Photographer’s Challenge

– Posted in: Garden Photography
pueblo pot mum

Find the Photo - Photographer's Challenge

When I attended the California Spring Trials this past April I ran into fellow photographers Ramon van der Reijden and Ted Langeveld of the photo agency in Netherlands.  In my previous post about the Trials I mentioned the phototographer’s challenge – each of us would photograph the same flower and see what we come up with.  A flower photographer shoot out.

The Trials are overwhelming, with thousands upon thousands of flowers grown to perfection and on display in beauty pageant fashion to entice growers and wholesalers to try the latest and greatest new developments in flower hybridization. The differences are often subtle and  indistinguishable in a photograph.  Some flowers are bred for different maturation times, different daylight needs,  different heights, and other cultivation requirements that don’t appear in a picture but are important to a grower.

We chose the pot mums (also know as Florist Mums) in the  display simply because their display table was closest to us when we decided to have some fun.  There is no “best” flower at the Trials and a photographer will go crazy trying to come up with a favorite.  Maybe the folks at Sygenta put the Chrysanthemum display table next to the refreshment area for some ulterior motive, but for we photographers, it was easiest to simply point to the closest beauty.

The Pueblo series of these mums are single flowers in a range of warm  colors and the containers are simply placed on metal tables.  To photograph them we agreed not to to touch or re-arrange the pots but otherwise could find whatever photo we wanted.  The camera always lies so we were free to take our own photos out of context.

I can’t speak for Ted or Ramon but I chose to use a 105mm macro lens to isolate a single flower and get a narrow depth of field.  I picked one of the red flowers and found a point of view to make it feel nestled among the yellow ones.  In my computer processing, I then accented the light as if it were spotlighting my “hero” flower.

Photo by Saxon Holt

Ted chose to show a wider combination of flowers

Ted Langeveld pot mum Pueblo

Photo by Ted Langeveld

And Ramon found some sort of angle to truly isolate a flower.  I wonder if he cheated on our agreement not to move the flowers ?

Pot mum by Ramon van der Reijden

Photo by Ramon van der Reijden

Three photographers, three very different interpretations.  Do you, loyal readers and photographers here at KapliPRO, have a favorite?

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Saxon Holt

Saxon Holt is the owner of, a garden picture resource for photographs, on-line workshops, and garden photography stories. An award winning photojournalist and Fellow of The Garden Writers Association with more than 25 garden books, he lives and gardens in Northern California. PhotoBotanic - Garden Photography online at
Saxon Holt

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