My entries for the 2021 New York State Fair Photography Competition

Last year, due to COVID-19, the New York State Fair’s 2020 season was cancelled.  That meant that the photography competition – which I had entered for the past 11 years – was shuttered for the season.

I had six entries, but none could be shown. Nuts.

And for the longest while, I was worried that although the New York State Fair would be open for 2021, that because of air circulation issues in the Harriet May Mills Art Center, the photography and fine arts competitions might not take place. In fact, the arts and crafts competition, where I’ve had some success with my crate art and latched hook rug projects, won’t hold a competition in 2021.

But eventually the announcement came through. Although several competitions will be shuttered for 2021, there WILL be a photo competition in the New York State Fair this year. Thank you. And in a touch of modernity, the “postcards of doom” I normally received from Syracuse that would alert me as to the success or failure of my artworks, are now replaced by e-mail correspondence.

Due to COVID-19, however, the event will be held in a different area of the Harriet May Mills Art Center. The upper floor of the building, which originally hosted the Photography and Fine Arts competitions, is not properly ventilated to prevent the aerial spread of COVID-19; and other sections of the Art Center are being used to house the New York National Guard. With that in mind, all the artworks will hang in the first floor entranceways.

Now that I know that the Fair is back for 2021, I’ve gone back through the archives.  I looked at the six photos I wanted to submit.  Some I kept.  Others, I updated. Still more were replaced with new entries.

So after much thought, here’s what I’m putting in for 2021.  Any entry with a black star (★) is a holdover from what would have been my 2020 submissions. Any entry with a clear star (☆) is an entry that was either a new image, or an updated version of what would have originally been entered in 2020.

And they include…


Contact. Nikon Df camera, Irix 15mm f/2.4 lens, ISO 6400, 30 seconds on f/2.4. Photo (c) Chuck Miller, all rights reserved.

I shot this last year on the campus of the old Catskill Game Farm, during my photo shoot for Night of the Simian.  It was a last-minute concept, and I think it worked well.


The Long, Strange Trip. Nikon Df camera, Vivitar 19mm f/3.8 lens, several different photos with filters, combined in PhotoShop. (c) Chuck Miller, all rights reserved.

Originally the plan was to use the static picture, Brokedown on Maggie’s Farm, of the vintage Grateful Dead VW Super Beetle.  But since I have a version in which the car changes color as you walk past it … and since I never got a chance to display that technique with the Fair for my previous VW rainbow image, Fagbug and Vaudeville, I’ll see how this one works.


Five Tickets to Ride Day and Night. AGFA Clipper Special f/6.3 camera, Kodak Instamatic Gold 200 film (two rolls) and Kodak Verichrome Pan B&W film. Photo (c) Chuck Miller, all rights reserved.

Another one of my splitfilm experiments.  This did reasonably well at Durham last year, and I had hoped to enter it through Competition Season 2020.


Another entry from the COVID-19 shoot at home series, this one involved a 75-year-old baseball and a very, very, very powerful macro lens.


Double Feature Family Friendly. Nikon Df camera, Irix wide-angle lens, two images combined in lenticular capture. Photo (c) 2020 Chuck Miller, all rights reserved.

My original plan was to have the Jericho sign bisected as day and night, with a vertical line splitting the picture. Nah. I’m going to enter this, the second of my two lenticular prints, in the hopes of putting something sweet on the wall. That’s right, kiddos, as you walk by that photo, the marquee changes from day to neon-lit night.


Strasburg Number 90. Nikon Df camera, Nikkor 80-200 f/2.8 telephoto lens, processed with Silver Efex black and white. Photo (c) Chuck Miller, all rights reserved.

This. After going through 450 photographs from my Pennsylvania train excursion, I needed to get this shot and I needed it badly. This is the one I want for the New York State Fair.

Okay, now the specs and stats.

Five of the six images were captured with my Nikon Df digital camera, only Five Tickets to Ride Day and Night was shot with film.

Five of the six images were captured in New York; only Strasburg Number 90 was shot out of state. Three of the five were captured in Albany County; The Long, Strange Trip was shot in Oneida County, while Contact originated in Greene County.

Two of the submissions, Double Feature Family Friendly and The Long, Strange Trip are lenticular prints, the first time I’ve entered two lenticulars in a single Syracuse competition. The only time one of my lenticulars made the walls of the Art Center? Way back when I submitted my four-seasons-changing image Vivaldi’s Pond, which picked up an Honorable Mention ribbon.

Five Tickets to Ride Day and Night could join Vivaldi’s Pond and After the Rain as the only artworks to appear at both Syracuse and at the Capital District Photo Regionals.

Contact is the first photo I’ve ever submitted to Syracuse in which the human photo subject … was me. So, technically, it’s my first “selfie” entered in competition.

High and Tight could be only my second-ever macro photo to get on the walls, following the success of 2019’s After the Rain.

Five Tickets to Ride Day and Night could be my fifth successful splitfilm shot to make the walls, following 2010’s, Coca-Cola Refreshes, 5c, 2011’s The AGFA Bridge over Ansco Lake, 2019’s Senses Working Overtime, and 2019’s 88 Minutes in Chinatown.

Three images – High and Tight, Five Tickets to Ride Day and Night and Contact – were earmarked for the 2020 New York State Fair, while the two lenticulars and Strasburg Number 90 are first-time entrants for Syracuse. Technically, The Long, Strange Trip is new because it’s a lenticular print, while its sister image Brokedown on Maggie’s Farm, which did grab a blue at the Durham Fair, was a static image.

And I should hear by Friday or so with the postcards o’ doom … oh, wait, this year I’ll get the results via e-mail. So does that make this “E-mails of torment” or “E-mails of pain” or some other nomenclature?

So it now comes down to you, my wonderful blog readers. If there are any images in this listing that you think have the best shot of landing on the walls of the Art Center this year, which ones would you choose, and why?