Does anyone recall that wonderful day last year when yours truly was gloating about success at the local photography contest. This major award (ummm, okay, it was just an honorable mention, but can you say F*R*A*G*EE*L*EE ). This of course was followed soon by a devastating moment in my photographic history when my wife entered her GRluEAckT shot of a bee approaching a sunflower into another (smaller venue) local fair. The outcome of that was a Best in Show for her efforts. Although I did pretty well there as well, I had to accept my fate and put on the Umbrella B*tch shirt for the year. Well, that was one long year folks and it was time to put it all on the line again. First off was the HOI Fair (the larger venue I scored on the year before). Sadly, we were both shut out at that event (everybody say “AHHHHHH”). All was not lost for the Knox County Fair was soon to follow, but I was considered the underdog based on last year’s results.
Last week we headed out to the fair to see how our pictures did. The fate of Umbrella B*tch was hinging on this event so we were both a little nervous. Unfortunately for us, an awesome picture of a fox took the Best in Show. Our hats off to that photographer for a fantastic job. We definitely do not mind losing to quality (now that out of focus B&W at the HOI… well, that’s a different story). So now the HOI event was taken out of the decision process and the Best in Show was nixed. The good news is we ended up doing quite well in a number of categories. In fact, Linda and I each took two first places.
Linda scored with her Zion (I think that is where it was taken) water silk and her portrait she took at her niece’s wedding reception. Ironically, she really didn’t think that shot was that great, but I really like the composition and you can’t tell it in this shot, but there is some grain to it that goes well with the period shot. Apparently the judges agreed with me. I took first for my winter cardinal shot and a macro shot I took of a praying mantis. That cardinal shot finally gets some appreciation ( it is probably one of my favorite shots with the red of the bird contrasting nicely with the snow around it). Linda paid back the favor on the praying mantis. I was unsure about entering that macro, but Linda really liked it and forced me to enter it – I owe her a thanks. With each of us getting two first places finishes, that U.B. decision criteria was thrown out too.
Hit the link to read to see how the 2011 U.B. decision process plays out
Next up, the second place finishes! Good news on this front as well. We both took second places finishes.
Linda took the red for another Zion stream shot. Although the judges appear to be fine with it, she has actually gone back and forth on that one and I think she’s come to the conclusion that it is a little darker than she would like. There is a slight argument between us as to who actually took the picture on the left. Linda has some fantasy scenario where I ask her to take the shot because I was struggling, but I’m not buying it and it is in my style (foreground reference with the tree branch to drive depth into the picture). So, chalk up a 2nd place for me. Now for the observant, you will notice there is only one more red ribbon in the group. This means that at our next shoot one of us will be focusing on the composition and the other will be watching the weather.
In somewhat of a surprise to me, the butterfly macro lost to the praying mantis picture. The colors in that shot are quite stunning where the mantis evolved to blend in with its surroundings. So who stood in the middle of the State Fair flower gardens for an hour trying to capture one of these winged beauties? Who properly exposed the shot to capture color detail while compensating for the constant movement of the butterfly? Who isn’t going to need a raincoat or sunscreen on shoots for a full year? … wait for it… wait for it… BRIAN!! Yes folks, that’s my 4th ribbon from the show. I can tell you this has drawn a lot of discussion and conspiracy theories in the household, but it is very clear to me who is the official 2011 Umbrella B*tch. Let’s recap:
- Brian contends that a recognition in a big pond is worth more than the top award in a small pond. By this reasoning, he should not have been given the U.B. title last year and still feels this honor should carry over to this year since neither of us won anything in the big pond this year. Advantage Brian
- In the smaller pond we each take two first places. Advantage Neutral
- In the smaller pond Brian takes two second place finishes and Linda only takes one. Advantage Brian
- All but one of Brian’s entries wins a ribbon giving him a higher win percentage 4 ribbons out of 5 entries or 80%. Advantage Brian
- Three of Linda’s entries are shut out giving her a win percentage of 3 out of 6 or 50%. Advantage Brian
- There is some highly convoluted algorithm based on the number of entries in each ribbon winning category that gives Linda a tiny tiny tiny advantage but option has been tossed out in every forum it has been brought up in (except Linda’s fantasy land). Advantage Alice in Wonderland.
- … and there might be some caveat regarding who might have done better in the one head to head category we had, but that isn’t even worth taking the time to explain. Advantage Doesn’t Matter.
What does all that total? It totals to one bright pink shirt with the letters U and B on it. I expect to see some conspiracy theory comments on this blog from a certain someone.. let’s call her Ubby, but I am trusting you will weigh the facts as presented and dismiss any FUD.
Oh, in case you are curious, here are three of the non-winning entries. I couldn’t find my only losing picture so all I have is a shot of Linda’s – honestly, I couldn’t find it.
Note, now that the judging is over, I have to mention I think her B&W picture of the mansion got robbed.
“That cardinal shot finally gets some appreciation” — Not at all, I’ve had that framed photo hanging in my office at work for a year and I get a lot of positive comments about it. And then I have to explain that I didn’t take it, but I could have if I were there and anyway I picked out the frame.
I’m itching to return to my photography endeavors, so perhaps there will be some outside competition next year (maybe at the State Fair, as I assume you have to be a resident of Knox County and whatever HOI is).
I have no idea what F*R*A*G*EE*L*EE means.
Hey, don’t discount the frame selection! That attributes at least 30% to the overall effect be it positive or negative depending on the compatibility. Interesting enough, you do not actually have to be a resident of Knox County to enter their photo competition – we actually live just outside of that county. However, you do realize that would put you in the U.B. running and traveling all the way down from Naperville when we go out on our shoots is going to be tedious in the winter months (ha). HOI actually stands for Heart of Illinois fair – it is our local Peoria County fair which is slightly bigger than the Knox County fair and both pale horribly to the likes of say the Mississippi Valley Fair (Davenport) and of course the Illinois State fair. Oh, and lastly, my Frageele joke is kind of an inside joke between Linda and I, but I was hoping it might be universal enough for everyone to get. Thanks to A Christmas Story (movie) any reference to a “major reward” is translated to “Frageeele it must be Italian” in reference to the Dad’s major award of the leg lamp arriving in a crate marked Fragile. Thanks for taking the time to comment, and looking forward to new competition!