When I learned the 28th Memorial Maria Louisa Photo Contest organizers were willing to put me and a friend up in a lovely hotel in Oviedo, Asturias, Spain for three nights, feed us breakfast and dinner, take us to the opening of the outdoor exhibition in the next town of Infiesto, and then host us at the Awards Ceremony back in Oviedo, how could I say no?
My ticket? A Highly Commended Award for my Sea Jewels image of baby Velella velellas (By-the-wind-sailors). (Photo taken of them floating in a bucket of seawater on a whale watch boat.)
My good friend, Katlyn Taylor, and I had a wonderful time visiting this beautiful area in Northern Spain. We took in the sights and sounds of new Oviedo and wandered through Old Town. We sampled Spanish cuisine and pastries. We even followed a parade of enthusiastic foodies accompanied by a band of drums, bagpipes and accordions!
The opening of the outdoor exhibit of winning photos in the nearby town of Infiesto was a special treat. Photos were displayed in the town plaza, along the main thoroughfare and the riverbank. Each of the photographers present was given the opportunity to speak briefly about their winning image to the crowd that gathered and strolled through town with us. What a wonderful way to showcase photographs so the whole community can enjoy!
The following evening was the Awards Gala at the elegant and historic Hotel de la Reconquista. More images were on display in their central courtyard, and the auditorium was packed. Winning films were shown, and each photographer and videographer came to the stage to receive a trophy and certificate, and again speak briefly about their work, show-cased on an enormous screen overhead.
Following the awards event, we were served a sumptuous sit down dinner in the hotel restaurant, housed in the high-ceilinged, octagonal building which once served as a chapel.
However, this was not the end of our special treatment. The following day we were transported back to Infiesto for an encore. There Alex Shultz, the star of the Grand Prize film “Look Up” and World Record holder (for height and length), gave a demonstration of his remarkable skills on a slackline strung between the Infiesto Church and clock tower.
Thank you Memorial Maria Louisa and the wonderful international photographers we met for such a memorable time!