This is a photo of some seedlings that I have in my greenhouse.
This is another photo of the same seedlings. There is nothing wrong with the second photo. It’s perfectly fine. It’s in focus and has some good colour. But… it’s nothing special.
The first photo has a special quality to it. The angle is lower, the light makes it come alive, and the low depth of field makes it almost magical.
Who doesn’t need a bit of magic in their lives? Think about the shot, wait for the right light, add a bit of water if you like, and choose an interesting angle. The photo will always be better. Guaranteed.
It doesn’t always work out like that. Sometimes I just need to take the photo and be done. Sometimes the day is a bit dreary and I can do nothing about it. But if I can, I always go for the first shot. It just makes things a little nicer.
“I don’t take photos of people’ – that’s what I told them when they asked me to do this photoshoot for the 2014 Master Gardener recruitment campaign here in Portland. And it’s true! I’m happy taking photos of Cabbages, Tomatoes, whole Chard plants and even rows of Peas, but people? Well, I try to keep them out of it, if I can. You see I’m not so confident with portraits and being a bit of a coward I avoid things I’m not good at.
But they worked their magic on me and I said yes. So I turned up with my little bag of lenses (take them all I thought, you never know when you might need a Macro lens for this kind of work!). Of course I don’t own a flash or any lighting gear (Cabbages don’t need fill-in). And I tried to look like I knew what I was doing.
The models were very nice. The light was the biggest problem we had. The sun kept appearing and giving people a nice angelic halo every now and again. The box was heavy! And surprisingly difficult to hold straight.
But we managed to have a laugh. And…I’m pretty happy with the photos I took. Shocked would be a better word. So if you do see these photos as part of a Master Gardener campaign around the city you’ll know they were taken by me. The one who doesn’t do people :)
Our local village is celebrating the centenary of its annual flower show – and I’m planning to enter. I’m not sure what I’ll enter yet, it could be a vegetable or possibly some fruit, or even ‘a Floral Arrangement in a Wine Glass’, or I may convince Jackson to do an ‘Animal Using Veg, Fruit and Flowers (cocktail sticks may be used)’. Who knows?
But this whole thing got me thinking; we should have a mini Flower Show of our own, right here. Where you can display the fruit and veg (and flowers too) that you’re most proud of. Of course, points will be awarded for a photo well taken, and special care should be afforded to the presentation of said fruit and veg items. The use of doilies and fancy crockery is positively encouraged. And a prize will be given to the best in show.
Categories are as follows:
- Display of home-grown vegetables (singular or assorted)
- One or a collection of home-grown fruit
- Cutting Flowers
- Display of garden-grown herbs
The prize is this cute little Garden Kit from The Balcony Gardener. The kit contains a garden notebook, wildlife spotter notebook, stickers and a garden planner for drawing, doodling and making notes. The best in show photo will also make it onto the homepage of UKVG.
All exhibits to be staged by Monday 6th September (ie. sent to me via email at firstname.lastname@example.org). The judge’s decision is final and all exhibits not collected after the show will be auctioned in the raffle (because there has to be a raffle, right?).
A little later than normal but here’s the winner of our last Photo Mission – Let’s Get Sowing. It’s a beautiful photo of some seeds about to be sowed by Nina Clarke. I particularly like the muted colours in the photo and the narrow depth of field that shows the different shapes and sizes of the seed beautifully. Well done Nina.
Nina wins a mega-stylish Window Salads seed kit from the guys over at Seed Pantry, worth £14.99 each, with eight packs of seed including: Rocket, Radishes, Chillies, Lettuce (Lolla Rossa & Salad Bowl), Basil, Parsley and Spring Onions.
Well, I don’t know about you but I’m raring to go with the sowing already! I’ve ordered my seeds, polished my dibber and I’ve even cleared up the leaves. It’s show time. We’re fast approaching the time of year that every vegetable gardener loves, Spring. The weather is sunnier, the garden is calling and it’s all down to you to get to the seeds sown so that you can reap the rewards later. I’m so excited I could pop!
This month’s photo mission is all about sowing. So get out there and take photos that say ‘it’s nearly Spring so get your booty out into the shed and sow my friend’.
Whether it’s a photo of you actually sowing seed,
preparing the pots,
or sorting your seed tags. It doesn’t matter. What matters is that your photo says ‘sow’.
Our prize this time comes from the super-cool, urban gardeners over at Seed Pantry. It’s a mega-stylish Window Salads seed kit worth £14.99 each, with eight packs of seed including: Rocket, Radishes, Chillies, Lettuce (Lolla Rossa & Salad Bowl), Basil, Parsley and Spring Onions.
As we can’t send seeds outside the EU winners from outside that area will receive this set of coir pots instead. Still very cool! And don’t forget to sign up to the Seed Pantry newsletter for great hints and tips on how to sow and grow. Again thanks to SP for their generosity and making our competition just a little bit (erm a lot…) more competitive :)
Send your entries to email@example.com by Friday 19th March. GOOD LUCK!
The ‘Baby It’s Cold Outside’ Photo Mission is over and it’s time to choose the winner. The quality of photos this time was AMAZING. I was truly wowed by some of the photos. You guys are good! But after some deliberation I chose the photo above, of some snow covered Kale, as the winner. It’s by Lisa over at Pot & Box who walks away with 10 (not 9 but 10) boxes of the brand new Figo frame system. Provided by our friends at Bau Outdoors. Well done Lisa!
The other entries were just as lovely though. Like this beautiful photo of snow settled on a tree by Emma Bartram. Sublime.
A close contender for the prize was this gorgeous photo of a frozen seed head by Liz Early. Precious.
Stephanie from Narrative Self has been busy with the two photos above. The first one is a photo of her overwintering Onions covered in snow and the second is of her shivering Leeks. Both lovely photos.
And of course Toby Bunting’s entry made me laugh as I did specify a photo of some ‘frozen veg’. Ha ha, very funny Toby, but ‘no soup for you!’ as my husband would say.
Well done to all. And watch out for February’s Photo Mission with another, very cool prize.
Ooooh baby, it’s cold outside. We’re having one of the coldest spells we’ve ever had here, with hard frosts at night and lots and lots of snow keeping the landscape looking more wintry than ever. Ahhh just what I like.
It’s time to don your bob-hat and brave the cold because it’s photo mission time again!
We’ve got a fab prize waiting for the winner and so it’s any excuse to get out there and snap your freezing veg. That’s right, this mission is all about photographing your veg patch in the grip of Winter. Whether it’s frozen Broccoli, snow-capped Sprouts or icicles on your Leeks, photograph it and send it in to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here’s some photos I took earlier to get you started. The top photo is mtp after the recent snows. Then my Box hedging – brrrr! The next one down is my Broccoli braving the frosts, the next one is of my Leeks huddling together for warmth.
Take the best photo and you could win 10 (yes that’s 10) boxes of the hottest, newest, brilliantest invention the veg gardening world may have ever seen – Figo. It’s a neat connector that let’s you build your own frames with just normal garden canes. It’s fast and cheap to build things like bean wigwams, netting frames for Brassicas and even fruit cages.
Our friends at Bau Outdoors and Figo have kindly supplied the prize and the competition is open to anyone, anywhere in the world. The closing date is next Friday, 15th Jan. Good luck!
The scores are in and the winner of the latest Photo Mission: First Signs of Autumn is Gaelen, with this gorgeous photo of Autumn Carrots. I love the colour, the shapes and the light. It’s what Autumn is all about in the kitchen garden. No doubt these little beauties will be good stored under some wet sand ready to use all Autumn long. Well done Gaelen and enjoy the lovely wicker cloches from Hand Picked.
The rest of the entries were of a similar high standard and I’ve picked the best of them for you below:
Patty Johnson sent in this amazing photo of her green Tomato harvest. Beautiful colours and great care given to composition here.
Here’s Rosa’s photo of some olives in her garden on the Amalfi coast in Italy. A reminder that not everyone’s Autumn is all ‘mists and mellow fruitfulness’.
Debbie Webber’s seed pods made an appearance with Autumnal browns and creams. Lovely.
A perfect Pumpkin with a Nasturtium garland was Sally Cornwell’s choice. A great combination.
I love this entry. It’s entitled ‘Squash with Spartans.’ And why not eh? Murray Priestman, I salute you.
And lastly, our only black and white entry came from Shane Speck of his freshly picked Walnuts. Man I wish I had a Walnut tree!
Well done to all. Sorry I couldn’t post all of the entries. But thanks to everyone who entered. Here’s looking forward to our next Photo Mission.
Here is your next photo mission. We’re looking for the first signs of Autumn in your garden. That could be some swelling Pumpkins like the one above.
Some Autumn fruit like Apples, Grapes, Raspberries or late Blueberries that are still on the plant or in your harvest basket.
Or some seeds that you’ve saved for next year’s sowings. Whatever it is that catches your eye, take a photo of it, send it to me over at gill[at]carsonified.com. I will then choose a winner and compile the best photos for publishing here.
And…the best thing about this particular photo mission is that there is a neat prize for the winner. The lovely people over at The Handpicked Collection have given this set of three gorgeous wicker cloches as the prize. How very generous! Not only that but they have agreed to ship the prize anywhere in the world so the competition is open to all readers, everywhere.
What are you waiting for? Go go go!
Here’s your next photo mission. Take a photo of your favourite summer pairings. It has to be something you grew (edible of course) paired with your favourite accompaniment. As you can see I like to settle down on my deck, in the evening, with a massive bowl of Strawberries and a glass of chilled rosé. Ahhh!
But you don’t have to go for Strawberries and wine, you could choose New Potatoes with Mint, Salmon with Dill, or even Radish with Yoghurt – whatever floats your boat.
Send your photos to gill [at] carsonified [dot] com and I’ll make a post of the best photos. I might even choose a winner this time!