Well, the 2011 youth nature photo contest is in the books and the one hundred thirty three contestants that participated had a great awards ceremony last night (Aug 18). The 2011 contest was a different format and unlike last year, there were no placings per category, which still leaves me wondering what the categories were for to begin with. As it turns out, there was one portfolio winner per division (congratulations to my friend Hector Astorga whose daughter took that prize in Division I) and then a total of twelve winning images (four per division) were selected for inclusion in the VLF Contest Calendar.
I’m proud to announce that both of my kids had a winning image selected for inclusion in the calendar. Of my two children, my son was the first announced and I was happy but praying the next one called would be my daughter. I think it was more relief than happiness when I heard my daughter’s name and saw her image on the screen. My sisters and nieces claimed to have been screaming with joy but honestly, I was so nervous and relieved that I never heard a thing. The kids were excited and made a fast dash to the podium to pick up their prize winnings.
My niece, Teygan, who was competing in the oldest division (Div III) unfortunately did not have an image selected for the calendar but she did extremely well, especially with only three afternoon photo opportunities. Her roadrunner image was on display at the awards ceremony. They all had a fantastic portfolio of images that I am happy to share below. Needless to say, I’m very proud of each of them.
Kevin A’s Portfolio:
So there you have it folks. I think you’ll agree there were some great images taken. It was easy being the uncle with a niece in the field, but it was not easy being the dad whose two children were competing against each other. I found it best to alternate taking my kids into the field. One day I’d take my son, the next time I’d take my daughter. Whomever was with me, I tried to help them get the best possible images we could find. They got to use dad’s Canon camera equipment, but they also used an Olympus Pen E-Pl2 micro 4/3 camera for the landscape shots (I’ll be posting a review of that camera once I have more time to experiment with it but as of now, I’m very pleased with that camera). They had a bit of a technological advantage so I tried to minimize that by making them shoot all of their images at public places. They got composition instructions and critiques from dad throughout the contest. I also gave some suggestions and direction in the field, but I let them have final say in the images taken (subject, horizontal, vertical, include or exclude a subject in an image, etc). It was each kid, after all, that was behind the camera, composing and trying to get accurate focus. I particularly liked the vision my son shared when he snapped the Sunset Over The Laguna Madre (Landscape Category Entry). He decided to include the photo blind in the picture and determined he wanted it to be vertical. I could see on the LCD that he had a nice composed image so I said that looks good son…what are you waiting on? He looked up at me and said “I’m waiting for birds to fly through the picture.” Then three gulls obliged and he got a fantastic image. And that my friends, is what the 2011 VLF Nature Photo Competition was all about.
So until next time…remember to spend some quality time outdoors with your children. You’ll be glad that you did. Kevin