. I am so excited about this month’s contest. I have a question, though (and forgive my ignorance), but how do I give you a direct link to my image? I know how to give a link to my blog, but not sure about directly to the image. Help, please 🙂

Welcome to blogging, Toni! When you enter Picture This, we need a link to the post where your entry photo appears, not to your whole blog. To get that link, go to the home page of your blog, and click on the title of the post you want to link to. That will take you directly to the post. Then go up to the address bar, copy the URL of the post from there (highlight it and then click CTRL and C at the same time), and paste it into your comment over here (CTRL and V). (The URL of your most current post, for example, is http://signaturegardens.blogspot.com/2010/09/whats-bloomin-september-10.html, so the post link for your entry should look something like that.)

To get the direct photo link from your entry post, go to the post on your site, then click directly on the photo. Again, go up to the address bar, copy the URL, and paste it into the same comment over here. (For example, here’s what the direct link to your current lead photo looks like: http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_12hU4BFMCqs/TJ5xdf_SmoI/AAAAAAAAAFg/k0DtuMKeevU/s1600/iPhone+9-13-10+180.JPG)

I hope that makes sense. If not, or if anyone sees any problems with my directions, let me know.

Lynn October 2, 2010, 3:57 pm

Here’s my entry.
The link to my blog:

The direct link to my picture:
The above direct link was following the directions in one of the comments. I have never done it that way before so if it doesn’t work, here’s a different direct link from Photobucket:

ESP October 2, 2010, 7:22 pm

Here is my submission.

The link to my blog:

Direct link to the supernova:

Fun competition! Looking forward to seeing the other entries.

Toni October 3, 2010, 2:56 pm

Nan, thank you so much for your help and very detailed instructions to this newbie blogger! I have only been blogging a couple weeks now, but already I am hooked!

Here is my entry for this month’s contest…

blog link:


picture link:


healingmagichands October 5, 2010, 8:40 am

I want to thank you all for posing this challenge. Ever since you first mentioned it back in July I have been playing with my scanner on a regular basis. This art form was new to me and by golly, it is more fun than sex.

Okay, maybe that last was a lie. But it is a lot of fun, and I thank you sincerely for bringing it to my attention!

Here is the link to my post:

And this is the link to the scan I am entering:

Meems@HoeandShovel October 6, 2010, 7:24 am

What a great project this is. This is the first I’d ever heard of this type of artwork. It is not only intriguing but the possibilities are endless.

Here is the link to my post:

Here is the link to my contest photo:

I hope everyone who thinks about doing this will go ahead and enter this contest. It was simple fun and a nice break from the usual.

Can’t wait to see all the entries.
Thanks again, Team, for always coming up with exciting projects.


Jill-O October 8, 2010, 12:27 pm

I haven’t had a working scanner in about 3 years, so I can’t enter this month. However, now I have the incentive to get it fixed cause I’d love to try this technique!

Linn Arvidsson October 16, 2010, 9:53 pm

And here is my entry… after a raid to the kitchen garden. The cabbage continued its journey from the scanner into a rather nice warm salad. 🙂

Link to the blog post: http://www.linnarvidsson.com/blog/2010/10/17/fall-on-a-flatbed-scanner/

Link to the image http://www.linnarvidsson.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2010/10/Fall_on_a_flatbed_scanner1.jpg

Mr. McGregor's Daughter October 18, 2010, 8:29 am

After giving it a few tries, I think the scanner just isn’t my medium. All I can say is that I am even more in awe of Craig’s incredible scans.

Here’s my post: http://mcgregorsdaughter.blogspot.com/2010/10/picture-this-fall-on-flatbed.html

The image: http://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/zngLtzttCvW5tuCWhLLbx2IzCPIy5605RFNW4DivtAI?feat=directlink

Judy October 18, 2010, 12:18 pm

My sister and I have been playing with scanner photography for a while and we have so much fun with it!

Here’s my post: http://www.justthegardener.com/blog/2010/scanner-flowers

The direct link to the picture: http://www.justthegardener.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2010/10/Sunflower-mix.jpg

TufaGirl October 20, 2010, 7:41 pm
Julie October 20, 2010, 11:12 pm

Hi! I learned of your contest through Not So Angry Redhead, and I am enthralled by this process! his is my second scan since last night, but since my Gloriosas are blooming, I felt I must give it a try!
Here is the link directly to my photo: http://i123.photobucket.com/albums/o296/xmasgirl43/gloriosafall001.jpg

Here is a link to my blog post: http://asucculentlife.blogspot.com/2010/10/scanner-photo-contest.html

Cat/The Whimsical Gardener October 21, 2010, 10:47 am

Thanks for hosting this contest! I had a lot of fun experimenting with this technique. I’ll definitely be playing with this style during the cold winter months!

Here is the link to my blog post:


And the link to the photo:


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