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The 2016 Homes & Gardens of the Northwest’s Garden Photo Contest Critic’s Choice winner is Quenched! by Patrick Freeman. (Patrick Freeman)

A record-breaking 600 photos were entered in this year’s Homes & Gardens of the Northwest’s Garden Photo Contest. So you can imagine how difficult it was for judges to select the Critics’ Choice winner and 10 finalists for your People’s Choice vote.

The judges were The Oregonian/Oregonlive.com photographers and editors Mike Zacchino, Drew Vattiat, Stephanie Yao Long, Beth Nakamura and Randy Mishler as well as features director Michelle Nicolosi, life and culture managing producer Kjerstin Gabrielson and Homes & Gardens of the Northwest reporter Janet Eastman.

They looked at each of the original photos submitted that were taken in a garden — public or private — in the Pacific Northwest in the last year by amateur photographers. The images were evaluated based on photographic merit, including composition and subject matter.

Slowly, one stellar image rose to the top: Quenched! by Patrick Freeman of Southeast Portland.

Freeman didn’t have to travel to find…