Category Archives: Contests

Be True

Today, a little after 8 AM, I dropped Naima off at the vet for surgery. She has a fatty deposit growing under her right shoulder that is getting pretty gigantic. Hopefully by the time this publishes, she will be out of surgery and I’ll be getting the phone call that she is awake and doing well. But I’m sure that call won’t be coming until this afternoon.


Be True

She will have to be fairly inactive for a few days while she recovers, which isn’t something she does all that well.

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Back in January, when I didn’t know that a horribly mismanaged global pandemic would completely alter our lives, I took some self-portraits while my beard was at its most fierce. The idea was to take a picture to use for the Iowa State Fair Photography Salon. As of now, the Iowa State Fair is still on, but I would be surprised if it goes off. Minnesota and Wisconsin have already cancelled their fairs.

Iowa is going to make an announcement on June 15 on what they are going to do. I imagine, that it will be to cancel it. However, I think there is a chance that they could still cancel the Fair and still have some of the competitions. I guess we’ll wait and see what is announced on June 15.

Until then, here are some self-portraits I took to potentially enter into the Iowa State Fair Photography Salon:


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If you are interested, this is what the Iowa State Fair Photography Salon sent out on May 15:

To: Iowa State Fair Photography Entrants
From: Iowa State Fair Competitive Events Department
Re: Photography Entry Deadlines and Procedures

In light of the current and ongoing situation regarding the COVID-19 virus, adjustments are being made to this year’s Iowa State Fair
Photography entry process and dates.

• The preferred method of entry will be by mail.
Please do NOT mail before Monday, June 22. Entries by mail must be postmarked by midnight on Friday, July 3. To
enter by mail you must include your entry form, entry fee and photos in the same package. Make sure to wrap your
photos with plenty of packing materials to prevent them from being damaged during shipment. You can use either of
the two shipping addresses below.

Standard Mail: Iowa State Fair, Photography Salon, P.O. Box 57130, Des Moines, IA 50317.

UPS or FedEx: Iowa State Fair, Photography Salon, 3000 East Grand Avenue, Des Moines, IA 50317

• The date for entering in person at the Iowa State Fair Cultural Center is moved back to July 11 & 12
Saturday, July 11 and Sunday, July 12 from 10:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. at the Cultural Center.

To help reduce lines and allow for social distancing the process of dropping of entries will be different. Drop off tables
will be located at the north and west Cultural Center entrances. Photos need to be packaged with your entry form and
entry fee all together in a sack, envelope, etc. Please make sure you have the entry form complete, labels completed
and attached to the upper left-hand corner of each photo, and exact change for payment before you arrive. There will
not be an area available to finish putting entries together.

• To eliminate the handling of cash, we will ONLY be accepting payment by check or credit card.

• Entries will be accepted at the alternative dates and locations. Please refer to the above information to have photos
ready for drop off.

o University Photo – 7128 University Avenue, Windsor Heights, IA 50324
Monday- Friday 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. Call 515-223-5462 to confirm hours before delivery
Photos must be delivered by July 3.

o Iowa State Fair Administration Building Entry Department – 3000 East Grand Ave, Des Moines, IA 50317
Monday, July 7 thru Friday July, 10; 8:30 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Entrance to the Entry Department is located on the east side of the Administration Building and down the
stairs. (Handicap access is available thru the Administration Building lobby)

• The Photography Salon book will not be available for pre-purchase. We are still determining if we will be able to
print the salon book this year due to the condensed entry calendar or what the alternatives may be.

• The Pre-Fair awards ceremony and reception will not be held. Award winners will be able to pick up their prizes
during a ceremony held during the Fair. If not present at the award ceremony prizes will be available during photo pick
up or mailed after the Fair if postage is provided.

• Updated Photography rules and entry forms can be found
here: https://www.iowastatefair.org/participate/competition/how-to-enter/#fine-art-photography

Please share these changes with anyone that may be interested. We appreciate your help in spreading the word.
It is our full intent and hope that the 2020 Iowa State Fair will occur. The environment and recommendations are constantly
changing and we understand additional changes may be necessary. We will continue to monitor and re-evaluate the situation
and make additional adjustments as needed, while continuing to do what is best for our exhibitors. We appreciate your
understanding during these unprecedented times and will do everything we can to make sure the show will go on.

A good weekend project, besides working on the basement, will be picking out some pictures to enter.

Pufferbilly Days – 2019

I didn’t take a ton of pictures at Pufferbilly Days last year. Probably because there wasn’t a petting zoo. Probably because I didn’t really make more than an appearance at the parade. Probably because there really wasn’t much left by the time Sunday came around.

I did spend 3 days at Pufferbilly Days. Friday night with Willy at FNSC. Saturday I walked around with Suzie and her friend Michelle. On Sunday I went up and took pictures of my Pufferbilly Days Photo Contest entries, and Logan’s.

Here are a few pictures from Pufferbilly Days:


Pufferbilly Days - 2019

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I think I will appreciate Pufferbilly Days a little more this year than in past years.

The Gambler, He Broke Even

Kenny Rogers passed away on Saturday. Celebrity deaths don’t usually have much effect on me. However, I was deeply saddened by the passing of Kenny Rogers. Kenny Rogers is my Mom’s favorite and therefore is one of my favorite country singers. I can’t stomach modern country, but I have more than a few old timey country artists I love. Like Hank Williams because of my Grandpa, (I’ve probably covered the Nirvana Christmas Story to recollect it again here) Ernest Tubb because of my Grandma, and Johnny Paycheck AND Tom T. Hall and Dolly Parton because of my Dad. Then there is Kenny Rogers because of my Mom.

Kenny songs were a staple in the Bennett household as I grew up. I have so many favorites:

-Coward of the County
-Lucille
-Lady
-She Believes in Me
-Islands in the Stream
-Don’t Fall in Love with a Dreamer
-We’ve Got Tonight
-Through the Years
-She Believes in Me
-You Decorated My Life
-Ruby Don’t Take Your Love to Town
-You Decorated My Life
-Love Will Turn You Around

and of course

-The Gambler

I think “The Gambler” is the song that most people in my generation affiliate with Kenny Rogers. It isn’t actually my favorite Kenny Rogers song, but I do love it so. I also think there is some real world, great, practical advice in that song.

You’ve got to know when to hold ’em
Know when to fold ’em
Know when to walk away
And know when to run
You never count your money
When you’re sittin’ at the table
There’ll be time enough for countin’
When the dealin’s done

When I was a kid, I foolishly thought that this was advice about how to play poker. It wasn’t until later in life (probably embarrassingly later) that I realized that this advice had nothing a card game. It was about life. It is advice that I should really apply to my life.

There are too many times where I should fold ’em and walk away. I can think of a couple times where I should have folded ’em and then ran. I’m a person who sometimes tries to hold ’em too much. Or as he says in “Lucille”:

“I’m no quitter, bit I finally quit livin’ on dreams.” I’m hungry for laughter and here ever after. I’m after whatever the other life brings”

It is sad that the dealin’s done for Kenny Rogers. But in his songs I found an ace I can keep.

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Thought I would share pictures from another event that takes me back to my childhood every time I go, the Iowa State Fair. This is the final collection of pictures from my trip there with Logan and Nader.

Most of these pictures are of animals. The DNR building is one of my favorite stops at the Iowa State Fair every year. There are also picutres of the baby pigs from the baby animal exhibit and cakes from the cake competition and sheep waiting for mutton busting.


Iowa State Fair - 2019

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I can’t wait for this year’s Iowa State Fair. Hopefully there is one.

Dogs with Papers

Today is the last day of 2019. Therefore, I will reveal the November and December images for the 2020 Photography 139 Calendar.

November Image:


2020 Calendar - November
November

The November image is a collection of dew drops that were trapped in a spiderweb. The spiderweb was located on a evergreen bush in my front yard. This picture was selected to be entered in the Boone County Fair Photography Contest by Michelle Haupt. It received a Blue Ribbon. This picture was taken July 14, 2018.


Details

Camera: Sony ILCA-77M2
Focal Length: 60mm
Aperture: f/2.2
Exposure: 1/100
ISO: 100

December Image:


2020 Calendar - December
December

The December image is of Old Highway 30 crossing through the Des Moines River Valley between Boone and Ogden. The image looks west towards Ogden as the sun begins to set. On the left is the Jay Carlson Wildlife Area. In the distance Seven Oaks can be seen. This picture was entered in the Iowa State Fair Photography Salon, but was not selected for display. This picture was taken March 8, 2019.


Details

Camera: Hasselblad L1D-20C
Focal Length: 10.3mm
Aperture: f/5.6
Exposure: 1/400
ISO: 100
Altitude: 343.7 meters above sea level

That concludes the 2020 Photography 139 Calendar images. I hope you enjoyed them and I hope if you got a calendar, you enjoyed it too.

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Before I left for the Mission Trip, I agreed to photograph the graduation of the Boone Area Humane Society’s Dog Obedience Class for Kio. Here are some of my favorite images from the experience:


Dog Obedience Class Graduation - 2019

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Dog Obedience Class Graduation - 2019

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Dog Obedience Class Graduation - 2019

Guess I’ll see you in 2020. Happy New Year’s Eve if you’re the type that celebrates. I believe I have successfully escaped being invited to a New Year’s Eve Party for like at least the 10th straight year!

July/August Reveal

Today we reveal the images that graced the 2020 Photography 139 Calendar for the months of July and August.

Here is the July image:


2020 Calendar - July
July

The July image was taken of the Pig Races held at the Boone County Fair in 2018. I took this image for THE PHOTO JOURNAL PROJECT, Page 77. The theme for Page 77 was “Instill a powerful sense of narrative in your picture.” It was selected to be entered in the Boone County Fair Photo Contest by Shannon Bardole-Foley. It earned a Purple Ribbon. It was taken on July 22, 2018.


Details

Camera: Sony ILCA-77M2
Focal Length: 50mm
Aperture: f/5
Exposure: 1/2000
ISO: 250

The August image:


2020 Calendar - August
August

The August image is of a yellow lily that lives in the lily patch that surrounds the old clothesline pole in my backyard. I nominated this picture for the Pufferbilly Days Photo Contest in the Nature category, but it did not get enough votes to be entered. It was taken July 14, 2018.


Details

Camera: Sony ILCA-77M2
Focal Length: 60mm
Aperture: f/5.6
Exposure: 1/200
ISO: 100

Tomorrow I will reveal the imagees from September and October.

2009-08-05

Today we reveal the images for May and June from the 2020 Photography 139 Calendar.

The May Image:


2020 Calendar - May
May

The May image is of the Dunning Spring waterfall in Decorah, Iowa. Jesse and I took a road trip to check them out and to photograph them as my birthday road trip. I entered this picture in the Iowa State Fair Photography Salon, but it was not selected for display. In fact, the picture that was selected for display is not in the 2020 calendar. It is the September image for the 2019 calendar. This picture was taken on May 17, 2019.


Details

Camera: Sony ILCA-77M2
Focal Length: 20mm
Aperture: f/18
Exposure: 1/2
ISO: 50

The June Image:


2020 Calendar - June
June

If you think it was weird that there was a picture from 2013 in the calendar, then this one will really mess with your head. This black and white image of a swan was taken at Lake Laverne on the beautiful campus of Iowa State University. I came across it when during our Saturday walks down memory lane as I restore old entries of “An Artist’s Notebook”. I liked it and I decided to throw it into the collection of nominees for the pictures I would enter in the Boone County Fair Photo Contest. I didn’t expect anybody to pick it, but Logan did. It won a Purple Ribbon. It was taken May 10, 2006.


Details

Camera: Konica Minolta Dynax 5D
Focal Lenght: 300mm
Aperture: f/5.6
Exposure: 1/500
ISO: 200

Tomorrow we’ll reveal the images for July and August.

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The pictures in the folder 2009-08-05 are from the last Ames Jaycees event I ever attended. It was at that point just a formality. I had joined the Ames on the Half Shell Committee, therefore I was going to fulfill my duties. The moment that last not of the Ames on the Half Shell season faded from existence, I was Audi 5000.

Now that you have sat through several entries about my ill-fated time with the Ames Jaycees, I think you, loyal reader, deserve an explanation for why it came to an end.

I joined the Ames Jaycees for two reasons. First, a friend asked me to join. This person, we will refer to as “1”, was like 1000% into the Ames Jaycees. Her passion was somewhat contagious. I was also doing her a favor because recruiting a new member made her like a 33rd degree Mason. I don’t know, the inner workings and rankings of the organization were something I never cared about. Even when I was at my peak Jayceeness. Which I’m guessing was about January of 2009. my passion for the Jaycees was about a 5 on a scale of 1-10.

By March of 2009, I knew that that my time with the Jaycees was over, but I also knew, I would finish out the Ames on the Half Shell. I was a quitter, but I always finish out my commitments.

In January of 2009 I joined the Board as a Vice-President in some capacity. VP of Promotions or something like that. All it really meant was that I ran the website and had to go to an extra meeting a month. Which was okay, even though I am a person that to their very core, loathes meetings.

Which brings me to the other reason I joined the Jaycees. I needed an excuse to leave my house now and again. This provided that. I didn’t realize it would put so much undesired drama into my life.

The Board was split into basically two factions. There were 1’s friends, who were also all 1000% into the Jaycees. The other half of the boardroom was dominated by the President and his cronies. The President was apparently buggering one of the vice-presidents, which wasn’t cool because he was married, but not to the vice-president he was buggering. I can’t even recall how this even factored into the story, but it provided me with a chance to use the term buggering.

The President and the VP he was buggering didn’t like one of 1’s friends, we will call her 2. I think it was because 2 knew about the buggering, but I don’t know that to within a degree of certainy. What I do know is that what happened next is that the Buggered VP accused 2 of some creative accounting involving some kind of Halloween drinking outing that involved the Jaycees.

One reason why I was a 5 on the Jaycees at my peak Jayceeness was that they like to talk about drinking. I don’t mean they liked to drink. They liked talking about drinking. You know that thing that high school students and college students do when they drink, they can’t stop talking about it. “Look at me I’m drinking.” Yeah, nobody cares. Shut up and drink your Zima Chad.

This is all hypothetical at this point. I haven’t been around a high school student or college student that is drinking alcohol, since I left the service of the Evil Clown Empire, but I’m sure it hasn’t changed much. Other than, I assume that nobody drinks Zima now. White Claws?

But I digress…

The charges were at least 76% hokum that stemmed from some kind of personal grievance with 2. Plus, there might have been a bit of a power play in there. A chance to show dominance. A chance to show that the Buggered VP wasn’t the President, but she was still running this beach.

I think there was some kind of trial. Not really, it was really just one person’s word and then there was some kind of vote. 2 got sent to Jaycee prison. I think she wasn’t allowed to touch money for a year.

Almost as soon as the sentence was handed down, 1 and all of her friends resigned. Grabbed their Jaycee ball and went to Nevada and Des Moines. That left me alone. Like I said, I was a 5. In January. at this point, I was a 3. Even at a 3, I was willing to stick around and fight for the soul of the Ames Jaycees. When the people who were at a 1000% were like deuces and checked out, I was like make that 3 a -2.

The funny thing is that after everybody else left, 2 stuck around. I’m not sure if I respect that or not. Maybe I’ll have to talk to her about it someday.

I fulfilled my obligations and haven’t been to a Jaycee event since. I sometimes see them at the unofficial reunions and I chalk this up as a life lesson. I don’t leave my house now.

(This is how I remember everything going down, I’m sure some of my details aren’t 100% accurate, but if you are going to complain about that, you can bugger off.)


Burnin' Sensations

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Burnin' Sensations

If you want to look at the pictures from the 2009 Ames on the Half Shell season, you can click on the link below:

Ames on the Half Shell – 2009

Next Saturday’s walk down Memory Lane will involve things I grew in my backyard.

Sky

Today we will reveal the January and February images for the 2020 Photography 139 Calendar.

The January image:


2020 Calendar - January
January

The January image was one of the earlier pictures I took with the drone. It was taken for the TRANSPORTATION theme of THE WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE. The image is of the original Kate Shelley High Bridge and the less pleasing aesthetically bridge that replaced it. This image was taken February 23, 2019.


Details

Camera: Hasselblad L1D-20C
Focal Length: 28mm
Aperture: f/4.5
Exposure: 1/160
ISO: 100
Altitude: 420.3 meters above sea level

The February Image:


2020 Calendar - February
February

The February image is of a pink hollyhock that grew in my backyard. This photo was elected by popular vote to be entered in the Nature category of the Pufferbilly Days Photo Contest. It won first place in that category. This picture was taken August 6, 2013.


Details

Camera: Sony SLT-A35
Focal Length: 60mm
Aperture: f/9
Exposure: 1/160
ISO: 400

We will reveal the March and April images tomorrow.

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Back in March Logan got a dog. A dog named Sky. He brought it over to my house so Sky could meet Naima. Here are a few pictures of Sky:


Sky

Sky

Sky

Sky

Sky

Sky

Sky

Sky

I don’t know that I have seen Sky since this day. It would seem that Logan should correct that.

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas everybody! Today is the day we celebrate the birth of Jesus!


Christmas - 2019

I believe that is important on this day to remember who Jesus was and who Jesus wasn’t as the Christian church wrestles for its soul. I recently saw a quote that breaks down who Jesus was and who Jesus wasn’t, very succinctly.

“Jesus WAS a radical nonviolent revolutionary who hung around with lepers, hookers, and crooks; WAS NOT American and never spoke English; was anti-wealth, anti-death penalty, anti-public prayer; BUT was never anti-gay, never mentioned abortion or birth control. Never called the poor lazy, never justified torture, never fought for tax cuts for the wealthiest Nazarenes. Never asked a leper for a co-pay.; and was a long-haired brown-skinned homeless community organizing anti-slut shaming middle eastern Jew.”
-John Fugelsang

Another John Fugelsang quote I love is this:

“I’ve come to view Jesus much the way I view Elvis. I love the guy but the fan clubs really freak me out.”

Some of them freak me out to man and I go to church at least twice a week.

On this, the day that we celebrate the arrival of the Messiah, let us remember who Jesus was and celebrate him.

Christ is Born!

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At this point, I’ve hopefully distributed almost all of my Photography 139 calendars. I feel it is probably safe to start revealing what pictures I choose to include during a frantic Black Friday design session.

This is the front cover:


2020 Calendar - Cover
Front Cover

The front cover image is a picture of water drops on a mirror. The image was converted to black and white and then processed in Photoshop through a technique I like to think that I invented, so I will make a name for it and call it Double Inverse Solarization. This picture was selected by popular vote to be entered in the Pufferbilly Days Photo Contest in the Photoshop category. It won that category.

More picture reveals in the following days!

Pufferbilly Days Photo Contest Results

Another Pufferbilly Days has drawn to a close. Seems like a fitting time to share the pictures that my loyal fans selected for me to enter into the Pufferbilly Days Photo Contest and furthermore, if any of those pictures received any form of love.

Here are my entries:


Pufferbilly Days Photo Contest - 2019
Displayed – Hidden Treasures of Boone County

Pufferbilly Days Photo Contest - 2019
Displayed – Hidden Treasures of Boone County

Pufferbilly Days Photo Contest - 2019
Displayed – Photojournalism

Pufferbilly Days Photo Contest - 2019
1st Place – Photoshop

Pufferbilly Days Photo Contest - 2019
1st Place – Nature

Pufferbilly Days Photo Contest - 2019
Displayed – Nature

In the last 2 years I’ve been blessed to get 1st Place in 3 of the 4 enigmatic Pufferbilly Days categories. However, Hidden Treasures of Boone County has still eluded me. I got a 3rd Place in that category last year. I might have to make that a focal point of some of my photography in the next few months. Unless I somehow get my wish and get some kind of administrative role with the Pufferbilly Days Photo Contest.

I do have a small group of photographers that would probably help me start my own Photo Contest, I just don’t know in what context I could start a contest and have it work.

Thanks again to everybody who voted to help select my entries!

Baby Take State Fair

A couple Tuesdays back, Baby Got Rack took its award winning Meat Loaf Cupcakes to the Iowa State Fair to compete against the best the Cyclone State has to offer.

I believe there were 8 other combatants in the category of Combo/Specialty and 44 combatants altogether.

Here is a collection of photos from the day that started at 4:45 AM:


Baby Got Rack - 2019 - iowa State Fair

Baby Got Rack - 2019 - iowa State Fair

Baby Got Rack - 2019 - iowa State Fair

Baby Got Rack - 2019 - iowa State Fair

Baby Got Rack - 2019 - iowa State Fair

Baby Got Rack - 2019 - iowa State Fair

Baby Got Rack - 2019 - iowa State Fair

Baby Got Rack - 2019 - iowa State Fair

Baby Got Rack - 2019 - iowa State Fair

Baby Got Rack - 2019 - iowa State Fair

Baby Got Rack - 2019 - iowa State Fair

Baby Got Rack - 2019 - iowa State Fair

Baby Got Rack - 2019 - iowa State Fair

Baby Got Rack - 2019 - iowa State Fair

Baby Got Rack - 2019 - iowa State Fair

Baby Got Rack - 2019 - iowa State Fair

Baby Got Rack - 2019 - iowa State Fair

Baby Got Rack - 2019 - iowa State Fair

Baby Got Rack - 2019 - iowa State Fair

Baby Got Rack - 2019 - iowa State Fair

Baby Got Rack - 2019 - iowa State Fair

Baby Got Rack - 2019 - iowa State Fair

Baby Got Rack - 2019 - iowa State Fair

Baby Got Rack - 2019 - iowa State Fair

Baby Got Rack - 2019 - iowa State Fair

Baby Got Rack - 2019 - iowa State Fair

Baby Got Rack - 2019 - iowa State Fair

Baby Got Rack - 2019 - iowa State Fair

The unofficial roster for Baby Got Rack on this day was Scottie D., Hammer, Little Porter, and Humble Narrator. Of course Melissa contributed more than her fair share, but she doesn’t like to take any credit.

We once again won our category, but failed to win the Overall. I believe the beef winner won overall for the second year in a row. Tells me we might need to start hitting beef a little bit harder for next year.