A postcard from the Iowa State Fair, 2019 Edition

The oblong canary yellow postcard is in my mailbox right now.

That card contains information on whether any of my pictures made it through to the walls of the Iowa State Fair’s 2019 Photography Salon.

I can’t take any chances here.


This is my fifth attempt to earn silk in Iowa.  In 2017, two of my pictures made the walls, with one earning a third-place silk in its category.  Last year, my splitfilm photo The AGFA Bridge Over Ansco Lake snagged its second blue at Iowa (it also had a blue in Durham, as well as a Best in Show there).

This year, I entered the maximum four pictures in Iowa.  I don’t know how I did – the little yellow postcard will reveal all.

Washington County, 2:30 amI took care to enter pictures that I thought had the best possible chance to appear on the Iowa State Fair Photography Salon walls.  Yes, I put Washington County 2:30 a.m. in the mix, with the hope that it would earn its fourth silk to go with the three pretty blues it already possess.  Man, my first-ever truly successful and defined Milky Way photo.  One more exhibition, one more chance for love.

First place at Altamont. First place at the Big E. First place in Durham. One of only three Chuck Miller photos to claim the “Triple Blue” (first place in three different competitions). Could this be my first-ever photo to claim FOUR different silks? I’m entering this in Category 23, “Places and Landscapes – Black and White.”

The Black Bridge in a Polar Panorama

I dusted off my old polar panorama shot The Bridge to Infinity for the Iowa State Fair’s 80th anniversary specialization contest, hoping that the metal structure of the polar panorama would show off the “8” that was required in the competition rules.

I really thought this picture would garner more success, but it got stiffed at the New York State Fair and I never entered it anywhere else.  Bummers.

三つの雪 (Mittsu no yuki). Nikon Df camera, Nikkor 55mm 1:3.5 lens with extension tubes (c) 2019 Chuck Miller, all rights reserved.

The only one of the four submissions to be created in 2019, my attempt to capture macro snowflake photography – which can be breathtaking when done correctly – was entered.  Although I don’t think there was a really good snowfall this year – at least not good enough by the time I figured out what the hell I was doing with macro photography – Mittsu No Yuki (Japanese for “three snowflakes”) made my final cut for submission.

New Scotland Road. Rolleiflex Automat MX camera, color infrared film with yellow filter. Photo (c) Chuck Miller, all rights reserved.

And finally, I’m gonna take my horse to New Scotland Road, I’m gonna … ride, till I can’t no more …

Two years ago, my infrared shot Farrell landed on the walls of the Iowa Photo Salon.  Can I do it again with color infrared film?

I don’t know.  I can hope.  That’s all I can do.


There’s a canary yellow postcard in my mailbox.

Okay.  Let’s pull this

I grab a piece of white paper and put it against the back of the postcard.  The information on the postcard is covered.

Okay.  Slow reveal.

I pull the card down over the letters.

Okay.   I don’t seen an AWARD sticker, so I’m not thinking that silk will be coming from the heartland this year.  However, that still means I could get one of my images on the wall.

Okay, Miller.  Deep breath.

Slowly slide the piece of paper down the postcard.

And we reveal…

Hold it … three pictures got in?

THREE GOT IN?

THREE GOT IN?!?!?

Three got in!!

I sent four, and three are going to appear on the wall!!!

That equals the number of photos that I’ve gotten through to Iowa in the past two years!!

(happy dance)

But wait … wait … wait …

Three got in…

But I submitted four.

So which one didn’t make the cut?  Was the “It’s All About the 8’s” category so hyper-competitive that The Bridge to Infinity missed the cut?  Did all the success from 2018 wear off for Washington County 2:30 a.m. in 2019?  Did I submit the wrong infrared picture in New Scotland Road?  And was Mittsu No Yuki fail like a bad episode of Neon Genesis Evangelion?

I won’t know until the show opens in August.

So if anybody happens to be in downtown Des Moines that weekend…

Wanna help a brother out with some photo-selfie photos? 😀