Temecula photographer D. Bodhi Smith won four awards for his photographs at the San Diego County Fair.
Smith won for two of his paintings in the large print category. He received a second-place ribbon for “Sea Mean” and a donated award for “Coming Ashore”, which was also the largest print of the fair. In the night category Smith won fourth place for “Venturing Cobbles”. His honorable mention ribbon was in the cell phone photo category for “Mustard Dude”.
“It’s always an honor. It’s great,” Smith said of receiving four awards. “You’re getting recognized by other photographers for your work, and that’s pretty nice.”
This was Smith’s second year entering the San Diego County Fair. In 2013 he entered the “Man’s Best Friend” category and took second place for his photo of Dude, his golden retriever who is now ten years old.
This year Smith had seven of his photographs accepted for the fair, including the four which won awards. “Just to even get them in the fair is tough,” he said.
Smith used a Nikon D800 for six of the shots he entered at the fair while using his Galaxy Note 3 for his cell phone photo entry.
Smith was a military dependent who was born in Oceanside when his father was stationed at Camp Pendleton. The family moved to Ohio after his father’s retirement, and Smith attended high school and college in Ohio. He returned to Southern California after his college graduation.
In 1998 he began teaching at Ivy High School, which is the continuation school of the Fallbrook Union High School District. His actual teaching credential is in social studies and he teaches social studies (including psychology), art, and a Web design class under the Regional Occupational Program as well as serving as Ivy’s photography instructor. The availability of funding for cameras and other equipment allowed Smith to launch his photography class at Ivy in 2012.
A year before he launched Ivy’s photography program, Smith became a professional landscape photographer on days he isn’t teaching. “I’m just taking a vacation that everybody wants to do. I just happen to bring it back with me,” he said.
The Fallbrook Union School District has five days off in February for Presidents’ Day Weekend, and two of Smith’s winning photographs were taken during a trip coinciding with that break from his teaching. Spring Break in April allowed for his other two photographs which won awards.
“Sea Mean” was taken in Inverness, which is part of the Point Reyes National Seashore. The shipwreck is on the drive to the Point Reyes lighthouse and is often not noticed by motorists. “They have no clue they’re driving by that shipwreck,” Smith said.
“Sea Mean” was shot from a sandbar during high tide. “That’s when the water comes up around the boat,” Smith said.
“Sea Mean” was taken during Smith’s February vacation. “February’s been very, very good for me,” he said. “That’s a good time for us to get away.”
Smith plans to return to Inverness for a fall shot of the shipwreck. “I’ll definitely plan it around high tide,” he said.
All seven of Smith’s photographs were sublimated onto metal by Metalography, which is located in Old Town Temecula. “They’ve been growing like I’ve been growing. We’ve been both helping each other out,” he said.
“Sea Mean” was a full-frame print, meaning there was no cropping adjustment, and measured 26.6 inches by 36 inches. It is now being displayed at Lorimar Vineyards and Winery in Temecula.
“Coming Ashore” was taken on the same trip as “Sea Mean” and features pier supports in Davenport used by the Davenport Concrete Company. “I think the bakery in Davenport is better known,” Smith said.
“Coming Ashore” is actually two full frames. “I couldn’t get it all in one picture; what I wanted was too big for my camera to handle,” Smith said.
Smith stood on the cliffs above the pier when he shot his photographs. “I hadn’t taken a really good image of it from the cliffs above,” he said.
The print of “Coming Ashore” measured 40 inches by 40 inches. It is currently at Mom and Pop’s Frame Shop in Menifee.
Smith opted to use a play on words for each of his photograph titles. “Sea Mean” also indicates that the sea was mean to the abandoned ship. “Coming Ashore” reminded Smith of Marines coming ashore. “Venturing Cobbles” was taken in Ventura on April 11 during his Spring Break trip.
“Venturing Cobbles” was shot from the far west side. “I’m still not extremely happy with that picture,” Smith said.
“The waves were so harsh that day, coming in real hard,” Smith said. “I don’t like taking a lot of direct hits of salt water on my camera.”
The fair’s night category is for images taken around sunset or around sunrise. “It was getting dark, so it was a longer exposure,” Smith said.
“It’s a beautiful picture,” Smith said. “I know I can do better.”
Smith noted that he often thinks of ways to improve his shots. “Any one of my pictures I know I can do better,” he said.
“Venturing Cobbles” measured 13.6 inches by 20 inches. Smith currently has the photograph at his home.
“Mustard Dude” was also taken on Smith’s April trip and features Dude in a field of flowers with Pigeon Point Lighthouse in the background. “It was an easy picture to take,” Smith said.
The print of “Mustard Dude” is also at Smith’s home.