Marie Read took her photo from her backyard near Ithaca, New York. She says she visualized the image—the redpoll against a white background—hoping to re-create the elegant simplicity common in traditional Japanese painting. She set up the dried milkweed pods next to her backyard feeder, far enough from the snowy background to throw it out of focus. She waited in a nearby photo blind for an hour or so until a flock of redpolls arrived. One of them, she says, landed and "posed nicely on the milkweed."