Picture this: Winning photos offer glimpses of rural California
Mar./Apr. 2010 California Country magazine
Story by Barbara Arciero
Through the lenses of their cameras, Farm Bureau members entering the 2009 annual California Farm Bureau Federation photo contest expressed pride in the state’s rich agricultural heritage and a determined optimism for its future. Amateur photographers submitted a record-breaking number of entries—nearly 400—in five categories: Kids and Critters, From Farm to Fork, All in a Day’s Work on the Farm, Natural Beauty and Budding Artists, for children 13 and younger. Here are the winning photos.
San Luis Obispo
County Farm Bureau
Sherry Molnar earned the $500 Grand Prize for a photo snapped last spring as her 7-year-old son, Brance, took a break during the family’s cattle-branding activities. Border collie Molly and quarter horse Nikki stand by in the sepia-tone photo, ready to resume the action. Molnar and her husband, Patrick, a fifth-generation cattleman, live on the family’s ranch in Cayucos with Brance and 11-year-old daughter Fallon.
NATURAL BEAUTY - First Place
Riverside County Farm Bureau
Summer storm clouds gathering on the horizon provided the subject for Ronna Frazier-Levesque’s winning photograph near Lake Skinner. The recent California transplant grew up on a sod farm in Texas and says she enjoys taking pictures of California’s unique landscapes. She works as a speech pathologist.
NATURAL BEAUTY - Second Place
Kern County Farm Bureau
Matt Bowen captured this serene view of the Carver Bowen Ranch in Glennville, which has been in his family since the 1860s. The sixth-generation rancher is currently studying ag business at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, but eagerly anticipates his return after graduation. “I hope to raise a family on the ranch and keep the tradition going,” he says.
FROM FARM TO FORK - First Place
Placer County Farm Bureau
Janet Turner seldom goes anywhere without a camera. “I love taking pictures of the rural lifestyle,” she says. Turner and her husband, Buck, were helping friends move cattle in California’s high desert when this almost-hypnotic scene unfolded. “It looked like a whirlpool, like the cattle were swirling.”
FROM FARM TO FORK - Second Place
San Joaquin Farm Bureau Federation
“There are a lot of good stories to tell about agriculture. People are passionate about what they do.” That’s the main reason lifelong farmer Joe Valente keeps at least one camera in his pickup. He says he is pleased to have captured Humberto Virgen’s expression of pride and professionalism during last spring’s cherry harvest in Lodi.
ALL IN A DAY’S WORK ON THE FARM - First Place
Colusa County Farm Bureau
Farming, from about 1,000 feet up! That’s the view Tyson Schmidt provides with an aerial photograph of a Yolo County farmer preparing tomato beds for planting. Schmidt took the shot last spring from the vantage point of a paramotor, which is a steerable parachute powered by a propeller attached to the pilot’s back.
ALL IN A DAY’S WORK ON THE FARM - Second Place
Plumas-Sierra County Farm Bureau
Doris Goss’ 100-year-old ranch is home to about 200 head of cattle and 100 sheep—plus gorgeous draft horses like Jennie and Sis who are frequently called upon to haul hay through the deep Sierra snow. Using one of two digital cameras she keeps handy at all times, Goss photographed the frost-kissed horses after a Christmas Eve excursion.
KIDS AND CRITTERS - First Place
San Luis Obispo County Farm Bureau
A photo of a 4-year-old cowgirl sharing the saddle with her canine companion brought smiles from the judges and a first-place award for Misty Tartaglia, a fourth-generation rancher. Tartaglia says she couldn’t resist photographing this scene, which shows Sage Pearce of Santa Maria waiting her turn at the Santa Barbara Fiesta Rodeo.
KIDS AND CRITTERS - Second Place
Merced County Farm Bureau
Katie Favier’s eye-catching photo shows her 1½-year-old grandson perched in the wheel of a tractor, eyeing a trio of goats with a mixture of curiosity and concern. The little guy is Caden Cruz Contreras, who was visiting from Sacramento. Later in the visit Caden cemented his relationship with the animals when he had the opportunity to feed them.
BUDDING ARTISTS - First Place
Lauren Millang, 11 years old
Yolo County Farm Bureau
A dramatically lit still life of pumpkins earned Lauren Millang top honors in the “Budding Artists” category—along with some money to help pay for horseback-riding lessons. The busy sixth-grader also takes dance lessons and maintains a full schedule of 4-H activities.
BUDDING ARTISTS - Second Place
Andrew Bettisworth, 12 years old
Santa Clara County Farm Bureau
Andrew Bettisworth may live in one of the nation’s largest cities, but that doesn’t stop him from appreciating a rural lifestyle. When the San Jose boy spotted an antique hay rake during a family vacation in Lake County last summer, he knew it was a perfect “photo op.” The seventh-grader is taking a photography class at school to help him fine-tune his skills.
Barbara Arciero is the managing editor for California Country. She can be reached at 800-698-FARM or firstname.lastname@example.org.