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Melinda Kay Polk of Grady County won second place in two categories in the recent Rose Show Photography Exhibition in Thomasville.
Polk won for her photograph of Fourth of July, Hybrid Modern Climbing Rose with a honey bee and a photo of an About Face Rose, Grandiflora.
These rose photos were the first Polk had ever taken without using the auto mode on her camera. “I was very pleased how they turned out,” she said. Both of the photos were taken at the Thomasville Rose Garden.
Polk says her husband bought her a Nikon DS 7100 in November 2015. She says she had always shot in auto mode, but after reading the requirements for the Rose Show contest, she knew she would learn about the other settings, since the contest prohibited photos from being digitally enhanced.
This was the Grady County photographer’s first time participating in the Rose Show contest.
The Rose Show Photography Exhibition is judged by ARS Horticulture and/or Arrangement Judges with an experienced photographer.
“I feel by far that these are my best work yet!” Polk told The Messenger.
She explained how her love of photography began: “I did not really pick up my camera that much until one Sunday a couple of years ago. I was walking back to my house from my parents’ house, when I saw these beautiful yellow Swallowtail butterflies flocking to a button plant in my parents’ pond. I knew immediately that I had to grab my camera to try to capture these beautiful creatures. Honestly, once I saw these butterflies, I remembered how much my sister-in-law, Torie Polk, loved butterflies. My sister-in-law passed away due to a hemorrhagic stroke at age 39. In memory of her, I wanted to capture them for her daughter, Kaitlyn, who also loves butterflies. Butterflies have been one of my favorite to photograph and one of my best Swallowtail photos was featured on the cover of The Cairo Messenger’s 2020 Calendar. I still love that photo as much as the day I captured it.”
According to Polk, photography is also a great way for her to channel stress and create beautiful images she loves to share with others.
“I work as a Critical Care Nurse on a Critical Care Unit. I work long 12-hour shifts that can be very high stressed environment a lot of the time because things can change in a split second. It can get absolutely crazy all of a sudden when a patient who is already unstable starts declining even worse. You really never know what is going to happen from moment to moment as there is never a dull moment,” Polk said.
“Who knows! Maybe one day I will venture more into the photography realm as I step up my game a little. For now, I just do it as a hobby. I really hope everyone loves the photos I share as much as I enjoy sharing them. I am happy to bring a smile and a moment of happiness to others through photography,” she added.