Chippy Wins a Blue Ribbon

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.


Forest on Watercolor

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.


Slurping at the River

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.


Hide N Seek Chippy

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


44 thoughts on “Chippy Wins a Blue Ribbon

  1. Jazz Jaeschke

    Thanks for the encouragement to “compete” … not in my nature to compete in general, but the part of meeting other photographers and learning from everyone’s images DOES appeal. I love your butterfly image!

    1. the Ordinary Hiker Post author

      Thank you. It’s not totally my nature either, but rather a compelling desire to say I can do this. Although having been a public figure at one time, my natural desire is to be behind the scenes. So the whole concept challenged me.

  2. srickman2014

    Congratulations! It is so nice to have others appreciate your creativity. I really like how you said that every shot is practice for you. I feel the same way. I suppose that is what drives us to improve.

  3. Pingback: Reflecting: Rijnstraat 8 | What's (in) the picture?

  4. Tina Schell

    Congratulations! Loved your little chipmunk altho I must admit I’d have given the top prize to the beautiful forest shot :-). Good for you for rising to the challenge and putting yourself out there! Here’s to more success as you continue to grow in your love of the art!

    1. the Ordinary Hiker Post author

      Thank you 🙂 it’s been a fun personal challenge that has opened lot of new opportunities. I never thought I’d get excited about taking more abstract shots. The judges liked the forest but the general public hasn’t warmed up to the idea yet.

  5. dweezer19

    That’s so awesome. I would love to enter shows but just don’t know where to begin. Even having the photos processed is challenging for me. Do younuse a camera shop or a general public processing evnue?

  6. tippysmom2

    Congratulations! Love all three of these photos. I can see why they were winners. I would love to delve into photography. Maybe when I get to where I don’t feel the need to work as much. LOL


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