Marlene Kerdyk Grand Prize 2023 Winner:
"Pine Siskin Steam Bath" © Christopher Baker

©Steve Roth

The competition is open for submissions beginning April 1st through May 10, 2024!

Submissions for the fourth annual AS I SEE IT photography juried competition will begin April 1rd, 2023, and last through May 10th, 2024.

The Marlene Kerdyk beautification fund sponsors the Marlene Kerdyk Grand Prize of $1,000.00. This will be awarded to the best image overall. Cash prizes will be awarded for each category.

The entire competition proceeds will support conservation and environmental projects, scholarships for college and graduate students studying natural sciences and landscape architecture, and the Coral Gables Garden Club's community outreach programs.

The competition is open to all photographers aged 18 years and over. Images must be taken by the person entering them.  Any camera can be used, including Smartphones, iPads, drones, etc. Digital upload is required. There is no image submission limit. $15 per entry or $75.00 plus tax for six entries. Click the link above for complete contest rules and details.

Shoebill Stork in a ray of sunlight with dark background. Photo by Joanie LoBianco.

©Joanie LoBianco

Follow us on Instagram at #asiseeitphotocontest and share with your friends.


  • Coral Gables Garden Club Photo Contest aims to increase our appreciation for the natural environment by highlighting outstanding nature and wildlife photography. We include some new interesting categories this year, so check out the categories, guidelines, and rules. 
  • The competition is open to photographers 18 or older who are not directly involved in judging this contest. All cameras may be used, including Smartphones and drones.
  • Images must be taken within the past two years.
  • Net proceeds from the Photography competition benefit the Coral Gables Garden Club’s non-profit 501(c)3 programs: Conservation, environmental, community outreach, and scholarships for college and graduate-level students.
  • Submissions open April 1st, 2024 at 12:00 am (Eastern Standard Time) and close May 10th, 2024; 11:00pm EST
  • Entry Fees: $15 per submission, 6 submissions for $75, plus tax.

The Marlene Kerdyk Grand Prize of $1,000.00 is sponsored by the Marlene Kerdyk beautification fund.

This fund was founded by Bill and Tracy Kerdyk at the Coral Gables Community Foundation, in memory of their mother, who was a beloved member of our club for 29 years.

©Betsy Tilghman

Each Category will have a 1st, and 2nd place winner.winner.

Category Prize:
1st Place: $250.00
2nd Place: $100.00

Select prize-winning photos will be featured in major local publications and on the Coral Gables Garden Club Website. Images will be your copyright but by registering you are agreeing to authorize your images to be used for present and future promotion, including posters, websites, magazine publications, & social media.

The judges will recognize some "Honorable Mentions" within the categories. This lets photographers know their entry caught the judge's eye and deserved credit for a fine image.


It is possible for an image to be entered in more than one category. So check each category for which you feel your image is eligible. However, each image can only win one prize.
You may use Smartphones, drones, and any other camera you feel comfortable using.

Entry Fees are:
$15.00 per entry or $75.00 for 6 images, plus tax.
There is no limit to how many images you can submit.


Explore "The City Beautiful" to capture the pulse and vibrancy of city life, from bustling streets, public art, and dynamic architecture to the interactions of diverse cultures. Submissions might capture the essence of urban living, its constant motion, the flora and fauna, the juxtaposition of old and new, and the stories embedded within the cityscape.


Capturing the Soul of the Countryside. Celebrate rural landscapes' tranquility and rustic charm. Whether it's rolling fields, quaint farmsteads, winding country roads, or the untouched beauty of nature, showcasing the simplicity, authenticity, and quietude that define the essence of rural life can make for breathtaking captures.


Capture the mesmerizing and intricate designs found in the natural world, whether it's the symmetry of a feather or a seashell, the ripples in water, the veins on a leaf, or the textures in a landscape. There's so much beauty in the repeating shapes and forms around us!


From starry skies and celestial phenomena to nocturnal creatures and landscapes transformed by moonlight, Capture the essence of the nocturnal world in all its serene or dramatic glory! Light painting would be an acceptable submission.


Capture the personality or uniqueness of individual flowers, highlighting their shapes, textures, and colors—bromeliads in bloom, roses, bougainvillea, the Petrea volubilas vine, heliconias, or torch gingers. They do not have to be in a natural setting.


Capture the Mystical Blues of Dawn and Dusk in this category. Discover a serene canvas painted in shades of cobalt and lavender as the day transitions into night, inviting you to showcase the ethereal moments when the sky is bathed in a serene, enchanting glow.


Explore and photograph wildlife in their natural habitat. Use your camera to reveal the hidden lives of various creatures. Capture their daily rituals, from native pollinators to magnificent birds and wild animals. These moments make for captivating photographs that showcase the wonders of nature.


Craft a mesmerizing still-life arrangement that harmoniously blends the beauty of nature's bounty with everyday objects. Combine rustic elements like vibrant fruits, weathered branches, or blossoming flowers with sentimental or ordinary household items.


Anything above in Monochrome.


Anything above using a smartphone camera.


Fabiola Forns

Fabiola Forns

Fabiola taught Photography at Miami Dade College for eight years; She is an award-winning photographer. Nanpa selected her work; Nature's Best selected Fabiola's image as the birds Category in 2007. The photograph was exhibited at the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C.




Christopher Baker

Chris Baker is a Huntsville, AL resident and avid photographer who focuses on wildlife, landscapes, and macro. Chris is the President of the Huntsville Photographic Society where he channels his passion into helping members advance their skills through leading and planning workshops and other learning activities. Chris has participated and won awards in the 2022 and 2023 Coral Gables Garden Club "As I See It" Competitions, including the 2023 Merlene Kerdyk Grand Prize. Chris has also been recognized in numerous local and worldwide photography contests, including those sponsored by the Audubon Society, the National Wildlife Federation, Birdwatching Magazine, Birds and Bloom Magazine, and Outdoor Alabama. Additionally, Chris’s nature photography has been featured in Alabama the Beautiful Magazine, and his infrared photography is featured by Nikon on their Nikon Creators website.




Ken Archer

Wild places and the creatures inhabiting them have always been a vital part of my liveliness. Regular forays to wild places provide a healing balance to my daily life. The challenge of creating unique images of wildness through photography is my personal way of experiencing the wonders of nature.

Free-roaming North American wildlife and unique landscapes primarily of the North-western United States and Canada are the subjects of my photographic explorations.

My photos regularly appear in outdoor publications and calendars. A few credits include Natures Best, National Wildlife Calendars, Sierra Club Calendars, Falcon Press Books and Calendars, Globe Pequot Press, Smith-southwestern Books and Calendars, American Hunter, Backpacker Magazine, Birder's World, Colorado Division of Wildlife Publications, Ducks Unlimited Publications, Game & Fish Publications, Montana Outdoors, Outdoor Life Magazine, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation Publications, Wyoming Wildlife...


Alfred Forns

Retired DMD in downtown Coral Gables, life partner of Fabiola. Award-winning birds photographer in National and international competitions. Published in multiple international magazines such as National Geographic. Moderator at 1x, fine art community, Photography, and Photoshop instructions. Hobbies include motorcycle racing, scuba diving, and fishing. His passions are photography, speed, and golf. 





Contest Rules, and Guidelines

Entry period: April 1st, 2024 through May 10th, 2024

  1. Echinacea plants. Native plants are so important to attract the native pollinators...those little things that run the world! Photo by Lynn O’Shaughnessy.

    Photo by Lynn O'Shaughnessy

    Submissions open April 1st, 2024 at 12:00 am (Eastern Standard Time) and close May 10th, 2024; 10:00pm EST

  2. Images are judged anonymously by experienced judges in the field of nature and wildlife photography. Scores are based on impact, originality, and technical skill. All decisions made by the judges and contest administrators are final.
  3. Photographers may enter as many images as they'd like at $15 per entry or $75.00 for 6 entries.
  4. Photographs which have won other major photo contests, as determined by the Coral Gables Garden Club administrators, are not eligible for submission. We define winning as having won a grand prize or 1st, 2nd,  overall.
  5. Images may not contain names, watermarks, text, logos, borders, or other differentiating marks to ensure anonymous judging. In addition, text that might identify the photographer cannot be entered in the title, location, or description fields. Finally, we will remove all metadata during the upload process to ensure anonymity.
  6. Copyright remains with the photographer. By entering, photographers agree to allow Coral Gables Garden Club administrators to publish their images on the website on social media and to use them in promotions for this and future contests with appropriate credit.
  7. Select images will be featured in major local publications.
  8. By entering the Contest, each entrant accepts the rules as stated and guarantees that all information provided is correct and truthful. Entries not accurately represented or not abiding by contest rules will be disqualified or demoted. Refunds will not be given in case of disqualification.
  9. Photo captions must accompany all submissions and should include the subject of the image, the location of the image was taken, and the name of the photographer.
  10. All entries should accurately reflect the subject matter of the scene as captured by the camera. Elements that were not present in the original capture may not be added. Two types of entries are acceptable: those with only traditional modifications and "Photo Illustration." Both types are described below. Photographers may be asked to supply the original RAW or unaltered original JPG files to verify the degree and type of modification.
  11. Traditional photographic modifications include adjustments to color, contrast, brightness, and sharpness; removal of dust and scratches; cropping and black-and-white conversions. No special designation is required for entries that use traditional processing tools to a moderate degree.
  12. Photo Illustration - Entries must be designated "Photo Illustration" if elements altering the content of the scene have been removed, major processing adjustments have been made, or if multiple photographs of the same scene have been combined into one. It is in the entrant’s best interests to describe what techniques warrant the Photo Illustration designation.
  13. Contest organizers may ask for additional information regarding images or circumstances of creating images before finalizing any of the top winners. RAW or original files or original slides or negatives may be required for examination before finalizing the award. If requested, the source images or other information must be provided within one week of notification or the contending photo may be disqualified.
  14. Entries must be submitted in digital form on the contest website and prepared to contest specifications. The original can be created by any method of capturing an image - camera, cellphone, tablet, film, etc. as long as files meet submission specifications. Guidelines for preparing and uploading files are found on the image specs page.
  15. By submitting entries, photographers acknowledge that their images do not reflect harm to the environment or harassment of wildlife and that manipulation altering the material content has not been done unless meeting requirements for "Photo Illustration". If suspected, images not abiding by the rules of this contest will be disqualified and refunds will not be given.
  16. All photographers will be notified of their judging results by June 15th, 2024. The top 45 images will be viewable on the website in June 2024.
  17. It is the entrant's responsibility to provide an accurate email address for notification. The Coral Gables Garden Club is not responsible for emails that are not received, so please be sure to set your e-mail program and spam filters to accept e-mail from ""
  18. Each image must be the work of the person or persons entering it. By submitting a photograph to the As I See It Photography  Competition you warrant that you are 18 or older and the copyright holder of the image, that you alone own the copyright and that you have obtained any necessary property and model releases. If your photograph is selected as a winner of the contest, you may be asked to submit proof of the above.

Each judge will award each image between 1 and 7 total points based on judging criteria described below. The scores from the three judges will be averaged for the final score on each image. Judges are encouraged to utilize a wide range in scoring. 

Cypress tree in morning fog. Photo by Donald Pelliccia Jr.

Photo by Donald Pelliccia Jr.

Judging Criteria

Judging criteria are intended to give makers and judges common ground for what constitutes a high quality photographic image. Factors to consider are grouped into three main categories, 1) Overall Impact, 2) Composition of Elements, and 3) Technical Aspects. Although an image can sometimes defy specific factors, its impact, composition and technical aspects should still work together to create a compelling result. Criteria should be given serious consideration but it is acknowledged that subjectivity will also play a role. Judges’ decisions are final.

Overall Impact

The image evokes emotion in the viewer. It compels the viewer to return to the main subject again and again. A mood may be projected and the image may make a statement or tell a story. Impact can also be achieved through an original presentation using unique lighting, use of color, interesting perspective or by featuring an unusual subject.

Composition of Elements

The main subject or subject area is clearly presented by thoughtful placement in the frame. The maker might use the rule of thirds, golden ratio, or less often, center-placement to achieve his or her intent for the image. Leading lines, interesting lighting and well-done cropping contribute to a cohesive image that leads the viewer’s eye to the main subject. Other elements in the image support the main subject and invite the eye to move around the image and back to the main subject without detracting from the subject. Artful use of these techniques create dimension and depth in the image.

Technical Aspects

The image is in focus, although selective focus may be used to create a mood. Exposure, contrast and color balance (white balance) are suited to the subject and inviting to the eye. Color combinations may suggest a color scheme that is exciting or restful, warm or cool. Post-processing succeeds in enhancing the image without unwanted artifacts, such as haloes, noise, etc.


Image Specifications:

Shawn Avery

  • All images must be in JPG, JPEG format, RGB or Grayscale mode, 72ppi and sRGB color space.
  • To ensure anonymous judging, images may not contain any watermarks, text, logos, borders, or other identifying marks. In addition, no text can be entered in the title, location, or description fields of an entry that would identify the photographer. And finally, all metadata will be removed during the upload process.
  • When resizing images for submission, make a copy and work on the copy. Save the original high-resolution file.    
  • The image should be approximately 2100 pixels (7 inches) on the longest side
  •  We suggest a minimum compression setting of 8 when saving in Photoshop or Elements. 
  •  Use the highest "quality" setting you can without going over the maximum file size
  •  Maximum file size is 5MB in the JPG’s closed and compressed state — that is, when it is not open in any application. JPGs that are open in an application such as Photoshop or Lightroom will be much larger. It’s the closed size that matters.
  •  Minimum recommended size is 1MB, but this can be dependent on image content, so use your best judgement.

Image Preparation Tips -

We have prepared a generic step-by-step guide (based on Adobe Photoshop) for those needing a little guidance. If you need help preparing your images, these tips can probably be applied to most image editing software with minor differences.

Steps to prepare your images:

  1. Open your source image and do all cropping, color corrections and other changes first.
  2. Select the "Image>Image Size" menu and set the resolution to 72 pixels/inch.
  3. Make sure "Constrain Proportions" is checked and set the dimension of your longest side to 2100 pixels. FYI - ignore the size number next to "Pixel Dimensions". That's the amount of memory the image occupies while you work on it. File size is determined in step 10 below.
  4. Click OK to resize the image.
  5. Do your final sharpening.
  6. Select the "File>Save As" menu.
  7. Set the image format to "JPEG", uncheck "ICC Profile", and check "Use Lower Case Extension".
  8. Browse to the folder where you want to save the image and click OK.
  9. Select "Baseline Optimized" for the format option.
  10. Adjust the "Quality" slider while watching the file size change below. Set it as close to 1024KB as possible without going over. (FYI - ignore the pulldown menu for line speed. It is for reference only.)
  11. Click OK and store the image on your disk.
  12. The image is now ready to upload via the contest submission form.

If you need further assistance preparing your images, here are a couple of informative website links that will guide you through the process:

Adobe Lightroom

Adobe Photoshop

If you are using some other software, search for "resizing photo using XXX" with XXX being your program and you will probably find lots of resources to help you.


Most images on smartphones are High efficiency Image files.  You will need to change to JPEG.


  1. Go to Settings on your iPhone.
  2. Tap Camera. You will be shown some options like Formats, Grid, Preserve Settings, and Camera Mode.
  3. Tap Formats and change the format from High Efficiency to Most Compatible. Photos will now be in jpeg format.



©Kurt Ruppel

The Coral Gables Garden Club was founded in 1925. Today we are a dynamic group of nearly 150 members who raise money and awareness for important environmental, conservation, scholarships, community projects, and programs. The below initiatives are just a few that we continually raise money for; please feel free to check out our website to learn more about all of our programs and our club.

Established to encourage the development of research, documentation, and teaching skills in horticulture, botany, landscape design, conservation, environmental studies, sea-level rise, coral reef restoration, or any other natural science subject.

Pollinator Gardens: We have financially supported the city's efforts to plant more pollinator patches and have established a pollinator garden in the historic Macfarlane District.  We continue to search for prime locations to create habitats for our pollinators. We are actively establishing pollinator gardens in schools and public spaces.

Project Canopy:
An ambitious new program to increase the urban canopy and plant trees in public schools.

Penny Pines:
The Coral Gables Garden Club supports the Penny Pines conservation project - a unique partnership between the USDA Forest Service and National Garden Club to replant national forests damaged by fire, hurricanes, or other natural catastrophes.

Mangrove Project:
The Coral Gables Garden Club began the Red Mangrove Project in 2013, an initiative to restore mangroves to our coastal area, and continues to harvest propugules, raise them to be planted at there final destination along the Florida Coastlines.

Garden Therapy:
Garden Therapy has been an ongoing and satisfying project for many years. Garden club members visit a Coral Gables seniors residence to share time and spread joy with arms full of flowers helping residents create beautiful arrangements to take back to their rooms.


Marlene Kerdyk Prize: $1,000 for Best Overall Image

Over $3,000 in Category Prizes

Proudly sponsored by:









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