Garden photography: two contests in Buffalo area & plenty of tips

Barbara MacNaughton - First Place Color at Buffalo Botanical Gardens
Barbara MacNaughton won first place in the color category in the 2011 photo contest at the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens.

If you enjoy taking photos of flowers and nature, you may be interested in two contests coming up in Western New York. In this article, we also offer you some resources for making your photos even better.

AdamYetter - Second Place Glass at Buffalo Botanical Gardens
Adam Yetter won second place in the glass category in the 2011 photo contest at the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens.

Photography contests

Photography contests are being held by the Charles E. Burchfield Nature & Arts Center and the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens.

Charles E. Burchfield Nature & Arts Center photo contest

Entries for the Charles E. Burchfield Nature & Arts Center photo contest must be received no later than 4 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 4.

Categories include nature, black and white, architectural, digitally altered (new category) and street life (new category). There is also a category for youth less than 18 years old.

First, second, third place winners in each category will receive ribbons, along with prizes. Winners will be announced at the opening reception at 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 9 at the center, 2001 Union Road, West Seneca.

Each photograph must be 8×10 inches, printed on photo paper and mounted flush on ¼-inch coated foam board with no borders.

Tina M Bidwell - Second Place Water at Buffalo Botanical Gardens
Tina M Bidwell won second place in the water category in the 2011 photo contest at the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens.

There is a $5 fee per entry, and entries are limited to three per person.

Find an entry form and details here. For more information, call 677-4843.

Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens photo contest

The deadline for the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens  photography contest is Monday, Dec. 31.

The categories are architecture, unexpected inspiration and outrageous color.

Photos must be taken at the Botanical Gardens (inside or outside) between Jan. 1  and Dec. 31, 2012. Photos may be black and white or full color. They must be medium to high resolution.

Entries must be submitted digitally in jpg format. Email your photos to or mail a CD to The Gardens Photo Contest, 2655 South Park Ave., Buffalo, NY 14218.

Linda Suchocki  - Third Place Water at Buffalo Botanical Gardens
Linda Suchocki won third place in the water category in the 2011 photo contest at the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens.

For Botanical Garden members, the fees are free for the first entry and $6 for each additional entry. The fee for non-members is $8 per entry.

Winners will receive a certificate and a prize from the Botanical Gardens. Awards will be posted on the Botanical Gardens website in early 2013.

Get an entry form and more details here or call 827-1584, ext. 204.

Garden photography tips

Science Museum Camera Club

The Science Museum Camera Club was founded in 1939, with a focus on nature photography. Since then, members have photographed a variety of subjects: nature, wildlife, landscapes, still life, people, places and events.

Meetings are held at 7 p.m. on the first and third Wednesdays of the month at the Buffalo Museum of Science, 1020 Humboldt Parkway, Buffalo.

depth of field from Donna Brok
The flower in the front is in focus while the background is blurry in this example of depth of field by Donna Brok of Garden Walk, Garden Talk.

Tomorrow Doug Hansgate  of the Twin Cities Camera Club will give a presentation on “Using your Still Camera for Videos.” He will talk about how to use your dSLR or new compact digital camera for great video, and he will include  camera settings and some tips for post processing your video file. See a list of meeting topics here.

Guests are welcome at all meetings. If you decide to join, the annual dues are $25 for one person or $40 for two family members.

Buffalo Photography Meetup Group

Meet other local photographers and share tips through the Buffalo Photography Meetup Group. It is free to join. The group organizes trips to photograph interesting places, such as the Night Lights event held in February at the Botanical Gardens.

Garden Walk, Garden Talk

You can get inspiration on Donna Brok’s blog called Garden Walk, Garden Talk. You can see many great garden and nature photos, and Brok offers occasional photography advice, too.

hummingbird feeding by Donna Brok
Donna Brok suggests using the video feature of your camera to photograph hummingbirds in motion, then take stills from your video. Photo from Donna Brok.

Here are a few posts that you might find useful:

“Depth of field: How to LOVE the blur” gives you tips on how to get that beautiful blurred background behind your flowers.

“Photographing a Hummingbird in Flight – Useful Tips” explains how Brok got many great images of hummingbirds.

In “Black Swallowtail Increasing in 2012?,” you’ll see lots of great photos of butterflies and get a couple hints for catching them in flight. The big secret: Photograph them in the morning when they’re sluggish.

Adorama TV

Adorama TV is a great source for how-to photography videos. There are videos for beginners as well as more advanced videos on lighting and other topics. I especially like the “You Keep Shooting” series with Bryan Peterson.

 Another place to share your photos

Another spot to share your garden and nature photos is through the Your Photos Page on Attach your photo to an e-mail and send it to me at Please include some information about what we see in the photo to help me as I write the caption.

Note: A reader sent me photos for the Your Photos Page a few days ago, but I’m switching between email servers and the email with the photos  disappeared! Please accept my apologies. Would you please resend?

2 Comments on “Garden photography: two contests in Buffalo area & plenty of tips

  1. Donna, I know people will enjoy seeing your photos as well as use your tips. The contests are great– there’s a lot happening in our area!

  2. Thanks Connie for the shout out and also the information on the contests. They are a wonderful way for locals to showcase their work.

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