Friday, August 22, 2008

Color her purple, the free fair arrives

Since I'm about 4 generations and thirty-six mindsets away from getting my kids to enter a livestock entry of any kind into our small town counties free fair, they instead opt for the arts and crafts competition in their zestful quest to snag a blue ribbon or two.

Generally speaking, the competition for art and crafts in the junior categories isn't as populated as one would think it would be in a small central Oklahoma town. Guess most of the kids are out feeding their heifers and tending to their lambs.

Still and all, C managed to enter 2-acrylic paintings, 2-colored pencil drawings, 5-digital photographs and a glazed ceramic plate she made at art camp a few weeks back.

PK, being of Kindergarten status and relegated to compete in the 12 and under category for her art camp ceramics, entered a baked clay and glazed mask that resembled a fox, and a glazed ceramic plate as well.

Tonight we trekked on over to the exhibit building to see how the girl's entries fared and were kinda blown away by the large numbers of participants vying for ribbons this year.

Nice to see folks picking up their paint brushes, dusting off their 35mm cameras, firing up their ovens and diving into what must be the cutthroat category of the entire free fair, the handmade quilt category.

PK won her first ribbon ever with her fox mask, and even though her plate was skunked, she took thoughtful solace knowing that her sister's plate (entered in the same category) won a blue ribbon. Okay, maybe thoughtful solace isn't the correct phrase.

Try seething jealous sibling rivalry.

All of C's art work won ribbons of varying colors and levels which seemed to reinforce her somewhat pessimistic theory (for an 8-year old) that all she had to do was enter something in every category for there to be a partial payoff, given the odds she was looking at.

Kinda like my college days theory of asking out 100 beautiful women out on dates, with the odds being in your favor that at least one or two will say yes.

Pathetic, I know. Don't think I even got out of the teens on that one.

Onto the digital photographs, and since a wise Chinese fortune cookie once imbibed that a picture is worth a thousand words (more so in my case since I'm relatively illiterate), I'll let my 8.5-year olds 5-megapixel photos do the talking...

Blue Ribbon, Junior Division - Unretouched digital, Nature category, Grades 1-4

Taken with my Kodak C330 5-megapixel digital camera at my Uncle and Aunt's backyard garden in Petaluma, CA on our recent trip out west. I asked C why she chose to shoot this one in black and white and she said, "it just looked better that way."

Blue Ribbon, Junior Division - Unretouched digital, Still Life category, Grades 1-4

Same camera, same garden in Petaluma, same trip out west. This photo is the third in a sequence of photos, starting wide, then closer, and finally this extremely close shot. She titled it, "What a bug sees".

Blue Ribbon, Junior Division - Unretouched digital, Animal category, Grades 1-4

Our pooch Franny is a favorite subject for our little shutterbug daughters and even though I had originally dismissed this photo as being too out of focus for fair contention, S insisted the capturing of the expression in her eye, albeit fuzzy, was worth another looksee. It's an odd angle indeed and apparently good enough for blue and gold.

Reserve Grand Champion, Junior Division, Grades 1-12

For the lighting in our mudroom we went with a threesome of those aluminum clamp on lights you can get in the hardware store for $5. A little matching paint and some inventive wiring and we were set (energy saving low wattage bulbs of course). C sought a more artistic interpretation of our hanging mudroom lamps and received a footlong reserve grand champion pink badge and ribbon for her "flash-off" efforts.

Grand Champion, Junior Division, Grades 1-12

She literally freaked out when she saw the huge purple badge and ribbon on her flower photo. Actually, one of her school friends came running up to her the moment we crossed the exhibit building threshold and told her that she had won a purple ribbon. C was floored and almost near tears as she escorted us over to see her prize.

I can't say enough about this photo, taken with that same Kodak 5-megapixel camera at my relatives spread in NorCal. How the sun spotlights the flower. How she composed the shot for the flower to be slightly off center. The patch of light in the unfocused dark background on the right along with the vibrant greenery on the razor sharp left. The diagonal split of light and dark separating the frame and creating a sense of depth and contrast for the flowers environment. I'm just astounded she took this shot. Even if it was purely accidental, we should all be lucky enough to fall into such photographic fortuitousness on occasion.

And if there are any naysayers that doubt an 8.5-year old actually took this picture, you'll have to contend with the half-dozen or so relatives who witnessed C taking the garden pictures, then watching my cousin's mega-inch computer monitor as he uploaded her pics off the SD card and onto his hard drive.

Big thank-you's to my Uncle T, Auntie K, and Cousin K in Petaluma for tending such a wonderful garden, then letting the girls go wild in it. I'll be sending pics of C standing with her ribbons and prize-winning photos taken in your yard if and when I can get C to give me back the camera.


Anonymous said...

Great job C!! I especially liked the one of the light in the mudroom, but all were just wonderful! Excellent job

Anonymous said...

I don't know....I think she should keep on using the camera =)

I still can't believe some of the photos she took as I don't have that eye for taking the shots like she does and so never thought of looking at some of the things in the back yard.