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A publication of the GCA Photography Committee | September 2020 | Volume 54


September 2020 . page 2

Photography Committee Chairman Vice Chairman

From the Chairman

I

Chris Wood Shelley Galloway

PSG Coordinator Lyndon Chamberlain Assistant to the PSG Coordinator GCA Photographer

Ann Brookshire Kate Fahey

Focus Magazine Editor Assistant Editor Layout Editor

Debbie Laverell Dedee O’Neil Kim Cutler

Committee Reps Zone I

Christine Paxhia

Zone II

Jill Corr

Zone III

Kathy De Las Heras

Zone IV

Elena Sisti

Zone V

Emilie Lapham

Zone VI

Dorcas Hutton

Zone VII

Claire Mellinger

Zone VIII

Mary Pietan

Zone IX

Vance Lewis

Zone X

Beth Boles

Zone XI

Debbie Ross

Zone XII

Jean Jarvis

Cover Photo:

Anna Forbes, Kanawha GC, Zone VII

From the Editor

I

think it is safe to say that we are all suffering from pandemic fatigue. I hope that this new issue of Focus will help to distract you from the daily news, wow you with stunning images, stimulate your creativity, and enhance your photographic knowledge. This issue showcases all winning photographs from SHOW OF SUMMER - 20|20 Vision, a GCA Major Flower Show hosted by the Chicago Area GCA clubs. We have also included Best in Show photographs from six club shows, some of which were held virtually this past spring. We hope all club photography chairs will encourage their BIS winners to submit their winning images to future issues of Focus. Today the Focus contest, ‘America the Beautiful’ is open for registration; we look forward to seeing the beautiful images that will be submitted. Good luck to all of you! Debbie Laverell Focus Editor The Garden Workers, Zone V

am delighted to be writing as the new Chairman of the Photography Committee. As members of the GCA, we are so fortunate to be part of a vibrant and growing community of talented and enthusiastic photographers. In these uncertain times, I find that I am increasingly taking refuge in, and inspired by, photographs that capture the beauty of our natural world, whether it’s a close-up of my own dahlias or the expansive grandeur of our national parks. I think that now, more than ever, we need to be reminded of the joy and hope to be found in nature, and the art it inspires. As you read through these pages, I hope that you will also find joy and inspiration. I cannot wait to see the images that will be submitted for our new contest, ‘America the Beautiful’ – I hope yours is one of them! Chris Wood GCA Photography Committee Chairman Noanett GC, Zone I


September 2020 . page 3 In This Issue Photography Committee | Welcome Remarks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 Table of Contents | Mission Statement . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 ‘America the Beautiful’ Contest Online Registration . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4-5 FYI . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 Introduction to the Show of Summer | 2020 Vision . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 Focal Pointers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 64-65 Submissions to Focus . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 66 Index of Photographers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 67 Articles Photographing Cultural Landscapes, by Jill Corr . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 Need Inspiration? How About a Personal Photography Project?, by Kate Fahey . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28 The Aha Moment, by Jane Derickson Shafer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39 Judging Photography and Judges’ Comments Read Between the Lines!, by Claire Melinger . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50 How to Photograph a Flower Show, by Linder Suthers & Sally Barnett . . . 59 Flower Shows Show of Summer | 2020 Vision Class 1: Your World View . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 Class 2: Mono-Chromacy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 Class 3: Readers Required . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20 Class 4: Triple Vision . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24 Class 5: A Visual Feast . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31 Class 6: In the Blink of an Eye . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35 Class 7: Reflection Lenses, Novice! . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42 Class 8: View Finder . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 46 Club Shows: Best in Show Photos . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 53

Libba Wilkes, GC of Jackson, Zone IX

Mission Stament The object of Focus magazine of The Garden Club of America is to enhance the knowledge and enjoyment at all levels of involvement in the art of photography and to appreciate its unique blend of technical skill, knowledge of composition and creativity. Articles written express the opinion of the writers and are for the purpose of clarity and education about the photographic process, exhibiting and judging. The Garden Club of America and Focus magazine do not endorse any product or service. All entries in Flower Shows are limited to members of GCA. By submitting your work to Focus, you grant permission to publish your work on the GCA website accessible to the public, and not limited to the Members Area.


September 2020 . page 4

The New Focus 2020 Photography Contest

‘America the Beautiful’

CONTEST RULES 1. This Focus online photo contest celebrates ‘America The Beautiful.’ 2. Only GCA club members may enter the contest. 3. Refer to Contest Timing for deadlines. 4. Entries: a. Only ONE (1) entry per exhibitor will be accepted between September 1 and September 30. b. Exhibitors may register an additional three entries (no more than one per class) until classes are full between October 1 and October 15. 5. Entered photos may not have been entered previously in GCA shows, GCA Major Shows, Sanctioned non-GCA shows, or Focus contests. 6. All submissions must be the work of the exhibitor. 7. There will be a maximum of 18 photographs accepted into each class on a first come, first entered basis. 8. The Focus committee reserves the right to reclassify a photo into a different class if it is decided that it would be a better fit. 9. Eight finalists in each class will be selected by GCA Photography Judges for inclusion in the online voting. 10. Online voting for the winners: a. Only GCA club members may vote during the online voting. b. A photographer may not disclose the identity of her/his image to anyone and no one should attempt to influence voting on their own or another’s behalf. c. All voting will be merit-based and confidential. The Committee will observe the same confidentiality. 11. There will be one 1st, 2nd, 3rd and Honorable Mention (unless there is a tie) in each class. The winning images will be published in the January 2020 issue of Focus. 12. There will be three (3) special awards: n The Focus Contest Best in Show – Awarded to the image receiving the most votes in the entire show. n The Focus Contest Creativity Award – Voted on the basis of criteria that includes innovation, technical excellence, uniqueness of composition and a novel concept or approach. n The Focus Editors’ Choice Award - The photograph that, in the Editors’ opinion, is the most deserving. 13. In accordance with GCA Policy: “Submission of content or images by GCA club members to the GCA constitutes permission to use the submitted content or images in all GCA channels of communication.”


September 2020 . page 5

ENTRY REQUIREMENTS

CONTEST CLASSES:

CONTEST TIMING

1. Entires must be submitted using the official entry form. Click this link to enter: Focus Contest Entry Form.

1. O beautiful for spacious skies: A color landscape with an ultra-dramatic sky.

Maximum ONE entry per exhibitor Contest registration is open via online entry form.

2. To be accepted, each image MUST be renamed as follows: Class number_Entrant’s first and last name. Example: 1_Susie Jones 3. A participant may submit only one entry between September 1 and September 30. 4. A participant may enter up to an additional three entries, but no more than one entry per class, between October 1 and October 15. 5. Images must be submitted as jpegs between 1 and 5 MB; any format orientation is acceptable. 6. Clearly identifiable plant material should be listed when possible. Long lists are not expected.

‘America the Beautiful’

2. For amber waves of grain: A photograph of a farmer’s crop captured in an unusual manner. (Crop must be grown in the ground – not on trees) 3. For purple mountain majesties: A majestic mountain landscape. (plant material required) 4. Above the fruited plain: A photograph of fruit growing or harvested in a natural setting. 5. From sea to shining sea: A photograph of shimmering water which captures the rays of the sun or moon. 6. O beautiful for pilgrim feet: An intimate scene of a pathway, allée or street which does not include the sky. (plant material required) 7. Across the wilderness: A photograph capturing the essence of wilderness which includes one or more animals in nature. 8. God mend thine every flaw: A closeup or macro image of a deconstructed or deteriorating flower or plant. 9. Thine alabaster cities gleam: An urban scene which contains striking reflections. 10. Undimmed by human tears: A raindrop or water drop image. (plant material required) 11. O beautiful for patriot dream: A photograph using creative techniques of a dreamy or ethereal garden scene. 12. And crown thy good with brotherhood: A photograph which includes two or more people engaged in an activity which suggests the feeling of a close bond.

n September 1 – September 30

n October 1 – October 15

Contest registration continues: Exhibitors may now enter up to three additional photos - but no more than one photo in a class - until classes are full.

n October 15

Contest registration is closed.

n October 16 – October 31

Finalists are selected by GCA Photography Judges.

n November 20

Special voting edition of the Focus contest is published.

n November 20 – December 15

GCA club members vote online via link in special contest edition.

n January 12

Winning entries published in Focus.


September 2020 . page 6

Change is in the air for GCA publications.

FYI By Debbie Laverell, Focus Editor, The Garden Workers, Zone V

Exciting GCA Photography Announcement SAVE THE DATE! We are thrilled to announce that there will be a new, day-long, online, and educational Photography Conference on January 21, 2021. The conference will be open to all 18,000 members of GCA clubs, free of charge. Preliminary planning is underway by the GCA Photography Committee. Be on the lookout for more information from your Zone Photography Representatives and on the GCA website Photography Committee page as the plans develop!

One of the goals of the GCA Strategic Plan 2019-2024 is to bring all of the GCA publications into closer alignment, including, of course, Focus! Previously, the editorial committees for each GCA publication worked independently. There was no coordination of publication schedules, no consistency in graphic design among the publications, and the content of articles occasionally overlapped. A new Publications Advisory Ad Hoc Committee has been commissioned to change this. Going forward, GCA publications will be published according to a revised schedule, giving the readers time to read one publication before the next one arrives in their inbox. Focus will produce three regular issues per year plus a special voting issue in November for the Focus contest ‘America The Beautiful’ which is accepting registrations now. Publication dates of Focus issues for 2020-2021 are: September 1, 2020 – Fall Issue November 20, 2020 – Special Contest Voting Issue January 12, 2021 – Winter and Contest Results Issue May 11, 2021 – Spring Issue


September 2020 . page 7

SHOW OF SUMMER A GCA Major Flower Show

|20/20 Vision Presented by: Chicago Area Garden Club of America Clubs: n Garden

Club of Barrington

n Garden

Club of Evanston

n Garden

Guild of Winnetka

n Kenilworth n Lake

Garden Club

Forest Garden Club

n Winnetka

Garden Club

June, 2020 The show was to take place at the Chicago Botanic Garden but was held virtually.

Class 1 YOUR WORLD VIEW A color image depicting a cultural landscape or cityscape from a memorable travel destination. Class 2 MONO-CHROMACY An abstract image in monochrome utilizing Creative Techniques. Class 3 READERS REQUIRED A color macro or close-up image that enchants with the smallest details. Class 4 TRIPLE VISION “Triptych”—Three related color photographs of a plant or plants mounted on a single mat: commonality could be shape, line, color, focus, species, etc. Class 5 A VISUAL FEAST Still Life: A color photograph of an intentionally composed arrangement of inanimate objects. Class 6 IN THE BLINK OF AN EYE Image taken at slow shutter speed.

JUDGES’ COMMENDATIONS: “Commend the overall quality of all the entries in the photography division.” “Commend the Photograhy Division Chair for her grace under pressure, attention to detail, and never-ending patience and support.”

Class 7 REFLECTIVE LENSES / Novice Class A color image featuring a reflection. Class 8 VIEW FINDER A color image featuring a landscape in postcard size 3 ”x 5” mounted on black foam core.


September 2020 . page 8

Gail Atwater The GC of Honolulu Zone XII Show Show of Summer | 2020 Vision Hosted by Chicago Area GCA Garden Clubs June 26 – 28, 2020 Chicago Botanic Garden Glencoe, Illinois Class 1: Your World View First Place Judges Comments: “Intriguing march of sculptural faces creates a transcendent interpretation.”


September 2020 . page 9

Debbie Ross Garden Guild of Winnetka Zone XI Show Show of Summer | 2020 Vision Hosted by Chicago Area GCA Garden Clubs June 26 – 28, 2020 Chicago Botanic Garden Glencoe, Illinois Class 1: Your World View Second Place Judges Comments: “The vertical lines of the monks juxtaposed with the leading lines of the blocks create an image that is strong and dynamic. The background tourists unfortunately distract.”


September 2020 . page 10

Linda Clarke The GC of Evanston Zone XI Show Show of Summer | 2020 Vision Hosted by Chicago Area GCA Garden Clubs June 26 – 28, 2020 Chicago Botanic Garden Glencoe, Illinois Class 1: Your World View Third Place Judges Comments: “A striking and dramatic narrative told through light and color. The impact of the photo is diminished by the stark tree.”


September 2020 . page 11

Polly Beal Green Tree GC Zone XI Show Show of Summer | 2020 Vision Hosted by Chicago Area GCA Garden Clubs June 26 – 28, 2020 Chicago Botanic Garden Glencoe, Illinois Class 1: Your World View Honorable Mention Judges Comments: “Interesting juxtaposition of ancient and modern is enhanced by otherworldly light. More sky and less grass might elevate this story.”


September 2020 . page 12

Cindy Seibert The GC of Barrington Zone XI Show Show of Summer | 2020 Vision Hosted by Chicago Area GCA Garden Clubs June 26 – 28, 2020 Chicago Botanic Garden Glencoe, Illinois Class 2: Mono-Chromacy First Place and Certificate of Excellence in Photography Judges Comments: “Curvilinear movement and dynamic contrast from light to dark yields a sumptuous image.” Certificate of Excellence Citation: “Brilliant manipulation of forms and figures.”


September 2020 . page 13

Loan Tran Catonsville GC Zone VI Show Show of Summer | 2020 Vision Hosted by Chicago Area GCA Garden Clubs June 26 – 28, 2020 Chicago Botanic Garden Glencoe, Illinois Class 2: Mono-Chromacy Second Place Judges Comments: “The black and white contrast enhances the circular movement in the image with wonderful results. A Very Close Second.”


September 2020 . page 14

Taddy Dawson The Weeders Zone V

Show Show of Summer | 2020 Vision Hosted by Chicago Area GCA Garden Clubs June 26 – 28, 2020 Chicago Botanic Garden Glencoe, Illinois Class 2: Mono-Chromacy Third Place Judges Comments: “The oak leaves swirl into view in a pleasing presentation. Negative space creates heaviness.”


September 2020 . page 15

Yoni Mayeri Orinda GC Zone XII Show Show of Summer | 2020 Vision Hosted by Chicago Area GCA Garden Clubs June 26 – 28, 2020 Chicago Botanic Garden Glencoe, Illinois Class 2: Mono-Chromacy Honorable Mention Judges Comments: “Escher-like optical illusion reinforces circular rhythm. Bright highlights compete with movement.”


September 2020 . page 16

Historic Vernacular Landscape: Asara Wine Estate, Stellenbosch, South Africa

Photographing Cultural Landscapes Jill Corr, Zone II Photography Representative Stonington Garden Club, Stonington CT Photos by the author

Just what is a cultural landscape? Some GCA Photography show schedules include a class for Cultural Landscapes.

Cultural landscapes are works of art, narratives of culture, and expressions of regional identity. They are geographic areas that represent the combined works of nature and man. In photography they may be images that depict cultural situations or practices. Cultural landscapes often include people and animals but not necessarily.


September 2020 . page 17 According to The Cultural Landscape Foundation (TCLF) a cultural landscape may be associated with a single person or group of people, a single event or something that lasted for years. It may vary in size from less than an acre to many thousands of acres. It can be a grand estate, industrial site, city park, national park, private garden, community cemetery, or school campus. Cultural landscapes narrate culture, express art and are tied to the identity of a region. They can be found anywhere, from cities to wilderness, wherever humans have changed or impacted the natural setting. They range in age, from thousands of years to a few decades. They vary from naturally occurring places such as Yellowstone National Park to human designed places such as the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial in St. Louis Missouri. Jefferson National Expansion Memorial - St. Louis Arch

C

Yellowstone - Artist Point

ultural landscapes represent an important element in the history of cities, regions, and countries. From pre-historic human settlements to 21st century buildings, cultural landscapes show the evolving relationship between humans and the natural world. By celebrating their cultural landscapes, communities learn to value local history, and gain educational, economic, ecological, social, and recreational opportunities. A landscape photograph typically portrays mountains, rivers, lakes, forests, beaches -- scenes created by nature. A photograph of a cultural landscape will usually show human involvement and its influence in shaping the natural world: a canal or dam, an elaborate garden, the remains of an amphitheater or a fortress. But not always. For example, there are areas within Yellowstone National Park that are considered cultural landscapes. An example is Artist Point which is a view of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone.


September 2020 . page 18 Categorizing Cultural Landscapes. There are primarily four types of cultural landscapes although many landscapes fit the criteria for more than one category.

2

Historic Site Landscape: a landscape that is significant for its association with a historic era or event, an activity, or individual.

Examples of Historic Site Landscapes

1

Historic Designed Landscape: a landscape that was designed consciously or laid out by a landscape architect, master gardener, architect, or horticulturist according to design principles. Aesthetic values play a major part in these types of landscapes. They may have historical association with a significant person, trend, or movement in landscape gardening or architecture.

Example of Historic Designed Landscape

The Old Courthouse in St. Louis, Missouri

Fort Ticonderoga, Ticonderoga, NY

3

Ethnographic Landscape: a landscape containing a variety of natural and cultural resources that associated people define as heritage resources. This includes settlements, from prehistoric to contemporary, sacred religious sites, and massive geological structures.

Examples of Ethnographic Landscapes

Desert Botanical Garden, Phoenix, AZ. Dale Chihuly Glass Art

Grand Teton National Park: Mormon Row - Barn, Farmhouse and Outhouse


September 2020 . page 19

4

Historic Vernacular Landscape: a landscape that evolves through use by the people whose activities or occupancy shaped it. Through social or cultural attitudes of an individual, a family, or a community, the landscape reflects the physical, biological, and cultural character of everyday lives.

Examples of Historic Vernacular Landscapes

Tips on How to Photograph Cultural Landscapes 1 Research the site before you go. Learn about the place and its history. Understand the cultural impact of the site. Look at photographs on the internet. Get an idea of what you want to photograph when you get there. Learn about the history or people and the historic and cultural significance. 2 Do not spend a fortune on camera equipment. Learn to use the gear you have! Spend your money on traveling to culturally interesting places and capturing beautiful memories and experiences. Practice, practice, practice! Most basic cameras or phone cameras can provide beautiful images.

Terrace Farming, Bhutan

The Cultural Landscape Foundation’s website has a database with over 1600 sites, with locations across the United States. Check to see if your hometown has sites that have been documented, or when planning a trip, check to see what sites your destination offers.

3 Spend time analyzing the site. When you approach a cultural landscape, ask yourself what you like about the scene. When you look through the viewfinder is there anything distracting (rocks, trees, boulders, signs, people)? You can eliminate distractions by walking around, zooming in, or in post-processing. Be sure you have clearly established your subject matter. Get creative with how you photograph the scene. Shoot the scene from different angles. Shooting from a lower or higher perspective might enhance the photograph.

4 Pay attention to the time of day. Shooting any landscape in the early morning or during the “golden hour” (just before sunset) provides soft ambient light which results in a warm and inviting photo. Midday and afternoon light can often result in a photograph with either harsh or flat light. 5 Shoot in RAW. When using a DSLR camera or even a phone camera, RAW files provide the most flexibility in editing an image in post-processing. You can easily fix incorrect exposure or color cast. 6 Use a tripod. It allows you to shoot landscapes at slower shutter speeds, in lower light, and with a smaller aperture. 7 Make sure you capture depth in your image. Include a foreground, middle ground, and background. Leading lines in the foreground will take the viewer through the photograph in a pleasing way. Generally, you will want to shoot in the f/8 to f/11 range. But experiment because every scene is different. Celebrating cultural landscapes through photography can be one of the most rewarding experiences in life. Our very ability to both preserve and document our environment defines us as human. Have fun capturing this most extraordinary world! And don’t be afraid to enter a Cultural Landscape class in a photography show!


September 2020 . page 20

Gail Atwater The GC of Honolulu Zone XII Show Show of Summer | 2020 Vision Hosted by Chicago Area GCA Garden Clubs June 26 – 28, 2020 Chicago Botanic Garden Class 3: Readers Required First Place Judges Comments: “A study in contrasts: a wonderful use of solid hard surface showcases the translucency of this stunning image.” Judges Class Commendation: “This class certainly enhances down to the smallest detail.”


September 2020 . page 21

Christine Wiedrich Kenilworth GC Zone XI Show Show of Summer | 2020 Vision Hosted by Chicago Area GCA Garden Clubs June 26 – 28, 2020 Chicago Botanic Garden Class 3: Readers Required Second Place Judges Comments: “A romantic duet creates an ethereal dialog of textures and hues. A Very Close Second!” Judges Class Commendation: “This class certainly enhances down to the smallest detail.”


September 2020 . page 22

Janet Josselyn Noanett GC Zone XI Show Show of Summer | 2020 Vision Hosted by Chicago Area GCA Garden Clubs June 26 – 28, 2020 Chicago Botanic Garden Class 3: Readers Required Third Place and Photography Creativity Award Judges Comments: “Ethereal layers evoke a dream. A Very Close Third.” Creativity Award Citation: “Transparent and electric interplay of organic components creates a stunning image.” Judges Class Commendation: “This class certainly enhances down to the smallest detail.”


September 2020 . page 23

Joanne Ter Molen The GC of Evanston Zone XI Show Show of Summer | 2020 Vision Hosted by Chicago Area GCA Garden Clubs June 26 – 28, 2020 Chicago Botanic Garden Class 3: Readers Required Honorable Mention Judges Comments: “The budding image presents an organic unfolding of multiple hues. The white highlights create a slight distraction.” Judges Class Commendation: “This class certainly enhances down to the smallest detail.”


September 2020 . page 24

Nancy Guldberg The Lake Minnetonka GC Zone XI Show Show of Summer | 2020 Vision Hosted by Chicago Area GCA Garden Clubs June 26 – 28, 2020 Chicago Botanic Garden Class 4: Triple Vision First Place Judges Comments: “You have chosen very interesting subject matter using backgrounds that unify all three images.”


September 2020 . page 25

Jean Jarvis Piedmont GC Zone XII Show Show of Summer | 2020 Vision Hosted by Chicago Area GCA Garden Clubs June 26 – 28, 2020 Chicago Botanic Garden Class 4: Triple Vision Second Place Judges Comments: “Dancing leaves contribute to the overall rhythmic presentation. Close cropping on image on left diminishes impact.”


September 2020 . page 26

Crissy Cherry Lake Forest GC Zone XI Show Show of Summer | 2020 Vision Hosted by Chicago Area GCA Garden Clubs June 26 – 28, 2020 Chicago Botanic Garden Class 4: Triple Vision Third Place Judges Comments: “This is a striking color combination with a painterly background. Close point of view overpowers subtlety of the rest of the image.”


September 2020 . page 27

Glo Rolighed The Garden Guild of Winnetka Zone XI Show Show of Summer | 2020 Vision Hosted by Chicago Area GCA Garden Clubs June 26 – 28, 2020 Chicago Botanic Garden Class 4: Triple Vision Honorable Mention Judges Comments: “Playful selection and sizing of images and creative borders. Time of day creates problematic lighting.”


September 2020 . page 28

Need Inspiration? How About a Personal Photography Project? By Kate Fahey, Four Counties Garden Club, Zone V; photos by the author

Are you stuck in a rut with your photography? Have you been meaning to really learn how to use your camera? Do you need to diversify your portfolio? Do you need to get out of the house?

P

erhaps a photography project is for you! Photography projects are a powerful way to practice, to try new techniques, to develop and expand your photography skills. Consider a photography project with your club photography group. Whether working alone or with a group, set a goal to experiment outside your comfort zone. Be creative! Choose projects and assignments that challenge your existing skills and techniques and push you as an artist. There is no right or wrong. But recognize when a project is too easy, versus when a project really makes you work, perhaps forcing you to consult the camera manual, to learn how to use the histogram, to experiment with a neutral density filter or to use manual mode. Also, remember this is a personal assignment; do not make it so hard or unrealistic that it has little chance of success.

Project ideas are easy to find online and are usually free. They can be found on Instagram, Facebook, and various websites. Google ‘photography project’ and explore the numerous options. What excites you? What are you

curious about? Once you decide on a project be faithful to it and do not give up. The sense of accomplishment when finishing your project is worth the time and is also something that you can share with others via social media. Managing the photos in your project is crucial. Consider creating a dedicated folder on your computer to store your project photos for easy access. If you are using your phone camera

and not planning to download your images to your computer, consider posting to Instagram or Flickr where the images can be stored and accessed from anywhere. After completing your project, consider printing your photos to commemorate your accomplishment. Creating a book of your photos provides a lasting memory of your work.


September 2020 . page 29

Examples of different projects: 365 Challenge Take one photo a day for a year. This project often has a documentary feel. Perhaps your garden can be the subject? Taking a photograph each day will highlight not only the triumphs but also discover beauty in the mundane. Project52 photo books

You can do this on your own, with members of your garden club, or join an online photography community. Typically, an administrator of the project will offer daily, weekly, or monthly themes or lists for you to follow as well as community support. This challenge is not for the faint of heart – a photo a day is a commitment! Listed below are a few websites that offer a supported experience. https://365project.org https://expertphotography.com

Example of a 365 Challenge daily assignments

https://fatmumslim.com.au

Example of Project52 weekly assignment

Project52 This project involves shooting one photo per week. This format allows time to plan, to experiment with camera settings and to study your subject at different times of the day in different light. https://52frames.com https://www.instagram.com/p52clicks/?hl=en Digital Photography School


September 2020 . page 30

Other ideas for photography projects include:

Subject Specific Project Your project can take shape in the form of a subject-specific challenge. Do you have a macro lens that sits in your camera bag? Spend one month of your project using only that lens. Do you like the flexibility and freedom of a mobile phone? Try a project using only your phone as your camera. Want to master capturing light? Photograph your garden in the same spot at different times of the day to learn how the sun affects the light in your backyard.

• Alphabet series - a photo for each letter of the alphabet. • Gear related - using a single lens for a week then switching to a different lens the next week or using only a smartphone. • Concentrate on a technique - infrared photography, black and white, light painting, low light images, off camera flash, crystal ball photos, leading lines or shadow play are just a few examples.

A project I am considering for 2021 is weekly photos of my local community-supported agriculture (CSA) farm. Ryn Clarke, member of Shaker Heights GC, Zone X, used a photography project as a creative release to manage the dark times of the pandemic. She took photos on her daily walk and created whimsical collages of the world around her.

Ryn Clarke

• Use a topic for inspiration. Look at everyday objects and occurrences and photograph only those for a certain period of time.

Debbie Laverell

Debbie Laverell, member of The Garden Workers, Zone V embarked on a similar COVID project while adhering to stay-at-home orders. She collected spring flowers as they bloomed from her neighborhood and arranged them on her Artograph Lightpad which backlit the flowers.

• Photograph at the same time every day. Pick a time of the day and photograph only then. For example, 6:00 pm has many different types of light that will change throughout the year. There are endless options for different personal photography projects. They allow for self-reflection and provide a direct way to see your growth as an artist. Looking back on your past projects is a way to see tangible growth in your skills and creative eye. So, go on and challenge yourself! Give one a try!


September 2020 . page 31

Anna Forbes Kanawha GC Zone VII Show Show of Summer | 2020 Vision Hosted by Chicago Area GCA Garden Clubs June 26 – 28, 2020 Chicago Botanic Garden Class 5: A Visual Feast First Place and Best in Show Judges Comments: “Dramatic lighting creates a classic still life.” BIS Citation: “A perfectly chosen scene illuminated by a dramatic display of light and exquisite capture of tonal ranges.”


September 2020 . page 32

Crissy Cherry Lake Forest GC Zone XI Show Show of Summer | 2020 Vision Hosted by Chicago Area GCA Garden Clubs June 26 – 28, 2020 Chicago Botanic Garden Class 5: A Visual Feast Second Place Judges Comments: “Creative and spot-on interpretation of the intent. Image appears somewhat flat.”


September 2020 . page 33

Martha Gangemi Cohasset GC Zone I Show Show of Summer | 2020 Vision Hosted by Chicago Area GCA Garden Clubs June 26 – 28, 2020 Chicago Botanic Garden Class 5: A Visual Feast Third Place Judges Comments: “A wonderful and whimsical selection of objects. Owl seems somewhat dominant.”


September 2020 . page 34

Joan Senko Kenilworth GC Zone XI Show Show of Summer | 2020 Vision Hosted by Chicago Area GCA Garden Clubs June 26 – 28, 2020 Chicago Botanic Garden Class 5: A Visual Feast Honorable Mention Judges Comments: “Well executed and appealing composition. Uniform lighting diminishes impact.”


September 2020 . page 35

Libba Wilkes The GC of Jackson Zone IX Show Show of Summer | 2020 Vision Hosted by Chicago Area GCA Garden Clubs June 26 – 28, 2020 Chicago Botanic Garden Class 6: In the Blink of an Eye First Place Judges Comments: “Wonderful balance of stillness and motion.”


September 2020 . page 36

Mary Lou Righellis Piedmont GC Zone XII Show Show of Summer | 2020 Vision Hosted by Chicago Area GCA Garden Clubs June 26 – 28, 2020 Chicago Botanic Garden Class 6: In the Blink of an Eye Second Place Judges Comments: “Dynamic and exciting image. Beautiful capture of a zoom blur. Building on left dominates.”


September 2020 . page 37

Susan Hilpert Monadnock GC Zone I Show Show of Summer | 2020 Vision Hosted by Chicago Area GCA Garden Clubs June 26 – 28, 2020 Chicago Botanic Garden Class 6: In the Blink of an Eye Third Place Judges Comments: “Impactful play of low light, motion and depth. Overlapping tree trunks create heaviness.”


September 2020 . page 38

JoAnne Rosen The Seattle GC Zone XII Show Show of Summer | 2020 Vision Hosted by Chicago Area GCA Garden Clubs June 26 – 28, 2020 Chicago Botanic Garden Class 6: In the Blink of an Eye Honorable Mention Judges Comments: “Repetition of shapes and dynamic presentation of colors create a rhythmic image. Tighter crop on the right would enhance the image.”


September 2020 . page 39

THE

AHA

MOMENT IN

PHOTOGRAPHY by Jane Derickson Shafer

Short Hills Garden Club, Zone IV Photos by the author

AHA MOMENT A moment of sudden realization, inspiration, insight, recognition, or comprehension.

J

ust about anyone with a smartphone and a minimal knowledge of photography knows it takes only a few seconds to snap a photo. But good photography takes thought and preparation. The thing about an awe-striking image is that it takes time to create. Great images take work, and to capture them a photographer must follow a process that needs to be learned.

When looking through your photos, has an image made you pause and look more closely? Does the image tell a story, elicit an emotional response? Did you capture a special moment in time? A good photograph requires three things: good lighting, good composition, and an interesting subject. Without a subject, the viewer’s eyes tend to wander. What does it take to create an ‘aha’ moment image? Whether your camera is a smartphone or a DSLR, here are some important things to keep in mind to help you create memorable, aha photographs. Most important is being at the right place at the right time!


September 2020 . page 40

1.Be fully engaged in the process of taking the

• Learn to look for and use shadows. The contrast between light and shadow helps to create depth and can convey the mood.

2. Practice letting your imagination loose; “let

• According to the pros, there is no ‘bad’ light. All light is good, whether strong or soft.

photograph, totally present in the moment. Have a reason for taking each photo. What caught your eye? Is there a story to tell?

your imagination flow, creativity will follow.”

3.Show emotion through your image. What

emotions do you feel as you look through your lens? Joy, sorrow, empathy, excitement, energy, fear, serenity? By careful use of light, shadows, color, and composition, viewers will feel an emotional impact. a. Use light: Without light, there would be no photography. The word ‘photography’ has Greek roots that translate to “the art of drawing or painting with light”. Our eyes see in three dimensions, while the camera sees two dimensionally. Light and shadows create the third dimension to this two-dimensional art form.

• Study the light that is available. Consider the direction of your light source. Is it from the side, from behind you, from behind your subject or is it from above? • Practice studying light and shadows while you are without your camera. Observe the differences in the quality of light from sunrise to sunset with photography in mind. • Choose a time of day (e.g. early morning or sunset) to attain a certain type of light.

b. Use color to set the mood: Color elicits a range of feelings from excitement to calmness to concern. Creative use of color can enhance the emotional impact. Use color to highlight the areas of interest in your image, possibly adding a brightly colored prop, and avoid bright objects that pull the eye away from your subject. • Yellow is usually the first color seen by the human eye. Yellow is the color of optimism, happiness, creativity; but it can also represent caution in its deeper tones. • Red is the next color to be noticed. Red wants to be first. It is used as a warning; it is a sign of adventure and attention. • Orange is polarizing, energetic, cheerful, happy, and is a good contrast with blue.


September 2020 . page 41 c. Use Composition to guide the viewer through your image. There are numerous rules of composition. The objective is to achieve balance, energy, and harmony. These rules can also help evoke emotion. Once learned, the rules become part of your photographic toolbox. You can use the rules but do not be afraid to break them. Study and learn them. Some of the most important rules of composition are: • Rule of Thirds • Balance (elements in the scene) • Leading Lines • Foreground Interest and Depth • Blue evokes feelings of calmness and spirituality as well as security and trust, serenity, coolness, and authority. • Green signifies growth and fertility. It is neutral, but not earthy; it mixes well with other colors. • Purple is not in the rainbow. Rare in nature except in flowers and birds, it is the hardest color for the eye to perceive. It represents magic, mystery, mourning, regality.

“Luck is when preparation meets opportunity.”

• Filling the Frame • Framing • Simplicity and Minimalism • Viewpoint • Symmetry and Patterns • Background • And don’t forget to break the rules!

Click this link to learn more about and see examples of the 10 TOP PHOTOGRAPHY COMPOSITION RULES

Photography can be complex, but practice will create important habits. Here are a few good online resources to help you advance your photographic skills and creativity: 1. Digital-Photography-School.com 2. PICTURECORRECT.com 3. photographylife.com 4. Colleen Miniuk, who has led photography workshops for the GCA, offers free guidance via her dearbubbles.com articles. 5. Anthony Epes - look for him on YouTube, Facebook and online. He is a professional photographer who gives courses and many free tutorials, especially on use of light and color. Learning to be a good photographer can be a lifelong journey that is inspirational, rewarding and exciting. There can be many challenges while learning this art form. But when you stretch yourself and learn new things, you will experience the aha moment and capture amazing photographs.


September 2020 . page 42

Brooke Kuehnle Lake Forest GC Zone XI Show Show of Summer | 2020 Vision Hosted by Chicago Area GCA Garden Clubs June 26 – 28, 2020 Chicago Botanic Garden Class 7: Reflection Lenses/Novice! First Place Judges Comments: “The creative abstract masterfully captures the playful light and textures of the image.”


September 2020 . page 43

Mary Bottie The GC of Barrington Zone XI Show Show of Summer | 2020 Vision Hosted by Chicago Area GCA Garden Clubs June 26 – 28, 2020 Chicago Botanic Garden Class 7: Reflection Lenses/Novice! Second Place Judges Comments: “Image is a fascinating study of repeating shapes and patterns. A Very Close Second!”


September 2020 . page 44

Fern Allison The GC of Evanston Zone XI Show Show of Summer | 2020 Vision Hosted by Chicago Area GCA Garden Clubs June 26 – 28, 2020 Chicago Botanic Garden Class 7: Reflection Lenses/Novice! Third Place Judges Comments: “The play of light around and through the glass provides a delightful combination of shapes and colors. The strength of the black shape at the top draws the viewer’s eye away from the subject.”


September 2020 . page 45

Ariel Kalil Kenilworth GC Zone XI Show Show of Summer | 2020 Vision Hosted by Chicago Area GCA Garden Clubs June 26 – 28, 2020 Chicago Botanic Garden Class 7: Reflection Lenses/Novice! Honorable Mention Judges Comments: “The painterly colors and subtle textures artfully add to the creative presentation of the reflection. The tight placement of the large dome crowds the image on the left side.”


September 2020 . page 46

Laura Boylan The GC of Evanston Zone XI Show Show of Summer | 2020 Vision Hosted by Chicago Area GCA Garden Clubs June 26 – 28, 2020 Chicago Botanic Garden Class 8: The View Finder First Place and GCA Novice Award Judges Comments: “A successful landscape layered with soft shapes and harmonizing colors” Novice Award Citation: “A beautifully composed and rhythmic feast for the eye.”


September 2020 . page 47

Eloise Carson The Portland Garden Club Zone XII Show Show of Summer | 2020 Vision Hosted by Chicago Area GCA Garden Clubs June 26 – 28, 2020 Chicago Botanic Garden Class 8: The View Finder Second Place Judges Comments: “Well placed physical elements balance the composition. A Very Close Second!”


September 2020 . page 48

Lyndon Chamberlain The Westport Garden Club Zone XI Show Show of Summer | 2020 Vision Hosted by Chicago Area GCA Garden Clubs June 26 – 28, 2020 Chicago Botanic Garden Class 8: The View Finder Third Place Judges Comments: “Impactful use of light emphasizes the marching penguins lined up for a view. The abundance of rocks in the foreground disturbs the balance.”


September 2020 . page 49

Erica Granchalek The GC of Evanston Zone XI Show Show of Summer | 2020 Vision Hosted by Chicago Area GCA Garden Clubs June 26 – 28, 2020 Chicago Botanic Garden Class 8: The View Finder Honorable Mention Judges Comments: “Strong focal point with effective use of light and shadow. Mountains on the right of the image lack sufficient detail.”


September 2020 . page 50

Judging Photography and Judges’ Comments: Read between the lines! Claire Smithers Mellinger, Albemarle GC, Zone VII, Photography Prospective Judge Photos by the author

W

e have all been there. You walk onto the flower show floor after the photography judges have finished, eager to see how your photo did and you realize that there is no blue, red, yellow or HM sticker on your entry card. You read the comments, stung by the rejection, and not sure what went wrong. What do they mean by “lack of focus” or “distracting elements”? Reading the judges’ constructive comments can make you feel incompetent. But after your emotions have subsided, re-read the comments. Remember that photography judges really want you to succeed; try and see your work through the judges’ eyes and learn from their comments, using their suggestions to improve your skills. Being a clerk in the GCA Judging Program has allowed me to get an understanding of how they reach their conclusions. It is never an easy process. The judges are trained in the principles and elements of composition and know what to look for in evaluating an image. At the show, they take time to study each

image in the class, then discuss each image, sharing their assessment of the positive aspects, as well as the negative. Each GCA judging panel has three judges. Judging is subjective. Occasionally, what one judge sees as a positive causes concern for another judge. It is for this reason that a GCA judging panel always consists of three judges. There needs to be a tie breaker in case the judges do not agree.

What do judges look for? n

Strong, visually-compelling images that tell a story.

n Original, well-crafted, high impact images. n

Technically excellent photographs (lighting, focus and composition).

Beware of iconic locations unless your photo is special and captures something unique. Be different! Something surprising causes the judges to look carefully.

Judges’ Comments: “The photo is tactile and a creative response to the schedule. The composition feels somewhat divided; the right-side negative space dominates.”


September 2020 . page 51 When entering a photography show, read and reread the entire photography division schedule. Before registering, know the overall theme of the show and review the guidelines. Decide what class(es) to enter. Then try to visualize what you want your image to be and where and how you will capture that image. When shooting, follow the principles and elements of composition but do not try and take a photo that you think will please the judges. It rarely works! When submitting your entry, write a Statement of Intent even if it is not required. Give the judges a little hint of what you are trying to convey with your image. Judges are always impressed that a photographer has taken the extra time to put into words what she is trying to say with her photograph.

Avoid these common problems that jump out to photography judges. n Distracting elements: This is the number one criticism by judges. You think you have taken a fantastic photo and get back to your computer to edit it and realize there is a branch that you didn’t see that distracts, or a piece of trash in an otherwise beautiful scene. Take the time to carefully look at all parts of your scene through the viewfinder to avoid capturing something unintended. Even slight distractions such as a bright color or shadow appearing in front of or behind your main subject will detract from your focal point. n Uneven horizon line: This is one of the most obvious issues and is one of the easiest to fix. It will instantly remove your image as a contender for a ribbon. This applies particularly to water views and landscapes with horizons, but it can be found in any kind of image. Make sure your building is not titled or that a tree is standing up straight. Before you do ANY editing, LEVEL your image. n Extraneous details: This is another easy fix. Examine your image carefully for extraneous details and decide if they should be cropped out. Make sure everything in your image is important and pertinent to the story you want to tell.

Uneven horizon line. Top: before

straightening; Bottom: after straightening

n Border patrol: When parts of your image are too close to the edge of the frame or are cut off, this will jump out to the judges who will deduct points.


September 2020 . page 52 n Lack of sharp focus on main subject: This may seem obvious but check the focus in all parts of your image by zooming in as you edit. Blurry backgrounds are fine if it is intentional as in a close-up, but the main focal point must be tack sharp. This is one of the first things that judges look for. n Negative Space: A vacant corner in an image can be distracting and can demote your image. n Poor Exposure: Either overexposed or underexposed images can be equally problematic, in either case causing loss of detail. Watch out for over exposed hot spots in sections of your image. n Lack of focal point or competing focal points: Make sure that the judges know exactly what the subject is in your photograph – you do not want them guessing what your intent was and what the story is in your photograph. Judicial cropping can help to avoid competing focal points. An image should tell one story – not two!

Judges’ Comments: “Central placement of tree enhances the composition. Oversaturation of colors is distracting.”

n Over correcting in post processing or overuse of HDR: In the editing stage, over correction – adding too much saturation, contrast, brightness, darkness, or sharpness can really degrade your photo. This is especially true if you are submitting a digital image for a Juried Show. Remember that a digital image looks quite different on the computer screen than the printed image so you may have to adjust the overall brightness of your image when you have it printed.

When preparing your entry for submission, avoid these common problems. Photography is a journey and learning to be a good photographer takes a lot of time and effort. Study the judges’ comments for all the entries in a show. You can learn more by studying the constructive comments and trying to see and understand what the judges are saying. The more you enter shows – the more you will learn and advance your own skills. Good luck!

Judges’ Comments: “Strong leading lines through the photograph. Good focus on corn stalks, makes you want to see what is around the corner. Sky lacks definition and is slightly over exposed.”

Judges’ Comments: “Beautiful black and white tonalities. Too many focal points making it difficult for one’s eye to rest.”


September 2020 . page 53

Ann Marshall Four Counties GC Zone V Show: Spring Show hosted by Four Counties GC Virtual May 12, 2020 Class: Butterflies First Place and Best in Show Judges Comments: “Spectacular capture of a butterfly drinking water.”


September 2020 . page 54

Claire Mellinger Albemarle GC Zone VII Show Daffodils in the Spotlight! Hosted by Albermarle GC Virtual April 15, 2020 Class: Daffodils in the Spotlight! First Place and Best in Show Judges Comments: “Beguiling and visually stimulating image achieved with an outstanding use of color, contrast, light and textures. A true show-stopper!” Narcissus – daffodils


September 2020 . page 55

Debbie Laverell The Garden Workers, Zone V Show William Penn’s “Greene Countrie Towne” Hosted by the Garden Workers Virtual April 7, 2020 Class The Betsy Ross House - patterns in nature incorporating stripes. First Place and Best in Show Judges Comments: ”The soft focus enhances the painterly quality.” Best in Show Citation: “The sparkling, delicate and fresh complementary color palette epitomizes the feeling of Spring.” Viola – Pansy


September 2020 . page 56

Jane Shafer Short Hills GC Zone IV Show Signs of Spring Hosted by the Short Hills GC February 12, 2020 Short Hills, New Jersey Class III: Bouquet First Place and Best in Show Judges Comments: “This appealing image is superbly well balanced and composed.” Best in Show Citation: “A dramatic work of art.” Tulipa - Tulip


September 2020 . page 57

Linda Sedgewick The GC of Princeton Zone IV Show: When the Time is Right Hosted by The GC of Princeton February 2, 2020 Class: Window of Time First Place and Best in Show Best in Show Citation: “This dystopian image challenges our sense of reality.”


September 2020 . page 58

Vicki Saltonstall Chestnut Hill GC Zone I Show: Harvest Moon Flower Show Hosted by Fox Hill and Noanett GCs September 25, 2013 Wellesley, MA Class 5: Moon Shadow (An image with an insect, bird, or animal.) First Place and Best in Show


September 2020 . page 59

How to Photograph a Flower Show Learning the Rules By Sally Barnett, Late Bloomers Garden Club, Zone VIII, and Linder Suthers, Trustees GC, Zone VIII

A tremendous amount of time and energy goes into a flower show. Good photos will provide a permanent visual record of the event for the following: • Your club’s archives

• The Zone page on the GCA website • GCA publications and archives

• GCA Awards Directory and Recipient Database.

Following are guidelines for: the Flower Show Chairman and the Show Photographer SUGGESTIONS FOR THE FLOWER SHOW CHAIRMAN Appoint a photographer and two assistants Plan well in advance to recruit a knowledgeable photographer and two assistants to document the flower show. Consider a member of your club’s Photography Committee, or a GCA Photography judge from your club or a nearby club. The assistants do not need to be photographers; their job will be to hold backdrops and help with set-up for the photos.


September 2020 . page 60 The Flower Show Chairman and Photographer should decide which of the following should be photographed: 1. The signage, staging and entry process. 2. All entries that win special awards, with photos of the entry card, award certificate and judges’ comments. Photos of winners and awards help ensure accurate records. 3. If possible, photos of entrants with their award-winning entries in each division. 4. Blue ribbon winners from each class in each division, with entry card and judges’ comments. 5. Wide-angle photo of any class receiving a Judges’ Commendation, plus photo of the certificate with the judges’ comments. 6. Photos of the Flower Show Chair/Chairmen 7. Candid shots of club members viewing the show 8. Any other requests from the Flower Show Chairman In addition to the photos of winning entries, Division specific photos: Botanical Arts: photo of the key card of winning entries, showing plant material used plus close-up of the precision in a jewelry or embellishment class. Photo of key card in needlework class, plus photo of intricate stitching. Conservation Exhibit: wide angle shot of the entire exhibit, plus close-ups of the signage and individual parts of the exhibit. Include a photo of any award and the judges’ comments. Horticulture: wide angle shots of some of the classes, portraying the variety of entries; photo of key cards for the winners of container classes. Photography: close up shots of winning images and wide angle shot of each class.

Provide to the photographer: 1. A 30”x 40” piece of black foam core and a 30”x40” piece of white foam core or preferable would be foam core with black on one side and white on the other side. 2. If possible, a 48” square of black velvet or other heavy, non-sheen black fabric.

Instructions for Photographers

GCA publications always need good photos. If you are the designated Flower Show Photographer and have questions, ask experienced photographers in your club or members of the GCA Photography Judging Program who will be happy to help you. Read the Flower Show schedule: How many Divisions are in the show? How many classes in each Division? Decide when the photos of the winners will be taken: immediately after judging? Or the next morning without crowds? Allow plenty of time to take photos of all winning entries. By understanding and following the rules outlined that follow, you will successfully document the flower show!


September 2020 . page 61 Rule #1: Camera and Settings • A DSLR or mirrorless camera is preferable. An iPhone may be used on a tripod. • Before taking any pictures, check your camera manual for information on image size. • Make sure that your camera is set on the largest file/image size possible.

Rule #3: Photo Background – check for distractions and address issues

• Camera flash can cause unwanted reflections behind the subject. • If the entry is dark use a white background - if the entry is light use a dark background.

Entries look better when photographed against a solid background. • Be aware of what will appear in the background of your photo. • Lights, mirrors, or windows can cause distractions.

Rule #2: Avoid Camera Shake • Concentrate on holding the camera very steady. Any motion when pressing the shutter can cause a blurry photo. Hold your breath when pressing the shutter button. • Use a tripod or monopod, if possible. • If you do not have a tripod, keep your elbows close to your body to create a “human tripod.” • When using an iPhone, the earbud volume button can be used as the shutter release.

• If the entry is very tall, take two shots, one of the top half, the other of the bottom half without changing your location. Hold background material higher in first shot and lower in the second shot. The two photos can be merged using editing software. • Helpers must hold the background material still. • If possible, shift horticulture specimens with their cards to be able to photograph the winning horticulture entries. Or use a backdrop (foam core or heavy black fabric). • For Botanical Arts, use a fabric or foam core backdrop


September 2020 . page 62 Rule #6: Edit and Rename photos • Develop a naming convention to rename your photographs in a logical way. The naming convention should include the date, event, your name, and sequence number. Example: 2019_PalmBeachFS_SBarnett-1 2019_PalmBeachFS_SBarnett-2 Rule #7: Submit photos to the Flower Show Chairman You can use one of the following methods to transmit your images.

Rule #4: Follow this sequence for shooting individual winners

Rule #5 Candid Shots - Look for Action, Excitement and Emotion

• Shoot a wide-angle image that includes entry, ribbon, award, and entry card.

• Include pre-show activity when possible.

• Shoot a close-up of just the entry. • Shoot a close-up of the judges’ comments. • If possible, remove background distractions before photographing winning entries. • Shoot the winning entry with the entrant(s) if possible.

• Capture people looking at the exhibits. • Do not “cut off” hands and feet. • Make “Handing over Award” shots special!

• Email - It is especially important to send your full resolution images – select original or large in your email application. Using email is only practical for sending a few images but would require multiple emails to send all the photos for a Flower Show. • Google Drive - This service is like Dropbox and is the preferred method for the GCA. However, there is a limit for free services, which is easy to exceed.

• Dropbox - You may store and share up to 2 GB of files with a free account. One drawback is that the person you want to share with must also have a Dropbox account. • We Transfer - This is a very convenient and free method for transferring up to 2GB of photos at one time. You create an account, follow the simple instructions to create a link to your photos. An email is generated and sent to the receiver who has seven days to download the files.


September 2020 . page 63 Rule #8: Understand photography technical terms Format In photography, landscape format is when the image is wider than it is tall. Portrait format is when a picture that is taller than it is wide. A 4x6 image would be four inches wide and six inches tall and would be considered portrait format or vertically oriented. Conversely, a 6x4 image would be six inches wide and four inches tall and is considered portrait format or horizontally oriented. The width is always listed first, followed by the height. Image Size There are several ways to measure the size of a digital photograph, and it is especially important to understand them. Width, height, and resolution are tied together – if you change one, you change all — and not always for the best! Below are some important definitions that are used by photographers, publishers, and printers. “Pixels per square inch” is a measurement used in the digital world and “dots per square inch” (dpi) is a printing term referring to the number of dots of ink on a printed document. The terms are often used interchangeably but they are not the same thing. Pixel A pixel is an abbreviated word derived from picture elements. It is a minute area of illumination on a display screen, one of many from which an image is composed. It is a measuring unit like an inch, but drastically smaller. Digital photos are measured in both pixels and inches. PPI Resolution PPI is the acronym derived from ‘pixels per inch’ and it describes the resolution, in terms of pixels, of an image file. A 100×100-pixel image printed in a 1-inch square has a resolution of 100 pixels per inch. Used this way, the measurement is meaningful when printing an image.

A photo with a resolution of 72 dpi will look good on a

computer or iPhone screen, but will look pixelated or blurry on a magazine page. To successfully print an image, the photograph’s resolution should be 240 to 300 dpi. Chinese Jar printed at 72 dpi

Chinese Jar printed at 300 dpi

Resolution The term resolution is used in photography to describe the concentration of pixels in an image. Think of resolution as “image quality” Put into some basic terms, resolution is the quality of the image and is measured by ppi. As the resolution goes up, the image becomes clearer. It becomes sharper, more defined, and more detailed. Finally, create a check list and refer to it often when photographing the show. You do not want to miss anything that should be photographed. You only have one chance to get it right!

Check List for Photographers Areas To Be Covered:

☐ 1. Entire show, including staging and show entrance ☐ 2. Major and special award winners, entry cards, key cards, and award certificates ☐ 3. First Place winners, entry cards, and key cards ☐ 4. Candid shots of members during show ☐ 5. Special requests


September 2020 . page 64

focal POINT(ers) TIPS AND RESOURCES FOR GCA PHOTOGRAPHERS

By Mary Jo Beck, Garden Club of Cincinnati, Zone X Photos by the author Life has changed lanes with the pandemic, but as photographers we can still use our cameras and smartphones to exercise our inner yearnings to capture nature, observing the intricate beauty and providing an outlet for our creative spirits. Keep shooting in these challenging times.

“Make visible what, without you, might never have been seen.”

– Virginia Woolf

Understanding Shape, Form, Pattern and Texture in Photography Photographs are two-dimensional, limited to width and length. Photographers create the illusion of depth by incorporating form, pattern and texture. These words are often cited in articles and books about photography. Understanding the definition of each word as it applies to photography will help you use these elements to create successful images. Shape A shape is two-dimensional and it is captured when the light source is either in front of or behind your subject. When the light is behind your subject, that creates backlight, and backlight creates silhouettes. Silhouettes are two-dimensional and they are shapes.

Form Form refers to when a shape in the photo appears to have three dimensions. When light hits the subject from the side or from an angle, the shadows and highlights create a form. While looking through your viewfinder, move around, change your position and watch to see if you see shadows and highlights appearing around your subject. By capturing these, you will create the illusion of three dimensions, or a form within your photo. Pattern Pattern in photography shows the continuity of the subject. It is a repetition of a shape or form within a photograph. It can be a regular shape such as tiles on a roof or an irregular shape such as ripples in water. A pattern shows that there is further range in the subject, but the photographer has isolated one selected part of it. Patterns are found everywhere in nature as well as in man-made objects. Texture Do you want to add more creativity and depth to your images? Textures are details that visually describe how something physically feels. They can be smooth, rough, and anything else your hand feels when it touches a surface. You can photograph textures either from a distance (for example a wall covered in graffiti) or up close (for example the details on a leaf). In photography, texture is defined as depth, good contrast, and pattern. You can intensify these in post-processing or an editing program.

“The painter constructs, the photographer discloses.” – Susan Sontag


September 2020 . page 65

PHOTO EVALUATION CHECKLIST

With thanks to Robert Rodriguez Jr./Creative Path Workshops

FORM

SHAPE

PATTERN

To enhance your photography skills, consider this list of questions that you should ask yourself before you push the shutter button. Equally important is to ask them afterwards when you are looking at your photographs and evaluating your work. When contemplating entering a photography show, consider that these are what the judges will be looking for. n

Is the light right for the subject or the feeling that you are trying to capture?

n

Does the composition have a strong and clear center of interest?

n

Does the composition use design elements to lead the viewer to the center of interest without any distractions?

n

Is there anything that detracts from the main focus or interrupts the viewer’s path through the image? Can it be simpler?

n

Does your composition look and feel unified and harmonious?

n

Does your composition and lens choice make good use of perspective to create depth and visual interest?

n

Are the exposure and focus appropriate for the subject?

n

Does the photograph provoke an emotional response? Is it the emotion you intended?

n

Did you capture the moment or gesture successfully? If yes, why? If no, why not?

n

Does the photograph clearly convey what you intended? Can you describe what the photograph is about in one sentence or one word?

TEXTURE

READER TIP Ryn Clarke, Shaker Lakes GC, Zone X, shares a tip for your iPhone 11 Pro or Pro Max’s Portrait Mode. After you open the Camera App and swipe to Portrait Mode, Portrait Lighting effects will appear at the bottom of the viewfinder. To change the focal length, tap the circular 1x button in the bottom left of the viewfinder. 1x corresponds to the wide lens and 2x switches to the telephoto lens. In general, the 2x mode seems to be better for capturing people, while the 1x lens is better for shooting smaller subjects. You can now also switch to the front-facing camera and get a selfie in Portrait Mode. Keep your reader tips and tricks coming. Please send to: Mary Jo Beck at mjbeck651@gmail.com

“There is nothing more useless than a sharp photograph of a fuzzy concept.”

– Ansel Adams.


September 2020 . page 66

Submissions to FOCUS Focus is an online magazine published by the Photography Committee of The Garden Club of America (GCA). It is posted on the GCA website in September, January, and May of each year. In addition, a special voting issue for the Focus contest is published in November. Focus features winning GCA photography show images, photography articles, and information targeted to GCA photographers of all ability and interest levels. It showcases photographs that have won one or more of the following awards: First Place at a: GCA Show

GCA Zone Show

GCA Major Show

Sanctioned non-GCA Major Flower Show Club Flower Show - Best in Show

A GCA Special Award(s) which can include but are not limited to: Best in Show

GCA Novice Award

GCA Photography Creativity Award

Only appropriate images of child(ren) should be submitted to, passed, and exhibited in Photography Divisions of GCA / GCA Major Flower Shows and published in the online magazine, Focus. In the event an image comes to the GCA’s attention that the GCA determines does not meet this “appropriate” standard, the image shall no longer be shown or displayed. Any such determination would occur only after consultation between the Photography Committee Chairman, GCA President, and possibly the Executive Board. Submission to Focus grants to GCA the right to use the content, in any way, in connection with GCA’s mission or charitable purposes. Focus contents are neither the opinion nor a representation of GCA; GCA does not endorse any product or service.

Certificate of Excellence in Photography Only Best in Show photographs from Club Shows are eligible for submission to Focus. To submit for publication consideration, use the “Submission Form for Articles and / or Image Content,” accessible via this link: Photo and Article Submission Form and also found on the Photography Committee page of the GCA website in the section titled “FOCUS, ONLINE MAGAZINE.” Follow online instructions.

Questions? Email: focus@GCAmerica.org or Debbie Laverell: dalaverell@gmail.com (610) 525-4118 Dedee O’Neil: dedeeoneil@gmail.com (330)571-1321


September 2020 . page 67

Index of Photographers Fern Allison . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44

Claire Smithers Mellinger . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50-52, 54

Gail Atwater . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8, 20

Joanne Ter Molen . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23

Polly Beal . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11

Dedee O’Neil . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 62

Mary Jo Beck . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 65

Mary Lou Righellis . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36

Mary Bottie . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43

Glo Rolighed . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27

Laura Boylan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 46, back cover

JoAnne Rosen . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38

Eloise Carson . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47

Debbie Ross . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9

Lyndon Chamberlain . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 48

Vicki Saltonstall . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 58

Crissy Cherry . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26, 32

Linda Sedgewick . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 57

Linda Clarke . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10

Cindy Seibert . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12

Ryn Clarke . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30

Joan Senko . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34

Jill Corr . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16-19

Jane Shafer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39-41, 56

Taddy Dawson . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14

Linder Suthers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 59-62

Kate Fahey . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28-29

Loan Tran . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13

Anna Forbes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . cover, 31

Christine Wiedrich . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21

Martha Gangemi . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33

Libba Wilkes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3, 35

Erica Granchalek . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 49 Nancy Guldberg . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24, 67 Susan Hilpert . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37 Jean Jarvis . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25 Janet Josselyn . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22 Ariel Kalil . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45 Brooke Kuehnle . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42 Debbie Laverell . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4-5, 30, 55 Ann Marshall . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 53 Yoni Mayeri . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15

Nancy Guldberg, The Lake Minnetonka GC, Zone XI


THE GARDEN CLUB of AMERICA

Focus is a publication of the Photography Committee of The Garden Club of America Photograph by Laura Boylan, GC of Evanston, Zone XI

Profile for The Garden Club of America

Focus Fall 2020  

Focus Fall 2020