Saying Goodbye To WordPress: The Remaining Sites

It has been an enjoyable exercise, writing posts almost daily these past several years. I started this site to give those I photographed at various events a place at which they could view those images. Then it sort of morphed into a place to post news and then into a site where I could post photos even when there were no people involved. The site became fun, an exercise in passing on information and thinking out loud. At times it was a bit of a chore (when there wasn’t much going on of interest), but it mostly was an opportunity to stay connected to a lot of very good friends. Thank you for coming along so often for the ride.

All things, good and bad, come to an end, however. I wrote much earlier this year that I was cutting back on the number of posts each week, but that never really materialized. I found the site still useful for posting photos of where we were visiting and shooting; it was means for staying in touch photographically. But I have other places to do that, and they do a fine job of posting images without the time devoted to other information and topics. So, the bottom line is that this site is soon to be one for the ages. At the end of this month I am taking it down, using the others for showing photos. There is some time to reclaim, time that can be devoted to other worthwhile projects. There also is some financial gain to be had by cutting loose of the hosting chores that go with any site, and that doesn’t hurt, either. It just is time to go in a different direction – or at least head in the same direction with different partners.

I still will be sharing images with those of you who would like to stay in touch photographically. Smugmug is where my website galleries have found a home for some time now, so that is going to be the go-to site for most images (that link is at https://jameshaverstock.smugmug.com). And a smaller set of images, ones I particularly like, is maintained over at 1x (a site I check regularly for its stunning photos). That gallery can be found at 1x, using this link. I will be adding photos there on an irregular basis, usually only when an image comes along that replaces one of the others. And, finally, I have a gallery on the Bloomington Photography Club website, one that is a bit more difficult to add images to. I like the site; it just isn’t under my direct control. That site can be viewed using this link to the club’s page. I may come up with another general site some time in the future, but for now these three are going to take the place of this current one.

Thank you for dropping by during these past few years. I look forward to seeing and shooting with each of you in the future. And checking your sites to stay in touch in the meantime. Camera in hand.

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The Zacke Cox Covered Bridge. Park County, Indiana.

Zacke Cox Bridge
Click on the Zacke Cox Bridge to see more photos.

Today just a few images of the covered bridges themselves from Saturday’s shoot. Because of the sunny conditions we had to look for shade and perspectives that were out of the brightest and harshest light. The Zacke Cox Bridge sat in a rural setting under a lot of tall trees. We spent a lot of time there, and this bridge is my favorite thus far. The first couple of photos are from the old mill in Mansfield, and I had to search out some shade to get any kind of shot at all.

Click here to see the last of Saturday’s images. Or you can click on the bridge at the top of this post.

And, if you find yourself in my neck of the woods, plan for some time in Parke County with its numerous covered bridges. You will enjoy the experience.

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In Search Of Indiana’s Covered Bridges: Some Photos

Bowling Green
Click on the Bowling Green shop to see a few more images.

Saturday we headed over to Indiana’s Parke County, about an hour or so away from Bloomington, to search out some of its many covered bridges. The county is renowned for the number of remaining bridges and the good condition most of them are in. There is a Covered Bridge Festival in October of each year, in fact, that draws crowds in the tens of thousands. So Sue and I headed out with friends from the Bloomington Photography Club to try our hand. Many thanks go out to Kurt, Renay, and Ellane for all the hard work they did in finding the best places and for the invitation (yes, their names were changed to protect their real identities).

Now, covered bridges turn out to be quite similar in appearance and architecture. They vary a bit in length and coloration (depending on when they last were painted), but most we saw were designed by the same person. They sit in varied locations, ranging from way out in the sticks to some right off the road in more populous areas of the county. But they all are red and white, one lane, and quite covered with surrounding vegetation. Couple that with bright sunlight, dappled at that, and you have a recipe for some difficult shooting. A photographer has to be creative to both deal with those conditions and to find a look that hasn’t already been done to death. We did our best.

And along the way we kept our eyes peeled for other shots, old barns and buildings in particular. And we found some that caught our eyes as we traveled from one bridge to another. We tried to wait for shadows and less-bright light, and we had some luck as the day grew longer. I found the photos I liked best from Saturday were those other than the bridges themselves. That doesn’t mean we are discouraged – quite the contrary. We soon will be heading back to check out some of the bridges we missed this past weekend, honing our shooting skills and creativity as we go. We all look forward to the challenge.

In the meantime I have a few images I really liked from Saturday. You can view them by clicking here. Or you always can click on the photos at the top of this post.

And .. it’s Monday. Welcome back!

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Water In The Great Smoky Mountains: Photos

Water park
Click on the Greenbrier stream to see more park images.

Today a few more images from our His Light outing last week. The park wasn’t overflowing with water, but the streams were easy to approach and work. And work them we did. We practiced getting the moving water to look just the way we wanted – silky or smooth or frozen or natural. It was a great afternoon spent with true friends. What more could a photographer ask for?

To see water images from the park just click here. Or you always can click on the photo at the top of the post.

It’s Friday. Enjoy the weekend … camera in hand.

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DiskWarrior 5: A Layman’s Review

DiskWarrior

A timeout from processing images from our His Light gathering last week. Before our dear friend and all-things-Mac guru Raymond Jabola left for home he demonstrated a most handy utility for the Mac system that he never leaves home without. It is a software utility program by ALSOFT called DiskWarrior 5. As Raymond pointed out, you never know when a disaster (or near-disaster or semi-disaster) can strike, home or away. To be prepared is to have confidence that you can do something about that hiccup, no matter where you find yourself. And Raymond has researched and experimented with and used enough of these utility programs to recommend the best one out there – DiskWarrior. Now, I believe Raymond has been using this particular program since it was Floppy DiskWarrior, so he has plenty of experience to go with the rest of his knowledge. And he recommends it hands down for reliability, ease-of-use, trustworthiness, features and support. Raymond with Mac things is like the old E.F. Hutton ad … when he speaks, we all should listen.

He demonstrated how the program works on his own MacBook Pro while visiting us. And I was impressed right off the bat – the program looks at your machine and gives you an analysis of its current state of efficiency. So it would be easy to program it to always tally that the drive was in bad shape and that it needed services (DiskWarrior, of course). But Raymond had run the utility not long before on his computer, so it should have been in very good shape. And that is exactly what it discovered and reported. Okay, good marks so far for honesty. Then I was impressed how quickly the utility ran, photographers being impatient to get on to the business of photos and all that. And, in addition, Raymond advised you can trust the changes (if any) that DiskWarrior may want to make on your computer. He has used in over and over and found it to not take chances, even while repairing complex errors and problems. More high marks.

Sue and I ordered a copy based on that expert advice and what we had witnessed (strictly from a layman’s standpoint, the one that includes the vast majority of us). We found it from Other World Computing (use this link to check out their website), the best price for the boxed/flash drive version) and free shipping. And as a side note, we ordered it Monday night and it arrived yesterday (Wednesday) in the mail. Great service. I removed the flash drive from the package and fired it up. There is about a 1/4 page of instructions to follow the first time, including loading your program’s serial number, so the whole thing is easy to use. It never hesitated on Sue’s machine, analyzing it and giving the drive a 6 out of 10 score (quite inefficient). The automated process of rebuilding the drive took over when I told it to, and the entire process took maybe four minutes at most (keep in mind this was the first time any utility had been run on an older Mac). DiskWarrior told us there were some errors and other changes that would be in order, plus one custom icon that was corrupted that it couldn’t fix (that honesty thing again). I told it to go ahead, and voila! Done and rebuilt and rated a 10 out of 10. Thank you, DiskWarrior.

So, did it make any difference? Was this a worthwhile endeavor? As our good His Light friend Carl Turner would say in response, “Wooooooow!!!! Her machine was much, much more responsive. Just as Raymond had thought it would be, I might add. The whole thing worked as advertised. So I threw the drive into my newer MacBook Pro, one with less data on it than Sue’s. Same easy-peasy operation. In about three minutes it had done its thing and told me my machine was about an 8 in efficiency. I ran the program and it told me what it found and what it wanted to change. I went ahead and it rebuilt my drive (when I say rebuilt it just means it made the changes it had recommended). Given a new rating of 10 out of 10 I tried a few operations. Not the same impressive change Sue discovered, but still a noticeable increase in speed. And it was so easy! Thank you, again, DiskWarrior.

I didn’t think Macs needed any sort of maintenance at all (compared to PCs). I was wrong, and I see that now. I’m not a computer expert, and certainly not a Mac expert. But as a layman I can see what happened with our machines. And I was the one behind the controls and I loved the ease-of-use. Our friend Raymond is an expert, however, and he is even higher on DiskWarrior than I am. This is a program that literally could save your computer’s life one day, let alone regularly keep your drive tuned up and running smoothly. I recommend it highly. Now, I know you are going to look and discover that the program isn’t what you would call cheap. But I thought long and hard about that, also. When buying a home repair kit and the peace of mind that goes with it for those disasters you hope never will come, I found the price to be a capital investment of sorts. It certainly was one that may pay for itself over and over. Think of it the same way you do for home insurance – you actually hope you never have to make a claim, even while making all those payments. But if the big one ever strikes, how incredibly glad and relieved we will be that the insurance is in place. I find DiskWarrior to be in that category.

Thank you, Raymond, for the guidance and advice. Thank you, Other World Computing, for the prompt service. And thank you, Alsoft, for Diskwarrior 5.

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Smoky Mountains: Some Wet Process Photos

Tremont 2
Another meandering stream in the Tremont area of the park. Click on it to see more photos.

I had a chance to process a few more images yesterday from our His Light gathering in the Smoky Mountains National Park. And as part of that I played around a bit with a wet plate look, something that was in vogue during the time the mill at Cades Cove was doing real business. It is a different look, certainly, than what we think of as proper or correct today (in the digital age). But it was fun to recreate some of what has gone on before us, and it gives the more standard look something new (old?) to consider.

Click here to view a few more images from our trip, including the wet look ones.

And an update for those thinking about attending the First Annual Great Smoky Mountains Photography Summit in Townsend this October. Bill Fortney advised me last night that registrations at that time stood at 195 (the cutoff number is going to be 200). If you call right now, this very moment, you may possibly secure a seat for this year. If not. see you at the Second Annual Summit.

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The Great Smoky Mountains National Park: Photos

Greenbrier
Click on the Greenbrier stream to see a few more images.

Yesterday was a busy day and a sad one. We took our dear friend Raymond Jabola to the Indy airport, where he caught a plane for home. We miss him already.

We also had to begin catching up on all the chores that go undone when away from home for a week. There are plenty. But later in the evening I had a chance to review some of my images from Tennessee and process just a few. There are some with a bit of potential; those I look forward to working on. And there were a lot that never again will see the light of day. Those I won’t miss. You may see the few I worked on yesterday by clicking here (or on the image at the top of this post).

But the most important part of the day and the the most gratifying was accompanying my dear wife to another round of surgery on her broken wrist. The fantastic news is that the plate on top of her arm and wrist was removed successfully and without a great deal of pain. And the wrist is holding together as we hoped and prayed. We still will be monitoring its progress for the next month or so, but we are so gratified for this major piece of good news. Thank you for all the prayers and well wishes you have passed on to us for so long. It is most appreciated. Life is so good.

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Faithful Friends 2015

Group photo
Faithful Friends 2015. Click on the image to see us larger (and handsomer).

Sue and I are back in Bloomington after an inspiring and uplifting and fun and beautiful and productive and instructive His Light family gathering in Townsend, Tn (the quiet side of the Great Smoky Mountain National Park, as they like to say on that side of the mountain). And we were so privileged and gratified to take with us (and safely return home with) our adopted son, Raymond Jabola (photographer and friend extraordinaire). Raymond flew in from California and we drove down to Townsend to meet up with a dozen or so other Faithful Friends, more like a family reunion than a photo event. We spent most of each day together, traveling to some absolutely beautiful locations inside the park and practicing what dear friend and mentor Bill Fortney has tried to impart to each of us over the past few years (and eating way too much delicious barbecue and downing copious amounts of sweet tea). It truly was a family gathering.

As part of the His Light Workshops run by Bill Fortney and Jim Begley, we spend a fair amount of time in our national parks. And if you ever doubt that we have been blessed as a nation go visit a few of them. Unique for the most part, they offer us as Americans spectacular landscapes that enrich and delight the senses and the mind and the heart. There is a dignity and majesty to most of the parks that uplifts and inspires us to a new and greater appreciation of what God has done with His hands for our enjoyment. The Great Smoky Mountains are no exception; they are awe-inspiring in their beauty and variety. We were privileged to be five minutes from the park at the Tremont Lodge and Resort in Townsend, spending mornings and entire days photographing sunrises and starry nights and streams and skies. Any lack of beauty and awe in the photos I hope to post in the coming days definitely is the fault of the photographer, not of Mother Nature.

I have urged any casual readers who have stumbled their way to these posts to strongly consider attending a His Light workshop. You will go to amazing locations to shoot; you will receive outstanding instruction to improve your shooting skills; more importantly, you will make life-long friends that you will cherish more than all the images you come home with. Sue and I have an entire new family since that first event with Bill Fortney some years ago now down in Savannah. We have our immediate families; we have our church family; and now we have a His Light family. We truly have been blessed, and it is a blessing awaiting you if you will but come join us. Improve your skills for sure, but also share your love of Jesus and His workings on our respective lives with other photographers who feel just like you do. It is a unique experience for a photo workshop, a special one we haven’t found elsewhere. And our recent gathering was more of the same, filled with sights and sounds and love and family. You never would be disappointed to find out what I mean.

We arrived home after a pretty long drive yesterday. The photo at the top of the page is the group photo taken after a great barbecue supper at The Hungry Bear just outside the Greenbrier section of the park (a section filled with moving water to shoot and enjoy). The photo was taken by our intrepid leader, Bill Fortney, the handsome fellow on the far left. My images await processing, and I hope to share a few in the coming days. In the meantime, please consider a His Light workshop for 2016 (they are sold out for the remaining 2015 events). Next year promises to be an exciting and productive one, but workshops are limited to a maximum of eight per location. Check out dates and locations by clicking here, and join us to become part of a new and loving family.

It’s Monday. Welcome back.

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His Light Workshop Changes: An Exciting 2016


Bill Fortney, photographer and instructor extraordinaire.

I know … it is only August and it still is 2015. But I had an exciting conversation with dear friend and mentor Bill Fortney yesterday about His Light in 2016, and it is indeed time to get excited! There are some changes coming to his Light for next year, and it never is too early to begin planning for workshops that fill up quickly (and then they are gone)!

Bill has a preliminary His Light 2016 over on his site, one that will give you an idea of locations and dates (click here for that post). As you can see, there are some great places to shoot on that list. And I promise you, I guarantee you that you will love being with Jim and Bill and the His Light gang no matter which workshops you choose. The friendship and fellowship will leave you lifted up and inspired, and you will leave for home with new friends that truly you will consider friends. And the instruction will make you a better photographer – especially given what His Light has in store for us next year.

Bill told me that His Light has steadily been enrolling photographers who know their way around a camera and all the basics very well, high intermediate to quite advanced shooters. That is not to say that beginners and others of all skill levels aren’t welcome and won’t benefit from the workshop instruction – they will. But His Light next year is going to put more emphasis on going well beyond the basics, going into the more advanced honing of skills that will take us to the level most of us wish to achieve. I think of it as developing a keen sense of the art of photography, producing images that gain ooh’s and aah’s on a regular basis. There is an ability to see photographically that is difficult, but that be taught and developed; there is a sense of seeing the finished photo in your mind as you stand there in the field that can also be taught and developed; there is the ability to become a more complete photographer, an artist that can be taught and developed. And that is what His Light Workshops intends to pass along to all of us next year. I can’t tell you how exciting it was to hear the excitement in Bill’s voice as he described that next level of teaching. It promises to be a special year.

Now, all of that comes with a cost, a tradeoff of sorts. He told me that His Light will be more intensive and more hands on (both in the field and in the classroom). To do so, most of the workshops will be limited to eight participants. That means the locations will fill up quickly. And when they are gone, they are gone. Those of us attending will receive even more hands-on instruction and attention than before (and we currently never are neglected in any way). These workshops promise to be even more enjoyable and productive and inspiring than ever before. But top-flight classes fill up quickly in the photo world. I urge all of you to check out the preliminary His Light schedule for 2016 and begin making some plans. Right now.

Sue and I are signing up for classes before they fill up. We urge you to do the same, and we look forward to seeing you in 2016. Camera in hand.

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Saturday Trip To Odon And Montgomery: Some Photos

Odon barn
Click on this old barn to see a few more images from Saturday.

Saturday we drove south, looking hither and yon for shots of any kind. Sue and i headed for the small towns of Elnora and Odon and Montgomery, Amish country. We didn’t find too much, but we had a fine home-cooked meal in Montgomery at the Gasthof. The food was really good, and it made for a fun drive in and of itself. We looked around in town for a bit, finding an old mill and a humorous mural on one of the several antique stores in town. People were friendly, and it just was an enjoyable day together. We found an old barn outside Odon, one sheathed in recycled tin sheets. I couldn’t tell which direction the barn wanted most to lean; it went in every direction at once. It was a fun shot, one emblamatic of a farm landscape disappearing too quickly here and around the country.

We ended the day stopping in Worthington, returning to the Route 67 diner for their delicious fried banana peppers. We covered a lot of miles and drove lots of roads. It was a good day, camera in hand.

Click here to see the photos I liked from Saturday, those that went into the County Roads gallery.

And it’s Monday. Welcome back.

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A Trip To Cozumel: Wish It Was Mine

Mackinac-5
A pretty sunset on Lake Michigan, definitely not Cozumel!

I can’t complain too much … Sue and I were privileged to spend two weeks recently on the island paradise of Maui with wonderful friends Raymond and Devi Jabola. But I just saw a few photos from another good friend, Rick Coleman, who spent another of his vacations in Cozumel. After seeing them I am putting that resort area on the must-see-and-shoot list. Of course, Rick has an artist’s eye and the skills to capture what he sees. That makes Cozumel look its best and makes the rest of us ready to book a flight.

Click on this link to take a quick trip to Cozumel with Rick Coleman and his lovely wife. What a great way to begin a Thursday!

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Add To Your Sky Collection: Luxe Vivid Skies On Sale

Vivid Skies
An example of some the assistance you might give Mother Nature.

If you are an absolute purist who believes whatever goes into the camera has to come out the same way then read no further. If you have learned that all of our images can be improved with some judicious processing, no matter how small or how great, then read on. I have a deal for you today. But only for today.

Luxe Photoshop Actions is a website Sue and I have purchased from several times in the past. They offer actions and overlays that are of good quality, fairly priced. We don’t believe in reinventing the wheel each time we process a photo; if there are shortcuts that can be taken at a reasonable cost (quality-wise and time-wise), we are listening with open ears. The trick with presets and actions is to collect only those that truly add to your work and those that you will use on at least a somewhat regular basis. Think of them as you do other tools in Lightroom or Photoshop – the right tool for the right job at the right time.

Adding to or replacing skies in an image can take it from okay to good or even to great. It is your vision, what you saw and captured in your mind that you seek to replicate on screen or in a print. You are an artist, not a robot. None of us should be chained to someone else’s idea of art or reality or vision or personal preference. I have captured some nice landscapes in the past that were the victim of terrible-looking skies on that particular day. And standing out there in the field, at the mercy of Mother Nature, there is nothing you can do about it … at the time. But later on the opportunity exists to fix that sky, to enhance that photo. You, the artist, have the opportunity to make it look like it could (and does) on some other day when the sky isn’t that washed-out, cloudless, light blue haze of nothingness. And cloud overlays and actions make the task that much easier and that much quicker.

Photo deal Cafe sent me an email that I didn’t get around to until yesterday afternoon. It is for a set of actions and overlays that are seeking right now for the low, low price of only $19 (a $40 savings from regular). I watched the videos of the set in action (contained in the email) and read the fine print. And I didn’t hesitate to place an order (remember, we have dealt with Luxe previously and were well-satisfied). You can check out what I saw by visiting the Photo Cafe site today, using this link. I think you’ll like what you see. The catch? The offer expires today, and the price goes back up to $59.

Just passing on what seems to me to be a really helpful and good deal. Mother Nature (and my images) often needs a bit of assistance to look their best on any given day. Let Luxe Actions provide some of that assistance.

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Photographer In The Family

Light
My version of seeing The Light at the old prison … Sue’s was the winning shot.

Just a quick note today. Friday we picked up our photos from the Bloomington Photography Club’s annual exhibit and sale on the IU campus. I truly hope you were able to see this year’s show; it was worthy of time and attention. We don’t average a great number of sales each year, but it always is welcome feedback from the public when we do. This year actually was a bit below the norm; only three sales were made (puzzling to me, given the quality of the images). But I am happy to report that my lovely wife was one of those three! Her image “I See the Light”, a photo taken with the Fuji X-T1 at the Ohio State Reformatory in Mansfield, was sold and has found a wonderful new home here in Bloomington.Congratulations (again), Sue!

And today my family is gathering I’m memory of the recent loss of my mother, Georgiana Haverstock. We will celebrate our time with her and the love we experienced from her for those 89 years. She will be missed so much and remembered with so much love. In Bloomington we are accustomed to often seeing memorials published in the local newspaper that go on and on for column after column about published articles and books and chairmanships of this or that. All of those deeds are forgotten in five minutes or so. Mom’s memory reads much shorter, but it will last for a much longer time. She was a good mother.

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Judge For A Day … Keep Your Chin Up


My favorite photo … mercilessly critiqued when I first presented it.

I recommended a couple of days ago that if you live anywhere in the Monroe County area that you make the drive over to our fairgrounds. The Monroe County fair 2015-style runs through Saturday, and the photo exhibit is worth seeing if you are a photographer of any kind. The show grows both in numbers and quality each year; you can deconstruct images all day long and compare what you judge worthy of various awards to that of the official judge (whose identity and background is a closely guarded secret). It’s a fun, if sometimes frustrating, exercise.

I bring this up because looking at photos is a favorite activity of mine. I am a veteran of image critiques of my photos and those of others with me by Bill Fortney, Scott Kelby, Matt Kloskowskii and other notables. We spend entire evenings sometimes at the Bloomington Photography Club sharing and evaluating photos. It was natural to do the same thing when Sue and I visited the fair earlier this week. It was instructive to find photos with great composition, color, line, texture and technical processing (sharpness, in focus, properly color balanced,etc) that received first place awards and compare them to other images that suffered obvious flaws (that also received a first place award). Then I compared that group with photos that received second place awards. There were even a few photos that were relegated to bottom tier, third place status. And for the most part it was quibbling to debate whether an image was a low first place or a high second place winner. Some were much harder to understand, but, in general, the judge-for-a-day was consistent and fair. There were a lot of entries, so it is a complement to the judge to note that consistency and fairness.

But one photo jumped out at me. And to several members of the Bloomington Photography Club who also have seen the fair exhibit. The overall Grand Champion of the entire photography exhibit was a black and white photo of a black and white puppy. I don’t whose image it is, can’t even tell you a name. But that photo didn’t belong on the stage with all the other Grand Champions (from other art exhibits and crafts). It certainly did not deserve to be champion over the Reserve Champion photo. I studied that champion photo for quite a while; I tried to find out what it was I was missing (that the judge had seen). The image was in focus, but not tack sharp (and it was obvious that there was no ‘art’ effect that the photographer was shooting for). There was a distinct lack of contrast that the image cried out for. There was no depth to the image. I detected a slight color cast, one that certainly didn’t appear to be intentional. A first place award? Yes, somewhere in the middle of the pack. Champion of a class? No way. Overall Grand Champion? Definitely no way! No claims of special knowledge on my part, but I have enough training and experience to be able to compare one photo with another (or many others). This Grand Champion suffered from several faults; it did not measure up to the other champions in the other classes.

My point? For whatever reason, that one judge selected that one photo to be the champion on that one day. The other competitors could see what I saw. They could disagree with the judge; it wouldn’t change the result of that one contest. But none of the other competitors, those who had outstanding photos in the running for overall Grand Champion, need hang their heads. That decision was one person’s opinion on one day. A different judge may have reached a very different conclusion (as did I). Do not allow one event to color your own opinion on your work, your style, what you are trying to accomplish. Work to satisfy yourself, doing the very best work you can every single time. You have a vision, style, a love of what you do. Don’t let a single judge take that from you. It’s more than nice to win awards; we all value positive feedback. Hint: don’t let those compliments go to your head, either. Keep working on your style, what you love to do. Accept the lumps you may incur along the way with dignity; accept the accolades with grace.

Keep working on your craft. Enjoy the process, the friends you meet along the way. Keep your chin up, your head held high. Never let one judge’s opinion on one day define you or your work. Remember Scarlett O’Hara’s admonition … tomorrow is another day!

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It’s Hot. It’s Muggy … It’s County Fair Time.

Holts

Indiana in late July … food at the Monroe County Fair.

Indiana in late July … it’s hot. It’s muggy. It’s county fair time here in Monroe County. Sue and I went out last night in the heat and humidity, enjoying all rural Indiana has to offer on a local level. We ate; we saw art and crafts from people we knew; we visited the commercial building and scored free snow cones (and popcorn and pens and refrigerator magnets and bubble gum and suckers). We talked with local vendors and signed up for drawings of all shapes and sizes (and values). There were animals galore, the pride of a gaggle of 4-H’ers. We passed on the Midway rides, but it was filled with families and kids of every age. There were elk burgers, tenderloins, corndogs and Polish sausage; there was corn on the cob, lemon shakeups, and ice cream to go. Music was coming from three separate venues, and we never even got to the antique tractors and farm implements. It’s fair time, folks … a great time to be a Hoosier.

The photo at the top of the post is from Holts Cafe, set up for the week at the fairgrounds. i don’t ordinarily take pictures of my food, but this is Indiana’s State Sandwich. And Holts makes one of the best tenderloins I have ever tasted (for the second year in a row). Now, some sandwiches may try to stake their claim to greatness on the sheer size of the sandwich … Holts’ effort is Herculean! But it’s not just huge; it is absolutely delicious! Tender, moist, juicy – with a batter golden-fried and crunchy on the edges. This is fair food at it’s best; this is Indiana-in-the-summer food. I really wish you had been here. If you live anywhere in the area, the fair runs all week. Join us.

Holts 2

And this photo is at the end of this delicious meal. I ate. And I ate. And I ate. And what is pictured is a full half of a half of that massive tenderloin. And the fried pickles were enough for a family of five, easily. They were equally as delicious (as were the fried green tomatoes that Sue tried). The sandwich was seven dollars; the sides were five dollars apiece. Sue brought the rest of the pickles and the tenderloin home – I already am looking forward to tomorrow’s supper. Thank you, Holts.

And congratulations go out to Bloomington Photography Club members for the great images and wonderful success they found at the fair. Eddie Relic had the Reserve Champion in one of the four classes of Photography. Curt White had both a Champion and a Reserve Champion photo, and Renee Rezvan had a Champion in one class, and that image went on to be the overall Reserve Champion of the entire show! Half of the possible Champion and Reserve Champion photos belonged to friends from the club. Congratulations are most deserved as the fair’s photography exhibit is growing by leaps and bounds each year, both in number of entries and in quality. If you are a photographer and if you live in our area, go see the show. It’s worth your time, I promise.

Now, if fair organizers could just do something about that humidity ….

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