Results for Picture This Contest for April 2010

– Posted in: Garden Photography

The results are in for April 2010’s Picture This Contest. Here’s what our judge, Rob Cardillo, had to say and to whom he awarded the medals:

“Wow!  I was floored by the number and quality of entries this month and it made my job as judge especially demanding.  Many of you attempted to capture something beyond “snapshot pretty” and your unique viewpoints, artful compositions and affinity for interesting light made me smile many times over.

To start, Fran downloaded all the entries into Sideblog where I could review images without seeing entrant’s names or websites. I try to judge photos, first by their emotional content and if an image moves me significantly, I can forgive lack of focus, tilted horizon lines, improper exposure or any other camera club rules.  I made a note of a few that grabbed me in some way and then reexamined every entry several times to make sure I wasn’t overlooking any subtle artistry or intent that needed to be uncovered. Some photographs need time to reveal their secrets.

Once I settled on a handful of finalists, I reviewed them again, looking more critically at their technical qualities and craftsmanship and chose the winners. As a last step, I went to back to everyone’s blogs to see who you all were and explore the context of each image.  I was surprised at how much gardening passion and personality I found: it made me wish I was a more active blogger. However, I was even more surprised to spot images on some sites that I found more compelling than the ones that were entered!  Oh well.

I wish I had the time and space to praise and/or gently critique everyone’s entry but here are comments on a few.  There were two very playful entries that gave me a grin — “Peas in my Heart” — a cute visual pun by #17, Byddi Lee, and #19, Theresa at Garden Shoes Online — a botanical version of the Sistine Chapel. (shown at the very top of this post).

Not many landscapes were entered but two that stood out were #34, by Pam at Digging, a true study in greens and blues at Chanticleer and Hannah at Qui Mal Y Pense, a nicely balanced and geometrically infused view of a tree and its shadow.

Two entries featured green animals we find in our gardens.  I just love the way the little anole is claiming his tree in Darla’s photo at  More Family and Flowers . and the dramatically backlit hornworm in #56, Mindy at MountainView Gardens is full of morning thunder.  This must have been a tough shot to make with a point-and-shoot.

There were quite a number of beautiful renderings of leaves and flowers but several stood out of the crowd.  I’m usually not taken by overly centered images but the in-your-face allium bud from #10, Pam at Tales from the Microbial Laboratory has lots of raw energy and texture to offer.

The delicate furriness of an unfurled frond in #16 at Heather’s Garden is set perfectly against a pastiche of soft earthy tones.  The background makes this simple image stand up and sing.

A young penstemon is finely rendered against a bit of spotlighted lawn in #45 at Ginny’s Garden.  Here again the selection of background has elevated a simple plant study into the realm of art.

Backlighting often means beauty with foliage studies and #30, Meredith at Great Stems,  shows how to do it with another surprisingly simple composition.  The sun illuminates the subject from within and adds a fine corona on the leaf margin and stem hairs .

The polygonum from #38, Phillip at Dirt Therapy, also benefits from pretty backlighting. The sun adds depth and interest to the image as does the echo of the second plant in the background.

The Silver Medal goes to #4, Carolyn at Rose Notes, for this exquisite botanical study.  Rose foliage is generally not very compelling but with the jewel drops of dew, an out-of-the-box composition and a superbly chosen light-infused background, this image steals my heart.  Would love to see it bigger sometime.


The Gold Medal Award goes to #61, Craig of Ellis Hollow, for this precious garden moment.  There’s much to say about why this is such a successful image and  I’ll try to break it down a little.


The gracefully curved young polygonum shoots are clear and slightly off center — a great way to add compositional strength to almost any image.  They’re also elegantly balanced on the diagonal with the fragmented elements of bright sky. The plant’s green and pink tones are deliciously repeated in the background  and the colors overall are rich and sensuous without being oversaturated (an easy Photoshop sin to commit).

And by using just the right aperture and a longer lens, the background is rendered in soft painterly shapes that echo the subject and add context.  The aperture choice also softens the foreground elements  helping achieve a fine illusion of depth — something I aspire to with much of my photography.  Also notice how the tips of the main shoots fall on quiet spaces in the background.  Well-seen and well-executed.”

A big thank you to all of you who entered. Your images will be added to the gallery of past Picture This Contests. To check out all photo entries over the past year, click on here.

And as always, we want to thank Rob Cardillo for offering his expertise, time and thoughtfulness in coming up with the winners and honorable mentions for April’s Picture This.

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

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Fran Sorin
25 comments… add one

Leave a Comment

Pam/Digging April 29, 2010, 1:32 pm

Congrats to Craig and Carolyn! And thank you, Rob, for your comment on my photo.

Heather's Garden April 29, 2010, 1:53 pm

I’m honored to be mentioned in such company…there were some fantastic photos this month! Congratulations, Craig, two in a row — you’re on fire!

Nancy Bond April 29, 2010, 2:14 pm

Congrats to the winners! As always, there were some outstanding photos.

Darla April 29, 2010, 2:30 pm

I too am honored to be mentioned in such great company. Congrats to the winners!!

Melody April 29, 2010, 3:28 pm

Great pictures this month everybody!

Linda/patchwork April 29, 2010, 4:35 pm

Congratulations to the winners.

Craig @ Ellis Hollow April 29, 2010, 5:07 pm

Thanks for the kind words. I wish I could take credit for all the intentionality Rob ascribed to the image. I really enjoyed his description. What makes him a pro is that he sees all that just peering through the viewfinder — and figures out the best way to render it.

Debi April 29, 2010, 5:26 pm

Woo hoo! Congratulations, everyone!!! Well done!

ESP April 29, 2010, 6:01 pm

Congratulations Craig and Carolyn!

Teresa April 29, 2010, 8:10 pm

Congratulations to all of the winners. There are some great photos there. Tough to choose I am sure. You have an error with the first photo. It doesn’t belong to Dave at the home garden. It is actually my photo, FYI. Glad you like it. Another fun Photo contest. thanks.

We’re very sorry abut the mix-up, Theresa. It’s fixed now, so you get the credit you deserve for a great photo.

Lynn April 29, 2010, 10:45 pm

Congratulations to Craig and all the honorees! That is a precious garden moment and very well done. However, did you mean to say, “without” being oversaturated? The pale tones don’t show any Photoshop sins to me.

robert bornstein April 29, 2010, 11:23 pm

Great pictures! Thanks for sharing. Next time I want to enter some.

Byddi Lee - We didn't come here for the grass! April 29, 2010, 11:42 pm

Well done Craig and Carolyn. Beautiful shots.

Thanks also for mentioning mine Rob. Its my first ever entry to a photo competition, and I love that you appreciated the fun I intended to convey. You’ve made my day!

healingmagichands April 29, 2010, 11:51 pm

Wow is all I can say. What a great batch of images. Congratulations to all the winners, and we should all be thrilled to have the opportunity to see the world through each other’s eyes. Because when you start to visit all those other entries you find out how many amazing gardens there are in this very green world.

Thanks to GGW for hosting this competition every month! I can’t even imagine how much work this must entail. There are a lot of entries to go through, for sure.

Ginny April 30, 2010, 9:00 am

I was thrilled to have my photo mentioned! But I especially enjoyed reading the comments and viewing the other photos. I’ve learned a lot from all of them. I look forward to more of Picture This.

Gail April 30, 2010, 5:38 pm

There were so many delightful photos! Congrats to the winners! gail

Chookie May 1, 2010, 6:52 am

I have learned a lot from the comments, but I liked all the photos. Congratulations to the winners!

Meredith/Great Stems May 1, 2010, 8:29 am

I loved the theme of this month’s contest, and Rob certainly had a challenge in choosing among so many fantastic photos. Thank you, Rob, for the kind words about my photo, and congratulations to the winners!

Sweet Bay May 1, 2010, 11:22 am

Congratulations to the winners. So many beautiful photos!

Tamara May 1, 2010, 5:48 pm

Wonderful photos!!

Ginger May 1, 2010, 7:27 pm

Congrats to the winners! All of the photos above are GORGEOUS!!

ryan May 2, 2010, 9:12 pm

A lot of great entries. It seems like it was a good topic for everyone.

Layanee May 4, 2010, 8:52 am

It is so much fun to view all these winners. Congrats to all.

Daricia May 10, 2010, 8:22 pm

Fun contest and lots of good photos. I enjoyed taking part. Congratulations to the winners!

commonweeder May 11, 2010, 11:32 am

This contest is so much fun – and so instructive whether we enter or not. congratulations to everyone and thanks to Rob for judging and making his helpful comments.

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