A little pink postcard from Des Moines, 2021 edition

Okay. Deep breath. There is a pink postcard in my mailbox.

Not a canary yellow postcard, as has arrived in the past, but a neon pink one.

The postcard came all the way from Des Moines, Iowa, home of the Iowa State Fair, or as I call it, one of the spokes in my 2021 “Competition Season.” This is my sixth year entering the photo competition at the Iowa State Fair, and although my first two tries in Iowa were met with dull thuds, I rebounded with six images appearing on the walls from 2017, 2018 and 2019, with two – The AGFA Bridge Over Ansco Lake (1st place) and What the Grasshopper Saw (3rd place) claiming silks. Not too shabby.

After the 2020 Iowa State Fair was called off due to the COVID-19 pandemic, I had plenty of images ready to show for 2021. And when it came time to show them, I submitted four of what i thought were my best shots.

There they are. Five Tickets to Ride Day and Night, After the Rain, Strasburg Number 90 and High and Tight.

The postcard will have a simple checkbox on it. One checkbox means that I’ve scored at least one image into the walls of the Iowa State Fair art gallery. Another checkbox means that none of my images made the cut, and they will all be returned quickly to me.

I checked “Iowa State Fair Photo Contest” on Facebook. Already, many Iowa-based photographers have received their postcards, most likely because they all live in Iowa and mail travels quickly in-state.

But now one of those pink postcards has made it to my mailbox.

All rightie. I close my eyes. Take the postcard out of my mailbox. Only using my sense of touch, I try to feel the postcard for the postage stamp, so I can make sure to keep the address-side face up to me. Hmm. Can’t feel the postage stamp. I feel something else … it’s something on the paper that seems long and rectangular, like some weird oblong sticker. And it feels like it’s in a strange part of the postcard – stamps are placed on the upper right corner of a postcard, not what feels like the upper left corner.

Can’t stand it any more. I take a peek.

And this is what I saw.

That oblong sticker that I thought was a stamp? IT’S AN AWARD STICKER!!!

(running around the apartment, flailing my arms like I’m Kermit the Frog)

This means that not only will there be representation by your man at the 2021 Iowa State Fair … one of these four images has picked up a silk!

But which one?? And the checkbox only says that “one, two, three or four photos … have been accepted for display.”

So at the very least, one of these four made it to the Art Center walls … and it has an Honorable Mention silk attached to it. At the very least.

And if that’s the very least …

I’m certainly fine with that. The Iowa State Fair’s photography competition is hyper-competitive, they see nearly 3,000 images from over 800 competitors, both in and outside of Iowa.

So, yeah … this is just an amazing moment.

And what a way to kick off Competition Season 2021. s

But I’m still thinking … which photo rose to the occasion? Was it my final showing of my 2019 dandelion macro? Was it my splitfilm shot of the Altamont Fair Ferris Wheel? Maybe my 2020 COVID-19 macro shot of an old minor league baseball? Or was it my recent 2021 shot of a big-ass steam locomotive??

I don’t know. I don’t know right now.

But I do know this.

Chuck is happy.

For sure.