Gila County sunsets, wildlife, people and pets: Photo contest winners announced

Jeanne Polenz Arboretum Suspension Bridge

Tiffany Stallings turned her lens on an iconic Miami scene, and Kaydance Tober captured one of Globe’s singular sunset vistas. Denise Ordorica’s artistic eye was drawn to a wall in downtown Globe, while Debbie Yerkovich found lovely autumn color in October’s golden aspen leaves lining a forest service road atop the Pinal Mountains. Gila County’s breathtaking sunsets, wildlife, singular people and cute pets - these and dozens more subjects were celebrated by creative photographers who entered last month’s virtual photo contest.

The annual art competition was one of two Gila County Fair traditions that went online and virtual this year, in order to carry on fair traditions despite cancellation of the beloved fair itself because of Covid- 19. Photo contest winners were announced last week at gilacountyfair.com, where an online exhibit of photo entries should be live this week or next week. Like and follow Gila County Fair on Facebook for an announcement when the online album goes live.

Perhaps it was the convenience of simple JPG uploads -  as opposed to physically delivering matted and framed pieces of art? Or perhaps a collective urge to participate in a community event celebrating the beauty that surrounds us? Either way, contest entries increased this year.

“We had 169 entries, and that’s up from 141 entries last year,” said photo contest coordinator Jeanne Polenz. “Patricia Hunt won a blue ribbon in ‘Family traditions’ with her photo of a fancy feather dancer from the Apache Gold Intertribal PowWow, plus another ribbon for her colorful fall colors in See Canyon on the Mogollon Rim. We had such a wonderful range of photographers represented this year from all across Gila County,  capturing scenes that are unique to where we live - macro closeups of bees on garden flowers, vivid maple and aspen trees in glorious fall color in the Pinals. Nature and the beauty of our Pinal Mountains inspired numerous photographers this year. In addition to autumn foliage and scenic landscapes, there were entries in nature categories including songbirds such as the red-faced warbler, yellow-eyed junco and painted redstart photographed in the Pinals.”

Beautiful and also thought-provoking, art in this year’s exhibit spans so many themes and generations.

One entry is endearingly titled “My granddaughter at two months asleep in my arms.” Another, with the sobering title “COVID,” includes this stark caption by the photographer: “Holding my dying dad’s hand. No one should be alone at their death.”

Wish you could see more of the beautiful photography entered by Gila County artists? Look for an online exhibition at gilacountyfair.com, or like and follow Gila County Fair on Facebook for an announcement when the online album goes live.

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