Rowdy Deer Makes the “2014 Readers’ Photography Showcase” in Outdoor Oklahoma Magazine!

It is that time of year again when I peruse photos from the past year, and choose my best work to submit to Outdoor Oklahoma Magazine’s “Readers’ Photography Showcase”. FD and I both subscribe to the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation’s (ODWC) bi-monthly magazine as well as their weekly email communications.  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.

My first time ever to submit my wildlife photography work to Outdoor Oklahoma was back in 2012, when I poured over my photographs from the previous year and settled on five photos – the maximum number of entries allowed per individual.  Our very photogenic orphaned red fox squirrel, Frosty, won a full-page glossy in the magazine that year! As his photographer, I was elated and felt more confident than ever about my photography skills. In fact, I was so excited about earning a spot in the magazine’s photo gallery, I had to share it with my fabulous followers in the post “Frosty The Squirrel Makes The “2012 Readers’ Photography Showcase” in Outdoor Oklahoma Magazine!

When 2013 rolled around and it was once again time for a submission to the Readers’ Photography Showcase, I was very hopeful about the photographs I submitted, feeling I had done an even better job with the camera than the year before. During the many outings I managed in 2013, Nature provided some excellent opportunities for me, much of which occurred while walking with Daisy deer to the river to explore a vast area. So, after sending in my five photographs, I was confident about my chances. But when the long-awaited July/August issue arrived showcasing the winning photos, not one of my photographs had been chosen. As I flipped through the many pages of wildlife photos, landscapes, and sporting activity, I was both surprised and disappointed. Compared to the year before, the images selected seemed to reflect the eyes of a novice, an amateur. “Hmm, I mused, it that year’s panel of judges, or single judge whatever it may have been – had a completely different perspective than what was reflected the year before. Oh, well – c’est la vie…”

The 2014 issue of Outdoor Oklahoma featuring the Readers' Photography Showcase.
The 2014 issue of Outdoor Oklahoma featuring the Readers’ Photography Showcase.

When this year’s submission period came around, I neglected the email notices too long and missed the deadline. I am not sure what I was so busy with but, in a way, I think I purposefully let the days slip by. It took a lot of work to submit the photos, and document everything correctly, and I often let myself become overwhelmed when there is too much work involved in a project.  Deep inside, I also knew I was still disappointed by the photography featured the year before.  And then, after the deadline for entries closed, I received an email announcing the magazine was extending the deadline by a month and was encouraging more photo submissions. I felt this was a sign that I should get busy looking at my photos despite my poor attitude. Additionally, I was pleasantly surprised to find that a new online submission form made the whole process a breeze! Now I had no excuse not to give it a whirl.

With my spirit renewed, I could hardly wait to see if any of my work had been chosen when the July/August 2014 Readers’ Photography Showcase issue arrived in the mail this summer.  With the new magazine hot out of the mailbox, I walked down the long lane on my trek back to the house, flipping pages, looking, hoping, and finally preparing myself for disappointment again. The judge(s) this year seemed to have a particular interest in birds. Page after page reflected migratory and native bird images, bird sporting shots, and bird hunting photos. Only a small number of mammal photographs were represented, and even fewer Oklahoma landscapes. I was surprised to see several reptile and insect images, along with some fishing photos, which were nice additions not normally represented. Then, on page twenty, there was a photo of Daisy’s little buck, Rowdy. It had been difficult for me to look back through photos of Daisy’s first twins after the loss of Rowdy, but the wonder and joy of observing Daisy’s first year as a new mother of two beautiful fawns, had completely consumed me, and was easily my number one subject for photography. As such, I would guess I had thousands of photographs of the three of them. Remembering that special time as I flipped through the remaining pages of the magazine, I felt happy that of all of my submissions, that particular one was chosen.

The caption under the photograph in Outdoor Oklahoma Magazine: "Bleating Fawn" A white-tail deer fawn calls to an adult deer at the edge of the woods.
The caption under the photograph in Outdoor Oklahoma Magazine:
“Bleating Fawn”
A white-tail deer fawn calls to an adult deer at the edge of the woods.

As I poured back over the magazine photographs, I examined them with more of a playful eye, rather than focusing so much on their composition or technical aspects. So what if birds were mainly featured in this year’s showcase issue? Thinking back to past issues, there tended to be a lot of attention given to landscape images, or photos of large mammals like deer, elk, and buffalo.  It would always be a crap-shoot as to what next year’s judges would be looking for, and certainly if the judges were all photographers – amateur or professional – each had their own perception of what made for outstanding wildlife photography.  And if the judges were not photographers, their selections would simply be about how the images inspired or delighted them personally.

This coming January, when entries are accepted for the 2015 Readers’ Photography Showcase, I will again submit my favorite photos, and this time not worry about what might be favored. It is always a thrill to be recognized, but really, that recognition is only someone else’s idea of what is exemplary. I like this quote by Salma Hayek to help keep this all in perspective:

“People often say that ‘beauty is in the eye of the beholder,’ and I say that the most liberating thing about beauty is realizing that you are the beholder. This empowers us to find beauty in places where others have not dared to look, including inside ourselves.”

© 2014 Day by Day the Farm Girl Way…


77 thoughts on “Rowdy Deer Makes the “2014 Readers’ Photography Showcase” in Outdoor Oklahoma Magazine!

    1. Thank you Jane… I hope you have a happy and lovely Christmas yourself! So far it looks as if the weather will be cooperating in this area. How about your neck of the woods?

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      1. We’re set for a fairly stormy summer. Brisbane has already had some wild weather in the last few weeks. Friends had 32 panes of glass broken from hailstones. We really need the rain in many parts of Queensland though. It’s pretty typical for my state to get a few cyclones, so we are used to it. Usually Christmas Day is hot, still and dry though so swimming and cold drinks are popular here. Not really a white Christmas, more so a sunburnt one! 🙂

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        1. Oh my goodness!! I had no idea you’d had THAT kind of weather to deal with! Although I have always loved the spring/summer storms and found them to be exciting, I know no one wants to deal with the aftermath and damage of those sorts of weather phenomena. Personally, I’d love to live in the heat/warmer temps all year round. The older I get the harder the frigid temps and bitterness of winter are for me. Enjoy the rays of sun and the cool drinks! 🙂

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    1. Hello Henrietta! There is only the surprise of opening that particular issue to know if any photographs were chosen. They do post the name of the photographer, location where photo was taken, and circumstances.

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  1. Congratulations! That’s a lovely picture of little Rowdy. I went through the same discouragement as you after I submitted a group of photos to an Audubon photography contest a couple years ago. I didn’t even try a second time because I was so disappointed. But you’re right, the selections often depend on personal preferences of individual judges, so we should keep trying!

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    1. Exactly, Kim! We should keep trying! I am very happy that Outdoor Oklahoma came up with an online submission form that made the task so much easier. Oh, and you’ll be glad to know I’m going to do the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservations Winter Bird Survey this year too! I did not take the time to monitor birds last year during the survey time period, and sadly, I discovered that no one from my county took part. Apparently for the last years I have been the only person to report winter bird species in my county! I always learn so much about birds doing this survey… I usually discover a species hanging about the feeders that I’m not familiar with! It’s fun!

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      1. That’s great, I can’t wait to hear what you find! And I’m particularly glad you’re doing it in an area where there apparently aren’t enough people paying attention to the birds. I’ll be participating in the Christmas Bird Count next Sunday with some friends from my Audubon chapter. This will only be my second time to take part, but I had a wonderful time doing it last year during a heavy snowstorm. This year is bound to be easier than that! 🙂

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        1. Yes, it was a little bit disappointing to know I was the only bird watcher in this county. It is fun, and easy to do since I have a good view of the feeder from the house. Actually, if we have just a little snow it’s easier to spot and identify the birds. The brown of the dead and dried vegetation often camouflages many species and I might miss a few!

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  2. Congratulations on that gorgeous photo of Rowdy featured in the magazine’s photo contest! I pop over to your blog now and then from the Farmy as Iam a long time member of the Fellowship.☺️
    I was wondering if you have ever read the children’s book, Salt Hands? I think you would love it!
    Happy Winter!

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    1. Hello Chris! I have been a member of the Fellowship for a couple of years now and just love the Farmy! Celi takes some lovely photos. I have read Salt Hands and loved it! In fact, I’d read the book long before I raised Daisy deer. Thanks for stopping by! Happy winter to you too! 🙂

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  3. Gorgeous photo, well deserved honour! You are so right, awards are always a ‘crap shoot’ and you just have to let it be water off a duck’s back. The judging panels on these things are so variable it’s anyone’s guess as to what will take their fancy. We are appreciative of your beautiful photos, regardless of awards! Have a peaceful holiday.

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  4. I love that quote. It’s what “we” find beautiful that we take the most pleasure from. Who cares if no-one else gets it or dances to the same song…the fact that it delights our hearts and souls and feeds us is what matters. Congratulations on your inclusions in the magazine both past and present and here’s to many more photo shoots to come. Make sure to enter that image of Punkin rolling around in your 2015 quotient, it’s sure to delight a judges opinion 😉

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    1. Ha ha! Fran, that is the best photo, isn’t it? What joy those two have brought all of us. I am so fortunate to have so many great wildlife photography opportunities. The thrill I feel each time I’m out there in the woods or on a hike, when I come face to face with something wild and unknown, it’s just indescribable. And you’re right, my friend… “the fact that it delights our hearts and souls and feeds us is what matters.” Well said. 🙂

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      1. I am going to wait with bated breath for that armadillo shot. I recon there are more readers than just me who would be amazed and thrilled by a photo of a wild armadillo doing it’s thang’ 🙂

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        1. Oh I see them a lot in the summer time, diligently rooting around for vittles, but one thing I have not witnessed is the act of copulation! Hmm, this could be an adventure for me! They’re so easy to sneak up on too. Although, I think they are much more active at night – this might prove to be a bit of a challenge!

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          1. Ha! I am afraid I already got my Christmas gift… my first generation iPad went a tad haywire, so I have a new replacement. I’m not sure I’ve been THAT good of a girl to get a go-pro, but I bet a head lamp might be a viable stocking stuffer! 😀

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  5. YEA! To be chosen among so many who are bound to enter – quite an accomplishment. That picture is very unusual – you’ve seen fawns featured, but this one isn’t just beautiful – it show a minute captured – those ears swiveling like radar – that little mouth calling – the ready to spring searching pose. You captured life – joy and the sadness.
    So glad you are entering – online makes it easier (even emotionally not having to get the envelope, lick the stamp, hand it off to the mailbox…so many points to turn back and not try) These things are a bit like prom queen or cheerleading elections – it’s so random. (But the mag does have to consider what has been featured last year and try to present a new face each time)
    This is a big bird watching area and the featured acts are everywhere right now. Friday a really large crested white crane of some sort was leisurely strolling all around an intersection around the corner. He was totally undisturbed by everyone slowly rolling by with cameras at all the windows. A city car was alerting and providing a bit of escort as he meandered across esplanades, sidewalks, flowerbeds. Not sure what he was except beautiful and serene. I should look it up, but just like I can enjoy a ballet without knowing the dancers’ names, I can appreciate birds.
    Hope your December is fill of wonder and joy!

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    1. Thank you! Yes, you are right… the featured photos are ever changing and this was the year to put birds in the spotlight. Speaking of birds, I have an opportunity to head up north to Kearney, NE this March to photograph the Sandhill Cranes, and maybe take in some notable speakers. Not sure I’ll be able to swing it, but growing up in SE Nebraska, I know it is quite an event to take in. I might have to see if FD is willing to make the trek… could be a fun time!

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      1. You should go! Large numbers of cranes/birds are pretty amazing. It’s funny. Molly loves to watch birds – totally fascinated. She’ll even watch them on TV. The ones in the backyard seem to realize that and rarely fly when she shows up.

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  6. What a wonderful way to honor his memory! I think the subjectivity of what appeals in photo contests is similar to the subjectivity of what appeals in blog posts — sometimes you craft what you believe is a stellar piece, and it hardly generates any interest or commentary, and then the most mundane post will result in a flurry of likes or comments. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and even that may vary from day to day! Merry Christmas!

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  7. Big sister, your photography is always amazing! I know that wilderness/nature photos are what sparks your interest, but even the family photos your’ve taken for us over the years have always come out wonderful; you know why? It’s because you capture your subjects in their element, being themselves. Indoor pics always look so “posed”, because they are. You capture animals and people alike, being themselves, which is why your photos are so enjoyable to peruse.
    Congrats on Rowdy making it into Outdoor Oklahoma!! I know that one is near and “deer” to your heart, which makes me so happy it was chosen. Rowdy’s memory lives on in your hearts, and now in the hands of the Outdoor Oklahoma readers! Great job, Big Sister; it makes my heart smile to see you soar where your passion lies!

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    1. Aw, thanks Jules. I enjoy kicking around with the camera. I enjoyed it when I was a kid with my first Instamatic camera. That’s why it’s important to help kids explore their passions – you never know what it might turn into someday.

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  8. Just hiking through to wish you a restful and fun “In-Between Holidays Week”. Warm thought sent (and if you’re the one hogging all the sunshine, could you spare a tiny ray or two…so much fog…and the dog is beginning to get bored. Insert giggles here!)

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    1. Oh hello! My goodness we’ve been traveling a bit – went to Dallas to Sissy Jo’s house and spent Christmas with her family, and just today my sister Juli and her family headed back to Nebraska. I’m pooped but it was such a fun holiday season with family. Our weather has been gloomy for weeks. I think even Daisy deer is tired of it. I thought for sure you being so far south you rarely had to deal with froggy weather. I hope I can get back to some blogging soon. I miss it terribly! Thank you for checking on me… and a Happy New Year to you!

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    1. That looks yummy! I have found some really good recipes… and I’m always trying something new. Paleo is really an adventure… sometimes it works out and a lot of times a recipe needs tweaking. Baking Paleo is weird and I’m not fond of it yet. But I’m always looking for new recipes and this one will be my next conquest! Thanks Fran!! 🙂

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          1. I have raspberry plants that have not produced EVER. I’ve had them 6 years maybe? Not sure what the problem is, and I haven’t had time to research it. I have cherry trees planted (both sweet and sour) but we’ve had some bad fruit years (late spring freezes) so no fruit for the last 3 years. It’s so disappointing! 😦

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          2. No fruit ever? I can’t even begin to imagine why as raspberries are one of natures great weeds. What are they planted in? It would be very disappointing to miss out on fruit that you were hoping you might get. I thought I had it bad with our possums but at least the trees set fruit to be scoffed. Those raspberries aren’t being predated by something are they? They are most delectable little things and you just never know what might be pilfering them early on in the game. I just did a bit of research and if your soil is very acidic, you might have a problem with them not being able to take up iron which causes fruit to not set. Do the leaves have a yellowish look to them? If so, it might be a problem with iron.

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          3. Fran, the leaves are beautiful and the plants are quite prolific. They look amazing. But no blooms ever and therefore, no fruit. I have the raspberries in a morning shaded area and full sun the rest of the day. They are along a fence line where the canes are supported. They also produce runners quite often so I have a lot of new plants each year.

            The peach, apple and apricot trees have produced fruit, but the pear and cherry trees have not… but to be fair they are only 3 years old and we’ve been in a drought for 3 years, plus we generally have late freezes which ruin the developing fruits or blossoms. Our soil is very poor here. I grow all sorts of vegetables, but they never produce well. The only thing I have great luck with is tomatoes, bell peppers, hot peppers, and sweet potatoes. I keep trying, and we keep amending the soil.

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          4. Just keep adding more organic matter (lots of greens and straw is awesome) to your soil, grow green crops (legumes, buckwheat is awesome for drought conditions) and dig them back into the soil. Our soil here is rubbish as well. I grow on top of the ground it is that rocky and rubbish. Sweet potatoes do a lot of digging for you apparently so keep growing them. I am just starting to grow them this year :). If they aren’t even setting blossom there is something wrong. Not sure what would cause them not to even set blossoms. Hopefully they aren’t sterile.

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          5. I’ve wondered about that. I got them from a good nursery. Actually, they are Bababerries – a raspberry that does well in the south – the warmer climates. How would I know if they are sterile? Are they just trash then?

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          6. Not sure Lori, talk to a local nursery. Don’t trash them yet, it might just be a simple thing like some kind of nutritional deficiency so I would ask at your local nursery and see if it isn’t something simple before I did something drastic.

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          7. If they are sterile for some reason, you might have to pull them up and start again but if that means that you get raspberries, it’s worth it 🙂

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  9. And oh that is a stunning image, you know these animals so well that you get these fantastic shots.. hope it is not as cold there as it is here… I am not looking forward to chores in the morning.. c

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    1. Thanks, Celi. Oh my yes, it’s going to be bitter cold tonight. Tomorrow’s temps will be the lowest we’ve had this season. I dread it. I prepared everything as best I could this evening for the wildlife that we support around here. I see four deer down below with Daisy tonight at the feeder. She looks so woolly this year! They’ll tuck away somewhere sheltered from the wind when the arctic front hits. FD and I have to go to a company dinner in OKC tomorrow evening – the winds will be gusting to 40 mph and the temps will drop in the single digits. I’m not sure I have anything warm enough to wear! Be careful out there doing your chores. I remember how tough we had to be in Nebraska. I’ve grown soft in the 25 years I’ve lived here in Oklahoma.

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