Last October, on the last glorious day before fall gloom appeared, I captured a photo of a Chipmunk enjoying the day as much as I was. Spotting a dash and flash under the leaves, I got ready and he provided me with a charming cute wildlife portrait.
I plunged into photography as a serious hobby just over two years ago. From another photographer’s blog, I picked up the idea of entering a photo exhibition through our local photo club. There was no time to prepare so I just grabbed some photos I had and jumped in. They were horrible, but I crossed a threshold of participation that motivated me to improve a skill I thought I could achieve. Two more shows received my entries last year and I managed to bring home some ribbons.
The Wilderness Center of Wilmot, Ohio, a Northeast Ohio Nature Preserve holds an annual FotoFest as part of Earth Day. Nature Photography as I see it on the trail makes this show a perfect fit for me. I left little Chippy out of my home photo show earlier in the year, intimidated by grand landscapes, tall ships and the like, but I thought he might be a hit at FotoFest.
With 5 photos in a show with over 140 really good photos from 40 photographers, I raised my hopes to dare to think that if I came away with an honorable mention, that would be something. In the anything goes category, I put in a personal favorite, an abstract I titled “Forest On Watercolor”. My name was called for honorable mention, that was a good and surprising start.
Later my name was called again for a butterfly photo I titled “Slurping at the River”. I thought it was my best entry, but I also knew that I critically errored with my mounting. With two honorable mentions I passed expectations.
I’ve learned that if photo does not make an initial impact to grab attention it has no hope. Then, if the composition is right, the lighting is right and the technical aspects are right, then you are competing with the others. I titled my last entry “Hide N Seek Chippy”. It had impact. It had cuteness, a chance at being a crowd favorite. It also had light in the eyes, a perfect catch light and maybe a chance at catching a judge’s eye too.
With the last category to go, I thought that if It did not receive the third place ribbon I’d be done. Chippy wasn’t called. While the winner was being announced, I was ready to go to my grandson’s first birthday party. And then I heard, “ And the winner is, “Hide N Seek Chippy”. I was so surprised that as I moved forward I did not realize that they announced that it was also the shows Judge’s Choice Award winner.
Reflecting back, I feel pretty good that with a little persistence and practice (every shot for me is practice, some turn out better than others), I was able to produce some photos to be proud of with my mid level hobbyist equipment. In the process I meet and appreciate new photographers, people really enjoy the shows, and I’m challenged to keep trying new things to get better.
I’m getting a new set of images ready for the next exhibition.
This weeks WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge is – Reflecting