4-H Fair 2015: Photography

HELLO! Ah, aren’t computers lovely?! I haven’t used mine much lately because I’ve been so busy with my new job and all that volunteering… so it’s nice to sit here and write a post ON MY ACTUAL COMPUTER and not on my phone. (Blogging via phone is totally possible, but it’s also a pain in the butt because it’s so SLOW and I make SO MANY TYPOS that I have to go back and correct.)

Anyway. I didn’t work today… but I was still at the fair! Mostly, I did volunteer-y stuff because hey, Achievement Ambassador responsibilities. I watched the Horse & Pony competition (!), petted soft cows (!!), and recorded the voice-over for a new promotional video for my county’s 4-H program (!!!). Also I spent most of the afternoon staring helplessly at the new fair queen because PRETTY GIRLS IN PRETTY DRESSES… but I digress. #havingagayoldtime

ANYWAYYYY. Ever since 2011, I’ve written about my 4-H projects and what grades they received. This year, I plan to publish two posts: One is about photography, and the other will include everything else.

This year, I created two exhibits – a poster of ten color photos, and a color salon print – AKA a solo photo. (In the past I’ve also made a black and white poster and a black and white salon print, but I didn’t do that this year because reasons.) I’ll mention the salon print’s grade in a while, and as for my photography poster? OH MY GOD. I received four ribbons for it: A, Honor, Reserve Champion, and Champion! The last two ribbons mean that I won second place in the advanced division (ninth through twelfth grade) and first place in the twelfth grade division!

AHHHH OMG I’M SO HAPPY. The photography project is ridiculously competitive, with more than two hundred and fifty exhibits. Also, this marks my third year of winning “best color photography of [insert grade here]” – I also won in ninth and tenth grades! It’s honestly kind of funny, because I love black and white photography much much more and yet my exhibits never receive anything higher than an A and an Honor!

One more thing before I show you my photos: When I say that a particular photo received a gold star, this means it is eligible for the calendar contest. It’s basically a way of commending outstanding individual photos that were not exhibited as salon prints!


Note: If any of these photos seems familiar… that’s because they’ve appeared on this blog before! The A B See Photo Challenge has been SO helpful and motivating! 

DSCN5319The superintendent of the photography project hosts multiple workshops each year… I took this photo at one of them! I LOVE the bright colors and the picnic-y feel in this picture! This is a very satisfying photo to look at when you’re hungry, isn’t it?! I seriously think this is one of the most professional-looking photos I’ve EVER taken.

DSCN4784I took this photo last year while on vacation in Utah! I love how the background is colorful yet blurry, so that it doesn’t overwhelm the subject of this picture – the rock cairn.

The judges said this was my best photo! It also received a gold star.

DSCN4047Last summer we grew GINORMOUS sunflowers in our backyard, and I love this photo because it looks like its own mini sun! This photo was included in my collection of ten photos, and it was also my salon print.

And… the judge gave it a B! The superintendent told me to disregard that, though – apparently the judge told her that I should’ve placed the flower directly at the center of my photo, and included less of the sky? She said to ignore that judge because they “clearly don’t know about the rule of thirds.”

SO I WILL. I love the sheer SUMMERYNESS of this photo, and it makes me feel happy inside. The matte board around this photo is part yellow and part blue, too, and it looks really gorgeous. Someday when I have my own apartment/house, I’ll hang this photo on the wall, and enjoy its bright colors, and giggle at the judge.

This photo received a gold star! If you’re wondering how that’s even possible… the superintendent said she reserves the right to overrule the judge’s decisions if she feels that an exhibit truly deserves it. OMG WOW THANK YOU. 

DSCN5258…I never ever EVER thought I would exhibit this photo as part of a 4-H project! I was just messing around with my camera when I took this, TBH. One of the aforementioned workshops is all about pet photography, and this year someone brought kittens! I oohed and aahed over their CUTENESS, and then spent practically FOREVER trying to take a picture of this tiny ball of fluff walking around in the grass, but I wasn’t pleased with the results. Then a little girl nearby picked up the kitten and cuddled it and… I ended up with an incredibly sweet (and COLORFUL) photo!

This photo received a gold star!

DSCN5301This is another photo I never expected to include! This was taken during the portrait workshop. I had almost given up hope of taking a good picture of this little girl because everyone was clustered around her and SOME ANNOYING PEOPLE DIDN’T MOVE OUT OF THE WAY AFTER TAKING HER PICTURE. BLEHHHH. But I finally got my photo and it. Was. ADORABLE! She’s the younger sister of some members of the photography project, and has appeared in exhibits for the past few years because she’s so cuuuuuuuuute.

DSCN4642This is another picture from last year’s vacation, although this image was taken in Wyoming. I love the spikiness/fuzziness/weird alien-looking bits!

DSCN5358The photography superintendent added a new workshop this year: Architecture photography! So, naturally, I attended the workshop, because I LOVE architecture photography… funnily enough, though, I was not satisfied with any of my pictures of the buildings in town. IT STARTED RAINING AND I WAS BORED SO I TOOK PICTURES OF MY UMBRELLA.

DSCN4816This is my final vacation photo! We were hiking in Utah, and it was easy to see where other people had been – it must have been raining as they walked, and the footprints they left behind dried up. This photograph has a very limited color palette, but it’s also COOL. And WEIRD. Who knew that dirt could look so delicate and artistic?!

DSCN4043I took this photo during LAST year’s county fair! IT’S SO QUINTESSENTIALLY SUMMERY.

DSCN5047I have a lot of photos with (intentionally) blurry backgrounds, but every so often I enjoy experimenting with blurry foregrounds as well! I’m really pleased with the results.


I am INCREDIBLY HAPPY with my photography exhibits this year! I want to be a photojournalist someday, so receiving such high honors felt VERY VALIDATING. Also, I absolutely SUCK at any form of art other than photography, so I love that I finally found something I’m good at! I love knowing how much my photography skills have improved. I love being able to create art that makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside when I see the final results.

I have participated in the photography project for six years and I will miss it next year; however, I may consider entering the fair’s photography competition that is specifically for adults! Oh, that reminds me – someday soon, I need to take a look at those exhibits so that I know what sort of talent I’ll be up against!


Which photograph is your favorite… and why?

And are there any that you wish I’d done differently?! I don’t mind criticism, as long as it’s sensible criticism… like, THE RULE OF THIRDS IS A THING AND I DON’T KNOW WHY YOU WOULD IGNORE IT BECAUSE PHOTOS WITHOUT IT ARE SO BORING. But if you think any of my photos needed more color or sharpness or whatever, feel free to let me know! Criticism helps me improve!

About nevillegirl

Elizabeth. University of Iowa class of 2019. Triple majoring in English & Creative Writing, Journalism, and Gender, Women's, & Sexuality Studies. Twenty-one-year-old daydreamer, introvert, voracious reader, aspiring writer, and lesbian. Passionate about feminism, mental health, comic books, and cats.
This entry was posted in Nevillegirl's Adventures!, Non-Neville Posts, Uncategorized and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to 4-H Fair 2015: Photography

  1. SpunFromInk says:

    These are all so amazing! I’ve made it one of my “Twenty Before Twenty-One” goals to learn more about photography. These photos are great motivation, but I’m still pretty intimidated. Any advice or pointers for where to start?

  2. Oh my gosh I LOVE the umbrellas one 😀 And the rock cairn!! It looks so professional 😀 One day I’d love to get more into photography, but right now I’m pretty happy taking crappy photos of books with my crappy phone camera, haha.

  3. Mo says:

    I like the Scrabble one because it looks so distinguished! My favorite of the ones I haven’t seen before is the one of your umbrella–I love the contrast of the patterns and color schemes between umbrella and sidewalk. My least favorite is probably the ferris wheel–to me it lacks contrast. I’m not quite sure how to describe it, maybe it’s that the sky is kind of grey?

  4. moosha23 says:

    I LOVED the umbrella one. I could stare at that one all day…it’s so colourful, and the rainy ground just brings out the colours more. Sounds like the fair was a blast!
    Also it’s safe to say that we do many great things accidentally, when we’re just “messing around” (cos oh my days that kitten tho…).

  5. Pingback: 4-H Fair 2015: Aerospace, Holiday Ornaments, Junior Leaders, Music, Foods & Nutrition, Creative Writing, And Personality | Musings From Neville's Navel

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