GARIBALDI – Ever hear of someone who won the lottery the first time she bought a ticket?
That’s sort of what happened to Lucy Chien, whose photo titled “Clamming at the Oregon Coast,” won the “Natural World” category of the Smithsonian magazine’s ninth annual photo contest.
Chien was notified on April 30 that her photo made the top 10 from a field of more than 67,000 entries. Subsequently, the magazine announced she was winner of her category on June 29.
“I was jumping up and down and running all around my apartment when I heard,” said Chien.
Did she rely on a fancy camera and spend hours waiting for the perfect shot?
“I took this shot before I had an SLR camera, so this picture was taken with a point and shoot. I took a clam out of the water and placed it on a rock. I then crouched down for about 10 minutes clicking away as the clam opened up to push itself off the rock and into the water.”
Chien moved to Oregon when she was 4 years old and recently moved to San Francisco. She was clamming in Garibaldi when she got the shot, using her Olympus Stylus Tough 8000 digital camera. Her husband was in the background clamming away while she positioned the clam for the perfect shot.
“My husband is thrilled to be a model,” she said, laughing.
Chien, who has never entered a photo contest before, was encouraged by her husband.
“Oregon will always be a special place for me, having grown up there,” she said. “It taught me many things, including how to respect nature and especially wildlife. So for me to be able to capture this clam in its natural habitat seemingly evading capture, was a moment that put a smile on my face.
“Little did I know that even clams have a personality and know how to smile for the camera.”
All finalists will have their photos published in the July/August 2012 issue of the Smithsonian Magazine, which is out on newsstands now.
Chien’s passion for photography has led her to take on a philanthropist approach to helping the community. She does not charge for photo shoots; she instead encourages people to pay it forward. Her website can be found at lucyintheskywithcanon.com.