Well, I did it. I entered the Wild West Photo Festival contest in Casper, Wyo., sponsored by 307 Magazine and Wyoming Camera Outfitters. I’m glad I entered.
Of the four photos I submitted all were chosen to be printed and on display for the public. More than 300 photos were entered into the contest. Only the top 150 were chosen to be displayed. I am one of those who were recognized.
So I didn’t win. So what. To me it was an accomplishment. A big accomplishment. Tears actually welled up in my eyes as I saw all of my photos on display, printed 13×9″ in full color. People were stopping in front of them and praising my work while I listened intently from just a few feet away. I really did it, and the public enjoyed my images. It was thrilling. Who cares if I got all sappy!
I was thoroughly impressed with nearly all the images selected to be displayed at the festival, and couldn’t argue with the winning photographs chosen for each of the categories. It really was an honor to have my images alongside many of the outstanding photos submitted and chosen. Even a few published professional photographers in Wyoming submitted photos.
Before the unveiling of the top photos, the festival held free workshops with Canon representatives. Since I’m a Canon-lover, I sat through three hours of an intermediate course. It was a great refresher course, but I learned a few things, especially about some of the newest technology and new line of lenses.
The experience was definitely and eye-opener on my part. You see, I’m slightly (OK, I’m ridiculously) socially awkward. I get anxiety over meeting people. It’s horrible for networking, which I am finding out is mandatory in this business. But the workshops were great. The price was better. And, in a place where I’m so isolated from the rest of the world and especially my photog friends back home, I actually felt a sense of kinship. I was surrounded by people who loved photography as much as I do. I sparked up a conversation over one of the displayed images. ME! Starting a conversation! On purpose! And the best part, it made me feel confident in my skills again. It made me feel confident in my eye for imagery again, to have this stranger agree with me regarding the critique of an image. I miss that. I need that.
My mind is made-up. I’m going to photo events every chance I get once I get my move back to Columbia, Mo. finished. I couldn’t be more excited.