When Landon Bailey snapped a picture of an algae-filled pond at Inniswood Metro Gardens last summer, he had no idea his images would show a surprise: In the midst of the green pond sat a matching green frog, staring straight back at the camera.
"I just took a picture of the algae to show how much there was, and then when we looked at it, we realized there was a frog in the algae," the 10-year-old Wilder Elementary student said.
He liked the image so much, he submitted it for the annual Earth Day photo contest put on by Time Kids magazine.
The image beat out thousands for a top prize and will appear in the magazine's upcoming Earth Day issue, and Landon will receive a new camera.
"It was pretty exciting when I heard because it had been a while since I actually entered the contest," Landon said. "I (didn't) think entering a big contest, I would actually win first place."
Landon has been snapping pictures for the last few years.
He and his mother, Marsha Bailey, frequent Inniswood Metro Gardens on Hempstead Road in Westerville, where Landon takes pictures of his favorite subjects: flowers, trees and animals.
"You just keep walking the parks and walking the parks. He's just getting better. The lighting's getting better and the technical is getting better," Mrs. Bailey said. "He's just caught on more and more to how the camera works, the lighting the shading.
"A lot of the flowers that come back year after year, you can put the pictures together and see how he's matured as a photographer."
Landon's photographs have won several accolades. Last year, a photograph entered into the national Reflections contest through school made it to the national competition level.
His photographs have been on display locally at Gallery 202, and in July, his work will be part of a show at High Road Gallery in Worthington.
Mrs. Bailey said she's excited about Landon's latest award because it shows him that his hours of hard work, walking through the parks and learning more about photography, have paid off.
"Of course you're very proud, but it's great to see the confidence that it gives him after all the hard work to see how it pays off," she said.
Landon said he's happy to be part of the competition, which is meant to highlight the importance of Earth Day.
"Earth Day is a way to remind us of how we should give back to Mother Nature," Landon said.
In addition to appearing in the April 19 edition of Time Kids, Landon's photo also is highlighted on the magazine's website, timekids.com.