Picture This Winners: February 2010

– Posted in: Garden Photography

First, a big thank you goes to Roger Foley who did a fantastic job of studying, pondering and finally selecting the winners for this month’s contest, Winter Light. When you have a moment, check out Roger’s book, Clearing In The Woods. It’s a beauty!

Without further ado, below are Roger’s choices.

“Thanks to all those brave souls who endured the cold in this extreme winter month to capture winter light. An extra gold star for effort should go to all those in the Mid-Atlantic region of the US where we’ve received record-breaking snowfalls  –  56″ in DC, 73″ at Dulles Airport and up to 80” in Baltimore! I did trudge through the thigh-deep snow with tripod and backpack, so I know you all can truly say you’ve suffered for your art.

Some of the entries took the challenge of photographing the light itself, by looking at shadows of plants falling onto the snowscape from the low angle of the winter sun. I hope you’ll think more about this way of seeing where the subject of the photo is not the thing itself, but a picture of it painted on the surface in cool-colored shadows.

Honorable Mentions

First on the list is Mr. McGregor’s Daughter of the winter light playing off Echinacea purpurea.

Dave of  The Home Garden took this photo from a window looking out onto his backyard. He named it Shadow Play.

The next photo taken by Heather of Heather’s Garden can cause a double take. The wet, fluffy snow stuck to these branches mimics early spring blossoms against the vivid blue sky. The impact of a photograph becomes turbo-charged when metaphor is invoked.

A snowy path through the woods really comes alive in this photo shot by Natalie of the blog I Grew This Earlier. The line of the path fades as it’s seen through the snow-laden air. It leads you to the strong ‘Y’ silhouette of the tree, which pops out of the background due to that same snow-filled air behind it. But the most vivid effect is the falling snowflakes themselves, ‘frozen’ by a quick shutter speed.

The next photo of spartina grasses, taken by Les of Tidewater Gardens at the water’s edge in the early AM, could be seen in fall or winter, but I was seduced by its warm light hanging in the heavy air. The water, mist and sky melt together to obscure any horizon line, which simplifies the composition into something more abstract, while the undulating line of the grasses moves your eye from foreground to background.

Medal Winners

Now for the final two images:  These photos both wowed me with their evocations of winter. It’s hard for me to pick between the two.

For the Silver Medal Kari Lonning has used the most ephemeral of winter effects to create a metaphor for a garden scene. Looking at this shot of frost on a window, I see a mini landscape of ferns swelling up on the right side stopping against the straight lines of a stem nicely placed at one quarter of the way into the square image. Maybe it’s a rose cane covered in thorns, or a thick, hairy tomato stem. The photo becomes a playground for your imagination. The background is out of focus just enough so that the lines of frost can be read, and she has kept the subtle blue tone of the frost to contrast against the warm tones behind it.

And finally, and appropriately, receiving the Gold Medal is Kylee of Our Little Acre whose photo, Bejeweled, has most beautifully captured winter light in all its glory – golden and sparkling in the landscape. The composition and framing is impeccable with horizontal layers of texture anchored on the left by the silo. The largest tree balances that dark shape and then the other trees form a soft curve down to the horizon as they shrink. The luminescence of the back-lit trees is intensified by the grey-blue sky behind them, with the light clouds at the top of the frame echoing the warm light on the treetops. It might seem a bit counterintuitive, but the best color photographs are sometimes the ones with the smallest color palette. Some of the power of this photo comes from energy generated by the blue and gold colors as they play off each other in the landscape.  Awesome!”

Congratulations to the  all of the winners!  As Roger said, there were plenty of worthy entries from which to choose. So a big round of applause goes to all of the entries.

Take the time to check out past Picture This Photo Contests and Entries. They’re a feast for the eyes.

For those of you who can use a dose of spring (and who can’t?), next month’s Picture This contest, judged by GGW Regular Contributor Saxon Holt, will get you thinking about spring.

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.

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Fran Sorin
29 comments… add one

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Pam/Digging February 24, 2010, 3:40 pm

Congrats to Kylee for that stunning image and to the other winners and runners-up!

Janet February 24, 2010, 4:25 pm

wowsers!! congrats to all the winners.

Cameron (Defining Your Home) February 24, 2010, 4:29 pm

Congratulations to Kylee and all of the winners and entries! This is such a fun and informative topic for everyone.


bloominrs February 24, 2010, 4:33 pm

Congrats Kylee, that light makes you almost feel warm. Congratulations to all of the winners; all of them are magical. I was coming back to continue visiting all of the blogs, and the winners are here.

Thanks GGW for hosting these and thank you Roger. I really enjoyed your tips on the announcement, and will print them out to refer back to them.

Eliza February 24, 2010, 4:59 pm

Ooooh… these ALMOST make me wish winter would last longer. 😉

Randy February 24, 2010, 5:06 pm

All great looking photos! Enjoyed the entries. Sure must have been hard to judge these.

Gail February 24, 2010, 5:12 pm

Congrats Kylee and all the other participants and winners. gail

Dave February 24, 2010, 5:52 pm

The silver and gold winners were definitely worthy photos! Congrats to all!

Helen Yoest @ Gardening With Confidence February 24, 2010, 6:02 pm

Congrats to all for your wonderful images! H.

Kylee from Our Little Acre February 24, 2010, 6:14 pm

I’m so honored to have won this award, being in the company of so many other wonderful photographers. Thank you, and congratulations to the other winners. I’m sure this had to have been a hard choice to make.

Lisa at Greenbow February 24, 2010, 6:29 pm

Wow, Congrats to Kylee and all the brave souls that posted pictures. Awesome job.

Heather's Garden February 24, 2010, 6:51 pm

Congratulations, everyone. I’m so excited to be one of the honorable mentions! And I knew Kylee’s incredible photo would win. It’s a perfect representation of winter light. Great job all.

jodi (bloomingwriter) February 24, 2010, 6:58 pm

Delighted at the choices, and still really, REALLY glad I didn’t have to do the judging (though I saw and loved all those that placed. ) Thanks again for doing this, and teaching us all to be better photographers.

Dee @ Red Dirt Ramblings February 24, 2010, 7:54 pm

Just beautiful. Congratulations to all the winners and honorable mentions. I am so happy for all of you.~~Dee

joey February 24, 2010, 8:18 pm

Hats off to you, dear Kylee!

Teresa February 24, 2010, 8:53 pm

conngratulations to the winners. Those photos are just awesome.

Caroline February 24, 2010, 10:16 pm

Hats off to the winners and honorable mentions–all simply spectacular.

Jan (ThanksFor2Day) February 24, 2010, 11:42 pm

Congratulations to the Gold & Silver winners…I totally agree! And to the Honorable Mentions, bravo;-) They were cream-of-the-crop!

Chookie February 25, 2010, 4:39 am

All so beautiful! Congratulations to all the people given awards!

My favourite is the silver medallist’s, because I’ve never actually seen frost on a window.

Christopher C NC February 25, 2010, 8:07 am

Kyle I knew that was a winner when I saw it. Kudos to all the other winners. Another 6 inches of snow this morning. Winter light is not done with me yet.

Kelly (thesorrygardener) February 25, 2010, 12:50 pm

Congratulations, Kylee & Kari. Awesome shots.

Natalie February 25, 2010, 3:43 pm

Thanks so much for the honorable mention, I feel quite touched by it. I stood for ages in the snow taking photos that day.

I suspect that it was good luck rather than good camera work as I actually took it on my mobile phone as my proper camera has terrible shutter speed on it!

My favourite photograph of that day was when we found a Fir tree in the middle of the wood decorated with Christmas baubles!

kris at Blithewold February 26, 2010, 8:41 am

All of the entries I saw were so amazing – what a difficult decision that must have been. I wouldn’t have known where to stop with the honorable mentions. Kylee, that picture is awesome – I envy that view and I did wonder if you’d get the gold!

Mr. McGregor's Daughter February 26, 2010, 11:14 am

Congratulations to all the winners, I’m thrilled to find my photo in such great company. What a relief that next month’s contest will be about spring. My eyes are longing for color and life.

Kari Lonning February 26, 2010, 1:56 pm

Thank-yous to all involved. I was in good company! (Oh, I just looked up and read that the post above said the same thing – I guess it makes it more true.)

Nancy Bond February 26, 2010, 6:26 pm

Congrats to Kylee on your winning entry, and to the silver medal photo, as well. Both are stunning! Congratulations to all the honorable mentions as well. Great job, all!

Frances February 26, 2010, 6:33 pm

A worthy winner, Kylee! That shot is spectacular, as are all the others mentioned! Big hugs and hearty congrats to all! 🙂

Susie February 28, 2010, 9:41 pm

Congrats to all the winners, what a beautiful collection of photos!

robert bornstein March 12, 2010, 8:12 am

Love your blog! It would make a nice match to link to mine. May I? How can I be considered to be a contributor to yours? I am a horticulture therapist. Thank you in advance for consideration.
P.S. Love the blog name!

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