One of my favorite places to photograph the Louisiana State Bird, the Brown Pelican, is the Bonnabel Boat Launch in Metairie, Louisiana. You can see me there on most weekend days. Taking pictures of pelicans on the dock. Pelicans flying. Pelicans swimming. Pelicans sneering at me. They are very patient with me. They ignore me. They poop a lot on the dock.
One Sunday at the end of August while I was entertaining the pelicans, a guy named Chris Weaver came up to me and introduced himself. I learn Chris is a member of the Louisiana Wildfowl Carvers & Collectors Guild. This group is big. Its members carve mind blowing duck decoys and fish carvings. Their work is incredibly detailed. Simply, beautiful art. Some of these decoys and carvings go for thousands of dollars.
Chris told me about his groups upcoming duck decoy and bird photography contest. He encouraged me to enter two of my best bird pictures. Chris handed me a flyer. I looked at it and put it in my back pocket. Hey I'm fresh off my 2018 City Park Photo contest victory so I was pretty full of myself. (I still am.)
Then my mind started thinking. (This doesn't happen often.) I had a great picture of a Wood Duck swimming in the bayou in City Park. The duck's reflection in the water was incredible. Hands down a winner! It wasn't.
Especially after my picture called "Turtle Reflections" won first place in the The Soul of City Park 2018 Photography Contest.
How could I go wrong by entering another fab picture with reflections? This would be so easy! Right?
Duck picture. Reflections. It looks like one of those pictures you would hang on a beautiful wooden wall in a den or study under a comfortable leather chair. Of course, I am sitting in the chair. Scotch in one hand. Cigar in the other hand. Get the picture?
Once again my friend intervened. No I was told ... "You need to enter your picture of the majestic American Bald Eagle soaring through the trees of Bayou Black in Gibson, Louisiana. It's powerful. It's fierce. It's eye catching. Oh and the Wood Duck picture it's ok."
So I framed both pictures. I entered both. I twiddled my thumbs an excruciating 24 hours waiting for the judging to end.
And the Winner is?
My friend was right again. The majestic American Bald Eagle finished in second place. Pretty cool. The picture with its pretty red Second place ribbon has a nice place of honor on my wall.
As for the Wood Duck, it didn't even place in the Top Three or snag an Honorable Mention. I still like it. It hangs on the wall above my comfortable leather chair. Maybe I'll enter it if Ducks Unlimited ever has a photography contest. I'll ask my friend first...
The pelicans are mad at me. They are in disbelief that I didn't enter one of their pictures. We came to an agreement. I would enter a picture of a pelican in the next bird photography contest.