It’s a Sweep

So it’s mid Summer which is a very important time around here at LifeIntrigued. Sure, it’s the heart of running season but there is another race of sorts that is just as important to me and one in which the results can have a lasting (as in a year’s worth) of impact. Unlike running where the competition is between me and my less than amused inner voice, this particular race is between myself and my wife. Yes, we are talking about the highly competitive photography contest we affectionately refer to as the UB Battle. If you recall last year was hard fought with the victory going to yours truly (link here).  I guess for clarity it really meant the umbrella handle was firmly in Linda’s hands.  With the new year, a whole new batch of photographs had to investigated and the candidates painstakingly poured over.  If you really want to add some stress in your life try taking your “babies” and deciding which ones are worthy of public viewing.  In the past I’ve often relied on Linda to be my final critic once the set was whittled down to a manageable number.  Knowing how much she hated losing last year (and how painful it was to hold the umbrella for me all year) I wasn’t sure how objective that process was going to be.  To offset any bias there, I also employed my brother and his wife to help make the final choices.  The final responsibility (and all blame) still lies with me but having a third and fourth set of eyes is extremely helpful in this nerve racking process.

Now, in the past there has been some wiggle room in determining the UB.  Maybe the rules were slightly vague in a particular area or the scoring may have been open for a different interpretation.  Hell, there were even outside conditions such as expert critics making comments that clearly played into a people’s choice vote.  The good news is this year there is no question who the winner is and therefore who the UB is.  Quite frankly it was a clean sweep on all fronts but we’ll go ahead and throw a small lifeline out just to lessen the blow.

So we’ll start with the HOI Fair results.  Each of us selected our best efforts and put them out there to be judged.  This year I went with two color 8×10’s, 4 color 11×14’s and one BW 11×14.  Linda went with 1 color 8×10, 4 color 11×14’s, 1 BW 11×14 and two entries for the special pet portrait category they had this year.  When we went to check the results I was somewhat stunned that I had earned two Honorable Mentions – one in the 11×14 color category and on in the 8×10 – Yeah!!!

So you might have noticed there is actually a third picture in the frame – a BW selection that was submitted by Linda.  Turns out that later in the evening Linda got a call indicating they had disqualified a BW winner (no explanation as to why) and that her picture was the next one in the ranking order so they awarded her an Honorable Mention as well.  A big congratulations to Linda for her first ribbon in the large pond – well done!  That gave us three HMs for the HOI fair – the most we’ve ever taken and the most for both of us individually.  We are slowly breaking the code for that venue.

Hit the link to see all the images entered and more importantly .. the result so of the county fair!

So, that meant a large number of our entries came up firing blanks.  Here were my other offerings – note, we place plastic between the matte and the photo to protect them from the tremendous amount of dust that collects on the entries during the course of the week.  This causing some problems when trying to photograph them so ignore the various anomalies in the images below (like the upper left of the swan and the line across the seal fin etc.)

Here were Linda’s offerings that didn’t place.  I still can’t believe that cheetah failed to place – I love that shot and was worried it was going to put my offerings to shame… again, ignore the sparkles and lines that showed up while trying to photograph them.

Oh, and she didn’t win in the special portrait category either although based on what I saw she put up a strong showing – they really need to let people know how well they did overall and what held them back so people can improve.  That flower was also very nice and honestly like it better than the water covered one which we will get to a little later.

Okay, that big pond competition gave me a 2 to 1 advantage over Linda.  It was time for the little pond at the county fair.  Unfortunately, the two fairs overlapped this year causing some problems with the entries.  I was trying to guess which entries would work better for each fair and didn’t want to spend all the money on duplicate prints if I didn’t have to.  This meant the surprise results in the HOI fair really couldn’t be leveraged in the second fair since I didn’t have the same prints available and there wasn’t enough time to get new ones shipped to us.  More nerve racking exercises to whittle the options down.  Now the county fair has specific categories like birds, wildlife, insects etc. that have to be considered when making the selections.

Rather than play out the suspense, let’s get right to the results shall we…..

That’s right, my color bird shot took a first and more importantly BEST IN SHOW.  That makes for two consecutive years and if memory serves two birds from the Florida shoot have won that distinction.  My brother had previously commented that shot was tack sharp and thought it would do well in a bird category.  He was right.  The ribbons didn’t stop there.  I ended up taking first in every category I entered, insects, wildlife and BW.  In the bird category the second place ribbon came my why for the Cardinal shot as well.

The BW image was of the same color version I put in the HOI fair.  That was a specific example of not having the same prints available for both fairs but ended up going with the BW version due to thinking the Pelican and Cardinal were a little stronger.  Being somewhat bummed the seal didn’t do better in the HOI fair (the image everyone was unanimous on being their favorite) it was good to see it get some love at the county fair.

The good news is Linda also did quite well there.  She took firsts in both the Summer landscape and flower categories – her traditionally strong categories and took three second places – the BW and Cheetah were in my categories and the yellow park picture was entered in the Fall landscape category.  The wet flower image I mentioned earlier is in the upper right of the shot below.

That gave me both head to head points and overall points to add to my existing HM lead.  That makes it pretty much a clean sweep, however, I will give a nod to in the People’s Choice category.  When we were dropping the pictures off before the judging a few people noticed her shots sitting by the car and made some very nice comments about them (in truth they were oohing and fawning over them – just for the record, mine were still in the car hehehe)

To close out the results, here are Linda’s shots that didn’t place.  If there was a shot that had me truly worried it was the Eagle shot.  That is one nice shot and I’ll give credit where credit is due.  My only guess is that Eagles are fairly common fodder around here so that might have hurt some – that is the same reason I didn’t enter a shot I liked of a Red-Winged Blackbird.  Oh, and my favorite flower of hers is also in this group.

… and lastly the only picture of mine that didn’t place was a coyote I took in Yellowstone.  I still like it but can’t complain about the overall results.

There you go folks – pretty clear on all fronts.  For the second year in a row Linda will retain the UB title…well, at least until competition time again next year.

Special thanks to Ron and Eilish for helping out on the selection process – definitely appreciated!

3 thoughts on “It’s a Sweep”

  1. I figure we are pretty even now. I have two Best in Shows from previous years. It just took Brian a little longer to get there 🙂 Oh and we think we figured out the scoring in the Peoria competition based on penciled numbers on the back of our tags and a comment made when I received the phone call about my HM upgrade. Based on the numbering system, I way out performed Brian. I had higher numbers than he did in categories I did not win (and neither did he) against those where he got HMs. Confused? Well, let’s say he got an 11 when he got an HM. I got a 12 on my BW that got an HM and a 13 on my dog picture that did not win anything in the special category. So my categories were tougher competition than his ! Sooooo – based on the Brian math of previous years, I bested him 🙂


  2. Very interesting, Linda. A higher score in a more competitive category does seem to carry a lot of weight. Plus, the provenance of the Florida pics is muddy at best, given I was also there at the time taking photos with Brian’s camera. I remember thinking, wow, I think I just took a super-focused picture of that white bird over there. Just because all my other shots were blurry messes doesn’t necessarily mean I didn’t take one hellacious photograph. 🙂

    Seriously, all these photos are outstanding, and there was a lot of variety in these nature photos!! Linda, I always picture you skidding up in your SUV to rescue Brian from bisons and snakes and yelling to him to get in so you can slam into top gear to drop him off at the next great shot. (I also picture him chasing the back of the SUV sometimes like Indiana Jones.) So how do you share responsibility for his photos? Just a thought.

    Congratulations to both of you–both your photographs get more amazing every year.



  3. Whoa Whoa Whoa – did the two of you pick up on the title of the post – it was a clean sweep. There is absolutely no way to even add a smidgen of doubt no matter how creative the two of you are. This scoring theory has NOT been proven and is speculation at best. Besides, there are specific categories for the judges – it doesn’t matter what the numbers are ACROSS the categories but rather how well they did WITHIN the category. For all we know they started with a different number or more likely use completely random numbers to order them for judging so they can’t make assumptions seeing similar styles together. Linda was not given a ribbon at first judging – that came later after someone (hmmm maybe Linda) informed them one of the pictures didn’t qualify – oh, that reminds me – someone put in a picture from the Internet in the county fair (ever see that cat on two legs wearing a winter hat…. I recognized immediately and told Linda on the spot).

    And Ron, I saw ALL your shots from Florida and here to say there were no hellacious photo in the set – Since you brought this up previously thought I would mention that the images are all tagged with the camera info so I can tell exactly which images you took… and Linda since she continually tries to take my shots as well. Now, I will admit we do have some arguments on the table where she likely took credit for one of my shots .. as in the Sunflower bee one.. just saying

    Linda does get credit for getting us from shooting location to shooting location (and rescuing from charging animals) but that is pretty much a key element of the job of UB .

    Thanks for the kind words – it is kind of fun to go back through all the fair entries to see where we are improving. It is quite shocking how incredibly awful the pictures are on some of my early blogs – often too embarrassed to give you a link to reference a previous topic because of that. I also think it helps having Linda pushing me now that she is getting into bird photography …. time to move my settings from ‘M’ to ‘S’ and hunt down some waterfalls.

    As always, thanks for dropping by (although you were clearly duped by Linda’s bad math)


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