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Photography Book Contest Give-Away CYBER MONDAY

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Saxon Holt Rule of Thirds Final Photo

Happy Cyber Monday! Today I have the ultimate Cyber Monday digital book give-away contest and discount code party — all teaching you how to take better photographs in the garden.

Saxon Holt, reflections in a garden - self-portait cracked

Saxon Holt is also an amazing photographer who focuses his passion on the garden – all the photos in this blog post today are credited to his terrific skills. Learning to photograph gardens took him a lifetime and he wants to share his knowledge and photography prowess with the world. His latest venture is creating instructional e-books for the budding garden photographer. His efforts with Good Garden Photography have won him the 2015 Gold Award through the Garden Writer’s Association – he won Best Book Overall. This was the first time an e-book received the best garden book award.

I read his photography how-to series this season – all three books listed below – and loved the absolutely stunning visuals and easy-to-understand tips. Best yet, while reading the digital books, I was surprised to find “link backs” to his website which gives more detailed and additional information on the topics he mentions. Terrific blend of beautiful photography and easy instructional guidelines. Saxon has agreed to a Cyber Monday Party — he is sharing a great garden photography tip (below) and we are giving away one of his books (see details at the bottom).

Saxon Holt’s Rule of Thirds Garden Photography Tip —

“The Rule of Thirds is a time honored concept of composition, but if you are a creative person you hate rules.  You want to create not follow, but once you start using the rule of thirds in composing your photographs it will become automatic.

It is a simple concept that gives a natural, pleasing sense of balance by dividing a composition into two unequal shapes (1/3 and 2/3) and thus creating some subtle interest and tension. The easiest way to think about thirds is when photographing scene with a horizon, say a beach.  Instead of taking the picture with the horizon line in the middle, shift the composition so that the horizon lies along the top, or the bottom, third of the scene.  This bit of imbalance is more interesting to look at and helps you and your viewer know what is the more important part – the sky or the beach.

You can use the same idea to divide the photo left to right, not just top to bottom.  When you combine the two sets of thirds, vertical and horizontal, you will end up with 4 intersecting ‘sweet spots’.  Look back at the photo of a bench at the end of a garden border (top photo).

It is composed so that that 1/3 of scene is above the bench and 1/3 to the right (see below).  Doing so helps lead the eye through the photo to the focal point – which is a lesson for another day.  :-)”

Saxon Holt Rule of Thirds Instructional Photo

Cyber Monday Bonus —

Below you see Saxon’s award winning books. Click on the photographs to link through to the PhotoBotanic website for more details and information about each book – the contest winner will be able to select one of these books as the contest prize. As a Cyber Monday bonus the coupon code “shawna30” will give a 30% discount to any PhotoBotanic ebook through Dec 31.

Saxon Holt Good Garden Photography
Saxon Holt Think like a camera
Saxon Holt Think like a gardener

How to Win the Contest —

If you would like to win one of the digital books listed above, simply leave a comment below letting us know your favorite beautiful gardens to visit and photograph in 2016 so Saxon and I can plan a field trip photography adventure to share with our readers.

AND THE WINNER IS — [drumroll please] LINDA BELCHER. Congratulations Linda – you are the winner selected by the random number generator to win the grand prize. Woot!

THIS IS A ONE DAY CONTEST, so a random winner of a Saxon Holt digital photography book will be selected at the end of today and announced tomorrow morning on the blog post. If you do not win the grand prize, no worries, remember you still get a 30% discount to any PhotoBotanic ebook through Dec 31, 2015 by using “shawna30” code on the PhotoBotanic ebook website.

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  1. What a wonderful gift…and i can’t wait to use the coupon as Saxon’s books have been on my wish list for a while now. I have never been to Longwood Gardens and have long admired it in pictures…so that is my US choice. Love to be there when you both are there!

  2. I love the gardens of The Biltmore house in Ashville, North Carolina. No matter what time of year you visit there is much to enjoy.

  3. Parkwood Estates located in Oshawa Ontario, Canada is a beautiful previously private garden that is now open to the public and offers many lovely photo opportunities. Located east of Totoe it it is an easy location to access by public transit or motor vehicle. Well worth the trip especially during the late spring, summer and fall months.

  4. I’ve always loved Chicago Botanic Gardens, so that might be my favorite, even over Longwood Gardens (I’ve been there twice). But of those I’ve never visited, I most want to see Chanticleer.

    I’d love to win one of Saxon’s books!

  5. My favorite garden of all time is Monet’s garden in Giverney. It was so beautiful. We were able to get in before the crowds. I would love a chance to see it again.

  6. I fell in love with the roses at the LA Arboretum – I just have to go back there! Also, Phipps Conservatory always has beautiful flowers and plants to photograph. On the wish list to visit: Longwood Gardens and Chanticleer, to name a few.

  7. Saxon is brilliant–we had an hour session with him at Garden Bloggers’ Fling in CA, and I can’t believe how much I learned in such a short amount of time. I’d love to learn more from his books! We’re planning a trip to see my sister-in-law in Malta next year, which has amazing gardens, as well as Switzerland, so I’ll be taking lots of photos–and hopefully, better garden photos after reading his books! Happy Monday to you!!!

  8. Oh the choices! I am an avid amateur and learning more daily. My favorite locations from this year? Longed, Chanticleer and the Des Moine Botanical Gardens so far. 🙂 But, I have days left yet….

  9. Getting some great replies here Shawna ! Now where *will* we plan that field trip ? I will be traveling all across the country next year – but Giverney ? as Patti suggests ? I am so there …..

  10. My two favorite gardens are here in Toledo, Oh. The Toledo Botanical Gardens and the gardens at the Toledo Zoo. They are both amazing in their own ways. I love to go and photograph them.

  11. The Lewis Ginter botanical garden in Richmond is wonderful, especially when the butterfly exhibit is going on. I understand they have it yearly now.

  12. It has been wonderful to follow Saxon from his stock photography days to now a very successful ebook producer! Hm, where should he go? He knows my part of the gardening world better than I do. maybe the ‘Happy Lot Farm and Garden’ in Richmond.

  13. Hey, I suggest the Butchart Gardens in Victoria, B.C., Canada. I was there in spring 2014 when the daffodils were at their prime. Gorgeous gardens. Fountains, too.

  14. Historic Gardens in Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia have been my favorite ever since I judged there for CIB. Trish Fry Manager is a phenomenal photographer and sends wonderful weekly emails through the seasons

  15. Two of my favorite garden haunts are the UC Botanical Gardens at Berkeley and San Francisco Botanical Garden at Strybing Arboretum. Since we’ve left the Bay Area, we haven’t visited in a while. But we’ll be sure to make the garden rounds in 2016!

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