Father, son capture honors as contest winds down

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

The number of entries in the final week of the Foto Fest judging broke contest records, and gave judges a difficult task when choosing only four semifinalists.

More than 500 pictures, ranging from children at play to landscapes, were entered in the amateur photography contest.

"This is huge," said Joyce Hunter, marketing director at Westfield Shoppingtown West Park, a contest sponsor.

In years past, the contest has run for six weeks but was cut to four this year. "It just shows that it didn't cut down on the number of people who participate," she said.

Semifinalist winners were Diana Hobeck of Oak Ridge, and Al and Tim Nicolai of Jackson.

Hobeck's photo of a boy fishing along a misty creekbank was a favorite of the judges. One judge said it was a snapshot "of real life that's not too close but personal." Another judge thought it showed the perfect way to spend a summer afternoon.

Hobeck took the picture at Montauk State Park during a summer fishing trip with her grandson.

"I like the way he's standing there staring at his line. He's so serious about fishing," she said.

Neither Al nor Tim Nicolai are strangers to the Foto Fest contest. Both have had winning images selected in previous contests.

Al Nicolai's picture of tulips was chosen for its artistic quality. One judge said it "looks like a painting," and another thought it was suitable for a florist's calendar.

Nicolai took the photo in March after his wife, Brenda, purchased the flowers from a shop. "She had them in a vase and they just looked photogenic," he said.

Two of Tim Nicolai's photographs were chosen as semifinalists. One image shows two red and white striped canvas chairs lined up on a pier; the other is a picture of a smoked fish shop sign leaning against a boat. Both were taken during the same trip to Brighton, England.

Brighton is a resort town, and the day was particularly clear. "They had a number of really gorgeous things around there and I got quite a few good photos," Tim Nicolai said.

"It was just something to capture the mood of the town."

Grand-prize winners will be selected from the 16 semifinalist photographs. A People's Choice award also will be selected based on the public's response to the photographs that have been entered in the contest.

More than 1,300 photographs, representing every image submitted to the contest, are on display in the Pasta House court at the mall.

Prizes are awarded at the contest's conclusion.


335-6611, extension 126

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