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Entering contests has always been a hobby, of sorts, of mine, but when you start winning and get those 1099 forms for your ‘earnings’ then it goes beyond being a hobby to an enterprise that requires good record keeping among other things like a good camera!

That’s one challenge~~keeping track of things and buying a great camera.  However, there are many other challenges~~like when you can’t complete the contest entry alone.  Most of the time, for me, entering contests is totally solo—a one-woman show from start to finish, especially with my food contests.  Sometimes I don’t even let others know I’ve entered a particular contest (because I enter so many!)—sometimes I have to let others know because I need their feedback, their critiquing, their input—particularly on the recipe(s) I’ve created.

Probably the greatest challenge with being a food contest junkie, I thin is when you have to have another person actually participate in the contest quest with you in a role other than eating.  If they dig entering contest then you’re in luck.  If not, then it can be like pulling hen’s teeth.  When it’s not someone else’s ‘cup of tea’, and you can tell quickly.  How?  They’ll ‘help’ but they want to get it done FAST!

Such is the case with the Hellman’s Mayonnaise Blue Ribbon Challenge contest I entered.  Most contests call for submitting a photo of your dish completed.  No problem.  I have this fancy Nikon D5100 with various lenses, and I can shoot as many shots as I want, usually a lot, and then I narrow down to the few I might use for submission.  I look at every detail of the dish’s plating, how it’s to be positioned, what surrounding area I want to include, and on and on and on.  Very importantly,  I know how to operate my camera on a fundamental level—two of the lenses have automatic focusing while one does not.  That means more skill in adjusting and achieving clarity and focus.  A lot goes into food photography—some general things like focus and centering the subject matter—other more technical things like blurring the background images.  Trust me, I ‘ain’t’ no professional, and it’s continually trial and error.  So, when I knew I needed help, and the only other warm body near me was my hubby, Ben, I was antsy!  Not that he’s not supportive, he is…but, he’s got an engineer, get-it-done mind, and doesn’t mess around with artsy photography!  Also, when you hand off a Nikon D5100 to someone who (A) doesn’t know how to use it (B) wants to get it done fast and (C) has some Mr. Magoo issues then it’s more than just point and shoot!

This Hellman’s contest required, very specifically stated in the rules, that you place your finished dish on a kitchen or dining room table, and you stand behind it.  Yes, more challenges. Yikes, that meant Ben aka, Mr. Magoo, was in for some positioning and lighting issues!  I was kickin’ myself for not learning to use the delay/auto shoot feature on my camera~~dang, I could have just used the tripod.  Too late.  Ben agreed to help~~not cheerfully and happily, but he pitched in.   After about 15 shots or 7 minutes, he promptly announced that he was finished~~I now had my selection choices.   I laughed as he gave me the camera and headed to his office and thought, the good thing is that I have, at least, these shots!  Food blogging so much fun~~you just never know what’s going to be around the next corner.  So, what did I end up with…well, let’s see!  Which one do you think I submitted???

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