Has it really been ten years?
Yeah. Ten long years.
Ten years ago, I entered my first four pictures into the Altamont Fair’s photography competition. Two years later, I claimed my first silks, when Midnight at the Palace Theater took second place in the black and white category; two other pictures, The AGFA Bridge Over Ansco Lake and The Railsplitter, also earned silks that year.
Although I had successfully claimed blue ribbons at Altamont before, those were either in specialty categories outside of the Fine Arts Barn (The Jumbuck in Sheep Photography, Rutland the Goat and We Are Not Chickens in the Goat Photography category), or the blue ribbon was earned for a Dream Window art construct instead of just a straight photo (Friday Night Fish Fry).
It wasn’t until last year, when my infrared graveyard photo Farrell – a last-minute entry when the hanging strap on my designated B&W photo snapped as I was loading the pictures into the car for transport – claimed its own distinct blue ribbon in the Arts Barn.
It’s been a long journey. And on occasion, I’ve branched into other Altamont Fair creative avenues – an entry last year in the Arts and Crafts building earned an honorable mention for one of my Dream Windows. And I’ve claimed blue ribbons with three of my pictures int he goat photography and sheep photography categories.
This year, I’m concentrating on only four entries this year – the four that will be part of the Fine Arts exhibit at Altamont. Maybe next year I’ll enter a picture in the goat photography or sheep photography or chicken photography categories – in fact, I was going to enter really awesome pictures in those events … but at the last moment, I chose to skip those ancillary contests this time around.
That being said … as you know, I don’t post my entries on this blog until the day after they are judged. It’s not fair to those who do not have popular blogs.
So, which four entries did I submit to Altamont this year?
Well, if you go to the Fine Arts Barn – the oldest building on the Altamont Fair’s campus – you will see these four entries on display.
THE MAHARI STREAM
Sometimes you discover a photographic opportunity that never previously existed. And the only gear you have handy does not include a tripod or an ND filter – two items necessary for capturing rivers and streams as gauzy, sheeny flows. So you hold the camera tight against your chest, slow your breathing almost to a whisper, and open the shutter. This is what comes out.
INFRARED HORIZON 787
Sometimes you have an idea on how to capture that image you see every morning on your way to work. And you pull off to the side of the road, pull out your camera – the one that’s pre-loaded with infrared color film – and squeeze off a shot or three. And in the end, this photo shines through.
THE WATERWHEEL OF GREENFIELD CENTER
Sometimes you want to recapture an image that you saw years before, but circumstances and situations prevented your return. And then, one day, you find out there’s an opportunity. And on that day, you climb down a slick, slippery ravine, you meander your way through prickle-plants and greasy grass, you wade into the raging waters … and this picture appears in your camera viewfinder.
WASHINGTON COUNTY, 2:30 A.M.
Sometimes you plan a photo for months. You scout the location. You check all the variables. And on that one moment … when everything lines up … on the last press of the shutter button of your camera … a treasure appears. A treasure that captures everything about the bucolic, spectacular forests and skies of upstate New York.
Those are the four images in the Art Barn. I would have entered a fifth entry – this one in the Arts and Crafts building – if I finished it on time.
News alert – I finished it on time.
So the Arts and Crafts building has a fifth Chuck Miller artwork, it’s …
FORT ORANGE DAIRY & FEEDS
I finished it. Forget about entering it in BUILT, I’m slipping this beauty into Altamont first.
Again, I’m only posting these pictures because … today … the Altamont Fair begins. I’ll make my way to the campus later this evening, so if you see my artwork up there and if there’s anything attached to the pictures – a ribbon, a note, some cow turds from the cattle barn – don’t tell me. Let me discover it when I arrive.
Good luck and best wishes to all those who enter the Altamont Fair’s photo competition, as well as all the other competitions in New York’s only three-county summer fair.
And here … we … go.