The first contest winner from Skips Summer School

One of the contests I posed to the attendees at Skips School earlier this month was to write a 125 word Mini-Saga and accompany it with just one image. The challenge is to write something a bit evocative, mysterious maybe, and then find or create an image that helps to support the story - either quite literally, or interpretively. Almost anything goes, but the purpose is to get us thinking outside the box and about illustrating ideas and feelings with our photos.

I posed 3 contests to the attendees - Capture the letters of the alphabet, create a Laying Down Game photo, and this Mini-Saga. Well, each contest was for over $1000 in prizes from vendors like Asukabook, Animoto, Smugmug, Tamrac, Bay Photo Lab, X-rite, Sticky Filters, Triple Scoop Music, and more. Awesome stuff, and guess what? Out of 300+ attendees to the program, only one person took the time to do the Mini-Saga contest - so he wins! Congratulations to Stephen Eisenbraun for his story and image of the tennis player. Kudus to you Stephen for the cool image and words, but also for taking the initiative and just doing it. Not one person entered the laying down game contest - so sadly I can't give away another $1000 for that. We did have entries for the Alphabet contest, and I'll be posting those online in a day or two for open judging by YOU and another $1000 worth of goodies to give away!

Below is a sample story I wrote, to get things started, and the image I picked to go with it. 

"The show ended very quickly, as if in an instant, yet it seemed to go on forever. So many stories, memories, feelings. It was like a flood of images - flash, flash, flashing.

Before my eyes could open, I sensed the tickle of a feather on my hand. A long white feather leading to an eloquently carved writing instrument, made of solid gold, perhaps. It was much lighter than I would have guessed - weightless even.

Under the nib was a single, rectangular, parchment - the size of an old book. It sat on an aged stone table. The parchment was blank other than the hand-written number 1 in the middle, followed by a period, followed by a short line, the length of a finger. It seemed it was a test and there was only one answer."

This is Stephen's winning story and image:

"Anticipate, scan, steadfast, confident, poised, ready, firm, agile, respond, swift, pounce, shift, jump, lob, volley, backhand, forehand, turn, twist, run, ground stroke, rally, overhead, execute, aim, direction,speed, height, toward, away, side, drop shot, top spin, service line, base line, doubles line, out, in, swing, angle, center, split, partner, opponent, balance, follow through…"

What was interesting to me is that when I asked the audience who was going to enter one of these contests, almost everyone raised their hands! Yet, for whatever reasons, only a handful actually made it happen, even when they had $1000 to gain from just entering. What is it that keeps us from taking action on things we know we want to do, and could be profitable to us? Are we so busy that we just don't have time? Do we think that we couldn't possibly be successful, even if we tried, so we give up? Do we see "SQUIRREL!" everywhere and get distracted? What else are we missing out on by simply not taking action. I admit I know I miss a lot, but I constantly try to remind myself to "Make it happen."