Astute readers of this little blog will no doubt remember a previous entry describing my problems of getting a trail map from the Oklahoma Dept. of Wildlife Conservation and the OWPHA, the Oklahoma Wildlife and Prairie Heritage Association. http://warrensphotos.blogspot.com/2010/12/lost-trails.html . A classic failure to communicate.
But on Friday, my mailbox was blessed with a plain brown envelope bearing the return address of the above parties. Keeping in mind the explosive mail that Homeland Security and other official offices have received lately, I opened it with utmost caution as my relationship with the sender has been testy at best. There were no incendiaries, only the promised map and a half dozen business card sized "collector's" photos depicting wildlife in Oklahoma; Road Runner, Prairie Chicken, and American Avocet to name a few. Well, isn't that special?
The enclosure that caught my eye though, was the announcement of an upcoming photo contest sponsored by the OWPHA. I love photo contests and have had reasonably good luck with them in the past. My top two prizes being a round trip to Seattle, WA, hotel and car rental included, and the granddaddy prize of all, a brand new 47 inch high definition television set. Eagerly, I went to the website to see the rules of entry. There were several areas of competition; wildlife (oh boy), landscapes (I'm ready for that one too), Old Buildings (maybe) and Events representing prairie heritage (nope, not for me). Prizes? What were the prizes? Cash? Gift Certificates? A trip to the Bahamas? No, not exactly. I will list the prizes for you, dear reader, by the cut and paste method directly from the website.
A first and second place ribbon will be awarded in each category and division.
A RIBBON? A FREAKIN' RIBBON? YOU GOTTA BE S------G ME! Let me understand, you people want photographers to travel all over Oklahoma, using their own car and gas, the skills they have honed with years of experience, using the equipment they have scrimped and saved for over a lifetime, make a print (being sure to put our name and address on the back), send it to you with our own postage, and breathlessly await for a judging from someone who's never taken a good photo during their miserable existence on this planet, to award the winner A RIBBON? IS THAT ABOUT RIGHT? DO I HAVE THE PICTURE?
Did I mention that all photos become the property of OWPHA to be used in any type of advertising they see fit with absolutely no compensation to the photographer? Such a deal! Upon further review of the "collector's" photos I received, not one had so much as a credit for what I'm sure were donated images. Gee.
Unfortunately, this so called "contest" like so many others that come along, is nothing more than a scam to collect quality photos for free. On the other hand, Outdoor Oklahoma, a publication by the Wildlife Department, pays well for the photos they use in the magazine, above average in fact. Go figure.
Thing is, if I get another package in the mail from the OWPHA, I'm calling Homeland Security.