Picture This – Spring Photo Contest

– Posted in: Garden Photography
Acer palmatum dissectum atropurpureum, Red Cutleaf Japanese Maple tree, spring leaves unfolding, Winterthur Garden

Red Cutleaf Japanese Maple tree, spring leaves unfolding, Winterthur Garden

Picture This, our garden blogger’s photo showcase, is ready for another contest – now that spring has finally arrived throughout the land.

I was in Delaware just two weeks ago where I photographed Wintherthur, the trees just leafing out, seemingly while I watched, so by now even the most northern garden photographers should have plenty of inspiration.

So fellow garden bloggers, do your own blog post, show us your best spring photos, and pick one for the Picture This contest. Let’s see what’s going on across the Northern Hemisphere.  Rules below.

I will be judging the photos on content as well as composition.  So whether you pick a closeup of the earliest leaf bud or masses of flowering shrubs, fill the frame of your image with an interesting composition – perhaps using the lessons from my new book.

PhotoBotanic Garden Photography Workbook, Think Like A Camera eBook Cover

PhotoBotanic Garden Photography Workbook, Think Like A Camera eBook 2

The first place winner will receive a copy of the new e-book Think Like a Camera.  Second Place winner will receive a month’s free membership to The PhotoBotanic Garden Photography Workshop.

Here are 6 tips for better garden photography – a quick synopsis of the six lessons in the book using photos from my recent shoot at Winterthur.

Framing A CompositionWhether you have a big megapixel SLR camera or just a smart phone, your pictures will improve as soon as you think about what the camera is seeing—versus what you are seeing. Use the camera frame to fill your photograph with only those elements that tell your story

Forsythia 'Winterthur', yellow flowering spring shrub with Redbud tree (Cercis canadense)- Winterthur Garden

Forsythia,  flowering spring shrub framed with Redbud tree – Winterthur Garden

Focal PointsEvery photo should have a focal point, a spot within the frame where your story is told. The rule of thirds helps place those “sweet spots.”

Woodland bench with Mayapples overlooking spring flowering Magnolias - Winterthur Garden

Woodland bench with Mayapples overlooking flowering Magnolias – Winterthur

Leading Lines is about finding lines in the garden will establish balance and draw the eye into and around your photograph. Curves and triangles offer lines that give a composition movement.

Acer palmatum dissectum atropurpureum, Red Cutleaf Japanese Maple tree, spring leaves unfolding, Winterthur Garden

Red Cutleaf Japanese Maple tree, spring leaves unfolding, Winterthur Garden

Point of View Where will you set up the camera to take the picture you think you see? The exact point of view—slightly to one side of your subject or perhaps down low—is critical to a good composition.

Trillium grandiflorum, Great White Trillium flowering with Anemone apennina (Italian Windflower), woodland spring ephemeral groundcover - Winterthur Garden

Trillium grandiflorum, with Italian Windflower, photographed at ground level.

Space and Shape The camera sees in two dimensions. The shapes and spaces created within the four edges of the frame need to be balanced.

Viburnum carlesii, white flowering fragrant spring blooming shrub; Winterthur Garden

Viburnum carlesii, white flowering  spring blooming shrub; Winterthur Garden

Details and Vignettes A camera is a great tool that helps you distill overall impressions into a distinct capture — those details we really see.

Uvularia grandiflora, large-flowered bellwort or merrybells, yellow flowering spring native plant with Bluebells - Winterthur Garden

Uvularia grandiflora, large-flowered bellwort, with Bluebells – Winterthur Garden

Spring at Wintherthur was a great opportunity to work on all the techniques in the book.  When looking for a composition its nice to have some techniques to work with, otherwise we can get overwhelmed and just grab snapshots.

What have you seen this spring?


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 Saturday, May 23,  2015. There are no exceptions.

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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8 comments… add one

Leave a Comment

Jude Parkinson-Morgan May 14, 2015, 9:36 am
Laura @ gravy lessons May 23, 2015, 2:32 pm

Your blog and books help me to grow as a garden blogger! Here is my submission.
The link to my blog post is: http://www.gravylessons.com/journal2/2015/5/22/dandelion-spring
The link to my shot is: http://www.gravylessons.com/s/dandelionseedarrow5.jpg Thank you!

jack Winston May 23, 2015, 7:14 pm
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