Highlights from Kew's 'New beginnings' Photo Challenge
Throughout May 2011, we invited members of our 'Your Kew' and 'Natural Neighbourhood' Flickr groups to take part in our 'New beginnings' Photo Challenge. Philip Smith, Director of the International Garden Photographer of the Year competition, picks his favourites.
14 Jun 2011
Each month Philip Smith, Director of the International Garden Photographer of the Year competition, picks his favourite photos from Kew's monthly Flickr Photo Challenge to share with you. Philip is a professional photographer who specialises in gardens and plants. His photography has featured in many magazines and books, including The English Garden, The Garden (RHS) and Gardeners’ World. His work has also featured in exhibitions at Kew Gardens and the Royal Horticultural Society at Wisley .
Below you can see Philip's favourite photos from our 'New beginnings' Photo Challenge, which took place on Flickr throughout May 2011. If you enjoy taking photos of plants and nature and would like to get involved in this month's challenge, the theme for June is 'Different Worlds'.
You can see more outstanding photos in our 'New beginnings' Photo Challenge galleries here:
Featured photos - Your Kew 'New beginnings' Photo Challenge
Parrot in Kew by alicebrancati (top)
This ring-necked parakeet in the throes of eating engages the viewer with direct eye contact. The photograph also has a very pleasing composition, with the main subject situated just to the right of centre. The harmonious green background provides context, but also a very pleasing backdrop to the parakeet. The branch coming in from 'out of frame' providing a perch for the bird, also leads our eye towards the subject. The light in this photograph is good as well - the parakeet is well-lit without any shadows falling across its shape. If you look at the picture with your eyes screwed up, you will see how the tonal values are working – the bird is light and dominant as a shape, which is how it should be. Very accomplished. See this photo on Flickr.
greylag kids by mm*novy #6 (bottom)
Yes I know, more cheese than Sainsbury’s - cheese and quackers in fact - but this is another great example of what photographers call ‘the decisive moment’. The photographer has caught the ‘action’ in this shot perfectly. The composition is also very good; the subject is way down at the bottom of the frame, emphasised by the tall portrait format, creating the space ahead of the ducklings to create the emotion – the feeling of moving forward to the water, towards the next adventure, towards our destiny, towards the far horizons of our ducky future…Brilliant. Again – a nice dull English summer day – more sunlight on the water would have created horrible glare. See this photo on Flickr.
Featured photos - Natural Neighbourhood 'New beginnings' Photo Challenge
Sakura Dreams by pallab seth (top)
Close-ups of plants are often as much about the background as the subject. The out of focus pink background makes for a very harmonious, calm photograph. Limiting the colour palette in this way is often a very effective way to create stunning images – and the small bits of contrasting green only intensify the harmony. The back light on the rose petals really helps as well. As a professional photographer, I always find roses among the most difficult plants to shoot, as the solidity of their shape often makes them ‘blobby’ (technical term). The back light here creates a range of tones from the outer petals to the centre – which in turn creates depth and form. Lovely. See this photo on Flickr.
RIMG0127 by 2010mariko
Again, the background makes this shot happen. A very different feel from the rose, with the strong lines of the foliage contrasting in tone and direction with the main subject. The subtle light falling on the white flowers means that the shape and texture of the blooms is precisely rendered; in sunnier conditions the light would have created too much contrast and the detail of the delicate flowers – particularly the highlights - would have been lost. I also like the way the photographer has had the confidence to let the shrub stem run from corner to corner making a very strong statement; diagonals always create a sense of energy and movement. See this photo on Flickr.
Join Kew on Flickr and take part in our 'Different World's' Photo Challenge
'Kew on Flickr' is the official Flickr group for Kew Gardens and Wakehurst; we invite visitors to share their photos of the Gardens and take part in monthly photo challenges. Help Kew show off the beauty and fascinations of the Gardens and see your photos featured on Kew's website.
Help Kew celebrate biodiversity by sharing photos of nature in your local area. Post photos of what you’re doing at home or in your neighbourhood to help support and safeguard the diversity of plant and animal life.
International Garden Photographer of the Year competition
Find out about the International Garden Photographer of the Year competition and how you can get involved. It is the world’s premier competition for garden, plant and flower photography and culminates each year in an outdoor exhibition at Kew Gardens.
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