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Our First Ever Virtual Photo Competition With the New Mexico Taxidermy Association

by Larry Blomquist

We can blame the COVID-19 virus for the multitude of changes that have evolved in our lives and  businesses for the past 10 months; it seems like years for me.  How many times have you heard the words “virtual,” “Zoom,” “lockdown,” and “social distancing” during this pandemic? Nevertheless, life and our economy must carry on so many business owners have found or fashioned new ways to keep their businesses viable using the Internet. With the Internet and digital photography being important parts of our lifestyle today, and they have rocketed in usage during the last two decades. They have made the pandemic and lockdown more bearable than just 10 years ago.

    I was contacted by John Young, a board member of the New Mexico Taxidermy Association, who wanted to try something different for their members since their May 2020 show was called off because of the pandemic. He wanted to have a photo competition for the association members. His emphasis was to work with me on doing this and as incentive he told members if their mounts were selected they might be published in Breakthrough. Plus he had an idea that would produce prize money.

    I must say I was hesitant at first, but after considering the challenge I said yes. John and I put some information together and I suggested a scoresheet that would take into account that judging was by submitted photos, 3 to 5 for each entry, and limited scrutiny would be available for judges to see. I secured the services of three judges: Joe Meder, mammals; Dave Luke, birds; and Jeff Mourning, fish and reptiles.

    By the end of September there were 16 entries submitted, fewer than John had hoped for, but he and I agreed enough to move forward for this first attempt. I will admit it was more time consuming than I expected to develop and send scoresheets out for each entry with instructions on how to return them by email so we would have understandable critiques for the competitors. I thought the judges did an excellent job in scoring and critiquing the entries. In fact, if we had time and room I think that would have been another learning experience for our readers. I am not sure I would try this experience again, but I certainly learned from it and could do it at a faster and more efficient pace if I did repeat it. For now, I will consider it a one-time experience and stick at producing the World Show where I have 30 years experience.

    We selected six of the entries that had the strongest composition to feature with a smaller glimpse at the other ten. I definitely thought it was an experience we should tell you about and show. Thank you John Young for contacting me and exposing your idea to our subscribers.

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Categories: Articles - All, Articles - Home Page, Fall 2020 Issue 139Number of views: 402

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