Sequoia National Park photo contest

So this surprised me this morning.

I haven’t been in a contest or competition or vied for an award for pretty much my entire adult life. It’s not my thing. In high school, my teachers entered paintings I did in school district contests without even asking (which is indirectly related to how I got accepted in to college, what with my uninspiring academic performance). I was nominated best artist in my senior year, or something like that. My main art teacher wisely vetoed the win that most people seemed to agree was mine to have, and gave it to the school paper cartoonist instead. To teach me a lesson.

It worked.

Thank you Jerry Citrin for that. Sincerely, I thank this wonderful, inspiring man many days of my life for teaching me that lesson.

On a lark, a few weeks ago, I saw the SEKI announcement about the photo contest, and figured, what the hell, throw a couple photos in the ring, and forget about it.

For a change, that’s what I did.

A friend asked what the prize is. I don’t know. I didn’t look, and I’m not concerned. I’m sure it’s cool, whatever it is.

Mainly, I’m glad to give a little something back to SEKI NPS, a place that holds some of the universe’s most beautiful secrets. Some are easy to find. Others take work and knowledge and skill, and sometimes just a touch of fearlessness. The place that yielded this photo is unseen by probably 95% of all the parks’ visitors. Simply getting there is half the photograph.

But as with all of the secrets of the mountains and forests and deserts, the getting there is its own reward, and as long as the trees will ever stand and the water will ever move, that reward precedes, and then follows, any mere photograph we might ever take.