I’ve wrangled and battled and searched through my images.
And for me, trying to find six worthy candidates for the New York State Fair photography competition is like trying to find my six best ears of corn in a thirty-acre cornfield.
It ain’t easy.
The procedures and processes for picking my six entries for the New York State Fair’s 2017 Photography Competition are maddening and mind-bending. If I don’t pick the proper photos for this show, I’ll be looking at six misses again. That’s happened twice in the last three years. And I don’t want it happening again. Please no.
I want my photos to impress the judges and wow the audience. And yeah, I go through some of my usual tactics – infrared, lenticular, splitfilm, ultrawide, experimental – and then I try to bring something that just says, “Damn, that’s a good photo.”
Or at least I hope I do that.
But yeah, I started my selection process for this competition maybe 25 minutes after my six photos were rejected last year. That should tell you my mindset for this project.
So here’s where I stand. I’ve gleaned a couple of entries from last year that weren’t entered in the State Fair, and then I added several other images to the pile. Eventually I came up with eighteen possible entries.
Which is fine … except I’m limited to only six artworks. And no, I can’t enter six as Chuck Miller and six as “Charles Miller” and six as “C. David-Paul Miller,” and believe me I thought about that for about 15 seconds.
Okay. First cull. Not this one. Not that one. Why did I put this in the pile. No way am I taking this one OUT of the pile. This one’s a lock. That one’s a lock. Maybe not this one. Maybe this one. Maybe.
And after I sorted through the entries, designated some for other shows, and whittled my entries down to six, here’s my final entries. And they include …
THE HEAVENS ABOVE, THE FOREST BELOW
Previous success: 1st place, The Big E, 2016. Second place, Durham Fair, 2016. Honorable Mention, Altamont Fair, 2016.
There’s something about this picture – the abstractness of it, the silhouette of the treeline against the Milky Way – that just keeps peoples’ attention. It took three ribbons last year, including a first place at the Big E. Maybe the State Fair can also give it some love? And yes, I’m still kicking myself for not entering this picture last year. But this is essentially my last chance to enter this picture, and I’m hoping this earns its fourth ribbon in as many contests.
WHAT THE GRASSHOPPER SAW
Previous success: None, but entered in the Iowa State Fair 2017 Photo Contest.
What The Grasshopper Saw was a last-minute choice – it’s one of those pictures that I took on a lark – in the park – and somewhere in that spark – it captured my heart. I hope this works out, I actually jettisoned an infrared shot called Farrell for this image. Oh well, I can always enter Farrell for next year if I so desire… And I’ve never entered a picture with a Kenko 180° lens attachment capture, so … there’s that.
STONE, SALTWATER, SURF AND SEAGULLS
Previous success: None.
This was another last-minute selection, where I swapped out one photo to enter this black-and-white morning capture. How strong do I feel about this shot? I kicked my multi-film shot The Switchback to the curb to enter this photo in its stead. I hope I made the right choice in doing this. Besides, I’m due for a “Chuck risks his life to get a photo” entry into the New York State Fair, don’tcha think?
FAITH AND FROST
Previous success: None, but was submitted in the 2017 Capital District Photo Regionals.
Yeah, from the moment I captured this photo on New Year’s Day … in the Adirondacks … in Frontier Town … what’s left of Frontier Town … I knew it had to be entered in competition. Truly yes. And in case you’re wondering, this is the picture I captured while still walking around in an orthopedic boot after fracturing my foot. Hey, what’s a broken bone or three when you get a picture like this?
STEP AND PIVOT
Previous success: Acceptance and award, 2017 Capital District Photo Regionals.
I debated on submitting a cropped version of Step and Pivot, but at the last minute I said to myself, “Self … show the whole strip of film or don’t show anything.” I re-sized the picture, and although the crop is a bit tight to the filmstrip itself, I think it will still capture the imaginations of the viewers. At least I hope so. Fingers crossed. Toes crossed. Neon shoelaces crossed.
THE HORNED DORSET
Previous success: None, first time in competition.
Once again, I’m trying to enter a three-dimensional photo in the competition. And even though last year’s Lauren and the Leaves barely missed the final cut … I’m hoping that a more agricultural photo with a mighty-horned ram will yield better results. That … or maybe I’ll just get lamb chops for dinner. It was either this picture or The Constellation Sylvania, a photo that really didn’t have as much oomph in my humble opinion.
There they are. My six choices for the 2017 New York State Fair.
Let me check the specs.
- Two pictures on film (The Horned Dorset, Step and Pivot), all others on digital.
- Cameras used include Nikon Df (Faith and Frost, What The Grasshopper Saw, Stone Saltwater Surf and Seagulls, The Heavens Above The Forest Below), AGFA Clipper Special F/6.3 (Step and Pivot), and Nimslo (The Horned Dorset).
- The Horned Dorset is my fourth consecutive lenticular entry in this competition; only one previously landed on the walls of the Art Center (Vivaldi’s Pond, 2015).
- Three of the entries were captured in Albany County (Step and Pivot, The Horned Dorset, What The Grasshopper Saw), one was caught in Essex County (Faith and Frost, The Heavens Above The Forest Below), while one was captured in Atlantic City, New Jersey (Stone Saltwater Surf and Seagulls).
- Two of these images (Stone Saltwater Surf and Seagulls, What The Grasshopper Saw) were captured after my new blog portal opened.
- Two pictures are being entered in the B&W category (The Heavens Above The Forest Below and Stone, Saltwater, Surf and Seagulls), while two are being show in the color category (Faith and Frost, What The Grasshopper Saw) and two will appear in the non-traditional category (Step and Pivot, The Horned Dorset), although the judges reserve the right to relocate an image if necessary.
And as always, I ask you, my beloved readers, to help me pick your favorites. Please select (up to three) your personal favorites that you think have the best shot to make the walls of the Harriet May Mills Art Center in Syracuse this summer. And if you could, please also leave a comment as to why you feel those entries deserve the best consideration.
Would definitely appreciate it.