Congratulations to Denis Cahill, retired St. Catharines Standard photojournalist and contributor to the Weather Vane slot in the January 2020 issue of The Grower. His photo of a Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario fruit orchard has won first prize in the landscape photography category of the Canadian Farm Writers’ Federation (CFWF) 2021 awards. When judged against first-place winners in People and Production categories, he went on to win Best Photo of the Year.
“This photograph is monotone. I almost dismissed taking it,” recalls Cahill of the first snowfall. “There was heavy overcast, a gloomy afternoon,” he recalls. He pulled over to the side of the road. Despite no highlights and little contrast, he decided to frame up a shot.
The CFWF awards contest outlines what the judges are looking for in the landscape category. Specifically, it’s a photograph that portrays an agricultural landscape in found situations or as part of news coverage. The photo should portray nature, a landscape or rural scene that contains images highlighting rural flora, fauna, the atmosphere or scenery that conveys the context of farming life in rural Canada.
The term ‘found situation’ applies to this photograph which Cahill took with his Panasonic Lumix camera he kept in his car on a random drive on Lakeshore Road near Niagara-on-the-Lake. He pulled his car over and observing the swing beam barn, architecture unique to the area, said to himself: “Let’s give it a try.”
The Grower’s editor, Karen Davidson, noted a memorable ambiance about the picture.
“We’re accustomed to seeing photos of brooding skies in agriculture, especially on the prairies. But this photo is special for capturing the palpable relief of break time and the necessity of resting to rejuvenate. In this era of ‘Instagram-worthy,’ this photo is worthy of more than a minute. It speaks to the viewer to be still. It’s frameable.”