Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Photo Contest

My local botanical gardens put on a photography contest which I eagerly signed up for. I am really trying to further my skills and knowledge in photography and I knew the contest would push me to get more practice. To enter the contest, the pictures had to be taken at the gardens from September 1 to October 18. You had to put the pictures on a CD as well as print out copies.

I have been pretty busy lately so I only went to the gardens twice to take pictures. The first time I went I only got one picture that I was really happy with. So last weekend I went back and took a bunch more and had quite a few that I was extremely happy with.

Here are the ones I like but that didn't make the cut to be entered into the contest.

I decided to enter my three favorites and here are the ones I chose. (To see all of these in a bigger size, see my Flickr page.)

On Sunday night, the day before the pictures were due, I spent some time editing and getting the pictures on a CD. It was about 6:30 that night when I realized I still needed to print my pictures out. After a very brief moment of panic (OK, maybe it was more like 15 minutes of freaking out) I decided to have them printed at a local drugstore. I uploaded my pictures to their website and got an email that they were ready for pick up at about 7:15. When I got back home, I glanced at the pictures, wrote my name on the back and put them in a folder to turn in the next day.

When I got to work the next morning I decided to look at my pictures again. Pretty quickly I noticed that something looked a little off. They seemed darker than I remember them being. I pulled up the images on my computer screen and held the printed pictures up to the screen to compare. I was completely shocked at the difference in pictures. They were a LOT darker.

I was extremely disappointed and even considered not entering the contest anymore. Even though I was thrilled with the images on the computer, I was not very proud of the printed ones. I would normally order the pictures from Winkflash or MPix but since I had procrastinated until the night before, I thought the drugstore would be fine. I learned my lesson!

The pictures had to be turned in by 5:00 pm that night and I arrived at the gardens right after work at 4:45. The gate to the entrance was already half way closed so I drove through the exit to get in. After all that trouble there was no way I would miss the deadline now! I ran into the gift shop to turn my pictures in to the women at the desk. I told her I still needed to pay the entry fee and she informed me that I did not pay her but instead, I needed to put the money in the folder with my pictures.

I hesitated for a moment because I knew I didn't have any cash but then I remembered I could just write a check. I don't write checks very often so I forget that I even have a checkbook. I dug through my purse for a few minutes before I remembered that JJ had used it and put it back on the kitchen table. I was supposed to put it in my purse but forgot. I felt my face get red as I realized I didn't have a way to pay.

I told the woman at the desk that I didn't have a way to pay so I had missed the deadline. As I turned to leave she told me that I could just bring a check back up later. I told her that I could do that and started to make a note on my folder that I would be back with a check. She then suggested that I could just write my credit card number down on my entry form and I could pay that way. Without even thinking about it, I wrote my card number down and handed her the form.

It wasn't until I got back to the car that I realized how stupid I had been. How did it not occur to me that it wasn't the brightest idea to leave my credit card information in the hands of someone I didn't know? When I told JJ he was concerned but told me we could just carefully watch our credit card charges to make sure we don't have any unknown charges being made.

So to summarize, I procrastinated until the night before the deadline and had to print my pictures out from a unreliable company. I barely made the deadline with my pictures and actually had to break driving laws to make it on time . I didn't have any cash or checks on hand so I left my credit card information with a stranger. I am hopeful that my brain will start working soon so the rest of this week will go a little smoother!