It’s contest time again!

Bay Bridge and San Francisco at Night

I really don’t like contests. Any kind of contest, not just photo contests, but I will focus… get the pun?… on photo contests since this is a photo blog. Contests are too random. At least the ones I enter. The state fair has different judges each year. Which is good… and bad. The good is you don’t know their biases and preferences. The bad is that you don’t know their biases and preferences. If you do know the judge(s) you can tailor your submissions to (hopefully) match their preferences. That can work out well, as I did just that several years ago at my photo club’s annual contest. I won several prizes, including Best of Show.

So why do I enter contests? I enter because they push me to continually improve and shoot better photos. There are a lot of good photographers in the world, and at least keeping up with them is a challenge. Unfortunately, there are also some mediocre photographers who are gurus with Photoshop and Lightroom, and they can produce some stunning images that grab people’s attention… and judges are people, too.

I’m not a purist by any stretch of the imagination, but I do feel that the primary skill of a good photographer should be… wait for it… photography. Call me old fashioned, I guess.

The photo above is the one that won “Best of Show” at my photo club’s contest.  That was in 2010 or 2011.  It’s a bit small here because it’s so long.  This is 17 images stitched together to form the panorama.  Hopefully you can see it well enough.  And, yes, I have this one hanging on the wall in my living room.  It’s 7 feet long and printed on canvas and is gorgeous.

Reflections – 2016

Mackinac Bridge at night
Mackinac Bridge at night

I look back at 2016 and, for me, photography-wise, I feel it was a very good year.  There were a lot of good things that happened for me and Missy and our photo adventures.  Some of our accomplishments included…

  • We found a tree in the middle of an intersection.
  • We did a handful of road trips and discovered even more places.
  • We expanded our portfolio so that we can offer even more assortment of choice for our customers.
  • We had a huge road trip of over a week into the north of Michigan and the Upper Peninsula which was both fun and invigorating.
  • On the business side, we finally abandoned a popular template-based photo sharing site… which turned out to be a travesty for us… and resurrected our traditional website.  The results have been positive and encouraging.
  • We started this new bog on a new platform.  There wasn’t anything wrong with the other platform, per se, but this one gives us better options.

Yes, 2016 was a good year, photography-wise.

The photo included here is from our huge road trip in October.  Neither Missy nor I had ever seen the Mackinac Bridge before, so this was a new treat for both of us.  We got there the day before, and really there was nothing worth shooting.  The day was overcast and dull.  The evening was rainy.  So, we got up early the next morning and went by about 5 am to get these shots on our way out of town.  This shot is from the north and east of the bridge, looking south and west.  There is a gravel road hugging the shore of Lake Michigan and we were able to find a wide spot that has a good perspective, but this one was closer to the bridge at a state park overlook.