To win any sort of award in a photo contest. I’ve been extremely frustrated with contests in the past. In a sentence, photo competitions are so subjective, it’s almost anyone’s shot at winning anything on any given day–as long as they’ve got a solid image, and they strike a chord with a judge or judges. I know that, were I to judge a competition, there are certain types of images that appeal to me more than others. Regardless of how photographically sound or innovative an image is, I will be drawn to, and therefore rate higher, certain images over others. It’s for this reason that I think most photo competitions must be taken with a grain of salt.
This time, however, I’ll be taking home several awards with that salt. I entered the Bean Life Science Museum Nature Photography Competition with reserved expectations–trying not to get my hopes up. At first look, I thought this comp would be a gimme for at least some sort of award–it just didn’t seem like the level of photography entered would be all that professional. When I arrived to enter my prints, however, I was impressed with the caliber of imagery just sitting there at the table that had already been entered. In fact, last year’s winner of Best in Show was David West–an accomplished and very skilled scenic photog in his own right.
Anyway, I ended up winning 3rd place in the landscape category with this image from Snow Canyon, and I also won the Allen’s Camera Excellence Award for this image of the Golden Gate Bridge at Sunrise
Having entered three images and left with two awards from a photography competition that surely sees hundreds of entries, I am quite content!
“That’s weird,” I thought to myself. “I can’t feel my shutter button. Why can’t I feel my shutter button!?” Well, it would’ve helped if I could have felt my fingers to begin with. It was a cold, cold morning in the Wasatch this last week as I hauled a heavier than normal pack (thanks to a hefty new lens!) up 2,000 vertical feet or so to Cardiff Peak in the Wasatch backcountry.
When I left my house I could see the stars. As I parked my car, it was snowing lightly, with spotty clouds. By the team we reached our destination, it was socked in. Great. I love waking up at 5 am and skinning up in zero degree temps to get shut down by Mother Nature. No matter how cold I was–I was waiting. I didn’t care if we had to wait hours for the sun to poke out–it was a waiting game as far as I was concerned. Fortunately, we didn’t have to wait long. Sure enough, the sun manifest itself through brilliant pink light on Mt. Superior, and I knew it was only a matter of time and a meeting of the elements before we saw that light on Cardiff.
I sent two skiers down the ridgeline and kept one with me to work the other side facing Superior. We were greeted with a fleeting moment of warm, golden sunlight and were then forced to wait just a bit more for pockets of light. The day was a success as I came away with several more ski images than I would have, had I not made it up that morning. There’s something to be said for dawn patrols in the Wasatch. They’re often very cold, and sometimes rather questionable as to what sort of light you’ll end up with–but the moment that sun crests the horizon and the mountain-tops are lit by that giant pink spotlight, it’s as magical a moment as any.