Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Gardening Gone Wild: May Photo Contest

This month, celebrated nature photographer Alan Detrich challenged the readers of the Gardening Gone Wild blog to use a macro lens and to utilize light  in close-up photogrpahy in our garden photography.

This exercise has once again taught me to pay attention to light when I am taking photographs in the garden. It also pointed out to me that there are two things that should be at the top of my Wish List:  a macro lens, and Mr. Detrich's book on digital macro photography. But most of all I "discovered" many things that I often simply look at but don't actually "see".... some aphids, a lady bug, an ant on a pear blossom, pollen in the center of a flower - and pink pollen at that! (Okay, so it probably wasn't pollen... time to review plant anatomy LOL.)

Appreciating that many of us might not have the lens designated for the contest, Mr. Detrich encouraged us to try our hand nonetheless.  Using the mediocre 55 mm lens that came with my Canon Rebel XT, I surprised myself with what I could do with a lens that I have long sought to replace with one of "better" quality. (I'm thinking maybe this is a keeper?)

Anyway, after shooting no less than 600 photographs of everything from red lily leaf beetles to our fish eating Cheerios, here are some of my favorites as well as my entry for the contest. I don't know how anyone else's computer works, but on mine, if you click on an image and then click on it again, you get a super-enlarged version of it and can see the most incredible detail. I hope these look as good on your monitor as they do on mine!

First, my contest entry:

I love how the light plays on the stones in this picture of the water cascading over the waterfall of our koi pond.

Here are the "runners up" - the ones I thought carefully about but didn't submit.

I must have spent a full half hour (and over 100 images) wishing this little ant would get out into the light more, but every time he did, something else in the image wasn't quite perfect. This exercise left me with profound respect for photographers who spent much time and money perfecting their craft before the age of digital photography.

As always, my favorite subjects to photograph are the flowers in our garden, and two of my springtime favorites are grape hyacinths and hellebores.


Okay, so that last photograph wasn't even close to a "close-up, but aren't they beautiful!  

And here is one of our butterfly koi, Sherbet, scarfing down a Cheerio.This little gal (okay, she's two feet long so not so little) pushes her face right out of the water to snatch her nuggets of food.

And last but not least, my absolute favorite spring flower ever, the lovely lilac. Here are some gorgeous double blossoms that I couldn't get enough of either in the photographs I took or in the vases of them that I have throughout the house.


  1. Gorgeous photos! My favorite would be the fish shot. It's so cute. I have not gotten one this interesting before. I guess the size of my fish which is less than 2 inch long contributed to the difficulties in getting a good shot. :)

    All the best. My potatoes image is quite embarrassing actually. Do drop by at my other blog; Onenezz.

  2. You have some lovely shots, and the fish stole my heart too. Thanks for visiting my blog earlier!

  3. Thank you for visiting, One and Pam! Yeah, Sherbet is a cutie, but it was a stretch for me, the whole "light" issue!

  4. I appreciate your excellent photos. I, too, have found that a 55mm lens can capture some fantastic closeup details (which I discover when I see the photo on the computer monitor). You have a great shot of the grape hyacinth. That's one which I've had difficulty getting a good closeup of.

  5. Thanks, Angelyn! We priced macros around my birthday and I can't find a good enough reason to spend that kind of money right now, when I can get an adequate close-up that will magnify as well as these do.

    I love those little grape hyacinths. I think I have about 200 photos just from this spring LOL. Each time I go through the file I delete a few more. How many does one really need!

  6. My favourites are of your grape hyacinth and those delicious lilac flower clusters. You don't need a fancy camera lens to get good closeups as you've shown here. The depth of field in your hyacinth shot is very good indeed as you have a lovely blur around the image.

    I too have a great respect for those who used film - it's so easy for us just to send things to the recyling bin with just a touch of a button.

  7. I so love the hyacinths... I'm beginning to think I submitted the wrong photograph LOL. But the contest has its intended result -- it has me out there photo'ing the garden almost daily! Thanks for dropping by!

  8. I can practically smell those lilacs!



Thank you for leaving a comment for us. We try to reply to each one here on the blog so feel free to ask questions and we will respond. Do be sure to subscribe to the comments so you will receive our reply by email. Otherwise, you can email us for a more personal, detailed reply to a query.

Spam Alert: Spammers, our spam blocker keeps most of you out and the few that slip through with inappropriate links, we immediately delete so you probably shouldn't even waste your time.

Everyone else, do have a great gardening day!