Many years ago – 2009, 2010, 2012 to be more precise – my pictures couldn’t get a ribbon at the Altamont Fair. It was emotionally rough.
At the same time, my artworks were appearing at the New York State Fair’s photography competition with regularity.
It’s certainly a reversal now. While my Syracuse submissions have been returned three of the last four years (including the last two), my Altamont pictures have fared reasonably well. Last year, one of my Dream Windows – Dream Window 17: Friday Night Fish Fry – claimed a blue ribbon. Over at the sheep and goat barn, I’ve scored blue ribbons with pictures like The Jumbuck, Rutland the Goat and We Are Not Chickens. And I’ve also scored some silks in the Fine Art barn with pictures like Aerochrome Falls, The Lenten Meal and Star Trails of Brown Tract Pond. So the success is there, for sure.
Now let’s see if it continues.
Six Chuck Miller artworks are on the Altamont Fairgrounds – four in the Fine Arts building, one in the goat and sheep barn, and a sixth entry in the Arts and Crafts pavilion. So now I have a chance to expand my craft into new venues and ventures.
Is there success? Is there failure?
The only thing I’m thinking about right now …
… is Jesus Christ, can I find a parking space ANYWHERE in this lot? At the rate I’m going, I may have to park in Voorheesville, this lot is so crowded!
Eventually, I found a parking spot near the end of the lot. With a slight rain covering the fairgrounds, I made my way to the sheep and goat barn first.
Unfortunately, the goat judging was not complete, so I have no idea how my photo of Chile did.
Okay … a trip over to the Arts and Crafts facility, to see if my ribbon-packed Dream Window received any love.
Okay, this wall, that wall, don’t see it, don’t see it – wait, there it is, and it has …
Is that a green ribbon attached to my artwork? I don’t know the category for green ribbons…
A closer squint revealed that the Dream Window received Honorable Mention in that category. Nice. My second ribbon-garnering Dream Window at Altamont. Things are certainly looking up.
Okay, now for the big reveal. Off to the Fine Arts building.
I start to enter.
Chuck, what are you forgetting?
Oh yeah. Tradition demands that before I enter the building, I must eat a meal at the adjoining food stand, Josie’s. And tradition must be upheld.
That, and my stomach was giving me the growlies.
Okay, one mushroom cheeseburger and diet cola later …
Let’s walk in. Slowly. Look down at the floor so as to not prematurely reveal anything.
Color photos are along this wall. And there’s What the Grasshopper Saw …
No ribbons. Nertz.
And right next to it is Step and Pivot … certainly that’s claimed some silk…
Crap. This is not looking good.
Okay, there’s a third photo of mine, Meteor Over Ursa Major, which features my shot last year of the Perseids Meteor Shower. This was entered in the category “A Moment In Time.” This one has to win, for sure –
Ugh. I’ve got a bad, bad feeling right now.
And the last thing I have on the wall is Farrell, my last-minute swapout because I needed a fourth image. Farrell, my infrared shot of a tree at St. Agnes Cemetery, a picture named only because of my new personal rule that any shots taken at a cemetery must be named after the most visible headstone in the picture.
Okay, Farrell, give me the bad news.
Yep, oh for four. Urgh. Crumbs. Nertz. Phooey. Time for me to just go home and lick my wounds.
Maybe I’ll pick up a home-baked pie from the Grange building, and a dozen fresh eggs from the chicken building. Man’s gotta eat some fresh breakfast in the morning, right …
Something’s not making sense.
I look back at the Farrell photo.
Yeah, there’s a ribbon attached to it…
Not attached to any other photo.
Does this mean…
That for the first time in nine years of trying…
Not counting photos that won blue ribbons in the sheep photography and goat photography categories outside of the art barn …
And not counting Dream Window 17: Friday Night Fish Fry last year, which claimed a blue in the “other art” discipline …
That after nine years of trying, with photos like Nipper’s Polar Panorama and The Lighthouse at Peggy’s Cove and The AGFA Bridge Over Ansco Lake and Midnight at the Palace Theater and Jesus Saves and Aerochrome Falls and The Heavens Above, The Forest Below and two dozen other photographs, constructs and creations….
One of my pictures took first prize in a photography category … in the art barn … at Altamont … for reals?
And it was claimed with a photo entered at the very last minute – in fact, the photo was chosen for my Altamont pile THAT VERY MORNING??
The equivalent of the last player on the bench, bottom of the ninth, two outs, down four runs, who goes up to the plate and hits a FIVE RUN HOMER???
The equivalent of a horse entered in the fifth race at 99-1 odds, who runs so fast he wins the sixth race by four lengths?
IT FINALLY HAPPENED!!!
A FIRST PLACE PHOTO IN THE PHOTOGRAPHY CATEGORY AT FREAKIN’ ALTAMONT!!!
The judges gave my picture a blue ribbon, the best showing for one of my photos since Midnight at the Palace Theater earned second place WAAAAY back in 2011!
Holy totally invisible spectrum, Batman!!
Big time relief!!
Farrell claimed a blue in the big barn!!
And in my relief and joy, I had a realization.
And I double-checked that realization when I got home last night, still giddy from the news.
I know where that photo was taken.
Not just at St. Agnes Cemetery in Menands …
But where in St. Agnes Cemetery that image was captured.
This is near Plot 42 on the grounds.
You know who else is in Plot 42?
This was also on the roll of film I took that day.
Two shots before I took the picture that became Farrell, I took this photo.
Yep. I guess it all comes back, one way or the other.
Whew. Relief all around. Awesome.
You know … I could still enter Farrell in other competitions if I wanted to.
If that’s the case …
I wonder if Farrell is good enough for Syracuse in 2018…