Frosty the Squirrel Makes “The 2012 Annual Readers’ Photography Showcase” in Outdoor Oklahoma Magazine!

Ms. Foxy was a frequent visitor on our property last fall and this spring. I have not seen her since May 2012. This was a submission to Outdoor Oklahoma magazine.

Please forgive me but, in this post, I must cluck a little about a photography submission I made to Outdoor Oklahoma Magazine earlier this spring.  We subscribe to the bi-monthly magazine and a weekly email as well, both put out by the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation (ODWC).  As a state licensed wildlife rehabilitator, I enjoy the magazine articles about various wildlife species.  And, as an amateur photographer, I also enjoy the wildlife photography for which the magazine consistently receives national recognition.

Back in March, I stumbled across the guidelines for submitting entries to the Annual Readers’ Photography Showcase via the weekly email sent by the ODWC and thought, “What could it hurt?”  The instructions seemed easy enough.  I poured over my archive of nature photos for more than a week.  This was tougher than I thought.  I had many beautiful and interesting photographs that I liked, but wondered just what would appeal to the judges?  I looked back over previous issues of Outdoor Oklahoma and got a better idea of what they might be looking for.  With this in mind, I carefully made my selections and submitted them via email late in March, just before the deadline.  Any photographs selected would appear in the July/August issue of the magazine.

I captured this hummingbird image while laying on my back, in itchy Bermuda grass! Silhouette shots are always fun to experiment with! I submitted this photo for the contest.
This cedar waxwing reminded me of a sentry with his little black face mask and crest atop his head. I feared the branches and limbs might compete too much for attention, but I found the waxwing quite striking.

By the time June rolled around, I had long forgotten about the contest entries I made until I received an email from an associate editor to the magazine, asking for clarification about a photo I had submitted.  The inquiry was about a photograph of Frosty, an orphaned Red Fox Squirrel FD had found in Southeastern Oklahoma.  (Click this link and you can read about our adventure raising “Frosty the Squirrel” .)

Frosty became quite the character around here, and he loved the camera!  Eventually, he struck out on his own and we didn’t see him much anymore.  In fact, FD only recently spotted him in our neighbor’s yard two places down.   Not long after we released Frosty, I had the good fortune of capturing several wonderful photographs of him.  For the submission to Outdoor Oklahoma, I did not choose my favorite, but picked a photo that I thought had photographic appeal.

The July/August issue of Outdoor Oklahoma that featured, “The 2012 Annual Readers’ Photography Showcase”.

Oh, yes, back to the call from the associate editor – I could jabber on about our adventures with Frosty all day!  Anyway, I answered the questions asked of me, feeling confident the photo was being considered for selection in the Reader’s Showcase.  Then once again, I got busy with the summer’s activities and promptly forgot about the contest.

This beauty lived in my flower beds last fall. I respect the garden orb and do my best to work around them. I caught this image with morning sun as a backlight. I was sure this submission would be a winner… but I guess the magazine editors disagreed!

About a month ago, the July/August issue of Outdoor Oklahoma arrived in the mail.  I became quite excited as I suddenly remembered my photography submissions and, seeing the glossy pages inside, I immediately wanted to flip through the Reader’s Showcase section.   However, I somehow disciplined myself and, as I walked from the mailbox to the house (about a football field distance away), I gently  turned the pages, admiring the work of many different photographers, both amateur and professional.  One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine pages and nothing with my name on it!  Some pages had two or three photos featured, while a very lucky few had a whole page dedicated to their photograph.  I was beginning to feel dejected.

The work of many of the showcase photographs featured in the magazine was outstanding, even stunning.  In my own opinion, my photography paled next to most of the images I was seeing.  I didn’t stand a chance, I thought.  Oh, that cup-half-empty of mine…  it had completely tumped over.  I began having thoughts about how silly it was for me to have wasted my time entering a contest of this caliber anyway.  The more photos I saw as I turned through the pages, the less confident I became.  Ten, eleven, twelve, thirteen… well, goodness!  How long could this torment go on?

By now, I was tempted to flip quickly to the very end of the Readers’ Showcase section, but that would be cheating. No, I would just take my lumps to the bitter end. After all, these spectacular entries deserved my attention and admiration.  Fourteen, fifteen, and SIXTEEN!!!   There he was!!  Frosty had earned a big, beautiful,  full-page photograph!  There were thirty-three pages of showcase photos in all.  Within every page, the magazine editors did a remarkable job of representing Oklahoma nature with stunning images of landscapes and various species of wildlife.

This photograph won Frosty a full-page glossy in Outdoor Oklahoma magazine! Frosty was a natural in front of the camera. I must have thousands of pictures of him. In fact, he has his own line of custom greeting cards!

As I continued to peruse the many photos featured, I reflected on what it takes to produce great wildlife photography like this.  One thing is for sure; nature always wins.  Nature has its own timetable, its own moment.  What happens at this moment is not repeated – there are no retakes or do-overs.  A missed shot is gone forever.   I cannot tell you the number of times I thought about taking my camera with me, only to poo-poo the idea and head on out the door, thinking that it would just be in the way… and not moments later, I missed what could have been an awesome photography moment.  All one can do after a gaffe like this is to look for the next opportunity.

Daisy has been the greatest teacher of my life. If ever there was a time to sit patiently for nothing in particular, and just enjoy the simplicity of the moment, it has been sitting or laying near her. Some of my best photography is attributed to her alertness (thus warning me of something in our midst), or simply resting and allowing a subject to come forth. FD captured this sweet moment recently, when Daisy and I shared some precious bonding time together.

And isn’t it much the same experience in our own lives?  We are often presented with opportunities, but while thinking we have plenty of time to act, we simply do not, and miss the boat so to speak.  We are in too much of a hurry to notice the moment has passed, and often, we are just not prepared for it when it comes our way.  We muddle through the day with blinders on, caught up in our own busyness.  Before long, the day is done, and the experiences we might have cherished with people and nature along the way, have forever vanished.

Reflecting further, the popular phrase, “Stop and smell the roses”, comes to mind.  For me, this equates to spending time in nature with my camera and waiting patiently, listening and observing.  Sometimes it’s about working alongside FD on a project or watching a movie together.  It means spending time with my three little dogs and playing chase with them. It is about calling my Mom, or an elderly neighbor across town, just to say “hello” and chat about the weather.  Other times it’s sitting quietly with Daisy deer and simply… resting.  I believe that when we “stop and smell the roses” along life’s road, we put ourselves in the best position to be cognizant and aware of the opportunities that await us at every turn and, when properly seized, those opportunities very often become the winning, trophy moments of our lives!

© Day by Day the Farm Girl Way…

Don’t overlook the little things in life! ~Frosty~

56 thoughts on “Frosty the Squirrel Makes “The 2012 Annual Readers’ Photography Showcase” in Outdoor Oklahoma Magazine!

  1. Fantastic, my friend. And I’m not surprised at all by your photography making it in the magazine.

    Now you need to submit one of your writing pieces with the pictures. 🙂

    I’m so very proud of you, and grateful to be called your friend.

    BTW, I just stared at that amazing picture of you and Daisy. Did FD take that?
    It SCREAMS calmness and contentment. It’s SO peaceful.

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    1. Aaaagh! Your question made me realize I’d forgotten to give FD credit for that photograph! Thank goodness for “edit” mode! Thank you, MJ… you make me blush. FD took a series of photos that evening with Daisy. She had come up to lay in the shade of a young tree and I joined her. She and I both enjoy this special bonding time. I pet her and stroke her face and neck, while she licks my arms, neck and chest. Sometimes, she’ll have a dreamy look in her eyes and she will utter a little groaning noise like she did when she was little. It’s a most amazing experience!

      Now you and Lynda are challenging me! Perhaps a submission to a magazine is a good idea… maybe it will get me past the jitters of starting a book! Thank you for your encouragement!

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  2. Lori, this is wonderful! I read MJM’s comment above and find have little to add to his words, well, except that the photo of you and Daisy belongs in your book when you write it. It’s perfect!
    ~L

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    1. Oh, thank you so much Lynda! I think I will always treasure that photo. FD said it was his favorite of that series too. I appreciate your always encouraging words. You give me a confidence and help keep my cup half-full! I love you!

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  3. L~ you have an amazing gift with photography and writing, and I see so much of your inspiration comes from your deep passion for nature. It takes a special kind of patience, and love, to put so much of yourself into the little creatures you care for, as well as the land on which you live and grow your bounty. I am so very proud of you! Look what you have already accomplished, and I believe… it’s only the beginning. Love you, my sister
    ~J

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    1. Hmm, Baby Sister… seems to me my first real lessons and deep spiritual practices in nurturing came with the arrival of a wee baby sister many years ago! Our Mom taught me much about caring for you… and the love came easily. This place I live on now, has offered the same experiences (only my subjects are hairy, furry and sometimes with feathers!) and just as rewarding. I believe universally, we all have gifts and talents to share with people of all walks. I’m so happy that in this mid-point of life everything is blossoming and coming to fruition. Thank you for your encouragement, support and love. It means so very much to me! It always has! Big Sister

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  4. What a beautiful site! And congratulations on your publication! What wonderful news. I have 3 little children. They (and their Mama) love the photography and stories from your blog. Keep it up, its so neat to see your posts.

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    1. Thank you so much! Your blog is such an inspiration to me! It is a wonderful feeling to know that you and your children love hearing about the little animals here in our woodlands. It makes my writing so much more rewarding to know that people of all ages, from all over the world have a connection with the little critters we care for and observe here.

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    1. Thank you Amanda! What a lovely compliment. Just keep “thinking” about what you want… what you desire. It WILL come to you if you draw it forth. I looked long and hard for peace and tranquility. It was always here, but I didn’t see it until I sat patiently observing.

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    1. Thank you very much! I enjoy sharing what I learn and reflect on along the way. By the way, Frosty always did love being in the spotlight… and what a poser he was. I have used his poses for custom-made greeting cards. They are always a big hit!

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  5. Congratulations! My opinion is that probably any of hundreds of your photos are worthy of publication in a nature periodical. My younger daughter LOVES the picture of you and Daisy, and she’s about ready to pack her bags and move to Oklahoma to find Daisy.

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    1. Oh my goodness!! We do entertain a lot of family and friends during the year so what is one more?? Tell her to pack her bags and come on, uh, over? down? up? (not sure where you live?). Your daughter would love watching the new activity here… and I plan to blog about it soon. Daisy deer has made some friends!!

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  6. Cluck all you want about your photo.. you deserve it. It’s a great shot. Congratulations and I hope someday they print some of your stories as well. Take care and hope your summer is starting to cool a little.

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    1. Thank you! And yes, this past week has been more than 10 degrees cooler which makes a big difference! We also got about a half-inch of rain last week that was totally unexpected. I hope you are doing well in your area… I hope to read more hiking and mountain biking adventures from you with the autumn weather just around the corner!

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      1. It’s been a bit cooler the last few days as well. Got a few hiking and biking stories in the works. I just have to get motivated and sit down for a while and write them. 🙂 Sometimes I just have to wait for the mood to hit me. Poteau, Oklahoma just a few miles north of me got 3 1/2 inches of rain in a couple of hours the other evening. Feast or famine I guess.

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  7. Lori, Congratulations on having your photograph published in the magazine. Imagine the other hopefuls leafing through the pages and finding your fabulous image of Frosty. The photographs of Ms Foxy (what a handsome creature) and the spider are also marvellous.

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    1. Thanks Margaret! The garden orbs should be making an appearance soon! I generally have several on the south side of the house. Ms. Foxy has not been seen since the spring months. That’s sad in a way, but on the other hand, now we are seeing a few bunnies around. When the foxes are here, we have no bunnies. 😦

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  8. You throughly outdid yourself on this one Lori, this was great (as Tony the tiger would say)! Isn’t it wonderful when someone else finds worth in in your work, recognizes the value of your labor, and gives you your due.

    Good job girl.

    Don

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    1. Well, thanks Don… I’m just happy to have my fellow followers and readers to find worth in my work. Seeing comments and “Like” clicks is all the pat on the back I need! I have the best blogger friends in the whole world!

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  9. You are entitled cluck a little about your achievement! It’s wonderful news and they are great photo’s. If you do write a book, let me know 😀

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  10. I am SO in love, more than ever, with Daisy and with Frosty! So very gifted and sensitive you are with your animal photography–and your way of life there on your farm! Lead on, dear lady!

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    1. Why thank you dear Granbee!! All of these little critters are special and have such personality! Frosty was such a poser for the camera, and a little ham as well! He really loved FD. I have a wonderful photo of Frosty watching FD mix his formula. Frosty is perched on FD’s shoulder, looking down as if he’s overseeing the process to make sure it’s done just right! I am so happy to share these memories with all of you!

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    1. Thanks so much! I am awaiting the garden orbs this year. They generally start showing up here in September. Most of my photographs are a result of patience and luck. Wildlife photography has many rewards, but often it is a lot of painstaking work braving the elements. These days that has been the heat, with 100° plus temps!

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  11. Lori, congratulations on having your photo chosen for publication! It’s a lovely portrait of Frosty. I’m so glad I saw this article today because it’s motivated me to finish preparing my submissions for my first photography competition (due in 2 weeks). Your description of walking down the driveway paging slowly through the magazine was very suspenseful…well done. And you should definitely be writing a book, no kidding!

    And that pic of Daisy Deer and you — I have no words……

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    1. Kim, thank you for your kind words! Good luck to you in the competition you are entering. I had never submitted to a magazine before but had entered my photography in the local county fair and won some nice ribbons. I will continue to try submitting work, but it can be a bit time consuming.

      FD took several photos of Daisy and me that evening. The first thought that occurred to me after I became aware he was photographing us, was that I was tired and not cleaned up from working outdoors all day. But when I saw the photos, I didn’t even notice how I looked. I saw only what was reflected in the photograph; what I was feeling, and how much I love Daisy… what FD managed to capture that expressed deep love and emotion. I don’t know what Daisy deer feels or thinks about, but I’m the only mother she knew… and perhaps that feeling of being nurtured is what we all long for.

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  12. I am so not surprised you’ve won placements. These photos are brilliance. The hummingbird one, is just like, how to say… capturing a bit of heaven, in a moment, on earth.

    The spider one I liked too, but that squirrel (is it a squirrel? – sorry, I’m from Australia, never seen one) – just that you got so in there with it, so close. And its gesture, its aliveness, alertness. It would have looked great on a glossy.

    Wonderful photography – congrats 🙂

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  13. Frosty the squirrel was an orphan we raised from the time he was about a week old. FD found him lying cold (and thought he was dead) in a wooded area after a violent spring storm passed through. Having raised this special boy, Frosty bonded with us, and we were lucky to get many photos of him up close. Another reason we get awesome photos is that we have invested in some great, and rather expensive lenses to get just the right photo. I use a zoom lens a lot. It’s heavy and cumbersome but does an excellent job of bringing wildlife closer to the viewer.

    Isn’t it interesting to discover various species of wildlife in another country or region that we are not familiar with? I marvel at bloggers from all over the world that capture wildlife I have never seen before. It’s fascinating and educational to discover what nature has to offer us!

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  14. Congratulations! beautiful photos and a wonderful post, like all of them you create… hope August is starting to get more comfortable weather wise.

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    1. Thank you and yes, the weather is just now beginning to give us a hint of autumn. Already, we are seeing a few fall showers that normally come around in early April. The nighttime temperatures are in the 60′s and the daytime high’s in the 80′s and low 90′s.

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    1. Yes, those are all my photos! It is a matter of either sitting quietly and observing, or being in the right place at the right time. Wildlife photography is a challenge but highly rewarding when the right moment is captured.

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      1. That sounds peaceful. I can imagine having a feel for it is key though for capturing them at the right moment. Thanks for sharing them in any case, i’m enjoying your blog 🙂 reminds me of the olden days haa…

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  15. Your posts are so wonderful and packed well-put-together thoughts and photos. It’s just great to see someone with such a love for animals share that in such an articulate way that allows others to share in the experience.

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    1. Thank you so much!! It is a wonderful compliment to hear that my photos and writings are enjoyed by so many people! I did not have any idea that living here on this little piece of land could change my life and that nature could show me the way to peace and tranquility. It makes me happy to know others are touched by my experiences. Thank you for your very nice comment!

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