The “Golden Ticket” postcard from Iowa, 2022 Edition

I know the postcard’s coming. It just takes an extra day or two to arrive. It always does.

Let me explain.

The Iowa State Fair’s Photography Salon is one of five spokes of my “Competition Season” wheel of photography. Last month, I submitted these four photos to Iowa for consideration.

You know … just an assortment of an infrared shot of a weed-infested ice cream parlor; a transitional collage of a lunar eclipse; a macro shot of a pinecone; and an experimental connection with the Milky Way. Just the kind of photos Chuck Miller would take on any given day.

The hope is that at least one of these four images will grace the walls of the art building at the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines. But I won’t know if ANY images made the cut until I receive that golden postcard. And even then, all I will know is that either nothing got accepted … or one or more got accepted.

Having a hard time accepting this. 😀

So what do I do?

I check social media for any clues. That means Facebook. I type in “Iowa State Fair Photography” in the Facebook search engine, and narrow searches to those posted this year.

And then I see some results. People posting a scan of their postcard. Some postcards even have the coveted red “AWARD” sticker, meaning that not only was one of their images selected, that image will have a nice silky ribbon alongside it.

But for some reason, mail from Iowa takes a bit longer to get to New York. I blame U.S. Postmaster General Louis DeJoy. Why do I blame him? I just do.

Just know that this photo competition is hyper-competitive. Anything can happen. A rejection can happen simply because the photo wasn’t in the right category. Another picture could get culled simply because there were already 15 other entries with the same subject. There are only so many spots available for the art gallery racks. Anything can happen.

I guess what I’m saying is … did I choose wisely or did I fail miserably?

Okay. Postcard’s in my mailbox.

Now comes the tricky part. I look in the mailbox. The address side of the postcard is facing me. I quickly grab another piece of mail – some junk mail of some sort – and place it on the back of the postcard. This way, I won’t see the results until I’m ready.

Okay. I’m in the house. Sit down.

Slowly slide the envelope up. Step by step.

Okay, we’re getting to the “nothing was accepted” section of the card. Slowly. Deep breath. If I got rejected, I’ll see pen marks in the checkbox.

Whew. No pen marks in the checkbox.

I keep sliding the envelope up. So close.

And it looks like … of the four entries, TWO are going on display! Sweet!!

Okay, now for the big reveal.

I pull the postcard away.

And look what’s on the top of the postcard.

That’s an award sticker. Big and red. Sweet like a cherry.

This is exciting. Very, very exciting.

But which two made the cut? And which one has the silk?

I don’t know.

But I do know … that there’s a win here. If it’s We Serve Wayward Strangers or The View from Screven County, those two images are entered in several other competitions, so there’s a chance for them to claim multiple silks. If it’s Contact, that one could get its second silk after a third-place win at Syracuse last year. And if it’s The Pinecone, well, that would totally shock me. In a good way, but it would still shock me. 😀

But yeah. This is good. Really, really good.

Competition Season starts off with a bang. 😀