After 15,379 votes were cast during April to determine the public choice winner that was announced in May we got to work narrowing down the 1,304 entries to 15 so that nine judges could choose their favorites.
We picked two winners in each judged category and one honorable mention – plus a grand prize winner who receives a $350 gift certificate to Precision Camera & Video! All winners receive complimentary Wildflower Center memberships.
And the winners are...
First place, Fields of Wildflowers and Native Plants
Kathy Weigand was headed down a country road near Independence, Texas, when this amazing oak with its long, far-reaching branches caught her eye. The rain clouds over the colorful display of blooms really helped set the mood, says Weigand, a Hill Country-based professional photographer. “I couldn’t stay very long as I was scheduled to be at an event, so I only took a couple shots. Glad that I did though!”
Tracy Jones combined her love for both nighttime and flower photography in this photo above, one of several taken in a vacant lot in her Waxahachie, Texas, neighborhood. She turned to wildflower photography for healing a little over a year ago when her teenage grandson died. Determined to learn off-camera flash, she took a picture of a bluebonnet with the sun setting behind it. After it was shared on EarthSky’s Facebook page to the acknowledgement of 1,000 likes and several hundred shares, Tracy was inspired to find and photograph as many Texas wildflowers as she could. Stunned by the beautiful flowers she found that she’d never before noticed, Tracy says, “That is the thing about photography: It makes you see what is really around you.”
Native Arizonan Mary Hartless combined her love for the outdoors with photography at age 16 and never looked back. She’s out photographing every weekend – and in spring during wildflower season every day if possible. Mary took this winning photograph in April 2012 at the Desert Botanical Gardens in the Phoenix area where she lives. “Since it was late April, most of the blooms had peaked, but the palo verde trees still had some color or were just past peak ... meaning there was a chance of a yellow carpet of blooms to be found.” Holding out her brand-new Sony NEX-5 at arm’s length above the carpet of blooms and turning the LCD so she could frame it, Mary finally got the composition she was after. An overcast sky was her only source of light.
As a family physician, Terry Rascoe, M.D., spends a lot of time indoors. Outdoor photography is a recent hobby that helps break that routine. He took this picture of an ocotillo inflorescence last May during a camping trip to Big Bend Ranch State Park. “It was my first time in the park, and I was astounded at the rich colors and number of blooming plants thriving in this high desert area. I was particularly attracted to the ocotillo due to the contrast between the delicate, ornate flowers and the menacing thorns on the branches.” This native of Houston who makes his home in Temple, Texas, considers himself lucky that his wife shares his passion for the outdoors. The two enjoy day trips for wildflower scouting and try to spend a week or two in one of the fabulous national parks each year.
April Pilley loves photographing wildflowers of West Texas like this one taken in a prairie behind her Lubbock home. She tries to find something unique in each flower – like the “peeled paint” look on this Tetraneuris sp. “A few of the tiny yellow flowers’ petals had collapsed and because they were slowly turning white stood out among the other petals.”
When he’s not practicing dentistry in Sherman, Texas, Andy Crosthwaite, D.D.S., is taking pictures of nature – or traveling to take pictures of nature. Just back from Norway when we spoke, Andy told us how he’d taken this winning picture in his Sherman yard 20 years ago. “I’d planted that redbud tree so I could take pictures of it from a small window in my home’s backdoor,” says Andy. Even better when a cardinal bird pays a visit. “I liked how the bird and tree blended in with the background color of the shot.” The winning photograph is one of several Andy entered in the contest taken at different times over 40 years of photographing nature.
Diane Myers of Metamora, Michigan,
enjoys taking photos of butterflies because
she feels like each one is its own individual
piece of artwork with its beautiful patterns
and vibrant colors. “I am a bit of a butterfly
fanatic!” she says.
“I am very fortunate to have a large natural field as a part of my yard, so we have many butterflies come to visit the thistle bushes each summer.”A pet photographer by profession, Diane likes to use a 100-400 lens to photograph butterflies without scaring them away.
Public Vote Winner
Sarah Huddleston Garcia took this photo of daughter Terah Blaise at Wildseed Farms© in Fredericksburg, Texas. It received the most votes during the public voting portion of the contest and was entered in the People with Wildflowers contest category.