Dakota County Fair features tough competition
Photography Instructor Darrell Tangen reported that several of his students participated in the Photo Contest at the 2011 Dakota County Fair. The contest features 17 classes plus 18 lots with five different departments of competitors.
Tangen had this to say about students showing their work at a competition featuring submissions from a long list of superb photographers: “Sometimes, I think we require students to take so many ‘introductory’ level courses and then we have them go straight to an application of those skills. We tend to skip the in-between fun part of looking at our photos from the outside, looking in. In other words, how do our clients and contest judges view our images?”
“The photographic competition is very challenging at the Dakota County Fair, much more than at most county fairs in Minnesota. There are more entries and more categories, making winning a ribbon more of a reward than normal.”
Tangen added that a summer 2011 special topics course called Better Pictures filled a bit of that void. “The course isn’t about f:stops, shutter speeds, or ISOs, or even composition,” he said. “Instead, it’s about the ‘story.’ When a viewer looks at the image, what story are they imagining? What caption for the image do they think about? Tapping into this story can help us take better pictures because we will start to think like our customers.”
Students spend time considering many of the aspects that a judge would consider when rating or judging an image. Tangen was able to share his judging training and experiences with the class to help them develop an image-rating system of their own. At the Dakota County Fair, the students were able to test their theories to see if those theories aligned with with choices of the judges.
“The photographic competition is very challenging at the Dakota County Fair, much more than most county fairs in Minnesota,” Tangen said. “There are more entries and more categories, making winning a ribbon more of a reward than normal.”
Student Photographers at the Fair
John Other Medicine
- Age: 32
- 1998 graduate of Harding Senior High School | St. Paul, Minn.
- Hometown: Crow Agency, Mont.
- Veteran: U.S. Army 82nd Airborne
- Hobby: Marathon runner
- Major: Photography
- Two first-place ribbons, fourth-place ribbon, fifth-place ribbon
Before he found digital photography as his career, John Other Medicine worked as a forest firefighter and armored car security officer. He started shooting seriously after his mom bought him a Nikon D3000. He is set to graduate in May 2012 with an A.A.S. in Photography and a certificate in Entrepreneurship/Small Business. He and his wife Nicole, a member of the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe, have two sons, Jack, 2, and Evan, a few months old.
“Our plan is to open our own photography studio in Deer River, Minnesota,” said Other Medicine, who has run three marathons, two Grandmas and one Twin Cities (he’s training for the 2012 running of the latter). “We hope to have the studio up and running in 2013 with Nicole as the second shooter.”
John Other Medicine Fair Photos
- Age: 31
- 1998 graduate of Burnsville High School | Burnsville, Minn.
- Hometown: Burnsville, Minn.
- Hobbies: Painting, writing poetry and prose, cooking, photography, collecting coins
- Major: Photographic Imaging Technology
- Second-place ribbon
Megan Mahoney enjoys the hands-on nature of the Photographic Imaging Technology program. “You really learn how to capture the best-quality images,” Mahoney said. “You come out of the program knowing how to take much better photographs.”
As a student in the Photographic Imaging Technology program, you use your creative side to plan and take unique photographs. You then process, manage and digitally enhance your photographs to produce professional-quality prints. You also learn digital workflow, color management, advanced Photoshop and large-format printing techniques.
“Photography is definitely about the art,” said Mahoney, who is working to earn her 32-credit diploma with plans to follow an entrepreneurial path as a photographer and technician. “But it’s very important to understand the business of photography.”
Megan took a second-place ribbon in Water Scene for her photo “Reflection.”
Megan Mahoney Fair Photos
- 2007 graduate of Eastview High School | Apple Valley, Minn.
- Hometown: Miami, Fla.
- Hobby: Reading, writing poetry, going for walks
- Major: Graphic Design Technology
- Third-place ribbon, second-place ribbon
Josue Isaola started out as a film photographer, but soon found he preferred the digital realm, which has several advantages over film, including immediate review and versatility in use and sharing. Film and film development costs are nonexistent. In digital, you only print your very best shots.
“I found my swagger in digital photography,” said Isaola, who directs his creative side toward images that are edgy and often angry. “I like working in Photoshop and Lightroom. They are great programs.”
Isaola plans to start and manage his own photography business after earning his A.A.S. degree in Graphic Design Technology in fall 2011. Photography is a must-have resource in the world of graphic design. Many graphic designers are also accomplished photographers.
Josue Isaola Fair Photos
- Age: 21
- 2009 graduate of Ellsworth High School | Ellsworth, Wis.
- Hometown: Bay City, Wis.
- Hobbies: Off roading, four wheeling, walking/hiking, playing card games and spending time with family
- Major: Photography
- Two first-place ribbons, second-place ribbon
Natasha Langer started following her photography career from the time she was a toddler. Today, she shoots with a Canon 60D, but that wasn’t always the case.
“I had a plastic Playskool camera almost before I could walk,” Langer remembers. “My mom gave me a brick-shaped 35mm camera when I was seven. It was a pretend camera and didn’t work.”
By age eight, she was shooting film. “I used up twelve rolls of film on the first day I got my camera,” she said. In 2004, Langer took a middle-school trip to Washington, D.C. She took 3,000 digital photographs with a Sony Cyber-shot. “I loved it!” she recalled with a smile.
Like her fellow Dakota County Fair contestants, Langer wants to strike out on her own after she graduates in spring 2012. “Ever since grade school, my dream has been to own my own gallery,” she said. “To accomplish that, you have to know the business piece—and the instructors in the Photography program make sure you do.”
Red Leaf took 2nd in the Still Life category, Distant Future took 1st in Portrait, 1 person and Frosty Outlook also took 1st in a category for not otherwise listed.
Natasha Langer Fair Photos
Frank Farr and Denise Farr
Photography majors Frank and Denise Farr did exceptionally well at the fair. Frank Farr took home a blue ribbon and received an Award of Excellence in the Still Life Lot for an image called “Rocks.” Denise Farr took a first-place ribbon and two second-place ribbons.
Denise Farr and Frank Farr Fair Photos
An avid and talented photographer, Susan Raway enjoys going on Darrell Tangen’s photography workshops, including his popular North Shore Workshops that feature spectacular spots near the towns of Beaver Bay, Schroeder and Tofte as well as state parks like Split Rock, Gooseberry and Temperance. Susan took home a fourth-place ribbon for her photo of a fairy girl in green.
Susan Raway Fair Photos