Visions of Spring
Put the world in focus
Wednesday, March 24, 2021
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.
As humans emerge from an exceedingly existential winter, signs of spring in our corner of the globe are plentiful (and so, so welcome). In the plant universe, cherry trees festooned with pink blossoms line neighborhood blocks, camellias turn their round faces to the sun, school-bus-yellow daffodils decide the time is right to show up to the party en masse, and burgeoning tulips look forward to their turn in the spotlight. Meanwhile, the paparazzi—that’s you—wait in the wings with cell phones, an array of digital cameras, and even spools of film at the ready in order to snap perfect pictures of the seasonal magic unfolding.
Press credentials aren’t needed to capture these visions of spring, but those looking to share their finished products—and possibly take home prizes for their efforts—should be aware of a number of photo competitions currently taking place in Skagit and Whatcom counties meant to draw attention to the wealth of natural beauty to be found nearby.
First up is the La Conner Daffodil Festival Photo Contest happening through the end of March. Contestants in three categories—kids, teens and adults—are encouraged to head to blooming daffodil fields to pursue their quarry, and cash prizes will be awarded to the winner in each category. And in addition to netting a $150 reward, the top photographer in the adult class will also get to see their image featured in materials for the 2022 Daffodil Festival. Voting for the latter category will be done “by the people” through Facebook and Instagram postings, so keep an eye out for your submission, and then cross your fingers for the recognition of your talents. Info: http://www.lovelaconner.com/7th-annual-la-conner-daffodil-festival-2021
A Spring 2021 Photo Print Contest being held by Bellingham’s Quicksilver Photo Lab is also time-sensitive, with finished submissions needing to be turned into the Cornwall Avenue headquarters by March 31. For inspiration, categories include Pick a Color—Any Color, It’s All About the Journey, Something for Someone You Love, Man’s Best Friend, Shall We Play a Game?, and Close-up and Personal. One entry per category is allowed, and each will need to be printed at the longtime photo lab (something that can be done online), then mounted on foam core with a hanger. Entries will be on display through April, and community members can peruse the pics and place their vote. Each category will garner a winner, and there will also be a Best in Show. Info: http://www.facebook.com/QuicksilverPhoto
Next up, amateur and pro photographers of all ages are invited to submit exposures that capture the heart of living, working or playing in Bellingham as part of the 16th annual Essence of Bellingham Photo Competition. Sponsored by Whatcom Museum and the COB, awards will be given for Best of Show, Best of Class, Best of Category, and Honorable Mention. A new Climate Actions award will also honor images that capture actions the community is taking to address climate change and its impacts. Winning entries will be featured in an upcoming First Friday and Art Walk as COVID-19 restrictions allow, and all will be added to the Whatcom Museum archives and may appear on BTV, the City of Bellingham website, and in other online and print publications. The submission deadline is May 1, so time remains to consider your options. Info: http://www.cob.org/eob
In a related vein, Bellingham Whatcom County Tourism is hosting a photo contest through April focused on people’s favorite spots throughout Whatcom County. Submissions must be in digital format, and can be in color or black-and-white. Take your camera with you when you head out to explore, or enter photos you already have—provided you’re the one who took them. Participants are also welcome to share their photos on social media, so follow Bellingham Experience on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, and use #BellinghamExperience for a chance to have your selections featured. Info: http://www.bellingham.org/photo-contest
Putting the world in focus is also the goal of the annual Skagit Valley Tulip Festival Photo Contest taking place through April. Thousands of petal-powered images are captured by attendees each spring—even last year, when the festival was effectively canceled due to COVID-19 concerns, and people adjusted their apertures to their backyard gardens or while surveying fields from afar. Patience is key, as the flowers bloom “according to Mother Nature.” Take your time, and get it right. Info: http://www.tulipfestival.org/multimedia
Skagit Valley Tulip Festival photo by Eduard Schwan.
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Max Benjamin studied art at the University of Washington under Walter Isaacs and Ambrose Patterson, where he describes being “sucked into” painting.
After graduating, he worked as a commercial illustrator for four years, then in 1959 made the life-changing decision to “leave Mother’s…