02/2/17
spring and roses

Spring and Roses Are Coming

Spring and Roses Are Coming!

Spring and roses are coming, as this current warm spell reminds us. Although it is tempting to prune roses now, it is far too early. However, this is a great time to do some clean-up in the garden. The last cooler spell, along with the wind, removed most of the remaining leaves on my rose bushes. I can see crossing canes better now, and ones that need to be removed. I did a lot of that yesterday, but not pruning.

While waiting for this year’s roses, as well as other flowers and plants, I’m going to share some from prior years. I’m ready for spring:

spring and roses

Ambridge Rose, a David Austin Shrub Rose

spring and roses

Miniature rose, ‘Climbing Earthquake’

spring and roses

Old Garden Rose, Hybrid bracteata 1918
Mermaid

spring and roses

Miniature Rose ‘Marriotta.’

spring and roses

Rose ‘Gold Medal’ with Hair Streak Butterfly. Winner of the Judges Class, 2015 ARS American Rose Photography Competition.

I had multiple winners in the 2014 Fall National, but I’ll show two here, Queen and King.

spring and roses

Spray of ‘Dream Weaver,’ Queen of Show in Photography at the 2014 ARS Fall National

Spring and roses

“Gemini” – Creative Interpretation
King of Show in Photography, ARS 2014 Fall National Convention
Best of Show in Photography, Albuquerque Spring 2014 Rose Show

For those of you planning to enter photographs in ARS sanctioned rose shows with the requirement for images matted and mounted to 11×14 specifications, I have prepared a short “how to do it inexpensively and quickly” in Kindle format, which can be read on any device with the free Kindle app. It costs $0.99, the lowest price Amazon would allow me to offer it.

I’m looking forward to Spring and Roses!

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09/9/16

Rose Blooms Not of Exhibition Quality

This entry is part 1 of 1 in the series Rose Photography for Rose Shows

Rose Blooms Not of Exhibition Quality – Can Photographers Do Anything with Them?

rose blooms

Great Form! Major color faults and not disbudded!

Rose blooms of less than exhibition quality sometimes have some features that photographers enjoy and/or find challenging. Photographs of such rose blooms are not a problem outside of ARS (American Rose Society) shows. However, in the horticultural photography classes in ARS shows, photographs of imperfect specimens are no more welcome than the actual specimen would be. Does this mean the photographer should just “walk on by” and not “stop to smell the roses?” Each person has to answer that question for him/herself. I would like to suggest some ways to enjoy these roses, and perhaps also create an image people enjoy and can be entered in ARS shows.

First and foremost, photographing any and all rose blooms is one way to work on photography skills. You can try different camera settings, explore different lighting conditions, learn if you personally prefer photographing cut specimens or specimens growing in the garden. For entry in ARS shows, all specimens must be outdoor garden grown. Photographs for shows may be of either cut specimens or specimens still growing in the garden. The more you photograph roses, the better you will become as a photographer and the more you will know your own preferences. You will develop your own “style.” Other people may recognize it before you do.

First Example

ARS members may access the Guidelines for Judging Rose Photography here.

One Class is

One Spray: Two or more blooms, any type of rose of Hybrid Tea, Grandiflora, Miniature, Miniflora, or
Floribunda classifications of roses. This class does NOT include collections.

Photography judges not infrequently encounter collections of roses, rather than sprays. When detected, these are not judged.

When I plan to show a photograph of a rose spray, I usually try to show the origin of the entire spray. That is personal preference and certainly not required. For illustration, this is a spray of ‘Dream Weaver.’

Spray of Rose Dream Weaver

Spray of ‘Dream Weaver’

Not too long ago I was photographing Veterans’ Honor. At first glance, what I took to be a spray, turned out to be a spray of two blooms and a stem with one bloom. I liked the flow and the rhythm of the collection but could not enter it as a “Spray.”

One of my favorite Classes is

Creative Interpretation
The photograph should evoke a sense of originality and a new and different way of imagining the rose or roses with the mind’s eye. This may include processes used to alter the original image such as colorizing, texturing, dodging, burning, dithering, painting, shadowing, blurring, layering, cloning, filtering, merging, cropping. Color, Black & White, Sepia, or combinations of these are permitted in this class. Photo enhancement software is permitted in this class.

In this class, pretty much anything goes, which is one reason I like it. The collection of Veterans’ Honor could be shown in this class, no problem. My personal preference in my own work is to try to maintain the beauty of the rose when I make alterations using software. That is by no means a requirement for this class, but it is what I personally try to do.

I decided to create a black and white image. Those of you who work with digital black and white know that there is no single “Black and White.” I wanted something soft and gentle, almost with an old fashioned look. Although the roses may appear to be in a vase, I photographed them on the bush, growing close to the back wall of my house. I was satisfied with the outcome.

rose blooms

A Collection, Not a Spray

Second Example

Another Class is

One bloom.
One bloom, no side buds, of Hybrid Tea, Grandiflora, Miniature, Miniflora, or Floribunda classifications of roses.

These are the exhibition form roses people tend to think of when they think of “rose.” Judges have specific guidelines for judging specimens in the horticultural portion of a rose show, and those same judging points count for 40% of the score of a photograph of one bloom of a rose. Form is extremely important in this class. This is a rose with great form, but it has just a few problems. 🙂

Roses are on the market that are visually similar to the one at the top of this post. However, this bloom should be solid red. The pink/white is a color fault, a major color fault. Judges would severely penalize this bloom. As if that were not enough, this rose has not been disbudded. You can clearly see the side bud in the lower left. The color fault and side bud are the two biggest problems here, but some judges would also deduct points for the rain drops. Rain drops personally do not bother me, but knowing how some judges view them, I tend not to enter in ARS shows images of roses with rain drops on them. In spite of all of those problems, it is a beautiful rose with great form. But, you wouldn’t show the specimen in a rose show, and if you want to show it photographically, you need to get a little creative.

As I have mentioned before, I am not fond of one-click photo editing filters that detract from the beauty of the rose. Creative Interpretation is the only class in which this image could be entered. But, I would have to change it in some way.

I spent a significant amount of time working with this image to achieve an effect I liked. I settled on this crimson/silver, which made the raindrops look like ice. This may be my Christmas card.

rose blooms

Digitally Altered for Creative Interpretation Class

Summary

If you see something visually interesting in a rose that you ordinarily would not enter as a specimen in a rose show, photograph what you find visually interesting. Then consider what you can do with it to be able to share it with others. The Creative Interpretation class allows plenty of options for showing the beauty in a bloom or rose blooms that otherwise might never be seen.

Post Script

Will I show these images as entries in a rose show? Probably not, given that I am showing them here for teaching and illustration purposes. But I would like to add that when working with rose images, I nearly always begin by cropping the digital image from the most usual digital camera ratio of 3:2 to a ratio for an 8×10 print, a 5:4 ratio. Prints ranging from 5×7 up to 8×10 are allowed by the Guidelines. For me, the 8×10 is large enough for the details to be seen the way I like for them to be seen.

Additionally, as I have pointed out previously, mounting and matting per the requirements of the Guidelines can be done by purchasing sets for this purpose in multiples of ten or more. These are available in a variety of places, but these are the ones I use:

I print my own images, and the cost to prepare an image for entry is around $3.00. Cost should not be a prohibiting factor for exhibiting your images in a rose show.

I have explained elsewhere how to easily and quickly mount and mat your images to meet specifications. For those who would like that info handy on a mobile device, it is available in Kindle form for $0.99. That is the lowest price Amazon would allow me to charge and still offer it there for convenience.

Above all, when you see something visually interesting in rose blooms, photograph them. Then consider what you might be able to do to share that with others through a photograph. And, enjoy the process!

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06/9/16

Rose Gold Medal with Butterfly

Rose Gold Medal with Hair Streak Butterfly

The rose ‘Gold Medal’ has long been one of my mother’s favorites. I photographed the rose in her garden near sunset. The hair streak butterfly is from a macro shot taken in friends’ garden on a wonderful day. This image is a composite that brings together people important in my life and two gardens I love.

This image was chosen as the winner in the Judges Class of the 2015 American Rose Society Digital Photography Contest. I thank the special selection committee for that honor of an image that was already important to me for so many reasons.

rose Gold Medal ARS Photo Winner

Rose ‘Gold Medal’ with Hair Streak Butterfly

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05/18/16

Dr Huey, 2016

Dr Huey, 2016: The 3rd Annual Corrales Rose Society Dr Huey Tour

Dr Huey, know best among most rosarians as a common root-stock for grafted roses such as hybrid teas, floribundas, and many other classes of roses, may be seen in all of its own glory all over the Village of Corrales, New Mexico, for approximately one week in May. The Corrales Rose Society held its 3rd Annual Dr Huey Tour on May 15 this year, and the blooms were truly at their peak; the best overall I have ever seen them.

You may wonder why Corrales has so many of this hybrid wichurana, not usually planted for its own good qualities. Corrales sits on the river, here in the Middle Rio Grande Valley. You may recall from elementary school that “hot air rises, cold air sinks.” When I’m visiting friends in Corrales, even in the summer, if I am going to be there in the evening, I always take a jacket. Winter nights can get 10°-15°F colder than my location in Albuquerque. Corrales could be considered a “cold sink” and is just another example of one of many micro environments in the high desert.

People buy and plant grafted roses, and enjoy them as such while they are in that form. But many winters have killing freezes, often prolonged. In a desert area where winterizing of roses is rarely, if ever done, the grafted portion dies. In spring, the very hardy, alkaline-soil-thriving root-stock appears. The blooms are not at all unattractive, as you will see. People in the high desert tend to appreciate what grows and thrives, and most of these are kept. Some people keep them trimmed; some allow them to grown into their natural fountain shape; many allow them to cascade beautifully over walls; and one in particular has gotten quite huge!!!

I hope you enjoy these images as much as I enjoyed seeing the roses in person.

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05/13/16

Preparing Rose Show Photographs

Preparing Rose Show Photographs – Easily, Quickly, and Cost Effectively

Preparing rose show photographs to conform to the requirements of show schedules using ARS Guidelines or the old PSWD guidelines, for example the one next week in Albuquerque, can be easy and can be done without spending a lot of money. It can also be done so that the photos hang straight and do not develop “waves” during the show.

This volume illustrates step-by-step how to mount and mat an 8×10 photo to total outside dimensions of 11×14, meeting the requirements of the old PSWD guidelines and now the National ARS Photography Guidelines. Beautifully prepare your images easily, quickly, and inexpensively.

Readable on any device (desktop, smart phone, iPad, variety of tablets, laptops) with the free Kindle app that can be downloaded at Amazon.

Susan is an American Rose Society Accredited Horticulture Judge, and in 2015 became an Accredited Arrangement Judge Emeritus. As the first PSWD Chair of Photography (2009-2012), she wrote the PSWD Photography Guidelines. She is a member of the American Rose Society Photography Committee (2012-present), chaired by Curtis Aumiller. That committee produced the first ARS Guidelines for Judging Rose Photography, approved by the ARS in 2015, now the national standard for all ARS rose shows.

The illustrated instructions offered in this Kindle volume meet the requirements of the new ARS Guidelines, as well as the requirements of the old PSWD guidelines, for those who are still using those and have not yet caught up to the ARS Guidelines.

preparing rose show photographs

Mounted and Matted for Rose Show – Gemini

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04/19/16

The New Guidelines for Judging Rose Photography: Breaking It Down I

The New Guidelines for Judging Rose Photography: Breaking It Down I

For readers at both of my blogs, I apologize for the repetition, but I want to get this information out as much as possible at the start of the 2016 rose show season.

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.

The 40 available spaces for that seminar filled fast. The day was a lot of fun, people felt they learned a lot, and left excited about the possibilities for photography in our shows. Click here for a few images from that seminar.

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.

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04/18/16

Toss Those PSWD Guidelines for Judging Rose Photography

Rose Photography Has New Guidelines, The ARS Guidelines for Judging Rose Photography

When the Board of the American Rose Society (ARS) approved the new Guidelines for Judging Rose Photography in Syracuse in September 2015, the PSWD Guidelines became obsolete. When I wrote the PSWD Guidelines, with considerable input from Sally Long, the goal was to ultimately have standardized, national guidelines. The new guidelines, written by the ARS Photography Committee, chaired by Curtis Aumiller, have been officially approved and replace everything that came before. This will not be an issue for Districts that have never had guidelines for photography, but it could be confusing for anyone who continues to use the now-outdated PSWD Guidelines. They are as outdated as rotary phones and party lines in this era of cell phones.

Some people are confused by the fact the ARS guidelines were approved as “temporary” and think that means “optional.” The Committee requested temporary approval so that the guidelines could be used and feedback obtained about changes people would like to see. A show committee never has to use ARS rules unless ARS awards are going to be given. This includes even the little ribbons for 1st-4th places. Show committees are used to this when writing schedules for Horticulture and Arrangements. Now the new Guidelines for Photography need to be followed in the same manner if ARS awards are to be given. ARS members may download the Guidelines here.

If your District has now appointed a District Chairman for Photography, feel free to address your photography schedule questions to that person, as well as to the ARS Photography Chairman, Curtis Aumiller (caumiller[at]yahoo.com). The current PSWD Chairman of Photography is Sally Long. If your District does not have a Photography Chairman, Curtis Aumiller and the ARS Photography Committee are ready to assist you with your schedule and other questions.

A transition from one set of guidelines to the new ARS guidelines will not be a problem for people who have never had guidelines. The PSWD Guidelines are ubiquitous in that district, and are found elsewhere when people have seen what was done here. It is for people who have used the old guidelines and know them well that I am doing a series, of which this is the first post, that explains what is the same, what is different, what is new.

The Score Card in the ARS Guidelines is unchanged. 🙂

Subsequent posts will address some new additions and some very important changes that judges and exhibitors alike need to know. Stay tuned.

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04/18/16

The New ARS Guidelines for Judging Rose Photography

Judging Rose Photography: Understanding the New ARS Guidelines

judging rose photography

Decorative Miniature Rose, ‘Cinnamon Delight’

In September 2015 the new ARS Guidelines for Judging Photography were approved and adopted by the ARS Board at the Fall Convention. These are now the Guidelines to be used for judging rose photography in shows that wish to give ARS awards. Those of you familiar with the PSWD Guidelines for Judging Rose Photography will recognize parts in the new ARS Guidelines, such as the Score Card, which is virtually unchanged. However, there are both subtle and major changes in the new ARS Guidelines, as well as additions.

I am doing a series, “Understanding the New ARS Guidelines for Judging Rose Photography” especially for those of you who know and have been using the PSWD Guidelines. For those of you who read here and at my photography website, Susan Brandt Graham Photography, you will notice the series repeats. I very much appreciate those of you who read at both sites, and the content is generally different. However, I think it is important that the new guidelines, and how they differ from and where they are the same as, the now-obsolete PSWD Guidelines, be understood by judges and all potential exhibitors. For those of you who read both places, I hope you will excuse the redundancy.

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04/11/16

Preparing Photos for Rose Shows

Preparing Photos for Rose Shows – Mounting and Matting

Preparing photos for rose shows is something people have a lot of questions about, not the least of which are cost and difficulty. As the rose show season swings into full gear, here is a how-to guide to mount and mat your 8×10 rose photographs using 11×14 backing board and mat, the usual specifications today for photography in many rose shows.

preparing photos for rose shows

Mounted and Matted for Rose Show – Gemini

This handy guide is available in e-book format at Amazon.

These are the sets of mats and backing boards I currently use for preparing my images for rose shows, and are what I recommend in the guide. They are the least expensive I have found anywhere, and they work.

More links for mounting and matting materials that meet specifications for photographs in rose shows can be found in my Amazon Associates Store. I earn from Amazon a very few cents on purchases made through links on this site.

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08/19/15

Green Rose

Green Rose, a Hybrid China

Green Rose really is a rose. It is a sport, or a mutation, made up of sepals. Its official American Rose Society color is “white,” something of a trick question on some of the practical exams to become an ARS Accredited Horticulture Judge. I have never seen this white part, but it doesn’t matter. I enjoy having this rose in my garden.

green rose

Green Rose, a China rose, discovery in US dated circa 1827

Not only is it interesting just to look at, but rose arrangers find it useful as line material in rose arrangements.

In a previous post I mentioned the discussion among friends regarding editing of images, and the use of jpg versus raw files. Here I would like to briefly mention composition. Rule of Thirds can be a very useful composition guideline in floral photography. Those of you who read here frequently know that it is a guideline I use in a wide variety of my photography. When photographing rose sprays, however, my personal preference for my own photography is symmetry and balance. I like to show the structure of the spray, and tend to photograph sprays from that perspective, rather than from the top down. To my eye, symmetry and balance is a good way to show both the structure and beauty of rose sprays, at least in many instances. This image of the Green Rose uses symmetry and balance.

Another example is my image of Dream Weaver:

Spray of Rose Dream Weaver

Spray of rose, ‘Dream Weaver.’ Image awarded ‘Queen’ (Photography) at the ARS Fall 2014 National Convention.

Green Rose, one of the unique roses in the roses in the rose world.

Happy World Photography Day! #worldphotoday

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