Competition Season 2016: My Altamont Fair photo entries are…

The Altamont Fair photography contest is, for me, a mixture of wills and won’ts, of cans and can’ts, of yesses and no’s.  Yes, I’ve won two blue ribbons in three years at Altamont; but they were in category-specific locales that were not part of the Fine Arts show (The Jumbuck in the sheep photo category, Rutland the Goat in the goat photo category, both of which were shown in the sheep and goat barn).  In the Fine Arts Center, the best I’ve ever achieved came in 2011, when Midnight at the Palace Theater snagged a second-place ribbon.  Two third-place ribbons were claimed (2011’s The Railsplitter, 2014’s The Lenten Meal), while I have four “Honorable Mention” silks in my Altamont collection (2011’s The AGFA Bridge Over Ansco Lake, 2014’s Star Trails of Brown Tract Pond, 2014’s Re-Lighting L-Ken’s and 2015’s Aerochrome Falls).

Ever since my first attempt at Altamont in 2009, I’ve tried to expand what I can do and achieve as a photographer and as an artist.  It hasn’t been easy.  Not in the least.  Now it’s time to try again.  You cannot succeed unless you at least try.

So let’s try.

I am allowed four entries this year in the art barn.  And in my choices for submission, I wasn’t so much concerned about claiming that silk, as I was focusing on what I’d achieved in the past and where I am in my photographic journeys.  I mean, I looked back at photos I’ve entered in years past and realize that I have achieved growth and improvement over the years.  I’ve had my fun with toy cameras and the like.  Now it’s time to advance.

This year, I chose to branch out – yes, I still use photography in my artistic submissions, but since the Altamont Fair offers an “Other” category in the art department, I’m going to put a mixed-media piece in that category and see how things go.  Seeing as a mixed-media piece was the only entry of mine to stay at the New York State Fair this year … maybe this is the trend for me this season.

And for 2016, the Fair judges have changed up some of the entries.  There used to be three different divisions for photography – digital, B&W film and color film.  Now it’s just color and B&W, without distinction as to which camera you used.  So I’ve adjusted my entries accordingly.  And no, I didn’t submit a splitfilm with B&W and color imagery, hoping to straddle the category like someone with dual citizenship can straddle a border.

And you know I can’t announce what I’ve entered until the day the Fair opens, so as to not prejudice the judging.  I don’t want anybody saying to me, “Oh yeah, the judges picked your pieces because you have a blog with the big bad Times Union and none of us do.  That’s not fair.  Play fair, Chuck.”  Trust me.  I play fair.  That’s why I don’t announce what I’ve entered in THIS competition until the judging is complete.

The Fair opens today.

And with that in mind… here are my entries for the 2016 Altamont Fair Fine Arts competition.  They are:


The Heavens Above, The Forest Below. Nikon Df camera, Nikkor 55mm f/1.2 lens. Photo by Chuck Miller.
The Heavens Above, The Forest Below. Nikon Df camera, Nikkor 55mm f/1.2 lens. Photo by Chuck Miller.

I know it’s a last-minute entry, but I think it’s a GOOD last minute entry.  Plus, I’ve never submitted a black-and-white sky shot into competition before.  Maybe I’ve been missing something all along.  So guess what.  It’s one of my four for Altamont.

Besides, Nikon’s Twitter account likes it, so that’s a vote, isn’t it?



I have submitted three different Dream Window constructions to Altamont in the past – and although they’ve received some oohs and aahs, they’ve never received any silks.  This time, instead of entering this piece in the “photography” category, I chose instead to enter the artwork in the “Other” category.  Let’s see if I made the right choice.  That, and if the neon EL wire will hold up all week at the Fair.  This photo was one of ten entrants that earned “Best of Show” at the Times Union Home Expo earlier this year, my first-ever Dream Window to earn a competitive judging honor.


The Pew of Holy Innocents. Nikon Df camera, Vivitar 19mm f/3.8 lens. Photo by Chuck Miller.
The Pew of Holy Innocents. Nikon Df camera, Vivitar 19mm f/3.8 lens. Photo by Chuck Miller.

//’s right, I’m bringing back the distressed Barcalounger that was found inside of the Church of Holy Innocents in Albany’s Arbor Hill neighborhood.  Yes, I know that trespassing into condemned buildings is wrong.  Yes, I’ll go stand in a corner and confess my sins.  Hopefully I can do that while clutching a winning ribbon for this photo.  We shall see.  This image was previously showcased as part of Assemblywoman Patricia Fahy’s office art show, and is also one of six that was submitted to the New York State Fair this season.


Washington Park Lakehouse
Washington Park Lakehouse. Krasnogorsk FT-2 camera, Fuji Velvia 50 film. Photo by Chuck Miller.

// was the shot of the Lakehouse that I had accidentally left in my Russian ultra-wide “Raskolnikov” camera for a few months.  By the time I actually developed the picture … hoo boy this is nice.  And let’s see how well this looks when it’s blown up to an ultra-wide photo.  This picture was originally exhibited at the Photo Center of Troy’s Members Show, and it’s Raskolnikov’s second-ever photo at Altamont, after last year’s Falling Skyward shot.

There we go.  One Dream Window, one ultrawide, one color, one B&W.

Okay, that’s the main barn.  And as I have done in the past… I can enter one picture of a goat in the “goat photography” category.  Last year my shot of a Nigerian Dwarf goat, Rutland the Goat, took a blue in this category.  Perhaps the same success may be gleaned from…


The Triplets of Mack Brin Farm. Nikon Df camera, Nikkor 50mm f/1.8G lens, flipped in B&W. Photo by Chuck Miller.
We Are Not Chickens.  Nikon Df camera, Nikkor 50mm f/1.8G lens, flipped in B&W. Photo by Chuck Miller.

There they are, the little cuties.  The San Clemente Island triplet baby goats from Mack Brin Farms.  Ain’t they adorable?

Okay.  Now that you’ve seen what I’ve submitted, I look forward to seeing what everybody else submitted.  The Altamont Fair’s Photography Competition is an amazing and fascinating collection of photography and other art media from youth and adult, from skilled and hobby, from technical to inspired.  Good luck and best wishes to all entrants.

And as I always ask of you… please, if you go to the Fair today, and you see my artworks on the wall… don’t tell me how they did.  Let me get there and be surprised or excited or disappointed or whatever.  Don’t spoil the ending like the person who announced that [SPOILER ALERT] Rosebud was a sled.

I should find out tonight how things turned out.

Fingers crossed.