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Natural Perspectives: Bring your entries to the O.C. Fair

June 29, 2011|By Vic Leipzig and Lou Murray
  • The seed stalks of Gargantua the giant beet tower are more than 7 feet tall and need to be staked to keep them from flopping over.
The seed stalks of Gargantua the giant beet tower are more… (Lou Murray, HB Independent )

The Orange County Fair is almost upon us. The fair in Costa Mesa opens July 15 and closes Aug. 14.

I expect to enter some of my vegetables in the garden competition. Also, Vic and I will both be exhibiting photographs in the visual arts photography competition. It is the first time that Vic has entered, and he was thrilled to have one of his photographs accepted.

He has been using our new Canon PowerShot SX30 IS, which has the equivalent of an 825-millimeter lens. With the camera's image stabilization system, it is possible to capture great close-ups of birds even without a tripod.

His contest image is of a trio of tom turkeys strutting their stuff in Great Smoky Mountains National Park last April. They had their tails up and spread like peacocks, with their wings pointed down to the ground in stiff splendor. Vic snapped a series of shots of them and managed to get a picture with all three turkeys lined up in a row.

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Vic enjoys telling the other members of the Photographic Society of Orange County, the camera club to which we belong, that he doesn't even know which end of the camera to point at the subject. He claims that I hand him the camera while I'm driving and tell him what to shoot and that he just grabs shots out the car window. But it was a bit more work than that for the two of us.

First, we got up really early to catch the turkeys displaying courtship behavior. When we found some, we stayed with them for nearly an hour, taking endless photographs as they strutted across a broad meadow. Then, later, I looked at Vic's batch of photos and decided that one had real possibility. Apparently, the fair judges agreed with me.

Competition was steep. People could enter as many photos as they cared to pay for at $5 per entry. I entered seven photos and had two accepted. Vic likes to point out to me that he entered two and had one accepted, so his acceptance rate was higher than mine. Nothing like a little competition to keep a marriage lively.

However, I'm pinning my hope of a fair ribbon this year not on photography, but on a giant beet that I've named Gargantua.

Last year, one of my Lutz Greenleaf beets took a third-place ribbon. I was so proud. Or was it second? I wasn't proud enough to remember, apparently. This year, I think I have first prize nailed.

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