Ranching image wins CFBF Photo Contest

Issue Date: January 3, 2018
Grand Prize, Emela Brown McLaren, San Joaquin County

Capturing the drama of an early-morning cattle roundup, an amateur photographer from San Joaquin County took home the top prize in the 36th annual California Farm Bureau Federation Photo Contest.

Emela Brown McLaren of Manteca earned the $1,000 Grand Prize, for a photo taken at the ranch of Dan and Andrea Erickson near Yosemite. The ranch, founded by Dan Erickson's great-great-grandfather, once fed the builders of Hetch Hetchy Dam.

McLaren said the ranch continues to be run much the same way it was in previous generations.

"It's a real honor to live in the San Joaquin Valley with all the farms and the cattle ranches," she said.

The 2017 CFBF Photo Contest attracted hundreds of images from amateur photographers who are members of county Farm Bureaus or supporters of the California Bountiful Foundation.

Andrew Lincoln of Napa garnered First Place and $500 for his photo of employees at a hillside vineyard, while Second Place and $250 went to Solvang resident Henry Schulte, who submitted a photo of a Madera County barn painted with the American flag. Kellie Neufeld of Exeter won Third Place and $100 for capturing a humorous moment between her 9-year-old son and his muddy 4-H hog.

Six photos earned Honorable Mentions and $50 each. The California Foundation for Agriculture in the Classroom sponsored the Budding Artists category, awarding prizes of $250 and $100 for the top images submitted by photographers aged 13 and younger.

First Place, Andrew Lincoln, Napa County

Andrew Lincoln said he was out one day in the Carneros area, camera at the ready, when this vineyard and the people working on the vines caught his eye. "The undulation of the hillside, in combination with the workers there—it just grabbed my interest. So I pulled off the side of the road, got my telephoto lens out and photographed it," he said.

Second Place, Henry Schulte, Santa Barbara County

This well-known barn stands at the corner of Highway 41 and Avenue 12 in Madera County. "I drive by that barn all the time," said Henry Schulte, who has a cabin in Oakhurst. "I've taken pictures of it many times, but that particular time, the clouds were there, and that just made the big difference. I just think it's a cool barn."

Third Place, Kellie Neufeld, Kern County

Kellie Neufeld's 9-year-old son, Hank, was working with his first 4-H animal, a hog named Hoagie. "We heard they kind of like to swim and flop around in the mud," Neufeld said. So, they set up a tub for Hoagie. "He jumps in the water and rolls around like a kid. All that water went in Hank's mouth, which he thought was disgusting, but I thought it was hilarious."

Budding Artists, First Place, Nathan Blagg, 8 years old, San Joaquin County

Nathan, son of Honorable Mention winner Amy Blagg, was visiting his grandfather's Nevada County ranch for Christmas. "We went into my grandpa's barn," Nathan said. "He had three pigs. In the photos, there's only one pig. But it jumped up on the fence, and I took the picture." Nathan became interested in photography a couple of years ago. "I like taking pictures with my mom's camera," he said.

Budding Artists, Second Place, Holyn Sylvester, 11 years old, San Luis Obispo County

A family friend has some of the Sylvesters' animals at his place. "We went to go see our animals, and he was telling us that one of his cows had twins," said Holyn's mom, Wendy Sylvester. "We wanted to go check them out." When Holyn showed up with her camera, one of the calves peered at Holyn from underneath its mother, "and she just caught it perfectly."

Honorable Mention, Amy Blagg, San Joaquin County

"We've been trying to get more photos and capture our history of the old-vine zinfandel," said Amy Blagg, who works for the Lodi District Grape Growers Association. The decrease in acreage of the region's iconic winegrape is her main motivation. While photographing harvest, she noticed Raul Mendoza. "He was driving the tractor with the gondolas that the other individuals were dumping the grapes into," she said.

Honorable Mention, Thomas Gannon, Merced County

The retired microbiologist, who has long grown almonds on the side, noticed this scene in his Atwater orchard in early May. "What drew me to the photo, of course, is (the fallen blossoms) looking like it snowed," said Thomas Gannon, who's in the Merced Camera Club and takes photos as a hobby. "It just intrigued me because there's 'snow' all over the ground."

Honorable Mention, Andrew Lincoln, Napa County

Andrew Lincoln's father is a vineyard manager. The younger man heard his father's crew was doing erosion-control work and went out to shoot the hay being laid to help keep the soil in place. "One thing I like about the erosion control is that I think there's a myth that agriculture and environmental responsibility are somehow separated, when in fact good farming is responsible land stewardship," Lincoln said.

Honorable Mention, Kellie Neufeld, Kern County

The Neufelds planted their first orchard of Sumo mandarins in Lindsay two years ago; this year, family history was made: "That was the first time we had harvested them, ever," Kellie Neufeld said. "So it was our first pick on the first ranch that we actually own. That was a big day for our family, but it happened to be a pretty day, too."

Honorable Mention, Andrea Traphagan, Lassen County

Andrea Traphagan caught this scene of her 25-year-old son, Torin, feeding his own cattle at sundown after a day's work helping his parents. "He's a brand-new farmer, and he's our first of our next generation that's beginning to follow in our footsteps," Traphagan said. "I love photographing our farm life the most, just because I feel it's really important to show people what we do."

Honorable Mention, Holly Schaad, Yolo County

The Schaads have farmed in Dunnigan since 1860. Holly Schaad's daughter Brynlee, part of the seventh generation of farmers, was helping employee Tyler Wells with new almond trees. "She wanted to know how to tie them, and he was just showing her how, and she wanted to help," Schaad said. Whenever changes are made to fields or orchards, Schaad said she documents that with her children in the photo: "That's just something I love to do."

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