I broke down and actually submitted some photographs to a local show/contest.
I was told a few months ago that there was going to be a photo contest in the surrounding townships to "explore the beauty of nature around you." People were encouraged to "discover the hidden gems of nature in your backyard."
Well, the person who told me of this thought that my photographs of the aurora (northern lights) over the observatory would be perfect: it's in a township, and it's nature. How much more do you need?
Well, I said yes, but didn't really mean it.
Fast forward to the last week of August. For reasons that are too painful to go into, I decided to enter this show. But I had one possibly insurmountable obstacle: where were the negatives for photos shot nearly six years ago? I have a terrible filing system - no system. All of my negatives are in three big boxes (you know, the kind you get 10 reams of copy paper in?) and that means I have to go through them. It took a while, but I eventually found the negatives. Now I had to get some good prints of them.
The only place to go is the local pro lab - Corporate Color/Prolab Express. So here's my daily journey to getting my negatives made into prints for the show...
August 30 - Drive out to the new place where CC/PE is (even father away from my house, but better than downtown). I had the negatives to my friend Sasha who works there, so they can be scanned for printing. I am having four negatives scanned at high resolution, and small prints made of each for color comparison. They will be ready after the Labor Day Holiday.
September 4 - Back out to CC/PE to pick up the CD-rom of the scans (plus the original negatives and prints). Now I need to take them back home, make sure I don't need to adjust anything, and get the back out to the lab. I can do it all via the interweb tubes, but wish to make this personal. Because I have some questions, Sasha agrees to help me that evening with the scans. She does, but ends up taking the CD-R home to work on them. I already have the copies on my laptop, so I will try my hand as well.
September 5 - After I put the touches on the scanned images, I upload them to my account at CC/PE, but then I drive all the way out there to do the actual order. Sasha thinks I should just get some 4x6 copies to double-check the color saturation, which I do. Meanwhile I ask around about mounting and framing, and a few places want nearly $150 for each print. Mind you, I'm currently unemployed. I can't afford anything like that.
September 6 - Drive back out to the lab again. I look at the prints with the help of Sasha, Becky, and Kathy, and decide on the two I will have made into enlargements. I order them via the computer, and come home. Two hours later I don't have the confirmation email, so I check my account - oops! I never hit the "submit" button, so the order was never processed. I quickly rectify the situation.
September 7 - Back out to the lab to pick up the 8x12 enlargement prints. They look okay. Sasha, Becky, & Kathy think they are great; sure winners. Kathy gives me suggestions on naming the images. I thank them, then go and find out about mounting/framing. To save money, I have the prints mounted at one place, and I purchase a frame at another one. I then take everything home and proceed to put them together: Clean the glass, make sure there is no dust on the glass or prints; glass in the frame; then print; then fasten it all in the frame.
All weekend - Worry about why I am doing this.
September 10 - Deliver the prints to the Township Hall. It's out of my hands now.
Judging will be later this week, and an "artist meet and greet" next week Tuesday, when the winners will be announced. Also, the top twelve images will be made into a 2008 calendar.
Now, because I don't think my stuff is any good, I'm really not sure why I entered this show. I really have no great expectations (please, no Dickens comments) about my changes for recognition. The main reason is that while my photos do show the "natural beauty" of the area, because it is about astronomy, it might be (literally) over the heads of the judges - who are all local professional photographers. They might not like it because they can't understand it.
So that is okay, I guess. But if I find out that I lost to someone who took a snapshot of a deer in their yard, or a rock, or a duck, I'll be pretty pissed. We'll find out in just over a week.