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Earlier this month a friend informed me about a photography contest near me entitled “Monuments of Faith.” Reading the information on this contest, I realized the need to move fast was exceedingly high.

For several years now time blessed me with the ability to truly enjoy and practice my photography. Last year I made a goal that went unmet: Enter a photography contest. I made the same goal this year, but told myself that I must actually achieve the goal. I tried last year, but folded under the pressure. I could not decide what photograph to enter and looked at my work with what was probably an over critical eye. We are our own worst critic and all that.

Well, this contest seemed easy enough. It automatically knocked out a great portion of my photographs. Still I worried and debated, mostly making myself completely nuts. I finally decided, getting things done just under the deadline wire. Oh how my previous editors now roll their eyes. Yes, I’m infamous for sneaking in just as deadline speedily approaches.

I entered three photographs, the maximum allowed for each entrant.

My stomach aflutter with the anxiety of having actually entered this thing, I drove my printed, matted, and framed photographs north to drop off. This experience gave a highlight to my entirely overly-dramatic and insane summer. I walked into the building and I do believe everyone in said building felt the need to not only greet me but squeal in delight! A chorus of, “Oh you brought us photos!” and “Can we see? We want to see!” as well as “Oooooh! Photos!!!!” and a whole lot of cheering and giggling. Everything but a ticker tape parade. I felt like a hero returning from the field of battle or something. Talk about a boost to my spirits at a time when I feeling like dirt because my life this summer has well… let’s just not go there.

The people accepting the photographs gave me such positive feedback that it really took so much of the anxiety of entering the contest away.

I left feeling fantasmagorical and headed off for the unbearable drive home. Nearly three hours to drive 60 miles, oh how I despise the traffic in DC and NoVA.

A week later the list of judges choice hit my email box. Out of nearly 200 entries, nine received awards. Mine were not among those few. However, the judges found a way to hang at least one photograph from each entrant so my excitement grew! One of MY photos will hang until September 14th in this exhibit! I marveled. Never did I think something like that would really happen! Nearly one thousand people visited the exhibit last year. Wow.

I went to the opening of the exhibit and enjoyed viewing the many stunning photographs hanging along with mine. So many photographs spoke volumes in their simple beauty. Stories unfolded with each one. I am thankful for the opportunity to learn about this contest as well as enter it. It was a humbling moment to see my photograph hanging admist the others. I wanted to cry. Photographers and their families stood, remarking on different photos. Several said positive things about mine. Those running the show thanked me for entering and upon discovering it was my very first contest, said I did very well. Hope they did not see me blush!

My photograph “Eternal Reflections” now hangs in the DC LDS Temple Visitors’ Center. The photograph is of the Temple spires in the reflecting pool in front of the Visitors’ Center. If you happen to be in the area from now until September 14th, please stop in. It is free and totally worth the time. The exhibit is open all week and the weekend. For the next couple of weeks there is also a People’s Choice judging so I suppose I could still win an award.

I gave away one of the other photographs I entered, “Christmas Delight”, to a friend. The third photograph will be unframed so as I can mail it. I entered one of the wedding photographs I took in May, entitled “A Hope for Eternal Love”.

All the photographs entered appear in a slideshow presentation.

I hope to purchase a new camera once things settle down and plan to enter next year.

–Lady O
for more information visit the Monuments of Faith website.

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