Thursday, July 28, 2011

Capturing a Moment

August 18, 2010, A Walk on a Dewy Morning

There are always two people in every picture:
the photographer and the viewer.

~Ansel Adams

Photographer Ansel Adams might have been talking about photography judging at the county fair. (I don't think he was, but he might have been.) That old wornout adage about "Beauty being in the eye of the beholder" certainly holds true for fair judging.

I entered photos in both the Stafford County and the Pratt County Fairs this month. As I said after last year's fairs, I've been exhibiting since I was 10 years old. Old habits die hard.

The judging format is different for each fair. At Stafford, a 1st, 2nd and 3rd is chosen in each class. At Pratt, it doesn't matter how many photos are in the class: Blue ribbon exhibits (in the judge's opinion) earn blues. Red ribbon work earns a red, and so on. Pratt also awards top blues in each class and then gives 13 purple ribbons in the adult division.

I had some success at the Stafford Fair. My spider web photo (at the top) earned Reserve Grand Champion (and the prize money helped me pay for all the enlargements and mounting board. Entering photos is not an inexpensive hobby.) I also got prize money for my rainbow photo taken in a hay field. Xi Zeta Eta in St. John will use it to illustrate their community calendar. I also picked up a couple of other 1sts and two 3rds at Stafford.

August 2009

But I guess the photography judge at Pratt and I "saw" eye to eye. I always agonize about which ones to enter. For an indecisive person who wants to make the "right" choice, sifting through thousands of photos taken during a year is not an easy task.

Plus, it's just so subjective. What one person loves, another feels "ho-hum" about. Judging is all about one person's judgment at one point in time.

So I was thrilled to see 5 purple ribbons on my 10 entries at the Pratt fair. Only one photo got a red.

These were all the purples:

Taken at our silo, April 2011

Taken in Valentine, Nebraska, in October 2010.

Brent's hand holding my great-nephew Braden's foot in September 2010.

This little bird fell out of a tree into my front driveway August 2, 2010.

This was taken in January 2011 at a neighbor's farm pond.

This one got a top blue in the still life class. It was taken June 14, 2011, when harvest was interrupted with a brief shower. I'd never had a photography judge call me before. He wanted to know if I'd used Photo Shop to "build" this photo. I didn't. It was straight out of the camera. (Of course, it was among several I attempted that evening. It just happened to be the best one.)

"Sometimes I do get to places just when God's ready to have somebody click the shutter."
~Ansel Adams

I hear you, Ansel.

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