A picture is worth (at least) a thousand clicks!

IB’s July photo contest results are in! Here’s the judges’ top choice, taken by Derek Blackmore [derekblackmore@msn.com]. (Assume the photos are copyrighted and ask the photographer’s permission before downloading or using. That’s why we include e-mail addresses.) I swear, that’s the closest I’ve ever come to seeing a ladybug’s eyes!

The second-place photo this month is a little different — “Game On.”

“Game On” was taken by by Sara Werbeckes [polaridentity@gmail.com]. She shows us the artistry behind capturing a photo of a routine object, taken from another perspective, eh?

I thought Derek was going to run away with the competition at first glance when I matched photos with photographers after the judging, since he in fact snapped three of the top 10 pics, but Sara proves to be a great contender herself.

The judging goes like this: Four staff members of IB are given an electronic file that contains all of the entries — with no identifying marks on any of them. Then, they collectively decide the rank of the Top 20 and I publish the Top 10. This month, they had lots and lots of entries to choose from, but they had to give me one final list from the group naming a Top 10.

Like I said, it wasn’t a slam dunk for anyone. There was a lot of interesting competition, which we like.

Lynne Frits [frily@charter.net] took the third-place photo, which she named “Emerald Lake.” Makes you want to take a vacation day and fly to … I wonder where this was taken? It reminds me of a place I know in the Rockies. Where does it remind you of?

I note that she named her photo. Not every photographer supplied a name, in which case I made one up. That’s how this next picture, the fourth place winner by Nilesh Patlel [madjd02@gmail.com], got its name. I called it “Basking.”

I could be wrong, but that looks like a bearded dragon. My grandson has one named “Spike” and all spike does is lay around and bask, too. I have similar pictures in my photo album (though probably not as good as this one, admittedly).

The fifth-place photo was taken by (drum roll) Derek Blackmore. When I posted it to the folder, I didn’t know if the judges would go for it or not, but they (like me) appreciated the lighting and “different” quality about this photo of tulips.

You’ll notice there aren’t any photos of people yet — if you haven’t noticed it before, let me call it to your attention now. This month, it’s weird artsy photos or insects and flowers — and a couple lake shots.

Sara Werbeckes captures both flowers and sunlight in her photo “Peaking Sun,” which took sixth place. It puts me in the mood to send someone a Hallmark card, and that’s saying a lot. Doesn’t it make you want to light a candle and find a bottle of wine? (I mean all this in a good way, Sara.)

We had Derek and Sara tied with two each, when the judges (unknowingly, as I said) selected this photo for seventh place — “Down the Track” by Derek Blackmore.

I like the diversity this month in the photos sent in, and the judge’s picks. Believe me, we had everything from rabbits to flying geese to kids on ice, so I know it was hard for them to decide. But they were asked to stay one afternoon until they did, and I wisely made that a Friday afternoon. If it was a Monday, I’d probably still be waiting for the results — it was that hard to decide!

“Reflections” by Lisa Klein [llkcpa@hotmail.com] took eighth place. Beautiful, eh? Reminds me of Dillman’s Bay Resort up north, one of my favorite vacation spots. I’ll have to ask where she snapped it.

The next picture transported me even further away — to my childhood, when I used to catch grasshoppers. Vincent Aiello [vaiello@standardimaging.com] can lay claim to this ninth place winner. Who hasn’t drawn, dissected or held one of these? I don’t know what type of camera Vincent used — I’ve decided to have future entrants specify that with their entries — but it sure takes a great close-up shot.

Last, but certainly not least, Sara Webeckes scored another win with this tenth-place entry named “Buzz.” And don’t those clover stalks look good enough to chew? Another childhood memory … lying on my back in a field of clover, taking in the beautiful day and savoring the taste of the sweet nectar… like the fly might be planning to do. (Do flies drink nectar?)

I hope you have enjoyed this month’s IB photo contest as much as I have, and I hope the pictures have taken you places, too. That’s the idea of a good photograph — to inspire an emotional connection.

The IB contest is open monthly to amateur and professional photographers alike. Send us four photos per entry so that we have enough to choose from — and as you can see, it might increase your chances of repeat wins! Contrary to what you might think, we are accepting photos of babies and dogs next month — we’ll be putting those in a separate class, and giving them to four other staffers to judge, so don’t be shy about sending us those photos of the cutest grandkids in the world! (Of course, I feel pretty certain I’ve already won that contest). Send us your dog photos, too. We’ll do three competitions: “Regular,” “Babies/Kids” and “Dogs/Cats.” Increase the number of winners, and triple our fun.

All entries must be received by August 15 for the August contest. E-mail me at jodyp@magnapubs.com and include your name, contact phone number, and title your photos (you really don’t want me doing it). Don’t forget to attach the jpeg files, and please list what kind of camera you used. Four photos per entry is required.

Our congrats to the winners this month! Thanks for the mental break (and instant vacations) they provided.

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