Category Archives: Contests

Pufferbilly Days Photo Contest

Well times are a changing. Every complaint I ever had about the Pufferbilly Days Photo Contest has been corrected. I can bellyache no longer. The pictures were actually up early this year. As opposed to years past when they were sometimes 48 hours late. The pictures actually had the title of the picture and the photographer clearly placed on the photo. All I can say is that times are a changing.

Perhaps you are wondering how I fared in this new environment. I can’t complain. My picture of Willy won First Place in Black and White. My picture of a cross in the Bible on Ephesians 4:29 took third in Black and White. My picture of Derrick received an Honorable Mention. My other 3 pictures did not receive any love, but at least they were displayed.

Of the 6 pictures that were entered, only the First Place picture is currently up on this website. “Grizzly McAlpine” is on the home page as the picture of the week.

Pufferbilly Days Photo Contest Deadline

Today at 4 PM was the deadline to get pictures turned into the Chamber of Commerce for the Pufferbilly Days Photo Contest. Last night I set aside some time to mount and mat my images, but my pictures had yet to arrive from Adorama. Not their fault. It was entirely my own fault for not getting my order to them on time.

I used the time to watch my favorite movie to come out this year: “Akeelah and the Bee”. A movie I can highly recommend to anybody. The movie also contains a quote I find to be highly motivational. What follows is not the exact quote from the movie, but as it was originally written by Marianne Williamson:

“As I interpret the Course, ‘our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us.’ We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn’t serve the world. There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we’re liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

I did not spend the entire evening watching television though. Monica came over and picked out the mats to go with the photos for the competition. Fortunately, this morning while I was at work my pictures arrived. I was able to mount them and take them back to Boone while I was on my lunch break. Therefore, you might be able to see some of my images at the Pufferbilly Days Photo Contest if you are in Boone that weekend.

Although I don’t get to worried about Photo Contests as a general rule, I feel this might be the strongest collection of images that I have entered. I am not predicting anything by any stretch of the imagination, but no matter how well I do or how extreme I fail, I feel good about this collection of pictures. I think there is at least one picture that should speak to everybody. Which picture really strikes each person is always a surprise to me. Such as Willy really liked the butterfly picture. Monica really liked the picture of Derrick. Jesse really liked the picture Willy. I don’t like to play favorites, but I think I most enjoy my self-portrait (for reasons of vanity) or the picture of the crucifix on the Bible open to Ephesians 4:29. A scripture I chose because it is one of my favorites and an inspiration for one of my favorite bands: Building 429. I believe most people won’t like how dark the image is, but I really wanted to create as much contrast in the picture as possible to make the crucifix shine as much as possible.

I am also pleased with the amount of techniques or at least styles represented in the pictures. There are 3 black and white pictures and 3 color pictures. 2 of the pictures utilize Photoshop. There are 2 macro pictures. There is a nature picture. There is a flower picture. There are 3 portraits, but all 3 completely different. 1 still life. The only thing really missing would have been some kind of flashy in camera special effect or a double exposure. I am going to get into multiple exposure a lot more in the next few months, but nothing that I’m ready to discuss or at least have cemented in my noggin.

At this time, there aren’t any of the entered images available for viewing on the website, but hopefully sometime Friday I will be able to get something up in the Photo Contest section of this website. Keep your eyes glued to the “News” section of this website to tell when they get added.

Tonight is the first game of the season for the Iowa State Cyclones. It is a night game, so the amount of usable images I will get out of the game will not be many. At least there won’t be many without the demon viper known as “digital noise”, but viewed at a smaller size, they shouldn’t be too bad.

So look for a “snapshot” page of pictures from tonight’s game sometime this weekend. I also plan on putting together a similar collection for the pictures from the Iowa State Fair this weekend.

Eastern Iowa Road Trip

Closing in on the deadline for the Pufferbilly Days Photo Contest. I’m not sure if I will have any pictures ready for the contest. I procrastinated to a point where I don’t know if my pictures will even be delivered in time for me to mat them and get them down to the Chamber of Commerce before the 4 PM deadline tomorrow. However, I do have 6 pictures ready to take on the competition. They are not the 6 pictures I thought they would be. The 6 pictures ended up being a picture of Willy, a wildflower, Derrick, a self portrait, a crucifix in a Bible, and a butterfly. Hopefully the pictures will arrive at my workplace early in the morning, allowing me time to mat them and take them back to Boone on my lunch break.

Also this last weekend I went on a roadtrip to Eastern Iowa with Jay, Jesse, Monica, Derrick, Jen, and Robert. It was an extremely pleasant time.

State Fair and Ledges

I have spent a few days planning for the Pufferbilly Days Photo Contest. I need six images for the contest. My goal is to have 6 entirely new images. I believe I have 4 of the images ready. Which those with basic math skills can tell you leaves 2 images left to create. I know what the first image will be. That will be a fairly easy image to create. I’m a little undecided on the final image. Although I have a basic concept in my head.

The first image is from a recent trip I made to a wildflower area in Ledges State Park. I am fortunate to reside so near a park with as many photographic possibilities as Ledges. Anybody that has loitered around the galleries of this website knows that I spend a lot of time on the Lost Lake Trail taking pictures of frogs and dragonflies. I also spend a tremendous amount of time trying to get a halfway decent picture of a turtle. That venture continues to be a complete and utter failure. I just don’t have a long enough lens at this time to get a good turtle picture. Couple that fact with the well known cowardice of turtles, you can see the predicament I am in. I am considering buying a 500mm mirror lens for the upcoming Iowa State season and that may help me with my turtle problem. The mirror lens is attractive for budgetary reasons, but it has its limitations. It loses image quality in the corners of the images and it is manual focus. There are times that I am scared of how reliant I have become on autofocus, but then autofocus lenses were not built for manual focus and therefore their focusing rings are usually a bit loose. My future mirror lens should have a nice tight focusing ring and allow me to focus quickly and get some decent close up shots of the Cyclones this season. Of course all of that is off topic.

In upper Ledges there are many lovely patches of wildflowers. I have frequented one on a couple of days recently to get a picture of some flowers from underneath framed against a stark blue sky. My first trip actually ended in total failure. There are times when I get lazy and don’t really check the settings on my camera. There are times I just compose and fire away.

At I accidentally adjusted the ISO setting on my camera to 3200 without noticing. The result was disastrous. Most of the images were worthless. Thank you “digital noise”.

The second trip was much more successful, despite the presence of a bird that despised me as much as is avian possible. This bird stalked me and swooped at me. I ignored it to the best of my ability and got an amazing amount of shots of butterflies with which this patch is blessed. Plus, I got the flower picture that I wanted. However, the picture is not on the website yet.

The second image is a picture of Derrick walking down the alley behind Rieman’s Music with his guitar on his back. I have taken that picture and changed everything but his guitar to black and white. I have yet to create an acceptable title for this picture, but it is on the website under the temporary moniker: “Guitar Slinger”.

The third picture is a close-up picture of my goatee. It is a little bit difficult to take a picture of one’s own goatee. This would have been much easier to do with somebody else’s goatee, but sadly none of my friend’s have a goatee that is quite as impressive on so many levels. This picture is a riff on an earlier image I did when I was at work taking pictures of myself for a MySpace journal entry that never came to fruition. The original image was sepia toned. Which I do actually prefer, but there are only two categories in the Pufferbilly Days Photo Contest: “color” and “black and white”. I’m not sure where sepia toned fits.

I experimented with the new image. I took some pictures using the “Blue Steel” pose from “Zoolander”. I took a few pictures with my tongue sticking out. I took a few while eating a Star Bar. I look a few while leaking water out of my mouth, but I am currently leaning towards just a standard shot of pursed lips.

The experience has made me consider doing a series of these pictures trying to convey different emotions. I don’t know how that will work out, but if any thing comes of it, you’ll find out about it from this journal.

The current images aren’t currently on the website, but the original sepia toned image is on the website under the title: “Facial Hair Self-Portrait”.

The fourth picture in the hopper is a picture of an ostrich’s head. This picture was the best image from a wonderful day spent at the State Fair with Ernie, Monica, Tim, Robert, Liz, and Teresa.

I have a very large amount of objects I need to see at the State Fair. One of my favorites is a visit to the “Avenue of the Breeds”. While we were there I was able to get some wonderful pictures of an ostrich. I have to admit to not being completely satisfied with the ostrich picture because of some red in the background. As fate would have it, I am going down to the Fair tomorrow to retrieve my pictures from the Photography Salon. So there is a chance I can get another picture of the ostrich with a better background or perhaps a picture of the emus from the petting zoo. Although the ostrich had a wonderful dome, the emus has an amazingly creepy eye. Fortunately I still have a couple of days to decide which one is better.

The fifth image is simply going to be a picture of a cross in a hand. It will be a black and white image. It has yet to be taken.

The sixth image is still in the mulling over stage. Perhaps something will strike my fancy in the next couple of days. Perhaps nothing will and I’ll end up entering a retread from somewhere else.

One thing is for sure, the clock is ticking.

First Journal Entry

So here is the first journal entry. I felt like having as pretentious sounding name as possible for my journal. I have a few goals about this journal. My main goal is just to actually write in it. My second goal is to be as truthful as possible towards my true thoughts and feelings. I have another journal on another website, but it is really just a collection of sarcastic statements and cheap jabs at open faced sandwiches. This journal is meant to be about what my achievements and failures are in the world of art. What projects I am working on and what I have accomplished and what I have failed to accomplish. What I am photographing and what I am thinking about entering in photo contests. What I am thinking about. It might not always make sense. It might just be things I need to write down because they strike me as poignant or inspirational. This is in a small way an online “idea box”.

I do also have a goal of producing something that makes me worthy of having a pretentious sounding journal title like: “An Artist’s Notebook”.

So last night, I attended the Iowa State Fair Photography Salon Reception with Sara. I figured that the two pictures that I had accepted for display would be a picture of Jay entitled “Portrait of a Self Portrait” and a picture of a bullfrog entitled “Kentucky Appetizer”. I didn’t have any real strong images to enter into the contest this year, but I felt that I had some that were good enough to display, but probably not good enough for ribbons. I was correct. Those were the two pictures selected for display. They did not receive ribbons.

So now I turn my attention to the Pufferbilly Days Photo Contest. I wasn’t going to enter this contest because I have been frustrated in the past by the way it is ran. The pictures are never displayed on the day that they are supposed to be displayed. Instead, they might be displayed as late as 48 hours. The second thing about this contest that sticks in my craw is that they don’t put the names of the photographers or of the image up anywhere. Basically, there are a bunch of pictures up and who knows who took them.

I don’t complain because I seek the fame and fortune that comes with having your picture displayed at the Pufferbilly Days Photo Contest. I complain because I would like to know who took some of the other pictures. Sadly, 1 town west the now defunct Ogden Fun Days Photo Contest was ran a million times better.

Jay talked me into entering this year’s contest. I told him that I didn’t like having to put any emotional investment into this contest, when it was so poorly ran.

He said it wouldn’t require any emotional investment. I could just put the pictures I made for the Ogden Fun Days Contest into the Pufferbilly Contest and whatever happens happened.

For better or worse, I’m just not wired in such a manner. There are very few things in my life I can just say “what happens, happens.” Photography certainly isn’t one of them.

He did convince me it was a waste not to enter one of the few contests around here just because it was so poorly ran. So, I am entering. I need to come up with 6 entries by August 31. That is the limit and I do not want to do anything less than the limit. I don’t want to mail it in.