Houston Chronicle Writer Laura Weisman (http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/gardening/6036216.html ) wrote:
The results are in and the winner of the Chron.com/HoustonGardening 2009 Calendar Cover Photo Contest has been selected -- she's a Houston-raised "Grandma photographer" in rural Waller County.
Brenda Sue Watson, 58, is a retired chef who grew up in the Rice Village area but moved to the country to take care of her late parents' rural place. She and her companion, Steve Martin, are building a cabin on Rainbow Creek and Watson fills much of the rest of the time gardening, creating wildlife habitats and feeding birds and insects.
"I bought a small lot next to my house last year and have been building a memory garden, camp house cabin and bird sanctuary. The hummers have a feeding station wall with lots of feeders and flowers on top of the wall!," she wrote in an e-mail. "This first summer I had over 100 in August and September."
One of her newest passions is photography, and she's fond of pointing her camera at nature.
Watson's winning photo, titled "The Jewel of Rainbow Creek," is an aging blue water lily resting on a backyard pond. The quality, composition and local subject matter got the photo in the final group of six. The color is what put it over the top for the judges.
"I bought a camera (Canon Powershot A630) and a computer laptop two years ago," she writes. "I was scared to death to get them out of the box!!! I haven't learned much, but practice makes near perfect (at least in photography!)."
As a chef, Watson worked for Cedar Landing on Lake Houston and the now-defunct Liendo Plantation Tea Room & Restaurant in Hempstead.
"I worked on weekends for my friend Don Champion of Champion Tree Farm out here on Highway 6. After Mom and Dad died, I helped with the tree farm selling trees until Don died last Thanksgiving," she wrote in an e-mail. "I stayed on with his wife until April of this year helping her prepare the tree farm for sale. Frances Champion, formerly with the Houston Chronicle (early days), donated a lot of trees to Kate's Cabin. The birds love all of Don's favorite crepe myrtles!"
Ahead for Watson, the mother of two married children, is entering more photo competitions and continuing to work on "Kate's Cabin," named for her granddaughter, 2.
"My pastor says I have been given a gift from God," she writes. "Sometimes I see some images on the computer and I can't believe how beautiful they look. I'm a combination then of part gifted, part artist, part lucky and part grandma hippie flower child!"