Tuesday, January 3, 2017

I Unexpectedly Place in Media Photo Contest

Fourth place photo in one category of a Cedar Lake photo contest. The three photos that did better were, as I recall, all sunset images. Cedar Lake is a great place to shoot sunsets!
Well, it was fourth place, but still. The “Friends of Cedar Lake,” a group that is working to develop a local industrial pond—a swampy area that was used as cooling water for a now closed power plant—into more of a local park and attraction cooperated with The Gazette, the Cedar Rapids newspaper, to run a photo contest of the lake this fall.

There were different categories, such as “wildlife” and “people.” I won fourth place in one of the categories—scenery, or something like it—for an image I made of afternoon clouds reflected in the lake.

I like Cedar Lake, I bike around it often since the most prominent local bicycle trail goes there, and I wish the local lake friends group all the best in its efforts to promote that body of water.

My entry in the photo contest was almost entirely by accident. On this very cold day in winter, it’s interesting to remember back to the extraordinarily warm fall we had. On Sunday, Oct. 30, Mount Mercy University had its “Halloween on the Hill” event, and it was also a production weekend for the “Mount Mercy Times” student newspaper.

I am the advisor to the Times, and so I was headed to campus a bit early that day (the Halloween event was to begin at 5, I think, I and was going to work for a couple of hours at the paper before it). Anyway, because I anticipated taking photographs of my grandchildren at a big party, I was carrying my Nikon camera with my on my bicycle ride. And because the day was so extraordinarily sunny and warm for that time of year in Iowa, I rode the Cedar River Trail down to Cedar Lake at about 3 in the afternoon, and shot some photos while I was there.

Then, after Halloween on the Hill and after more work at the MMU paper, I got home a bit late, but was glancing through the Sunday Gazette. I don’t recall the section it was in, but the paper had an announcement of the lake photo contest, which it was sponsoring along with the Friends of Cedar Lake.

Well, as chance would have it, I luckily had some nice images I had taken with my nice camera, which I rarely have with me when I ride my bicycle by Cedar Lake, so I figured, what the heck? I went online and entered a few photos—five, I think, since I have a folder on my PC desktop labeled “Cedar Lake” with five images in it.

I had shot the images in late October and entered them in the contest the following week, Nov. 1 or 2 or so. And weeks went by and I didn’t hear anything, so I figured I hadn’t won. I am happy to report I was wrong in that assumption.

I remained in ignorance of the contest results until my wife, who skims the weekly “Milestones” section in the Sunday Gazette, saw an image I shot printed in the Jan. 1 edition of the paper.

Well, cool, I guess. Although it might be nice to let a photographer know when he has won a minor bit of recognition. The Friends of Cedar Lake stated on a Facebook post that 50 photographers had submitted images, so I guess fourth place finish is OK.

The day I shot the images at the lake, I wrote this post for by bike blog. As you can see, I was pretty photo happy that day—sun drunk, I suppose. We don’t often have butterflies and bees on the day before Halloween in Iowa.

Well, seeing my picture in The Gazette was an interesting way to start 2017—an unexpected appearance in media. Here are the other images I submitted to the contest, by the way:

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