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The Greater Garden

The Greater Garden
We’re now approaching the final deadline of Competition 12 and it is therefore important to reflect on some of the wider values and aims of the competition, especially if you’re entering for the first time. Specifically, what does garden photography mean to us and why it has to encompass such a . . . broad range of photographic context. Garden photography can seem like a niche genre but unlocking the wider aspects of the subject craft, taps into nature photography and the trends of the current age in the most broadest sense. This is why botanical photography of all kinds is growing in popularity, not just because of its potential but because of its applicability and relevance to the challenges of the modern era, where the environment is facing ever more greater challenges. However, these challenges can be overcome and photography can and must play its part. By focusing on flora, garden photography stretches into vast parts of the natural world all with an equally vast potential for the photographer. Where there’s flora there are the qualities of the garden and all of the accompanying feelings and associations that go with it. The desire to cultivate and control (it could be said all art is a desire to feel, communicate or exert control) that which we see in nature is an ancient activity and the garden is just one of these manifestations. Just as plant hunters would return to royal courts or learned societies with their newfound treasures so the verb ‘capture’ is used to describe the act of creating a botanical photograph that we can share with the world without a need for exploitation and human cost. That is the beauty of the current quest. To take up the same initiative of cultivation and control, but to renewed celebratory and inspirational ends. The age of discovery will never truly die. The cultivation of values and activities that bring us closer to nature, not further apart is the new act of botanical capture. A garden then is a space used to nurture this connection and the camera is the proof of its existence, wherever we may be. Photography helps quantify this experience and communicate its importance. We therefore define garden photography as the ways in which we experience flora, in any location, in any setting with any interpretation. Taking ownership of important things we have the ability to control, whilst cultivating that which we want to see in the world is what modern day garden photography means to us and we’re more excited than ever to say, enter now.
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Call for entries into International Garden Photographer of the Year Competition 12

Call for entries into International Garden Photographer of the Year Competition 12
The International Garden Photographer of the Year Competition 12 main competition is now approaching the final deadline of October 31. Competition 12 sees more exciting opportunities for winning an award plus more partnerships and prizes than ever before, as we work to celebrate and protect plants, . . . gardens and green spaces around the world. Now is the perfect time to be working on your images – from plant portraits to fantastical botanical landscapes – help us inspire the world to see the value, beauty and importance of a green planet. The overall winner will receive £7,500 for the best single image and the overall winner of the Portfolios will win £2,000 and a gold medal from the Royal Photographic Society. Best in category photographers will receive separate cash prizes, and new for Competition 12, first, second and third category places will receive a special subscription to ImageRights, a service for tracking and enforcing copyright of images. Selected winners will be exhibited at the world famous Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew in February 2019. Winners will then tour to exhibitions across the UK, Europe and worldwide and feature extensively in national and international media coverage.  See your images featured at some of the world’s most iconic cultural and horticultural venues, from museums, botanic gardens and art galleries to UNESCO World Heritage Sites. New partnerships include the Botanic Gardens Conservation International Threatened Plants Photographic Award which has special prizes. Entries into The Beauty of Plants will automatically be considered for this award. With 9 main categories to choose from and unique special awards, there is something for everyone – including the return of the European Garden Photography Award which has a separate first place prize of 1000 Euros. We also see the return of the Abstract Views category which proved particularly popular, producing highly original photography, pushing the genre and expanding our perception of nature. Winners will also feature in our beautiful annual book publication which is sold across the world at our exhibition venues. The competition is open to amateurs and professionals worldwide and you don’t need expensive camera equipment to enter. Categories and Special Awards include: The Beauty of Plants Beautiful Gardens The Bountiful Earth Wildflower Landscapes Greening the City Portfolios Wildlife in the Garden Trees, Woods & Forests Breathing Spaces Abstract Views European Garden Photography Award Captured at Kew For more information on each category visit the category guide: https://igpoty.com/igpoty-competition-12/ It’s an absolute privilege to be part of this competition which is the industry leader for garden, planet and botanical photography. All photographers want their work to mean something and competitions should stand for something bigger than the sake of competition itself. Entering a competition says something about your work as a photographer and IGPOTY’s message is louder and clearer than ever: we must continue to celebrate the beauty and importance of a green planet. Photography demonstrates over and over again that it has a unique power to inspire and educate and our twelfth competition year holds vast new potential for positive environmental awareness. -- Remember, don’t leave it until the last minute to ensure an optimum experience and so you have enough time to edit your entries. We’re here to help with any questions @igpoty on social. Don’t forget to sign up for mailshots for the latest news, updates and competition reminders. Good luck! Let's make it the best yet. Enter now.
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Celebrating our Oaks

Celebrating our Oaks
A new special award within the International Garden Photographer of the Year competition has been launched to highlight the plight of the UK’s oaks. The oak tree holds a very special place in the hearts and minds of people, from druids staging rituals in oak groves to King Charles II hiding in one, . . . the oak plays a huge part in our culture and history. Almost 6,000 oaks went towards building Nelson’s flagship HMS Victory and the oak hammer beam roof in Westminster Hall took 660 tonnes of oak to construct, making it the largest in Northern Europe. Not only is it culturally important but oak is a foundation species supporting over 2200 other species and is the UK’s most important tree for biodiversity. There are over 121 million oaks in the UK, and more ancient oaks than the rest of Europe combined. These include the globally important Atlantic oak woodland – our temperate rainforest, The benefits they bring are priceless for biodiversity; culturally, economically and for our sense of wellbeing, losing them would be devastating. UK oaks are under threat and we must act now to protect this iconic tree for the future.  Pests and diseases are challenging its very survival. Oak processionary moth, acute oak decline, root-attacking species of honey fungus and powdery mildews are all present in the UK today and weakening or killing our majestic oak trees, with the bacterial disease, Xyllela fastidiosa, an increasing threat as it moves its way across Europe towards the UK. Faced with these challenges, Action Oak, a new initiative that aims to protect our oaks for future generations, was launched at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show in May. A unique collaboration of environmental bodies, charities, governments and landowners, Action Oak is working to raise the £15 million needed to fund a programme of activities which includes: – Working with owners and managers of oak trees to help to protect the trees from the range of threats that they face; – Funding research to improve our understanding of the threats to our oak trees and to inform best management practices; – Using established professional and citizen science networks to record changes in the distribution, age and health of our oak trees to identify priority areas for action. This programme of vital research and monitoring into the threats oaks are facing will build upon the ground-breaking research being undertaken already, that has not only helped us to understand the oak much better than before, but which has also revealed just how much there still is to learn, if we are to protect these much-loved trees for future generations. To highlight the importance of these amazing trees in our landscape we are asking photographers to take pictures of their favourite oaks and to enter them in this special section of 2018’s International Garden Photographer of the Year competition. As well as the thrill of finding and photographing your favourite oak tree, by entering you will be supporting Action Oak and giving yourself the chance to win a prize that money can’t buy. Enter now.
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The Art of Thinking

The Art of Thinking
We all want to take photographs that have meaning, but understanding how to effectively communicate this through photography can be tricky. Macro photography offers many opportunities to say something different about the natural world and it’s this unique interpretation that is important. To help us . . . engage with this topic, we spoke with multiple IGPOTY award winner, Minghui Yuan about his relationship with the genre. What do you like about macro photography? I love macro photography. I like to discover the microscopic world around us, because the real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but at looking at things with a different perspective. I try to show the beauty and dignity of extraordinary species, analogous to ordinary people in the pursuit of survival and life. How would you describe your approach? In my work, macro photography seems to be the most profound tool to translate my visual language. It is a physical extension of my imagination. However, macro photography allows me to see beyond my imagination, breaking through the natural limitations of the eye, whilst shooting in a natural way. What do you look for and why? Macro photography depends entirely on your imagination and shooting techniques. To understand your subjects you must have an understanding of habitats, the environment and ecological knowledge. Through this we can better deploy equipment to get the best results. Over or under exposure can affect the colour of the photograph whilst impacting emotional quality. I often use aperture priority mode and average metering, and combine this with exposure compensation to adjust the brightness. For me, I want to discover more about the human experience through studying other natural forms of association. I look for botanical shapes, patterns, colours and textures. I always try to find the joy of life, through expressions of love and hope. I also look for relationships between plants, including solitude and companionship. Plants depend on each other, so it’s important to try to understand this relationship. The microscopic world is a strange and mysterious place, where it’s easy to get lost in our own fantasies. When shooting in nature, I need to feel "the dignity of life" and "the joy of life" through what I’m seeing via the camera lens. All life has equal value so I like to use multi-level viewing angles to observe different layers of life. What key elements make a good macro image for you? The key elements of a good macro image consist of the relationship between fantasy and reality, simple patterns and colours used to original effect, and imaginative composition. What equipment do you use and why? I usually use a Nikon SLR camera body and a macro lens. The fixed focal length macro lens is my most used lens when shooting macro. This makes for more efficient shooting as you begin to understand the best distances involved for certain shots. The most important aspect is to find the optimum focal plane of your subject. The focus should grab the subject at the most crucial point; the reasoning for having something on the focal plane should be a central part of your image. It has to tell a decisive story. A telephoto macro lens can also be useful for making interesting blurred backgrounds and proper use of backgrounds can make all the difference. What's your advice to other photographers entering the Macro Art Photo Project? The Macro Art Photo Project is a piece of creative performance, but it is also the art of thinking. My interpretation of this is that there is a fine balance between the conscious creative mind and the subconscious. Too much conscious processing and the power of natural observation can be suppressed. Sometimes a new perspective or new approach can just happen, without too much introspection and you’ll never know unless you start shooting. — Find your own meaning. Enter Competition 12 now.
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Artistic Impact

Artistic Impact
With a lot of art, just starting can be the hardest part. If you're having trouble finding out where to begin with the Macro Art Photo Project or need some inspiration, we asked macro art specialist and IGPOTY Royal Photographic Society representative for Competition 11, John Humphrey, to shed some . . . light on his approach to this exciting genre. -- Art photography is not easy to define, in fact I often feel that it sounds rather pretentious. However, many photographers want to produce images that make an artistic impact rather than simply being records of their subject. For me, botanical close-up and macro photography is often my starting point in what I hope is an artistic journey. Whether I succeed is for others to decide! The first step of course is to take the picture. For close-up work this can be technically challenging since as you get closer to the subject, the depth of field becomes shallower and movement becomes magnified. These issues can be addressed in a variety of ways or accommodated into the picture to add impact. One of my early approaches in this field was to photograph pressed flowers. They are often very attractive subjects when viewed close-up and have the additional appeal of being flat, so depth of field is not an issue. Scanning across the surface of a pressed flower will often reveal pattern, colour and texture that we ordinarily wouldn’t notice, and can deliver extremely attractive photographs. Where the subject is not flat but overall sharpness is still the objective, we now have a very clever tool at our disposal, namely focus stacking. Here, a series of pictures is taken, and specialist software identifies the sharpest parts of each image and combines them into a sharp composite. An alternative approach is to settle for a shallow depth of field and to accommodate subject movement in the photograph. The blurring of parts of the image can lend a sense of depth and visual appeal that might not be present in a more static image. My final step is often a venture into Photoshop. I will probably adjust levels and colour saturation to suit the desired result. I also invariably experiment with textures, usually applied via a displacement map so that the image is displaced to match the texture image, usually a picture of a separate textured subject such as tree bark or rock. John Humphrey John is a Fellow of the Royal Photographic Society and presents workshops on Macro and Art Photography. Some of his pictures can be viewed on his website www.johnhumphrey.co.uk -- Let's get started. Enter the Macro Art Photo Project now.
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A Winning Identity

A Winning Identity
Congratulations to Simon Hadleigh-Sparks for his winning image of a magnificent maple tree at the Savill Garden. Judges were impressed by not just the composition, choice of subject and technical ability, but also by its emotional impact. The image manages to communicate something beyond competency . . . and this is what makes great garden photography, indeed great nature photography. This emotional impact has been of pronounced quality this year throughout the winners and is worth further exploration. ‘Jumping Over Karma’ strikes us with its immediate sense of scale, character and context. In fact, these three elements help create a unique sense of identity and identity helps us emote. The scale of the maple is impressive and whilst drawing us in, we are struck by its complexity, its twists, turns and textures, each punctuated with the piercing tips of its leaves. This formation of character is built up in layers of contrast, and black and white is perfect for creating these nuances.  Context then emerges and we see the jumping, leaping forms of a proud and ancient arboreal spirit. ‘Weeping Willow’ by Carolyne Barber also displays these processions of scale, character and context. Scale is established through a thick, central trunk with an almost impossible number of hanging vertical branches. The highlighted white areas of these branches are made to look and feel like running water, which goes onto form the overarching character of the image which invokes a melancholy yet stoic defiance of winter and the passage of time. The context is made even more poignant by the dark outline of another tree in the background and the foreground of smaller plants, framing the shot and focusing the scene. As a final example Minghui Yuan’s ‘Damselfly Umbrella’ has a sense of explicit scale which works harmoniously to create a relationship between natural elements in the composition. The meaning and poetry of the image only really becomes apparent when we notice the third and tiny character of the scene. This then forms a highly effective emotional aspect, the context of which complements the plant rather than detracting from it. Using these three terms then can be helpful for analysing emotional quality and impact. Look out for how scale, character and context has created a winning identity in the other winners and even in your own garden photography. Creating this identity of course isn’t exclusive to black and white. Give it a go in our next Photo Project of the year: Macro Art. Enter now.
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Championing Copyright

Championing Copyright
At IGPOTY we take copyright seriously and have always championed the work of photographers, ensuring credit remains with the artist. But our responsibilities shouldn’t end here. We believe photographers shouldn’t have to worry about neglecting promotion because of the threat of online theft. We . . . believe in the fundamental value of creative work and we believe this should be respected across all mediums, particularly the internet. That's why we're proud to announce a new partnership with ImageRights. Ever been worried about who might be using your images on the internet without your permission or a purchased licence? Well, ImageRights is a copyright enforcement subscription service that tracks your images across the internet (using clever fingerprinting algorithms), fronts the initial legal expenses, manages and pursues claims through their global legal network, and registers your work with the US Copyright office. If you publish or share any of your images online, this service is vital, especially if you derive a large part of your income through photography. (For more information on their services and what they offer, read more here: https://www.imagerights.com As part of the partnership, ImageRights are offering levels of their subscription services to 1st, 2nd and 3rd Place in each of the nine main categories. Yes, each of the nine main categories. Let’s take a closer look at the prizes: 1st Place: ImageRights Ascent The Ascent service is the premium package worth $588 per year. It is designed for photographers with a large online collection. This 1 year prize subscription is awarded to photographers who come 1st Place in a main IGPOTY category. The service includes: ImageRights Discovery Protect up to 25,000 images ImageRights Recovery Keep 50% of net recovery Copyright Registration 3 free USCO Copyright Registration filings $34 + USCO filing fee(66% discount off normal rates) 2nd Place: ImageRights Launch The Launch service is ideal for photographers with a significant online presence and is worth $388 per year. This 1 year prize subscription is awarded to photographers who come 2nd Place in a main IGPOTY category. ImageRights Discovery Protect up to 1,000 images ImageRights Recovery Keep 45% of net recovery Copyright Registration 1 free USCO Copyright Registration filing if paid annually $34 + USCO filing fee(66% discount off normal rates) 3rd Place ImageRights Pilot The Pilot service is a bespoke 1 year prize subscription for IGPOTY photographers who come 3rd Place in a main category. ImageRights Discovery Protect up to 1,000 images ImageRights Recovery Keep 45% of net recovery — These prizes hold no additional cost to the winners once awarded. ImageRights takes on legal and financial risk and takes a percentage of the final settlement figure. For more information on the service and how it works, please read more at https://www.imagerights.com/ Take advantage of this industry leading partnership, enter the main competition and get your images protected.
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A Different Way of Seeing

A Different Way of Seeing
Thinking about an infrared capture for the Black & White Photo Project? Michael Hudson, winner of last competition’s, talks us through his capture. How much planning was involved? Did you go out with an idea of the kind of shot you wanted? I was on holiday with my family in the area and I . . . had read about the Wood where the shot was taken and was hoping to photograph it. But it was hard to find on the map and I had just about given up hope of finding it when I realised it was a field away from where we were staying. I actually walked there twice that week. I had an idea for the type of shot I was looking for. I’d made images of trees from a similar angle, looking up the trunk at the full branches with a wide angle lens, but each one is different. What I like about this one is the moss covered branches and trunk, and the bright backlighting. Can you tell us a little more about the image and the kit/techniques used? I used to shoot a lot of infrared film many years ago, which was tricky and temperamental to work with, but if you got it right, the results were very beautiful. I’ve hired an infrared converted camera a couple times now and I really like the look that the infrared camera gives me. I always convert infrared to black and white in post processing as I don’t usually like the effects it has on the colours. What do you like about the picture? I like the full feeling of the image, the way the tree fills the frame. And because it’s an infrared image, the leaves don’t dominate the picture, but instead, the branches do. It’s a simple image, but there’s a lot of detail in it at the same time. I also liked how the branches, covered in moss, have a very old, weathered look. Did you do much to it in post-processing? As a raw, infrared image straight out of the camera, it needs a fair amount of processing. First I converted it to black and white, then I boosted the contrast and clarity, to give some sharpness to the details in the branches and the leaves. I brought back some detail in the highlights, but not too much as I like the backlit feel to the image. Do you have any tips for capturing infrared imagery? Look at a lot of other infrared images to see what infrared does to the landscape. In nature, leaves and grass turn white and blue skies darken. Become familiar with it because it involves a different way of seeing. Once you begin to know what infrared does, you can look for appropriate subjects. Unlike infrared film, where youoften wasted a lot of film to get one good shot, it’s easy to experiment with digital infrared.— Enter the Black & White Photo Project now.
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Layers of Realism

Layers of Realism
Black and white has so much to offer the genre of garden photography. In fact, the thought process behind many black and white images reveals how photographers are encouraged to engage with subjects in a nuanced, emotional and somewhat deeper way, accessing a rich narrative of artistic story . . . telling. But why? Rachel Chappell helps us answer this as she talks us through her award-winning black and white photograph, from Competition 11.  What drew you to shoot this image in black and white? I wanted to create an image which was distinctly minimalist but still had enough detail to be interesting. Although the image is all about movement with the long wavy lines I also wanted it to be calming and restful. I had been looking at the black and white landscape work of Cole Thompson and Michael Kenna. Both of these photographers use black and white quite expertly and are not afraid of using both true black and true white to dramatic effect. How did you achieve the desired effect? I am sure the day was not windy but looking through the lens close-up there appeared to be a small gale blowing! Also the part of the grass I was interested in was at the top of a very long and bendy stem. To ensure that I could compose the image as I wanted, and to have a range of aperture options open to me, I set up my camera and tripod indoors. The grass stem was clamped in an old clamp stand (remember those from science lessons?).  As I wanted a minimalist effect I placed a sheet of plain white card behind the grass. Ultimately I chose the mid aperture of f/9. Working at a close distance of around 6 inches this allowed me to have some sharp areas but also some softer edges. I often like the combination of hard and soft edges to tell a more rounded story and leave some work to the imagination. Did you use any special equipment? I do a lot of macro work and the lens I use most of the time is a 105mm macro lens. This allows me to get up close to the flowers and isolate the part of the flower which I am most interested in. My best bit of ‘special’ equipment is a small 4 inch square of card wrapped in silver foil. I can hold this in one hand without creating too much draft as I reflect the light back onto the grass. What plants do you think work best for black and white photography? I feel that creating a black and white photograph allows the photographer more scope to tell a story. The removal of colour takes away a layer of realism which allows you to take a different approach and put emphasis on another aspect of the image. Flowers which photograph well in black and white tend to be those with definite features of shape, texture, lines. When working in black and white it is even more important to be aware of the light and composition as it will add to your story. If your story is about lines, as it was in this image, then the composition needs to be arranged so that lines really stand out. -- Ready to tell your story? Enter the Black & White Photo Project now
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Black & White Backlight

Black & White Backlight
With the Black & White Photo Project deadline rapidly approaching it’s good to revisit genre specific skills and  take a look at some interesting techniques to complement your style.   In this post, Digital Camera magazine’s Claire Gillo takes a look at backlighting.   Light your object from . . . behind to create a magical halo effect   Backlighting looks extremely effective when shot in the monochrome medium. By lighting your subject from behind, you capture a silhouetted object with a halo outline. Once you remove the colour from the image, the silhouette and halo effect is enhanced even further.     For this tutorial we used an external flashgun and picked a wild flower from a hedge. We also had a reflector to hand to bounce some light back into the top part of the subject. You may also need to do this depending on the size of your subject. We also placed our flashgun onto a pile of books to bring the light closer to the flower.   There are many different techniques you can use when backlighting a subject. In our example we’ve kept it simple, but if you want to add in an extra touch, you can also try spraying some water onto the subject. If you use a fine-mist spray bottle, the small droplets will ping out against the dark background. If you try this technique, just make sure you keep wiping your flashlight with a towel because after a few sprays it may get a little damp!   1) Pick the right subject   You want to pick an object that will silhouette while describing an interesting outline. Flowers are good for this technique, but you want to avoid the usual pretty full-faced type. Seed heads or weed-like species work best, and anything with spikes or hairs that are going to catch the light are preferable. Put it in a vase so it stands upright, and place it on a flat surface. We secured our flower in place using some Blu Tack and a vase.   2) Set up the background   Set up a dark background behind your subject. We used a thick brown blanket. As long as the background is dark in appearance, it doesn’t matter if it’s not black because we can easily fix this in processing later. It’s best to use a thick material like velvet that will absorb the light rather than a shiny surface that will reflect the light. If necessary, angle the background to eliminate any stray light reflections.   3) Set up the camera   Next set the mode dial on your camera to manual so you are in complete control of the exposure. Set the shutter speed to 1/250 sec because this synchronises with the flash light. Also, set the ISO low to 100 for optimum noise-free results. Now we can balance the aperture setting with the flash. In this example we set the aperture to f/16 to keep the subject completely sharp from back to front.   4) Set up the flash camera settings   We want the background to be under-exposed. And we’re going to use the camera’s built-in pop-up flash to trigger the external flashgun. Under the Built-in flash setting, set the flash to the wireless function so that the external flashgun and the camera are communicating. Set the pop-up flash to fire so it doesn’t have any impact on the final result. We’re only using it to fire the external flash, not to light the subject from the front.   5) Set up the flashgun   Set the flash unit to the Slave setting and put it into manual mode. We can also control the intensity of the flash through the built-in flash feature on the camera. We set ours to fire at 1/16th of its full power. The setting you need will vary depending on the power of your flashgun, and its distance to the subject. Angle the flash head up and place it behind your subject, like in the picture above. Finally, we’re ready to start shooting!   6) Fire away!   We had to use a reflector to bounce the light back into the top part of the flower. Without the reflector, we found the top part of the subject was under-exposed. If you struggle to hold the reflector and take the shot at the same time, get an assistant to help you, or mount your camera on a tripod. When you take the shot, make sure the main focus point is sharp on the centre of the flower. Check the exposure using your camera’s histogram.   7) Convert to black and white   Open the image in Adobe Camera Raw by double clicking its thumbnail in Bridge. In Camera Raw, convert the image to black and white using the Convert to Grayscale setting. Our flower has some green parts, so we can use the green channel to boost the outline. In the Basic panel we want to enhance the Blacks and boost the Contrast. Once you’re happy, click Open Image to bring it into the main image editor.   8) Dodge the top of the flower   Although we used the reflector to enhance the light at the top of the subject, we’re going to do a bit of dodging and burning to help enhance the end result. Duplicate the background layer, select the Dodge tool and set the Range to Highlights and the Exposure at 10%. Run a small brush around the top of the flower, building up the effect slowly. Now go to the Burn tool and set the Range to Shadows. Paint in the centre to darken the silhouette.    Enter the Black & White Photo Project now
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Cerrado Sunrise, the Winner of the International Garden Photographer of the Year Competition 11

Cerrado Sunrise, the Winner of the International Garden Photographer of the Year Competition 11
A huge thank you and congratulations to all of our winning photographers who have once again captured the incredible beauty, diversity and importance of plant life, from the wilds of Patagonia to the English country garden. A special congratulations goes to Marcio Cabral, of Brasilia, Brazil, who is . . . the overall winner and the International Garden Photographer of the Year Competition 11. Marcio is recognised as one of the top landscape photographers in the world and holds a world record for the largest underwater panorama. The winning image entitled, Cerrado Sunrise, was shot in the vast ecological region known as the cerrado in Brazil. Marcio said: “Paepalanthus chiquitensis Herzog is my favourite wildflower and I have been photographing it for more than a decade. These wildflowers have an incredible effect when photographed at sunrise or sunset as they reflect sunlight and this generates a striking effect that looks like the flowers have been individually illuminated. Although this location has a large flowering field, it is not easy to find a perfect spot with the flowers lined up to fill the foreground. I visited this site for a week until I was able to capture this formation of clouds before the sunrise.” Marcio’s love of the region holds strong botanical significance as well as many photographic opportunities. Prof. Ana Maria Giulietti, the world Paepalanthus specialist and Honorary Research Associate in the Americas team of the Identification and Naming department at Kew Gardens said: “Individual plants are found with flowers and fruits throughout the year, especially after the rainy season. The flowers are pollinated by beetles, wasps, and flies. Once the plant has reproduced or set seed, it dies. Featuring large populations and a wide geographic distribution, Paepalanthus chiquitensis is not considered endangered. However, the accelerated advance of monoculture plantations on the cerrado causes concern for the future. The implementation of the National Plan for the Conservation of Everlasting Plants is a crucial element to reverse this process and reduce the impacts on the natural populations of these plants.” Apart from possessing interesting access points to discuss conservation in South America, the image is technically brilliant, showing superb control of contrast and exposure with flawless composition. Judges felt a real connection with the image and the endless filaments and flowerheads stretching into the distance beyond. The scale and impact of their presence added to a sense of timelessness. This feeling echoes the fact that conservation and living in harmony with plants and nature is a process that doesn’t have an end point. We must continue to carry this sentiment far into the future, wherever we go. See the winners on your coffee table. Buy the book here
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The Botanical Year Starts Here

The Botanical Year Starts Here
It’s almost February and that means it’s almost time to reveal the winners of the International Garden Photographer of the Year Competition 11. Winners will be made public and available to view online from February 9 2018, with the exhibition at Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew opening to the public on . . . February 10. If you’ve never been to the most prestigious flagship exhibition of garden photography in the world, then you’re in for a treat. This year will feature the most ever framed prints supplied by UK based pro lab, One Vision Imaging, and include garden photography from classic categories such as The Beauty of Plants, Breathing Spaces and Wildflower landscapes as well as two new main categories, Abstract Views and Outdoor Living. Also new to this exhibition will be images from the mobile phone only category Gardens on the Go,  a new Still Life Photo Project, plus the winner of the special Portfolio category My Garden Stories. And of course, Captured at Kew, with the largest selection of winners exhibited to date. The photography on display will aim to broaden your understanding of the natural world and inspire you to see our green planet with renewed beauty and importance. Expect to see images from around the UK plus countries all over the world such as: Ireland, USA, Germany, Denmark, Croatia, Brazil, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, Taiwan, China, Singapore, Thailand and Indonesia. Each image will have a story to tell and offer a new perspective on plant life through the exciting and growing genre of garden photography. Conservation will be, as always, an important theme of this competition year so watch out for interesting interpretation provided by the Kew Science team. This exhibition is vital to the IGPOTY mission as we continue to work with Kew to share the wonder of plants. So discover your inspiration for 2018 with the finest images of plant life in the world at the birthplace of botany.  The exhibition will be on display in the Nash Conservatory until March 11 2018. Entry is included with the price of admission to the Gardens. The next venue to host the exhibition of Competition 11 will be RHS Hyde Hall, which opens on March 21. For more information about Kew visit kew.org
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