I know the anticipation had been building out there for this particular post. Well, the wait is over! I can finally say the results of this year’s Photography Contest Circuit are now in. For those not familiar with the blog, this is a high stakes competition that puts a significant amount of stress around here at Life Intrigued. Come judging time, the tension gets so thick you could cut it with a matte cutter. That tension is a direct result of the consequences of “losing” the competition – not so much how our pictures do against the rest of the entries (although that is definitely nice), but rather how we do AGAINST each other. Generally there is not a lot of true competitions in the house because we tend to enjoy different activities which prevents such marriage destruction.. I mean healthy competition. However, when it comes to Photography, it’s a bloodthirsty endeavor drenched in treachery, deception. gamesmanship and a hell of a lot of sarcasm. Okay, okay, maybe it isn’t that hostile (except in the case of sarcasm), but losing does cause a lot of work until the next cycle of contests come around. Nothing is more demeaning that having to hold the umbrella for the “winning” photographer for a whole year. As a result, we bring our very best out to play.
The 2013 Photography Contest Circuit results are …. drum roll please .. Brian 3 and Linda 0 (streamers, confetti, fireworks maybe even a parade if I can convince the Mayor).
That’s right, this year I stepped up my game (Linda will probably argue rather that the printers caused her to step back) and all my hard work paid off. The best part of this is there is no room for any controversy and ANY discussion on scoring. Cut and dried – me big winna! Based on all the grief and CONSTANT explaining I had to do in the previous contests, I decided make sure I removed all possible doubt and naysayers (and you know who you are) and simply conform to their “supposed” scoring system. So, let’s wait no longer. Here are my results from the Knox County Fair:
Let’s see what we have here boys and girls. First off we have one of two black and white entries. I decided to put a little more work into my Allerton Park statue (originally aired at link here) and had it reprinted. Cut down the base a little and cropped it a little tighter – I personally really like how it looks like the statue bent to fit into the frame. Judges gave it a very respectable 3rd place. Moving to the right is one of the color animal entries. The workers at the HOI fair commented this was a kid favorite at their fair. Again, the judges felt Mr. Lizard (link here) was worthy of a 3rd place. Shifting down we have the other black and white entry which should be familiar to all the blog faithful. There was a lot of debate on which one of the wolf pictures to enter based on the results at the HOI fair and my choice of the other color animal I went with the wolf in the weeds shot (link here). Apparently a good choice since the judges bestowed a 1st place ribbon. Definitely warming up to this one and based on the fact the HOI fair picked a similar (and personal opinion inferior) B&W wolf shot for Honorable Mention (it was actually in a smaller print size category). Lastly, moving to the right… what is that first place ribbon doing nestled among the large and flamboyant purple ribbon? How nice of you to notice (hehehe) that would be the BEST IN SHOW ribbon that is given to the best picture among all the other category 1st place ribbons. Now this particular shot hasn’t been featured on the blog yet (didn’t want to reveal to Linda my ace in the hole before the competition – ummm.. actually not the case, I am just waaaaay behind on processing but pulled this one out from the Florida trip because I thought it had a pretty good chance. Luckily I was able to maintain my ownership of the bird category and the purple ribbon put an exclamation mark on it. Not a bad haul eh?
Hit the jump to see the rest of the results!
Linda also had a strong showing with her entries.
Earning her a 2nd place ribbon in Summer landscapes is her picture taken at the Grand Tetons while we were out there this year. To her credit she planned that shot down to the location, composition etc. before we even got to the Tetons. That entry beat both of my landscape entries which got zero love. Moving down to the right is another 2nd place ribbon for her entry in the Black and White category. For those keeping detailed records, that lost to my wolf but beat my statue – more noteworthy is we swept that category. And for the Na Na Na Na moment of the contest, shifting your eyes to the left reveals a very nice 1st place ribbon affixed to a very close portrait of a bear. I’ll skip how this picture was actually taken (some tricks are best kept a secret), but for those curious, this was taken around the same time the two of us were almost mauled by a bear in the Tetons. I’ve seen a lot of bears in the wild from a safe distance and one on the last visit to Yellowstone at an unsafe distance – but it was preoccupied with gnawing on a carcass. The bear encounter at the time that bear was taken was the most concerned I’ve been over becoming dinner. Linda nearly de-pantsed me at that point in a clever take on the knee-capping theory but we’ll keep that little escapade for its own post. This was a tiny dagger to the heart since it beat my lizard and stomped all over what I thought was my best work in the contest – my other color wildlife.
I don’t think anyone can deny I took the win for the Knox County Fair. Linda is always quick to point out that Purple trumps everything (seeing as she has a few more of those than I do over the years), so having relinquished that ownership to me was the icing on the cake. Nice not having to go into detailed explanation on how the math works out.
Let’s move to what was actually the first contest in the series – the Heart of Illinois Fair. Although we keep saying we are going to significantly drop the number of entries we make in this contest, we went ahead and submitted a healthy dose of our work. I was betting all my hopes on my wolf with the blue eyes (link here). I have always been enamored with that digital darkroom effort and consider it one of my best.. the HOI judges.. not so much. I am not sure if they are discounted for obvious digital work or what but in a nutshell NO LOVE. Wait.. let me clarify that just a smidgen – the judges hated it, but the lady we submitted our pictures to at the check in did LOVE it and informed me on the spot if she was the judge she would give it best in show. I have affectionately referred that as receiving the “People’s Choice Award” so technically I have another point to add to my haul. So here were my wolf portrait entries.
The top picture was my entry into the Knox county fair that got shunned like Carrie at the Prom. The lower right was the color entry which I honestly thought was my best chance. It got NUTTIN. If that was the bitter, the SWEET came on the immediately left. My Black and White entry was the EXACT Same image as the one I submitted to the Knox Fair (at the top) but all B&W (no blue coloring). It wasn’t even the shot I had planned to enter, but at the last moment I noticed a post processing error (flaw) that was unacceptable so opted to swap the shots – original color post became the B&W and then I swapped in the new color one – I did not want to submit the exact same picture just treated differently. This gave two slightly different looks in treatment and pose. Struck out on the color but hit a HOME RUN on the all black and white with an Honorable Mention. Due to my situation this is likely the very best I can do at this fair (long story, but this is why we keep saying we are going to reduce our entries), so this is a pretty big deal for me I kid Linda that this is my second smaller award in the “big pond” (which in my opinion trumps a major award in a smaller pond). Linda on the other hand will likely claim I hold this over her like the Eye of Sauron … umm I say if you got it flaunt it hehehe. Linda unfortunately took the shaft once again which is kinda sad because she had some solid entries – especially the Teton landscape entry mentioned above. The sole ribbon makes this a pretty solid point for yours truly
I mentioned at the top that I went 3-0 but the observant may have noticed we usually only enter two contests a season. This year Linda opted to submit a couple of shots in the monthly Abe’s of Maine Photography Contest. The theme of the month was Fourth of July (think that was it or something like American Pride, America the Proud etc.). This was a perfect chance to show off some of our fireworks shots. This was my submission (which is another all around favorite of mine).
Turns out my shot was selected as shot of the day and posted on their website. That was pretty cool since it also gave me a strong chance of winning the overall best picture of the month (that comes with a monetary award, but the accolade is the best part). I’ve decided not to go into detail here since I’ve decided it is ultimately Abe’s right to change the rules whenever they want but I considering what happened in that contest to be equivalent to a helical ridge wrapped around an elongated cone.
Okay, that pretty much outlines all the winners. The Um to that Yang would be those that failed to impress the judges for one reason or another (for the record would really appreciate it if the judges would put a blurb on each picture to let us know what they didn’t like about the entry so we can improve or tailor or entries to be more aligned with their expectations). Figured I’d go ahead and show some of the losers.
You already know about the blue-eyed wolf. The left two were my Summer landscape entries – both from the Indianapolis Botanical Gardens (link here). The bird in the water at the top had a weird experience. It was actually submitted in the HOI fair (as well as the Knox). When submitting it, one of the people checking in the pictures walked over, picked it up and says “Let’s see what this loser is”. Initially I figured my ears missed what was actually said, but the lady we were actually checking in with looks at me, then the guy and says “that’s kinda harsh”. So obviously I did hear it right. I’ve tried to rationalize that in a number of ways assuming he was trying to make a joke and not completely belittling my work. Best I can think of (for my own comfort) is he thought it was a drunk or someone passed out and he was referring to the subject, not the body of work. I did chuckle to myself when he and another guy were busy flipping it around trying to figure out the proper orientation until I informed them how it should be positioned and pointed out it was bird reflecting in the water. The other bird shot also came from the Florida shoot. We thought it had a lot of character and wrongly assumed it would do better than it did. Oh well, it was up against the Best in Show so can’t really complain much.
So there you have it – my hands get to work the shutter this year and not be exposed to the risk of splinters. … extra air in my step these days.. just waiting for Linda to smack me with a 2×4 .. told you it was competitive didn’t I?