Picture This Photo Contest – October 2011

– Posted in: Garden Photography

This months theme is Fill the Frame.

succulent tapestry

We will be looking for photos that use the entire canvas with well constructed compositions.  The succulent tapestry above from Jeff Moore’s garden in Solana Beach, CA was carefully composed in the camera’s viewfinder to include blocks of complementary plant material, overlapping triangles with strong lines and shapes to achieve a balance that fills the entire frame.

Let’s look at other ways to consider the topic of ‘Fill the Frame’.

I well remember the first time I saw culinary sage (Salvia officinalis) flowering in a garden.  I could not believe that I had been so unaware of the spectacular flowers, nor could I believe my good luck in finding it in such a fine garden.  I knew I had a great photo opp.

herb garden with flowering sage

Like many of us when we know a good photo is staring us in the face, I quickly took a picture before the moment passed.  All I got was a snapshot of the garden, not a picture of the flowers.  I had not stopped to analyze what I was seeing and what I wanted to say.

It is not a bad picture, and even has some of the block compositional elements of the succulent tapestry, but it isn’t what I was seeing.

Lesson #1 in all my workshops is to analyze what you are seeing and make the camera say what you want it to say.  Fill the frame with your message.  Don’t waste space in the photo with information that does not tell your story.

The first photo I took is a story about an herb garden not the sage flowers.  The solution was to get closer and fill the frame with the flowers.

But I still need to get closer so that the flowers become the whole story.  I was sure to use the yellow-chartreuse of the golden oregano as one of the bands of color behind the Salvia, and made a composition that cut off the tops of some flowers in order to hold the eye in the frame.

flowering culinary sage

This months contest is also a photography lesson.  The collective results will be the ultimate lesson, and in the judging I will be sure to comment on the ways I see good composition making the image whole.

Good composition is the art of filling your frame with elements that contribute to your story.  There are many, many ways to achieve this.  So long as you make conscious decisions on the make-up of your photo there are no rules, though the photo should be easy on the eyes and invite a long look.  The most interesting photos are always the ones that somehow hold your gaze as you wander around it, wondering about how it was put together.

Filoli autumn trees

I am particularly partial to wide views of gardens that are well enough composed to fill and burst out of their frame.  This autumn color study of Filoli makes you want to crawl into the scene and see more.  Extra points for these garden landscapes that fill the frame.

But I also love carefully constructed images that balance line, shape – and negative space.  Note the equal weight, here in this Tupeleo leaf, of those negative spaces, balanced by the edge of the frame itself.

Tupelo, nyssa sylvatica leaf fall color

And sometimes negative space can dominate the frame, filling it by dominating it.  I think this portrait of the summer’s last tomato certainly uses the whole frame, though the red orb itself certainly doesn’t fill the frame.

Last ripe tomato

So think about ways you use your camera to frame what you see.  Fill the frame consciously and send in your photo.



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 Tuesday, October 25,  2011. There are no exceptions.


All entries will be posted in The Gallery within 48 hours after received (as of 10/15/11).

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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Leave a Comment

Ronnie Tyler October 5, 2011, 4:36 pm

Hi, I hope I have interpreted your instructions correctly and that my photo is the right size. I would like to enter your competition.

My blog address is: http://wp.me/p1jkAI-OV

The photo link is: http://bit.ly/o7XSNo

If I have got it wrong please let me know and I will try again. Many thanks Ronnie

Donna October 6, 2011, 12:50 am

Question. Is it necessary to maintain the 4:3 aspect ratio or is cropping permissible? I ask because as said, “carefully composed in the camera’s viewfinder” would seem to mean the image would be better if all the framing and composition was considered before it hits the editing window. Or can we change it to 3:2? I almost always crop, so I thought to ask.

Donna – While I encourage my students to frame in camera to distill what they are seeing, I certainly crop myself. Some scenes are meant to be square or panoramic. “Fill the Frame” really means fill the frame you show your audience, fill the frame of the photo you submit. – Saxon

Christopher C NC October 9, 2011, 9:55 am

It has been a while since my last entry. I’m busier these days.

The blog post: http://outsideclyde.blogspot.com/2011/10/fill-frame.html

Direct link to picture: http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-7lSn0mzGO0c/TpDEDrqZf8I/AAAAAAAAl-I/7Vq4eSvzepw/s1600/100_6811.jpg

John October 9, 2011, 10:53 am

Thanks again for hosting the contest.

I’ve posted my photo link at http://wp.macfusion.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/Aibika-Abelmoschus-manihot-detail-1.jpg

The blog posting is http://macgardens.org/?p=2588

ESP October 9, 2011, 9:55 pm

Here is a link to my post:

And here is a direct link to the image:http://www.eastsidepatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/DSC08296.jpg

Looking forward to seeing all the entries.
Thanks GGW for another interesting challenge.

Ailsa October 10, 2011, 1:33 am

I don’t have my own garden, so parks and wildlife sanctuaries are my playground. Here’s my picture:
and here’s my post:
Good luck, everyone 🙂

Donna October 10, 2011, 10:58 am
Tropical Nature Photos October 13, 2011, 2:58 am

Thank you for hosting this monthly contest. I always look forward to it. The photos above are gorgeous. My favorite is the red orb. 🙂

Url – http://tropicalnaturephotos.blogspot.com/2011/10/fill-frame.html

Photo – http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-n0yEAVb5uNE/TpaZcYx4KNI/AAAAAAAAFeI/i9y8gGnV3dw/s1600/IMG_2697.JPG

John October 14, 2011, 5:21 pm

For some reason my posting has not been retained. I know I submitted this last week but I don’t see it online now. My blog post is


and my image posting is at


It’s my fault. I’ve been out of commission this past week due to some family stuff. Will get it up the gallery within the next 24 hours. Fran

Janet, The Queen of Seaford October 16, 2011, 5:02 pm

It has been a while since I entered one of the photo contests.
Here is the blog posting http://thequeenofseaford.blogspot.com/2011/10/cant-get-enough-of-it.html

and the photo by itself– https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/Ox5he224OAf5sW5HJ8jEGno-63AtUMWF9Cujn54ZkIE?feat=directlink
Great photos already entered! Good luck to all.

Rosie@leavesnbloom October 19, 2011, 4:04 am

It’s been ages since I last entered here. My blog post is here:

and the direct link to the image is here

Benjamin Vogt October 19, 2011, 10:12 am

Here’s my entry of wild senna leaves. The entry is the leaves, not the close up shot of a pollen-drenched bee.

Post: http://deepmiddle.blogspot.com/2011/10/leaf-project-and-bee-tude.html

Pic: http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-byDmgVbHJh4/Tp7lnHanr1I/AAAAAAAADNc/DQFnHvBvNw8/s320/Cassia+Hebecarpa.JPG

Donna October 20, 2011, 10:24 am

Take a walk into the fading evening light of the forest and back again to see the sun break through in the morning. The images fill the frame with light. This is the GA submission for the GGW Picture This Contest.

Image: http://greenapplesgarden.files.wordpress.com/2011/10/woodssunset.jpg

Post: http://greenapplesgarden.com/2011/10/13/ggw-into-the-woods/

Carolyn? October 20, 2011, 1:39 pm

I’ve been admiring your photo contest from afar but have never had the courage to join in. Well I finally decided to give it a try… so I’m giving it my best shot.

Photo URL: http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-FVzpE0lpeeA/TqA1jOuUY1I/AAAAAAAAPB4/DBKEm7IXYk0/s640/144final.jpg

Blog Post URL: http://www.thisgrandmothersgarden.com/2011/10/giving-it-my-best-shot.html

cheryl monroe October 20, 2011, 2:42 pm

I just love looking at not only everyones photos, but all the individual takes on a theme. My frame is filled with green(s) which when pictured together all look so different.

Greggo October 20, 2011, 9:03 pm

thanks for hosting the contest. the photos are excellent as always. good luck to all.
Blog URL:http://greggosgarden.blogspot.com/2011/10/fill-frame.html

Photo URL:http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-hrfNEzZpAO8/Tp870DP1MVI/AAAAAAAAB4M/fP33JFlmFkA/s640/IMG_2759.JPG

I guess that will work. Greg.

Pam/Digging October 22, 2011, 11:15 am

I like this theme, and Saxon’s two posts were very helpful in explaining it.

Here’s my entry.

Photo URL: http://www.penick.net/digging/images/2011_10_22/Yucca_amid_salvias.JPG

Post URL: http://www.penick.net/digging/?p=14027

Autumn Belle October 23, 2011, 10:17 am
Dewi October 23, 2011, 2:39 pm

Thank you for hosting this month event. This will be my first GGW event to participate. Here is my entry:

Blog URL : http://gardenatninaplace.blogspot.com/2011/10/clematis-for-ggw.html

Photo URL :


Caroline October 23, 2011, 5:22 pm

Thanks to GGW for hosting and to Saxon Holt for judging. Good luck to those entering. Here’s my contest entry.

Photo URL: http://www.flickr.com/photos/carolinehomerphotography/6274333282/

Blog post URL: http://shovelreadygarden.blogspot.com/2011/10/october-ggw-picture-this-photo-contest.html

Hoover Boo October 23, 2011, 8:28 pm

Everyone’s photos are lovely!

I guess what I intended my photo to say is that a arid climate, unirrigated garden can still be quite lush!


blog post:

Carolyn October 23, 2011, 9:42 pm

My blog title is now included in your gallery, but no pictures is showing. Do I need to do something differently?

Am I glad you checked in with me. I did post a photo with your name captioned below. BUT it was the wrong one. That’s what happens when you try posting this stuff late night. Thanks for catching me on this. Fran

Autumn Belle October 24, 2011, 4:20 am

My entry is a scene from a rooftop garden here:

Blog URL: http://www.mynicegarden.com/2011/10/images-of-repose-word-for-wednesday.html

Photo URL: http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-OBOZNAOs-1w/TouMFGBjhGI/AAAAAAAAEa4/bgNOsO6eQ54/s1600/P1100781.JPG

Note: I have submitted my entry yesterday but it did not register here, so I’m trying again.

Autumn Belle October 24, 2011, 4:22 am

I’m so sorry, can you please delete the extra duplicated comments. It just appeared on my computer screen now.

Les October 24, 2011, 6:17 am

Thanks once again for this fun opportunity, and I appreciate your second post to further explain the theme. Hopefully I paid attention.

Here is the blog link:
Little Green Apples from A Tidewater Gardener

and here is the direct link to the photo:
>a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/atidewatergardener/5080161604/sizes/l/in/photostream/”>Little Green Apples

Thanks again!

Les October 24, 2011, 6:18 am

Let’s try that direct link again, sorry.


Les…It’s posted….Check it out. Fran

Melody October 24, 2011, 11:22 am

Direct link to my photo:

Link to my blog post:

There are so many great pics already posted! I’ve enjoyed looking at them all!

Thanks to Saxon for the great instruction and beautiful illustrating pics! And to Fran for organizing it all! It is great fun to learn more about taking a better picture and to participate in these photo contests 🙂

The Sage Butterfly October 24, 2011, 4:51 pm

Thank you for hosting. You always find ways to challenge us in our photography, and I learn so much from that. Good luck to all!

Blog post: http://thesagebutterfly.blogspot.com/2011/10/ggw-photo-contest.html

Photo: http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-81rwyo0I_OQ/TqXZqrDsG1I/AAAAAAAAA0g/YAxQyM-e–E/s1600/sunburn-1.JPG

Les October 24, 2011, 9:49 pm

I am feeling stupid here. I thought I had posted my entry this morning, but do not see it, so here it goes again. If this is a duplicate, or I accidentally put it on the wrong page, just ignore it.

Here is the blog link:

and here is the photo link:

Thank you!

Kelsie October 25, 2011, 7:34 am

Saw the contest and just had to enter…Thank you for hosting.

My subject is Wisteria on Barn

My post link is

My photo link is


One October 25, 2011, 10:51 am

Thank you for hosting interesting photo contest each month. I’m filling the frame with bokeh.

Blog url : http://onenezz.blogspot.com/2011/10/gbbd-oct-2011-at-onenezz.html

Link to the photo : http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-s7hw53zJhrk/TpeGnxvx6rI/AAAAAAAAFeQ/s6FUxStWKOA/s1600/IMG_4264.JPG

Christina Salwitz October 25, 2011, 12:28 pm

Thanks for this months contest. I’m SO excited about this one! The Gallery look beautiful today. 🙂
Here’s my Blog Link:

Photo Link:


Craig @ Ellis Hollow October 25, 2011, 6:36 pm

Had to go to the archives for this month’s entry. Love the theme. But lack of time and subject matter limited my efforts.

The post: http://remarc.com/craig/?p=1342

The picture: http://ellishollow.remarc.com/images/20110421hellebore3x2400.jpg

Indie October 25, 2011, 7:45 pm
Cathy October 25, 2011, 9:26 pm

After much deliberation, my husband says this picture of a butterfly and hummingbird clearwing sharing a wand of buddleia flowers is the one I should submit:


The blog post can be seen here:


Good luck everyone!

Gillian October 25, 2011, 9:47 pm

I hope I have worked out the time right and am not late.
Here is a link to my blog post
Here is a link to the photo I am submitting

Chris October 25, 2011, 10:50 pm
oogren October 25, 2011, 11:30 pm

Not sure if it’s too late, but here is the corrected photo link:


Malinda October 26, 2011, 12:52 am

Thank you Saxon – I learned a lot and very much enjoyed thinking about filling the frame all month while shooting photos!


Photo: http://thepotagerpage.typepad.com/.a/6a012876998603970c0162fbec473b970d-pi

Diana October 28, 2011, 6:50 pm

Good luck everyone… how I manage to miss the deadline, I’ll never know. Can’t wait to see the winners.

www.kienvangvietnam.com August 4, 2017, 5:26 pm

Hmm is anyone else experiencing problems with the pictures on this
blog loading? I’m trying to determine if its a problem on my end or if it’s the
blog. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Saxon Holt August 4, 2017, 10:29 pm

the contest is over

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