So I just heard from the Big E’s Photo Competition…

A little background.

Last week, I had an opportunity to photograph a high school graduation ceremony at the Jericho Drive-In in Glenmont.  This would be their first one with fireworks, so I positioned my camera (my Nikon Df) outside the neon marquee.  And lo and behold, fireworks exploded in the air.  I got the fireworks, I got the neon, I got the marquee and I even got the movie screen.

Graduation with a Bang. Nikon Df camera, Nikkor 28mm f/2.8 lens. Photo (c) Chuck Miller, all rights reserved.I had just enough time to submit the photo before deadline.

Yesterday, I received an e-mail.  The picture had been judged.  There were four categories that the judges used – technical, composition / design, impact and family oriented / theme.  I could earn ten points in each category, for a maximum of 40 total.

I looked over the notes.  Here’s what they judged, and here’s what Graduation with a Bang earned.

  1. Technical – Main subject should be in focus and sharp. Note the depth of field and evaluate if the depth of field focus enhances the overall photo. Use of lighting enhances and balances the photo and creates the overall effect. Lighting should not distract from the overall composition. There should be adequate contrast in the photo.  Maximum 10 points; I earned 9.5.
  2. Composition & Design – The arrangement of the forms within the photo should be pleasing to the eye. All areas of the photograph contribute to the overall visual effect. Consider rules of composition- ‘Rule of Thirds’, Bottom right or left. Does the photograph flow easily? Is the color and contrast well balanced?  Maximum 10 points; I earned 9.
  3. Impact – How well does the photo meet technical requirements or exceeds them. Does the photograph make an impact on the viewer? Does it grab the viewer’s attention and hold it. Does it have a “wow” impression?  Maximum 10 points; I earned 9.5.
  4. Family Oriented/Theme – In keeping with Eastern States’ family orientation, items of an offensive, controversial or objectionable nature or subject matter will not be accepted. For photographs entered into Theme divisions (Agricultural, Current, or Special Theme), subject of the photo must be related to the theme.   Maximum 10 points; I earned 10.

Total = 38 points out of a possible 40.

Judge’s notes, which were sent separately…

– Great title! The fireworks instill the enthusiasm of the celebration for the viewer. The billboard tells the story of the occasion and “Drive-In Theatre” reminds us of the unique situation of graduation in the times of COVID-19. A very nice presentation timed perfectly with the height of the explosion of the fireworks.

Did that earn a blue ribbon?

Blue ribbon, heck it won BEST OF DEPARTMENT – ADULT!!!

Now whether the Big E operates in September or not, I still don’t know.  But if it does, there’s a good possibility that this photo could get displayed with the rest of the Fair’s photo entries in the New England Center.  Which is nice.  And I can save this photo for future competitions if I so chose.

But the waycool thing about this … ribbon time.  A new ribbon for the collection, my first photo ribbon of 2020.

And COVID-19 didn’t stop me.  Heck, thanks to COVID-19, I snagged a once-in-a-lifetime photo moment.

Heck, I’ll take that every single day of every single week.