Last month I entered an equine photography contest. I pretty much knew going in to it that I wasn’t going to win, but with ribbons through 10th place, I was hoping at least to get a ribbon. I’ve entered only a handful of photography contests so far, and I’ve won them. So I’m little pumped up and was hoping to at least get a ribbon. To me, getting ribbons at least means you’ve been recognized – that your effort didn’t go unnoticed and was worth something to someone. Now, this photography contest was a little out of my league – the amateur division in this contest is absurd – I don’t know how some of these people can call themselves amateurs – their photos are insanely beautiful.
They classify amateur by amount of money you make selling your photos. If you don’t make money doing it, you’re an amateur – even if you’ve got 40 years of experience. Not to say all of these amateurs have that much experience, but some of them may have taken classes and improved through instruction – which is something I’ve as of yet been unable to accomplish. I just have no money for lessons or classes. So, none the less, I sent off my 2 images and hoped for the best.
Although I didn’t get a ribbon, I did get one good thing to come of it – a couple sentences of notes from the amateur division judge. My picture of the Grand Prix jumper horse I submitted, basically she really didn’t like. She said it was the wrong angle, or not a pleasing angle, and it wasn’t a good timing, because the horse was just taking off, not at the apex of the jump. Personally I thought it was an interested angle, it showed the horse working up and over the fence and was composed well, with the horse jumping in to the center of the picture. But what do I know. I do know that the focus was too soft on that image, which is something the judge didn’t mention.
The other image, the dressage horse head shot, the judge said was a “promising image, well composed, showing a nice strong dressage horse working properly and comfortably on the bit” (which is pretty much what I thought about it, too). The judge felt the picture needed to have the levels/contrast adjusted a little, which is something I didn’t do – I thought it was perfect the way it was. I had a lot of confidence in that image, and at least I was right about that – the judge did like the image, it just wasn’t good enough. Personally, I reviewed all the head shot amateur entries and didn’t like most of them. Two were almost identical, by the same photographer, of the same horses, one picture had 2 heads, and the other had 3. Anyway, the judge did say one thing to me that I didn’t realize – I’m shooting with too slow of a shutter speed. She indicated that this may be why there’s some loss of contrast, and may be why I have a “soft focus” issue with my images.
I had gotten comfortable shooting horses in motion at around 1/200th sec shutter speed. But I do see MANY of my images not quite sharp enough. I also have a problem focusing in the right area, but that’s a me aiming the camera thing. I need to work on that more – keep the spot focus on-the-eye! Not on the shoulder or hoof (or fence post behind the ear)… LOL. But, between a combination of hand holding the camera, long lenses, and too slow of a shutter speed, that would account for the slight fuzz in many of my images. I should have known that. It makes perfect sense, and I should have been smart enough to compensate for that. Oh well, now I know, and I’m planning on taking the camera out today hopefully and will kick up the shutter speed to maybe 1/350th sec or something and see if my images don’t just suddenly improve (which I have a feeling they will).
So that’s that I guess. I’ve got to say that I really wish I could be good enough to win a ribbon – good enough to stand out against hundreds of others. I wish I had the money to invest in photography lessons and instruction. I wish it was worth it. I tried investing in my photography-hoping for some turnaround – hoping to make a little money, and be a small business owner. I failed. I failed at that like everything else and it has only cost me money. And in return, I lost confidence and became continually more miserable. I guess mostly I just wish I had some talent – something that I could use to do some good – like buy a house – yes I said HOUSE – not HORSE! LOL 🙂
I’ve given up on that, like everything else . Just like my Dad always tells me – I give up too quickly on things. Well, I dont’ consider 18 years quickly to give up on horses, but I’ve never had support with riding. Riding has been my love for a very long time, and it’s something that I enjoy and wanted to do. My Dad did support me some by way of helping me to buy more than one horse over the years, but it’s also something he’s told me numerous times to stop doing. Waste of time, he said it was. Go do something else – anything else. So, why is it that riding isn’t OK but anything else is ?
I’m allowed to do this, not that. But doing that is what I want to do and I need help to keep doing it. Does it matter that I’m not a top level prize winner at that? Why is it better to do this and suck royally at it than it is to do that and be mediocre but enjoy it and wish to pursue it.
I was watching a show the other day, about animal related disasters. One clip was a 14 year old kid who loved riding horses and bull riding. She was riding this steer and got bucked off, got her neck stepped on by the bull. It all looked very dramatic, and while there were some tense moments there at first, like most falls off horses (or cows in this case) – when it looks severe, it’s usually not half as bad as it looked. The girl was fine. Her Dad was interviewed and he said he could never make her give up doing what she loves- it’s her passion and to make a kid stop doing what they are passionate about breaks their spirit. Even my husband who was watching the show with me said I should tell my Dad that.
How come that girl’s father is OK with it and mine just isn’t? Mine doesn’t care if my passion goes unpursued and my spirit gets broken. I don’t expect my mother to support me ever- she never has and she’s too busy in her own pshycotic world of self pity to ever be bothered with anything that puts the light on someone else. But my Dad, who is at least sane and rational, has supported me on lots of things in the past and yet still points out all my failures and short comings and will not support me on the one thing I want support with the most. I want to have something in my life that I truly enjoy, and I no longer can do that. I no longer have that ability.
It makes me very mad, and very frustrated. But alas, I guess that’s my life. I just wish my spirit could be renewed, but I really have lost interest. I think this has finally done it – put me over the edge. I don’t even want to go riding anymore. I guess the people around me who were supposed to support me have finally won that battle. Riding and owning a horse has been nothing but an uphill battle since I first started. It’s caused me misery, frustration, and pain, and yet I keep wanting more of it. I guess that’s the allure of horses – to have what you can’t have – only to watch everyone else get what they don’t even care if they have or not. For some people riding and owning horses comes so naturally, it just doesn ‘t matter. For others, they hope and pray and try and try and try and get broken along the way until they’ve been kicked in the dirt so much that it just isn’t worth it anymore.
At least my husband has a good pony to show and I can help him do well in the showring. I guess I can drive the mini too. yay.