I Win I Win!! (Sort of...) - The Results (And Lessons) Of My First Ever Photo Contest

So I threw a couple entries into this year's "Spirit of the Mountain" photo contest, a contest sponsored by the National Park Service for images taken within the Santa Monica Mountains. Being as how I live in Topanga Canyon, right in the middle of that mountain range, I spend a lot of time exploring and making images around these hills and peaks and valleys. Anyhow, this past weekend was the opening exhibit so I headed out there with a couple of friends and to my surprise and elation, I walked up to see both of my images placed. One of them, "A Set Path," placed 2nd in the competition's challenge category 'Shadows & Highlights,' and the other, "Century Lake - A Portrait," came in 3rd in the 'Scenic' category.

This was the first time I've ever entered a proper physical printed photo competition, so I have to say, that was really encouraging and neat to see and experience. The cool thing is that the images were judged by a pretty distinguished panel, including area legend Tom Gamache, photographer for Matthew Jaffe's iconic book "Range On The Edge," as well as professional photographers Jim Shoemaker and Van Webster of Webster Communications.

One lesson I did learn however...matte your submissions! Mine were the only ones that weren't matted with a border, which I didn't even think about or realize until they sorely stood out amongst literally all of the other submissions. So yeah...next time...matte the buggers!

Also, there's one award left...the 'People's Choice.' Voting for that one doesn't end until the 24th of November, so if you're in the area, check it out. Make a day out of it. It's right in the middle of the hills, surrounded by California State Park and National Park land. The exhibit is located at the Anthony C. Beilenson Interagency Visitor Center located at King Gillette Ranch at 26876 Mulholland Highway, in Calabasas, California, 91302.

Anyhow, here are the images in a higher resolution for your viewing (hopefully) pleasure.