Written by Patty Decker Tuesday, 05 March 2013 14:13
Phoebe Janzen of Florence won second place recently for her snapshot of three young screech owls and their mother, titled “Shhhh! Don’t Wake Mama!”
Competing against hundreds of other photographers in the Wichita Eagle’s 12th annual Great Outdoors Photo Contest, Janzen said she was surprised her photo was among the top 15 selected.
“I have my camera with me just about all of the time in case there is a unique photo opportunity,” she said.
“My poor husband (Steve) knows that sometimes it takes us twice as long to get from one place to the other because we need to stop to take a picture.”
The idea of entering one of her photographs, she said, was something her sister-in-law suggested.
“The hardest part was picking just one photo—not that they are all good or anything—but picking just one was difficult,” Janzen said.
She also said she got a little help from her friends, too, after posting some of the pictures on Facebook and asking for feedback.
“The owl picture was the one that most people liked the best, so I submitted that picture,” she said.
About 300 photographs were submitted to the competition.
“The photographers at the Wichita Eagle then narrowed it down to the top 15,” she said.
According to one contest official at the Wichita Eagle, there was a fairly wide variance in the photos that did well online and those that did well at the Kansas Sports, Boat & Travel Show.
The votes were combined evenly to determine overall winners.
Janzen’s photo was second online, but seventh at the Sports Show, a contest official said.
The winning photograph, submitted by Clarissa Peterson of Potwin and titled “Wood Duck,” was the overall winner for the adult division. Peterson’s photo took first in the online voting, but was fourth at the Sports Show.
Janzen said, “There were some great photos submitted for the contest.”
Arnold School House
Even though the Janzens live in rural Florence and are surrounded by nature, the winning photo wasn’t taken at their home.
“I have a friend, Karyn Woodward, who moved to Florence about a year and a half ago,” ” she said.
Woodward’s home is the old Arnold School House in the middle of Florence.
“She feeds birds, always has a beautiful garden and knows a lot about herbs and their uses,” Janzen said.
The last couple of years, she said, have not been good garden years because of the severe drought conditions.
“Last summer, Karyn had her bird baths in her yard and fed the birds,” Janzen said. “We often sit on her back porch and drink tea and visit.”
One day, she explained, Woodward told her to bring her camera because there was a family of owls and they were sitting in the tree by her deck.
“The family of five included the three juvenile owls,” Janzen said. “I went over and took several pictures. But infortunately, Daddy Owl flew off before I could get pictures of all five.”
She said got pictures of four members of the owl family.
Another time, she said, a duck had hatched 12 eggs and little ducklings were running around the place.
“Karyn was so worried that the owls would have them for breakfast,” Janzen said.
Sharing her work
Janzen said she enjoys taking pictures.
“I did take a photography class at Tabor College about 20 years ago and learned to develop the film and print my own pictures,” she said. “I really love digital photography and could spend hours on my computer looking at the pictures and posting them to Facebook.”
In addition to taking photographs, Janzen also takes pleasure in being involved in the community.
After serving 12 years as a counselor at Marion High School/Middle School, she retired in June 2011.
“I am the type of person that needs to stay busy,” she said, “and I have done that by volunteering in Florence.”
Janzen is active in the Florence Community Foundation, the Fred Harvey Community Garden and Florence Historical Society.
“I have also stayed busy by taking pictures, which has just about become an obsession,” she said.