Announcing the 2011 High School photography contest!

Growing up, I had no idea what I wanted to do. I knew that I did not want to sit behind a desk wearing a suit, but that was about it. I did not know God and I CERTAINLY didn’t know His plan for my life. Nor did I know to ask Him for direction. So, here I am some, um…, years after graduating high school. God pulled me away from my parent’s home and my closest friends to a far away land called South Carolina. Here, I met wonderful people the He used to direct my life in a way that led me to salvation through Jesus Christ, which led to meeting my amazing and wonderful wife who encouraged me in my artistic outlet: photography. Today, I spend a lot of time sitting at a desk (usually in jeans, not a suit), but doing what I love!

When I took my first photography class in high school, film was the only option, the dark room was really dark and not digital, and SLR cameras were not just big point and shoot cameras that you could change lenses on. Oh yeah, and you didn’t know if you captured the photograph you wanted or exposed it correctly for DAYS or WEEKS, depending on how many more photographs needed to be taken to use up the rest of your roll of film. I learned about processing film in cans and printing my own photographs. There was something amazing about watching your image appear on the paper in trays of chemicals. Watching it closely and pulling it out at just the right moment, splashing it into fixer so that it would stay that way forever. My “back button” was starting all over again, and I used that “button” a lot while learning. We learned about apertures, shutter speeds and how they worked together and why you would want an f2.8 instead of f8 for a particular photograph.

Today, photography is a lot more accessible. There is instant gratification and you know right away if you “got the shot” and need to do it again. Creativity has reached a whole new level because of this. I love seeing all of the photographs that are on Facebook, some snapshots, some landscapes, and some that are greatly conceived ideas captured by a camera. There was not an outlet for me to showcase my photography to so many at one time, and we NEVER got to get immediate response with a “like” button to know what people thought. This contest is designed to reward creativity and knowledge. Knowing what your camera does and why is important to being a great and consistent photographer. As a photographer, I am really excited to see what students come up with. This is open to ALL high school juniors and seniors. I am limiting it to them because I hope for this to be the first of many contests and I really want to see new students as we go forward.

We wanted to come up with a way to give back to our community with this event and we selected Radio Free Florence to support. We selected this organization because of the desire they have to offer a better alternative for our community by playing the best in Christian Pop Rock music. They are a non-profit organization that relies on support, it is an airwaves mission field with a goal to start a network of local Christian stations like

2011 High School Jr/Sr Photography Contest

Purpose: To encourage creativity and offer an outlet for students to showcase their photography.

Eligibility: All high school Junior and Senior students. Photography must be created by the student without direct assistance from anyone else. There will be a minimal entrance fee of $5 per student (one time to cover all photographic entries by student) and a maximum 9 images, with a maximum of 3 per category.

Timeline: Entries will be accepted starting February 1 and must be entered by March 1. The online voting gallery will be up by Saturday March 5. Online voting will go from the date of the gallery going live until the end of the day on March 26th. We should have a daily update on the winning images in each gallery so you will know where you stand in the preliminary voting. The final judging will be completed by April 9th.

Prizes: There will be a Grand Prize of a $500 (intended) scholarship and $50 prize for the winner of each category.

How it works: Photographs will be entered electronically ($5 entry due per student) and displayed through an online gallery (the Contest Page of the blog) for voting to select the top three images in each category. Each photograph should be entered titled along with technical details and a short description of the artist’s vision for the image. Voting will be done by donations going to help support Radio Free Florence. Each vote will be $1 made by clicking on the “donate” button that will be at the bottom of the gallery. When completing your vote/donation, the image number will NEED to be listed in the comments box when confirming your donation payment (done through PayPal). (I promise this will make more sense when the gallery is up and ready for votes.) All images will be numbered without artist name showing. Voting will be done through a donation button and (when voting starts) the image number MUST be listed in the comments section to count towards a specific image. Possibly working to have an actual print display at a location to be determined for winners of each category for the final judging. The top three vote getters from each category’s online gallery will go to final judging to determine each category winner and for the grand prize winner. The judges will be made up of local artists/teachers/entrepreneurs… to be determined. All images will be anonymous to avoid tainted judging. Judging will be based on composition, exposure, lighting, subject matter, creativity and overall aesthetics.

Categories: A maximum of 3 images per student can be entered into each category with a total maximum of 9 images per student. The categories will be:

Landscape, Candid Lifestyle, Family Portrait, Male Portrait, Female Portrait, Macro Photography, Artistic Enhancement, Sports and Wildlife.

All entries need to be sent to with the subject “photo contest” (or something like it) so I know what it is about.

Please resize your images before emailing them to me to a width of 1600px @72dpi.

A little more on Radio Free Florence from General Manager Kris Meade

I became a Christian as a teenager and really liked music. At first, I thought Christian music was lame. However, I did some searching and found some really good bands. I felt like no Christian media outlet was promoting Christian Pop/Rock music. My interest to make the music more easily discovered quickly turned into a passion. I attended North Greenville College, where the Lord gave me a vision to start a campus radio station with this same type of Christian Pop/Rock format. By my junior year at NGC, we signed 95.5FM on the airwaves in Tigerville, SC!

During my senior year at NGC, I received a calling from the Lord to start another radio station in Florence, SC. I moved to Florence in June 2004, and in July of 2004. When I moved here, I only knew one person. There was no location for the studio, no name for the station, nor was there a budget. I only had a passion to reach youth with the Gospel of Christ through Christian Pop/Rock music with a vision from the Lord.

Our mission at Radio Free Florence is to produce quality and professional Internet radio that impacts youth with the Gospel of Jesus. Today, we are streaming online 24 hours a day. In addition to our website, we offer two radio apps with the iPhone and Droid.

-Kris Meade

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  • Phillip Guyton Jr.February 2, 2011 - 12:45 pm

    What an awesome idea! Bravo!
    I wish i was exposed to photography earlier in life, i love it 100% now it’s so nice to be able to do something you love and be able to make others happy in doing it.ReplyCancel

  • Traci RabonMarch 1, 2011 - 3:55 pm

    How do we pay for photography submission andhow do we vote?ReplyCancel

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