2011 Tulare County Fair – Photo Competition – Best In Show

Second year in a row, I decided to risk entering some photo prints into the Tulare County Fair.  Last year’s surprising and unexpected success (2010 Fair Results) both encouraged me yet made me wonder if I wanted to push my luck.  After dropping off the prints and seeing many of the others already hung, I again questioned my sanity – there were a lot of excellent entries.  I felt sorry for the judges that had to make tough decisions.

Various friends said the prints did well but only hinted at the results.  A busy schedule prevented Barbara and I going to the fair until the last day (a quick trip Sunday after church).  Again, I was very pleased at the results.  Of the 9 entries, there were 4 First places (including Best of Show), 2 Seconds, 1 Third and 2 Fourth place ribbons.

Several have asked that I show the photos and a little about them – so here goes:

Best of Show

A VERY NICE SURPRISE – Best of Show

Storm Over Red Rock Canyon (Click on photo for link to full size image)

Sometimes luck has a lot to do with getting an image like this and the others taken on that day.  Last February I had arrived after Midnight Friday night into Las Vegas for the WPPI Convention and Trade Show.  Travel had been slow due to snow and traffic.  I had never been to the photogenic Red Rock Canyon just outside Las Vegas nor the prettier Valley of Fire about an hour north.  Since I was only going to the Trade Show on Monday-Tuesday, I had slotted Saturday and Sunday for taking local photos.

Since it was storming and I was beat, I slept in Saturday morning instead of the obligatory sunrise trip for best light.  After breakfast, decided to see how close my 18 year old Nissan Sentra could get to Red Rock Canyon.  After all, it is not 4WD nor did I have any chains.

Roads were clear but the weather looked to be closing in again.  I hurriedly walked some trails and took some so-so snaps.  Without people in them for scale, the impressive formations just were not impressive in camera.  About half way through the loop I made another hopeful stop in a turnout.  The wind was really starting to blow so I had to hold the tripod to not only keep it still but to keep it upright.  About then I wished I had invested in gloves – you know the kind with some finger tips exposed to push buttons.

I’d like to make you think I was suffering – but the storm brewing before me was so exciting (big WOW factor) that I knew this was one of those rare moments every photographer dreams about.  I kept clicking until the sleet started to hurt – then retreated to the car.  The best images came from that stop.

Those are not dust spots on the lens – it is snowing on me. (Click on image for larger view)

More on this special day on an earlier Blog: Red Rock Canyon

Gallery of other photos from this day: Red Rock Canyon

Its getting late so I’ll post about other images in the competition tomorrow.

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About Ron Ludekens

God created a marvelous world full of wonderful sights and people. He is the Creator and it is His Palette of beauty that Ron Ludekens tries to capture as photographic images. Images of nature or images of people and their lives - both reflect the handiwork of the Creator. Ron is a photographer living in Visalia, California - part of the great Central Valley. He is immediately surrounded by agriculture and all the hard working people that feed our world. A short distance away are the grand Sierra Nevada mountains, impressive National Parks and, wider still, the vast diversity that California has to offer. Ron is one of the family owners of the L.E. Cooke Co Wholesale Nursery - a leader in the horticulture industry of North America. Even on the job, his camera is always near by. His photos for the nursery trade have been published in print and around the websites of nurseries across America. Ron is also a leader in his church and its missions. Ron's photography has been a resource the church uses in its communications and message. Plus photos of all the fun things we do are shared among members and friends. Ron also loves capturing precious moments in lives of people. Weddings, senior portraits, graduations, family gatherings, maternity and special events. Ron will not shoot more than four weddings a year to provide the attention to detail and followup that is required for such an important milestone event in the lives of the couple. Ron can be reached at 559-732-7165 or cell 559-967-5370.
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