2013 UB NOT ME

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?

12 thoughts on “2013 UB NOT ME”

  1. Well, congratulations!! This year’s rankings appear quite clear, so no argument from me. You both take great pictures, and you both got awards for them, which must be satisfying.

    Now that I’ve read your post on the Grebe’s and seen the shot of the one doing the courtship dance on its back in the water, I bet that’s what the Allerton statue is all about. Hadn’t really thought about it. Duh. You could have verbally abased the guy with his ignorance of avian courtship rituals.

    Congrats again to a great year to both of you.


    WAIT A MINUTE!!! I was in Florida taking pictures with your cameras, and I think it quite likely I took the bird shot that took Best of Show! I remember saying, “Look at that white bird with black legs and a black bill and yellow feety things–I think I’ll take a picture of it.”


  2. Well, well, well. The truth comes out! So Brian did not really win the purple ribbon. So once again he was shut out. Brian has a habit of stealing pictures. He tried to claim that he took my famous bee picture. Fortunately the metadata made it clear that it was taken with a macro lens, which I was shooting that day (and only me!). Congratulations Ron on the win! Nice shot! Make sure Brian mails you the first place and purple ribbon. And now Brian can be UB this year for both of us 🙂


  3. I read your second paragraph again and realized you must have have meant The Botanical Garden Bird Statue – in that case you have an excellent idea – should have went with “Hey Douchebag (because that is the apparent proper name to call people as learned by Dr. Giselle out on our Yellowstone trip – but again, for another post), that’s the mating ritual for the Indybotangarden Stoney Stork – now get your ass in the back and find me a purple ribbon to put on that bad boy” – wow, I can’t wait until next year.

    Now let me get this straight.. you are claiming that you sneaked across the lagoon, found that particular rare bird, captured the moment in an extremely crisp and properly exposed picture with my camera .. all without me noticing … is that what you are trying to imply? warning, be careful in your response, I may have some evidence at my disposal. Now as far as my wife goes… there is an extremely high likelihood that I did in fact take that shot (using Ron’s logic there wouldn’t be any doubt). So unless you want to open that can of worms again I wouldn’t be bolstering any of Ron’s fantasies. And to get technical at worst that would make me 2-0 which means you still come in THIRD and therefore by the rules set forth in the documented and notarized Rules for the Photography Contest that makes you the UB for both of us.

    The Defense stands


  4. Yes, I did mean the Botanical Garden Bird Statue, thanks.

    Well, to be honest, it would have been a rare feat for me to have crossed the lagoon secretly and taken that picture–which makes it all the more breathtaking in scope! However, the crisp and properly exposed part is so unlikely that I am wavering on whether to concede the point. Linda, what do you think? However, I have yet to view the shots from the last time I was at the lagoon, when I definitely did take quite a lot of shots on the far side, and those will no doubt exceed any taken thus far. Especially in a creative sense, as I didn’t have auto-focus capability.

    I think Linda’s shots are awesome! I wish I could see a picture of Linda almost taking Brian out to get away from the bear. When I take pictures with someone else I always take pictures of the other photographer too. As at the lagoon with Brian, pictures we haven’t seen yet. (I missed the money shot of Brian’s reaction when he was panning the beach for birds with his zoom lens and an obese woman in a swimsuit walked in front of the camera.)

    I was not aware that Brian attempted to claim ownership of the famous bee picture (aka The Bee Picture!!). This is a clear breech of ethical conduct that certainly tarnishes his life’s work. Somehow that picture became a “Luck Shot” after he was found out. Fickle, fickle artists.



  5. First off the “incident” on the beach has not been confirmed so for the most part supposed blue whale sighting is just speculation. Secondly there are no ethical breeches if the accusations are correct – and they likely are! Linda was swapping back and forth between cameras that day and pretty sure I was pulling umbrella duty (’cause I’m nice like that) and decided to snap a few shots while I was holding the Macro. This is why we now have visual clues when we borrow each other’s cameras (shot of shoe etc.) – and why we now have two 7000s

    now on to the more pressing issue – someone trying to claim MY pictures. Even with warnings it was still pursued. Let’s look at two aspects. First I’ll state the bird shot is pretty crisp – generally a requirement for a best in show – except at HOI but I digress. Now let’s take a look at specimen ‘A’ also taken at the same location:

    Hmmmm It is definitely a BIRD just not exactly sure which way it is headed.

    Another aspect that needs to be considered is composition. Admittedly I would have liked a little more space below the feet, but overall my bird shot stands up fairly well – even making sure there was room for the bird to move in the frame. Now a view of specimen ‘B’

    Much improved on the sharpness and for the knowledgeable birders out there just enough to tell it was a Brown Pelican. I guess there is PLENTY of room for the bird to move (ha)

    So, based on the two samples from said Ron, taken at the same time as the bird that won best in show above, the jury has no other option but to throw this claim out and provide compensation for character damages.


  6. Wow, those are two extremely creative photographs!! Who did you say took them? As I say, blur is IN, a metaphor for our times. And the composition of the second work is profound. The vast open sky, the endless possibilities, the hint of realization. The contrast with the malaise of the first is striking. They might even be the same kind of bird. I’m really excited about this pair, and if you took the shots you should definitely enter them into competition at HOI next year.

    Wow, you two actually have a system to track when you swap cameras! I had no idea.



  7. Well, as Rick Sammon says one is a mistake, 50 is a STYLE. Actually if I did enter them in the fair I’d have to give ownership to someone named RON (unless he miraculously won in which case I’d be forced to keep the winnings in recognition of providing the equipment!

    We do have a system … out of necessity to save the marriage (ha)


  8. Well, that was really nice of you to provide a counterexample! It’s probably a good thing that you didn’t enlarge that last picture. Focus is not my strong suit–I blame the interaction between my glasses and the viewfinder. Hey wait, that camera had auto-focus, right?? Well, I do remember not knowing that you could continuously auto-focus, so I would get the bird centered, then auto-focus, and then take the shot after the bird had flown even further away.

    I was excited when I took that shot because I thought the Osprey was carrying a snake or something. I was disappointed when I saw the picture and it was only a stick. Looks kind of dumb.



  9. I knew “auto-focus” would come into play sometime in this discussion – especially the continuous focus mode. I actually like that shot – it seems very proud of that stick and probably in the process of making an extra special nest for his girl. Or maybe he/she is diligently teaching offspring how to hunt and properly carry their fish – contrary to Eagles, Osprey carry their fish in parallel to their flight where eagles hold them perpendicular.

    Remember, photography is all about the story you get to tell with every shot


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