The most important competition of the year was held in Atlanta, Georgia in August - I knew I would definitely enter but would I just continue on the Sealed images from the District Competition or take a big chance and break those Seals?
This was a big deal! If I broke the Seals, there was a chance they wouldn't merit with a new panel of Judges at IPC. But without breaking them, they wouldn't be judged at all - and no chance of going LOAN!, they would be just accepted into the General Collection at PPA and I would get the 3 merits as long as I entered them…
Breaking of Seals is a big no-no if you don't have your Masters…and I received my Master Photographer Degree in 2016 so that wasn't a worry. I debated - with all my wrist and ankle issues - did I have the time to put in the work to improve the images from District? I didn't want to break the Seals if they had NO chance of receiving at least a score of 85. From all the mentors and photographer friends that advised me, I was able to improve all three Seals - making them stronger images and I reasoned, they should definitely at least merit again because I was creating stronger images!
And I did! The Keywest Kitty image was cropped tighter with a new title, "Twilight In The Keys" - it went from an 83 to 84 (no Loan judging), my Pretty Boy image was improved upon with more contrast and new title, "Sexy Beast" - it went from an 81 to 84 to 85!
My third hope for Loan was the seven mini-aussie puppies from Royal Aussies of Va. I updated the image, changed the mat and changed the title once again to "Seven Sets of Baby Blues" - it did the best out of all four my entries - going from an 85 to 83 to a whopping 91!
I was jumping for joy at that score! It received the prestigious Showcase Collection award - this award is given to the images in each category that scored high enough to be considered for Loan but weren't. We are very happy to receive it!
My fourth image was also a puppy from the Royal Aussies of Virginia - one of my six blue ribbons from the first competition of 2019 in Virginia. The title, "Baby Blues and Ginger Too" for this little beauty ended up getting a 78. Alas, no merit - when I saw it online being judged, it looked oversaturated but still it's an adorable photo that I'm proud to share.
So I ended up with 3 out of 4 Merits for 2019 - with one in the Showcase Collection. After a run of four years in a row as a Medalist (when a 4 out of 4 Merit or Loan), I cannot complain that this was not my best year, still I am proud! Competition only makes me a stronger, better photographer for all my clients.
The boot is gone and all is healed for the most part -Wrist is 90% and ankle is 80% - flexibility is not the best but I get around find now.
It's 2020 and time for getting ready for Virginia's State Competition next month.