Million Blooms Contest Winner
And the 2016 A Million Blooms Winner is …
I am delighted to announce that the 2016 Million Blooms Instagram Contest winner is Meg Sneed.
Sneed drove all the way from Fredericksburg, Va. to visit our Garden for the first time the day she took this photo. It was a field trip for her home-school kids on butterflies, honeybees and pollination. “Seeing the Garden in person was absolutely breathtaking,” she said. “And it happened to be the first day the LEGO statues were completed — which just added an extra level of awesomeness for my 6-year-old!”
The best part about visiting the Garden, Sneed said, was getting to see her kids get so excited to find a new favorite flower around each bend. It brought her joy to watch them gain hands-on experience in the Children’s Garden. Also it offered the children a chance to get up close and personal with the plants. “Just enjoying the outdoors was probably the best part of my day and absolutely the reason we’ll be back again and again.”
Sneed explained that when she focused on the joy of the moment, the great photo came naturally. It was the happiness in watching her children discover and wonder at the beauty and science that surrounds them in a place like the Garden. The toddler’s joy captured in that moment makes the photo work. “The best photos are the ones you have an emotional connection to because of your memories of the moment itself, regardless of the focus, lighting, or framing of the actual image.” You can follow Sneed on Instagram at @nussmeg.
Sneed’s Grand Prize package includes 12 passes to come back to the Garden and enjoy Butterflies LIVE! and Nature Connects®: Art with LEGO® Bricks, a $99 Supernova family membership to the Science Museum of Virginia, two complimentary tickets to the Richmond Symphony, and a ($100 value) Richmond Region Tourism Attractions Pass.
And the Second Place Instagram Contest Winner is …
Our second place is a long-time member and devoted fan of the Garden, Traci Eagle. You can follow her on Instagram at @traytrayptown. Be prepared to be inspired by her unique perspective!
Traci is a wonderful soul who considers the Garden her endless source of inspiration. She can spend hours after hours wandering around here without ever getting bored. “I would come here like a kid in a candy store,” she said. “I want to shoot everything that I see. The Garden is always different and changing with the season, if I don’t come out here for a few days, I start to get anxious. I just don’t want to miss a beautiful moment and I just love every single aspect of this place.”
Visiting the Garden for the first time in 2007 while fighting cancer, Eagle cherishes the Garden as part of her healing process. “It’s therapeutic to come here and just take pictures,” she said. “It helped me calm down and learn to appreciate life and every moment you have.”
On photography tips for anyone trying to capture the kaleidoscopic beauty of our Garden, Eagle stresses the importance of learning from other photographers, waiting for the sunlight to hit, choosing a background, and looking up to find a new perspective. Most importantly, she said: “If you look through a lens and it brings you joy and you wish to transfer that joy to other people, then that’s the photo you want to take.”
We’d like to thank all 16 of our finalists for putting so much effort into the Million Blooms contest. Every photo is spectacular and it was very hard to choose. Looking at all the photos and appreciating everyone’s unique perspective is the most rewarding aspect of our selection process.