Picture This Winners for May 2011

– Posted in: Garden Photography

This month’s contest had a tremendous response.  A big thank you goes to our talented judge, Alan Detrick, who inspired a large number of you, several first timers, to ‘come out and play’. Alan is both a great teacher and photographer….let’s see what he has to say! …..Fran Sorin 

Morning Glory Ipomoea tricolor 'Heavenly Blue'

Wow!!! Have you seen all the great images submitted? I can’t thank you enough for the wonderful response.

Keeping in mind that this was about lighting, I used four different criteria in the judging. First, I numerically rated the entries. I found a good image and gave it a three. Then I rated every image against that standard. Next, I took all the images that were rated 4 or above and looked for any technical or composition weakness. I then looked for staying power. Each remaining image was viewed multiple times to see if it had ‘legs’ to keep the viewers attention. I waited a day and went through all the entries one final time to see if I missed anything and to make sure I was happy with the results.

Every contest, besides a chance to win a medal, offers an opportunity to improve. Before listing this month’s Honorable Mentions and the Gold Medal winner, here are some observations on a few other images.

Darla at More Family and Flowers: I liked your poppy but felt sections were merging into the background.

Katina at Gardening in Austin: The gesture in your image is very nice.

Liz at Gwirrel’s Garden: I would like to see the exposure 1/2 – 1 stop darker and eliminate some of the blank area on the right side by making this a vertical.

George at The Lazy Composter: The placement and angle of the subject within the frame was very interesting.

Caroline at Shovel Ready Garden: The pattern of leaves was lovely but I found the bright leaf in front distracting.

Hoover Boo at Piece of Eden: I sometimes view an image as a major actor on stage with a supporting cast. In your image, I felt the supporting cast of all the out-of-focus bright flowers took away from the subject.

Raji at Cheerfuls: It seemed as if this aquilegia was lit from within. However, the bright spots in the background as well as clipping at the bottom of the frame were distracting elements.

Heather at Heather’s Garden: Your leaf was lovely last month and it still is.

Honorable Mentions

East Side Patch

ESP, East Side Patch: The subject was lighting and this is certainly about light. I kept coming back to this shot. It is unusual and held my interest. Well done.

Hi idea

Cheris, Hi Idea: You should be proud to call this image yours. It has a Monet feeling. The lighting, the pastel colors in the background and the silhouettes are great partners.

sunday walkabout
Ellis Hollow

Craig, Ellis Hollow: Your camassia image is as clean as can be. Color, exposure and focus are spot on. It might be even stronger as a vertical.


Rosie of Leavesnbloom takes the GOLD MEDAL.                                        



This image is done with technical perfection and without loosing any of the artistic feel. The soft side lighting gives just the right amount of shadow to show off the texture. The color saturation and focus are crafted to perfection. The Gold Medal is well deserved

The entries this month were magical. Each month I think that the quality of the photos can’t get any better;  but you continue to improve, surprise and create. Next month’s contest with Josh McCullough, a favorite returning judge, will be posted during the first week of June. So keep a look out!!

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
13 comments… add one

Leave a Comment

Darla June 2, 2011, 5:21 am

Thank you Alan for taking the time to view all the entries and for the corrective criticism on my image…I’m here to learn and improve. Congratulations to the honorable mentions and to Leavesinbloom, well done!

Raji June 2, 2011, 7:09 am

Thank you Alan. It was such a fantastic learning project for me..you did an awesome job judging and thanks for the comments..it sure helps to improve..

Congrats Leavesnbloom, Craig,Cheris and ESP.

Gayle Madwin June 2, 2011, 9:17 am

Wow! I don’t think I’ve ever seen a more thoroughly deserving gold medal photo.

Cheris Lifford June 2, 2011, 9:38 am

Thank you! Lovely photos, everyone.

Cathy June 2, 2011, 10:55 am

Great job, Rosie… this was hands down my favorite. If ever a picture could make someone salivate for a macro lens, this is it. Actually, I enjoyed looking through all the entries this month – I am learning so much from these monthly “lessons” and contests.

Thanks, Mr. Detrick for taking the time to critique other photos as well – looking at your comments, and viewing the pictures again, is another lesson in itself!

Cathy in MA (USA)

Lazy Composter June 2, 2011, 11:03 am

Thanks everyone, the winner and honorable mentions are beautiful. I especially like the hi idea photo. Beautiful! The comments are helpful. I wanted to point out that in your comment on my entry:
“George at The Lazy Composter: The placement and angle of the subject within the frame was very interesting.”
My name is actually Wendy, not George.

VW June 2, 2011, 11:20 am

I loved the observations about all the photos – us learners need every tip and bit of professionally-supplied feedback we can get!

Hoover Boo June 2, 2011, 11:29 am

Thanks for the comments, very helpful! Mostly I am just excited something in the frame was in focus.

I will just say though, that sometimes a play can be an ensemble piece… 🙂

Thanks again! It’s fun.

Debra Lee Baldwin June 2, 2011, 11:49 am

How lovely! Magical, indeed. And such texture! How wonderful when a photo captures the character of a plant, revealing nature’s beauty in a fresh new way. No words needed. Many thanks, Alan.

Caroline @ The Shovel-Ready Garden June 2, 2011, 10:19 pm

Thank you, Alan, for your helpful comments! Congratulations to all the honorable mentions and to LeavesnBloom for the gold.

Terri Mc June 3, 2011, 1:10 am

Beautiful photos – each one a winner. Like the fact that you took the time to give feed back. One month I may make it that far.
Congratulations to all!

ESP June 3, 2011, 3:13 pm

Thank you Alan and GGW for another great competition this month, and congratulations on your stunning picture Leavesnbloom.

Greggo June 6, 2011, 6:17 pm

Congratulation Rosie..you were deserving. And thank you Alan for your time, you were a fair judge.

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