Thursday, February 7, 2013

May I Please Have Your Vote?

The scene of the winning photo??
I need your vote!  Vote here.

After navigating the Web for 15 or 20 years, I have concluded that I am nothing but a poor sharecropper, tilling the digital fields of others.  My LinkedIn profile? Just a way for LinkedIn to sell me as part of their database.  A Google search?  Just an improvement to someone else's money-making algorithms.  An Amazon opinion?  A Yelp review? May I shine your shoes, kind sir? Alas. My role is clearly to grow the database of others, enriching the lords of the manor.  My little corner of the Web is nothing but illusion, a chance to whitewash Tom Sawyer's fence and smile while I'm doing it.

So, when I ask you for your vote to help me win a photography contest, I do it with the full knowledge that this is nothing more than harvest time in the digital fields.  The fruits of my labor, and yours (if you are so kind as to help) will add to the advertising reach of the landed digital gentry.

(If you don't have time to read more, please vote here!)

Last summer, my family and I took a Backroads vacation to Bryce, Zion and Grand Canyons.  I have nothing but praise for Backroads; it was a perfectly organized, beautifully run hike/bike vacation where, even as you stepped in the mule poop on the descent of the Northern Rim, you felt emboldened by the fresh gorp in your pocket and inspired by the good meal that would inevitably follow that evening. Backroads is a first-class organization.

Certain people on such an adventure might morph into John Wesley Powell; me, I become nothing short of a National Geographic photographer.  No angle is too obscure, no timing too inconvenient, no group photo too obnoxious.

The start of Angel's Landing.  Vote here.
Consequently, when Backroads ran a photo contest, I submitted my best 25 (from 1,100) and, sure enough, discovered a few days ago that one of my photos became a finalist. It was taken on the trek to Angel’s Landing, a place in Zion where only six people have died in the last eight years. Given that I had transformed into a death-defying National Geographic photographer when I snapped this shot, and that you can win a Patagonia gift card for tilling the soil, may I have your vote?  Here’s how it works, per Backroads:
The top 25 images will be posted online for viewing and voting until February 14, 2013. To vote, please go to  And remember, the photo with the most votes wins, so invite all your friends and family members to vote—spread the word via e-mail, Facebook, Twitter or blogging. Everyone who votes is automatically entered into a drawing for a $200 Patagonia gift card
Was digital sharecropping ever so much fun?  Anyway, you can vote once per email address so, in the spirit of South Boston and Cook County, those of you who have accumulated several email addresses may vote often.  The contest ends on February 14.

Here's the picture you'll be looking for.  Vote here.

Thank you in advance.  (Vote here, if you skipped ahead because you, like most of my friends, want to tell me my blog posts are always too long.) 

You may find some photos that you like better--but in a world that embraces cronyism, nepotism, rigged contracts, and insider trading, you know what to do.  After all, how many National Geographic photographers will you meet in your lifetime?