Going all in for Iowa 2017

And Competition Season 2017 begins … today.  I’m boxing up my four entries for the Iowa State Fair’s photography competition, and they should be on their way to Des Moines by this afternoon.

This will be my third attempt to enter photographs in the Iowa State Fair’s Photography Competition.  It’s the largest fair photo show in America, and to get on the walls of this Fair is an awesome achievement in and of itself.

Unfortunately for me, it’s been an achievement that has cruelly eluded me.  Five rejections in 2014.  Four rejections in 2016.  So there’s that.

Iowa is my first “Competition Season” photography event.  And just once … I’d like it to be a successful one.  Even if just one photo makes the cut this year … that would really make me smile.

And to that effort, I’ve gone through dozens of qualified photographs.  Dozens.  I’ve added to the list, I’ve taken away from the list.  I’ve tried to find the photos that will stand out against all others.

Do I have the entries this year?  Do I have the right ones?

All I know is that for Iowa, I’ve pulled what I feel are my four best candidates.

It’s time for hope.

Okay, I’m going in.  And if I have to bring some of my legacy shots to the State Fair … then so be it.

So the four entries I’m submitting to Iowa this year include…


Step and Pivot. AGFA Clipper Special f/6.3 camera, Kodak Ektar 100 film. (c) Chuck Miller.  All rights reserved.

I chose an abbreviated version of Step and Pivot, and I’m hoping that whatever good success I’ve achieved from this piece in the 2017 Capital District Photo Regionals will also translate into success in Iowa.  I’m entering this picture in the “Anything Goes” category, which to me would mean making my camera do more than what it’s expected to achieve.


Farrell. Minolta x370s camera, Kodak HIE Infrared film with Hoya R72 filter. (c) Chuck Miller, all rights reserved.

At the last minute, I swapped out what would have been a demure black and white image, and instead chose this capture.  Farrell (named for the visible tombstone in the forefront) is probably one of my best B&W infrared photos of the past year, and so I’m entering it in the infrared photo category.


What the Grasshopper Saw. Nikon Df camera, Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 lens with Kenko 180° lens attachment. Photo (c) Chuck Miller, all rights reserved.

That looks so much better with that round mat on it, doesn’t it?  The Fair has a special category this year called “What’s Up?”, in which the subject must be of an item or pattern above your head.  My original plan was to enter The Constellation Sylvania in this category… but at the last minute, and based on the overwhelming social media response I received for this shot, I decided that this photo – captured by placing my Nikon Df into a tulip garden and shooting straight up – fits the category.

And finally…


Stone, Saltwater, Surf and Seagulls. Nikon Df camera, Irix 15mm f/2.4 lens. Photo (c) Chuck Miller, all rights reserved.

Another last-minute swapout.  I’m hoping that this ode to symmetry gets some serious love in Iowa.  It’s simple yet powerful, it’s decisive yet geometric.

Even as I wrote this morning’s blog post, I was still bouncing between two entries in this final category – this shot and the shot I took last August of the Perseid meteor zipping across the handle of the Big Dipper.  But in the end, I went with the more elegant capture.

Four foam-boarded and matted entries … off to Des Moines in today’s mail.

And now I wait.

And hope.

Competition Season 2017 begins today.

Here’s hoping for positive results.