Rose Photography – Judges Class Winner in the 2015 American Rose Society Digital Photography Competition
Rose photography – what led me to study and learn digital photography in 2008. I was an ARS Accredited Horticulture and Arrangement Judge when I wrote about adding photography to our rose shows for the ARS 2010 ARS Rose Annual.
My interests in photography have certainly led me, and will continue to lead me, to explore many more aspects of my world and life through photography.
I would like to thank the members of special committee who selected this image, “Rose ‘Gold Medal’ with Butterfly,” as the winner of the Judges Class of the 2015 American Rose Society Digital Photography Contest.
This image has special meaning to me. The ‘Gold Medal’ was grown by my mother, and it is one of her favorite roses. It was photographed near sunset in her garden. The hair streak butterfly is a macro shot taken in the garden of my friends Tim and Laurie on a glorious afternoon in Corrales. I have so many pleasant memories of both gardens, and I wanted to unite them in one image. On a personal level, that is what was behind the creation of this image.
On a rose photography level, I wanted to create an image that used a lot of photo editing and photo enhancements but ended with an image of a beautiful rose and a feeling of a presence in a beautiful garden. One of my pet peeves is the use of Photoshop filters to create with one click of a mouse an image that smashes a rose beyond all recognition. The uninitiated seem to find those impressive, but they do not know that it is one click of a mouse. Did I ever make images like that? Yes, I did indeed. But I would like to see us encourage images that are a bit more creative and that show the beauty of the rose. Do I expect them to be as complex in creation as this image that appears so simple was? No, of course not. But I recently saw a gorgeous image of a rose on fallen leaves of autumn, creatively arranged, magnificent in color, that was passed over for a one-click abstract. I’d like to see our judges – and photographers – begin to rethink the approach to “rose art” to go beyond the one-click Photoshop filters.
Once again, I thank the people who selected this as the winner in the Judges Class, 2015. It is an honor.
The New Guidelines for Judging Rose Photography: Breaking It Down I
Since September 2015 the ARS has had national Guidelines for Judging Rose Photography. Although I am writing this series to help make the transition from the old and outdated PSWD Guidelines easier for those who are used to using them, if others find this useful, so much the better.
Starting at the beginning, National Chairman Curtis Aumiller states
This first edition is not meant to be an ending point, but rather a starting point for
those who judge rose photographs. The standards agreed upon in this manual will grow and
evolve in future manuals, just as our roses grow and evolve over time. This manual is meant
as a way to find common ground when judging photography of roses for those who already
judge roses for horticulture or arrangements. As with the other guidelines, the most important
aspect to any judging is to enjoy the beauty of the roses displayed while fairly applying
standards to all exhibits. This book will help the seasoned rose judge, the student judge, the
apprentice judge, and most of all, the exhibitor to frame the beauty of America’s flower!
Like the Guidelines for Judging Horticulture and Judging Arrangements, these guidelines are for exhibitors of rose photographs in shows that give ARS awards, and for judges who “already judge roses for horticulture or arrangements.” This, of course, is not surprising to anyone who has done the work to become an accredited judge. The people to judge rose photographs are the people who have prepared themselves to judge roses in rose shows. That was always the intent under my chairmanship in the PSWD, strongly supported by Bruce Monroe who at that time was the National Chairman of Horticulture Judges. My last official act as PSWD photography chair was in June 2012, when I organized a day long seminar and workshop on judging rose photography, taught by myself, Sally Long, and photographer Pat Berrett. Because Bruce Monroe so strongly supported photography in our shows, horticulture judges who attended were given four hours of credit, which is what they needed for that cycle of accreditation. Additionally, Arrangement judges received two hours of credit.
Photography in the PSWD took a sharp turn with a new district director and photography chairman, but Sally Long, the third PSWD photography chairman is working to revive the interest in rose photography present in that district at the end of my tenure.
The challenge for photography at the National level now that official Guidelines have been adopted will be to provide educational programs for both exhibitors and judges on their use. This can be done in a variety of ways. I do believe one important component will be the addition of a segment on judging rose photographs to Horticulture and Arrangement judging schools and seminars. At the present time the ARS has no plans for separate accreditation of Photography judges, so it becomes especially important that our judges are presented with opportunities to learn some of the specifics of the new ARS Guidelines for Judging Rose Photography. They will certainly be called upon to judge rose photographs in our shows.
RESPECTING INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY
Chapter 2 in the new Guidelines is “Intellectual Property.” This was definitely a needed addition, and in the past few months I have been reminded just how needed this new chapter is. It may surprise some of you who know me when I say I had nothing to do with this chapter. It appeared one day in the Committee’s discussions, and I was delighted! From Chapter 2 of the ARS Guidelines:
All photographs entered into an ARS show, from local shows to national shows, are the property
of the photographer and are protected as intellectual property…The information about intellectual property
should be in the show schedule; however, failure to include this information in the schedule does not negate
the legal precedence, and the show must still follow this rule…
The following should be included in any schedule for photography:
All rights to the submitted photographs are retained by the owners of the photographs. However, by submitting
a photograph to the contest, the exhibitor (1) warrants that he or she owns the copyright of the submitted
photograph and is not legally prohibited from submitting it to the contest, and (2) agrees to allow the
[name of the rose society sponsoring the show] to display the photo at the [name of the show] show [optionally
time and place of the show], [if applicable] and publish the photograph in [name of newsletter or newsletters,
optionally specify the issue].
The chapter on Intellectual Property is a new addition, a much needed one. Any questions may be directed to ARS Photography Chairman, Curtis Aumiller.
That is enough to both write and absorb for one day. Stay tuned for Breaking It Down Part II at a later time. If you have read this far, thank you for your interest.
For those who would prefer the information in a Kindle format, readable on any device with the free Kindle app, it is $0.99, the minimum price Amazon allows:
Many readers here know that while my interests have grown in many directions, digital photography for me began with roses. I purchased my first digital camera, a little Nikon Coolpix, in 2004 to have a light weight camera that would fit in my purse to take to rose shows that I judged. When that camera died – I wore it out! – in 2008, I bought a Canon G9, a compact digital with many manual controls and RAW capabilities. I had to take a class, “How to Use Your Digital Camera,” to learn how to use that camera and also the software necessary to process RAW files. One thing led to another, and in the end, I did the entire photography program and also picked up a certificate in Web Design. When I outgrew the G9, I got a Canon 5D. I now use a Canon 5D Mark II.
In the spring of 2008, I began thinking about and working on photography in rose shows. In 2009 I was appointed the first Photography Chair of the PSWD of the American Rose Society, and in my three-year tenure wrote Guidelines for Judging Rose Photographs for shows in the District. I was intimately familiar with “growing pains” in this district with respect to the new discipline in rose shows.
In 2012, Curtis Aumiller was appointed the first Photography Chairman for the American Rose Society, and I have been honored to work with him and the wonderful committee he put together to develop rose photography at the national level. With a lot of hard work, national guidelines were approved by the ARS Board in September of 2015. It felt like birthing a baby. As any parent knows, the really hard work lies in nurturing and raising that baby to maturity. That’s where we are now, in my opinion. I’ve gotten the sense that one obstacle to be overcome is a perception that showing photographs in rose shows is very expensive because of the mounting and matting specifications. While it is true that dry mounting and double matting a photograph can be expensive, that is not what is required for rose shows. Photos need to be mounted in some manner to a backing board and then matted. Specified dimensions are 11×14 in on the outside, with images ranging between 5×7 to 8×10.
Shows last a day or two. These images are not intended for sale. They are lovely images, but not intended for gallery shows. The purpose of the mounting and matting requirement is to standardize the display; to make it possible to display the images; and to separate one image from another by the use of mat to give focus and visual weight to the separate images. Here in the PSWD, the last time I judged photographs laid on a table and unmatted was in 2008. Once people saw the beautiful displays that mounting and matting gave, that approach is what was used. But nationally, this is something of a new concept.
The first rose show season after adoption of the national Guidelines for Judging Rose Photography is just getting underway. The anthropologist in me sees this first year as a critical time. The Ob/Gyn in me asks, “What does this baby need to thrive?” The answer, of course, is, like all newborns, “a lot of things.” I am seeing those things come from many people, including ARS President Pat Shanley and the wonderful photography committee members. Our Chairman is the one who “gets paid the big bucks” – not true; totally voluntary job, often with little thanks – to handle the growing pains of this new discipline in our shows. I have a very positive feeling it is all going to work!
I woke up this past Friday morning wondering what I could be contributing. I decided to do a Power Point presentation showing how easily and inexpensively rose photographs could be mounted and matted to meet the specifications of the Guidelines. Once I finished that, I decided to also convert it to a pdf so it could easily be shared. Some of you saw that version on Facebook. There was such a good response, I decided I really needed to do a cleaner version in Word and then convert that to a pdf. I got that done by early Sunday afternoon. That version is the link posted just below, as well as at the beginning of this post. That pdf may be downloaded and shared. The link may be posted on websites and in newsletters. I want people to know that displaying their rose images in a rose show is not complicated and it need not be expensive. This is how I show my rose images in rose shows.
By the time I got to that point, my three day weekend had pretty much been consumed. I’m familiar with how to publish Kindle e-books, and given the work I had already done, I knew it would not be hard.
The pdf information will be gotten out and around to a variety of places this year. What about next year, or the year after? I decided Amazon is a pretty good repository for information, easily accessible by anyone anywhere. Amazon requires a minimum list price of $0.99 USD for an e-book, so the Kindle version is not free as the pdf is, but it is as close to free as I could make it on a Kindle platform at Amazon.
The result is this:
I hope this information will be helpful to people who already show rose photographs, and especially to those who have considered showing rose photographs in our shows but who need a little encouragement and an explanation and guide of “how to.”
Wishing you good light and beautiful roses ~ Susan
Winter to spring transition in roses is abundantly clear in my garden this year. A couple of weeks ago we had several days of above average temperatures. Many roses began to send out new growth.
Here in the high desert of New Mexico we are taught not to prune our roses until late March or early April, because pruning stimulates new growth. That tender new growth will die if we get a late freeze, which is not uncommon here in the high desert. So, my roses have not yet been pruned, nor will they be for several weeks. But, because the roses are sending out new growth, I have had the opportunity to photograph old spent blooms and hips with the new growth: a winter to spring transition. I sometimes think of it as “the junction of life and death,” but I realize that is too strong for some readers. I personally find with junction of the remains of last year’s growth and blooms with this year’s brand new growth to be beautiful and interesting.
Some of the new rose leaves are red. This is not a photoshopped color. The red color is due to pigments called anthocyanins, which actually help protect the tender new growth from harsh UV light. As the plants mature, and they no longer need this protection, the pigments disperse, the leaves become green, and become chlorophyll factories through photosynthesis. Not all roses produce the red leaves on early spring growth, however.
Rose Photograph Blue Ribbon Winners from ARS 2014 Fall National Convention
Roses are the focus of American Rose Society conventions: rose specimens, rose arrangements, and increasingly, rose photographs. The 2014 Fall National Convention featured a competition of rose photography. The results of the competition have recently been posted on the website of the ARS.
I had known that my photograph of ‘Dream Weaver’ had won Queen (equivalent of Best of Show) and that my Creative Interpretation image of ‘Gemini’ had won King (equivalent of Runner Up to Best in Show). Until I received the ribbons in the mail last week, I did not know that ‘Child’s Play’ had been awarded best in section for Fully Open Roses, nor that my image of hips of ‘YoYo’ had been awarded best in section for Rose Potpourri. I will show those images in a later post.
I was surprised and pleased with how many of my images had been awarded Blue Ribbons. The images in this post are the Blue Ribbon winners.
‘Glowing Amber’ is an interesting little rose. It has distinctive reflex petals, with a red upper and yellow reverse. There are stories that the hybridizer complained that photographers never captured the brilliant colors of this little gem. I did not hear any complaints about the color in this image. 🙂
This image of ‘Mermaid,’ one of my favorite roses, appeared on the cover of the 2014 Rose Annual:
Dr. Huey is often used as the root stock onto which to graft other roses grown for their blooms. It can get very, very large!
My image of ‘Gemini’ entered in Creative Interpretation was awarded King of the show, but I had two additional Blue Ribbons in that class.
With Albuquerque under a Winter Storm Watch from this evening through tomorrow evening, and with this morning dawning dark and gray, this seemed like a good time to enjoy the beautiful roses and colors of summer. Please enjoy!
‘Cinnamon Delight,’ a miniature rose with unusual russet color
This miniature rose was hybridized by Ernest D Williams and introduced in 1993. Its official color is Russet. More information about this rose can be found at Help Me Find.
Russet roses generally contain genes of mauve and yellow roses, and as the blooms age, they will often fade to one of these. This rose is not grown by too many people at present (I cannot explain why), but I had a request from another person who does grow this rose to post images I made this year, to compare color in different climates. This post is in response to that request.
I would also like to take this opportunity, with such an appropriately named rose, to wish my readers a very Happy Thanksgiving with family and friends! With lots of cinnamon…,and chocolate! 🙂 And, for those who are traveling, safe travels.
It is a fun rose to play with editing. The following images have been what we call “creatively edited,” and should not be taken to be representative of the color of the bloom growing on the bush. The form, however, has not been altered in this series.
Cover Images for the 2014 American Rose Society’s American Rose Annual
Cover images for the Rose Annual are an honor for anyone asked to provide them. This annual publication of the American Rose Society is based around a theme chosen by the guest editor, who invites a variety of people to contribute. This year’s guest Editor was Elena Williams, and she oversaw the production of a beautiful and very useful American Rose Annual. I was very honored by her invitation to provide photographs for the front and back covers of the 2014 American Rose Annual, with a theme of “Roses Across the USA – People, Places, Art, and Science.” Thank you, Elena!
One of my all-time favorite roses is the Old Garden Rose, the Hybrid bracteata ‘Mermaid’ with a date of introduction of 1918. I planted it in honor of my father, who was born in 1918. I have gotten Best of Show with it twice, and multiple Victorian Award Certificates. It is an eight-hour wonder, but when it is on, it is truly spectacular. When Elena asked me about the covers, I hoped I could provide an image of ‘Mermaid’ that would be acceptable for the front cover. This image of ‘Mermaid’ did become the front cover image:
I did not have a strong feeling about the back cover image until I began processing the images from my trip to San Diego for the 2014 Spring National. Sally Long had invited me to give some presentations in Rose Photography, and after the show she showed me all around the San Diego area. Marvelous hostess…
Given the theme of “Roses across the USA,” the red, white and blue of this American landscape, complete with American flag, seemed to beg to be the back cover image. Elena agreed, and this image became the one published:
Thanks again to Elena Williams and the staff of the American Rose Society for an outstanding publication.
Photographs of Roses from the 2014 American Rose Society Fall National Convention and Show
Roses are, of course, the focal point of any rose show, whether at the local, district, or national level. In the beginning, rose shows consisted only of horticultural displays. Later, rose arrangements were added to many shows. In the past several years, rose photography has become an important part of many rose shows. It adds another dimension to the enjoyment of roses.
The American Rose Society has had a long-standing annual photography competition for its magazine, American Rose. In recent years, photography competitions have been held in conjunction with ARS National Conventions and Shows, but not directly tied to ARS. For the 2014 Fall National Convention and Show, ARS Photography Chairman Curtis Aumiller organized a print competition, with submitted entries to be displayed in Klima Hall at ARS Headquarters in Shreveport through the holidays.
In the Spring of 2014, at the ARS Spring National in San Diego, Curtis had suggested that top winners in Photography be given the titles of the top winners in Horticulture. In roses, the top award, the equivalent of “Best in Show,” is Queen. Second place is awarded King, and third place is awarded Princess. These awards are on top of Best in Class awards.
I was very happy to have a photograph of the Climbing Floribunda ‘Dream Weaver’ awarded Queen and another of ‘Gemini’ awarded King at the 2014 ARS Fall National.
I donated my matted and mounted entries to the American Rose Society to be sold in the Gift Shop at ARS Headquarters in Shreveport after the show is over.