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
Congratulations!! Those little critters move so fast. Great shot!
Up to that moment I had tried and failed all summer and fall 🙂
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!
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.
Thank you very much!
Congratulations – well deserved!
Thank you. You’ve added a little inspiration with your work 🙂
You are way too kind!
Bravo! I always look forward to your posts, as you set a great
example for others with your creativity and technical skill.
Thank you. I’m a work in process and always developing.
That’s the best way to be!
The last photo is cute, peeking like that 🙂
He caught you’re eye too 🙂
Nice photos and I enjoyed reading your thoughts on them.
Thank you. You’re one of many that draw a from for tips and inspiration.
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.
Yes it is! And knowing that there are so many that I’ve missed for one reason or another motivates me to want to be ready for the next one.
Lovely post from photos to words.
Thank you very much. I enjoy following your compositions and work.
Congrats on being recognized for your exceptional photography skills. 🙂
Very kind of you. It’s nice to know that what you think might be good does measure up.
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Congrats – and nicely done!
Your photos certainly justify the prizes, and the important thing- you’re enjoying it. 🙂
Congratulations! Little Chippy is a winner! So is your love of nature shining through your dedication to your craft.
Thank you, very much appreciated.
Thank you 🙂
All beautiful and well deserved!
Thank you for your kind comment
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!
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.
Chippy’s a charmer, but reflecting is mesmerizing.
Even before I read your cool background story – that Chippy hit me!
He grabs fir the heart doesn’t he? 🙂
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?
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
Thank you. Processing the photos is definitely my down time relaxation.