Bryan Mahoney

Bryan Mahoney

Ireland's hills roll forever, folding over and underneath each other. They are a sea within a sea, this island of grassy hillocks pocked with farms and fences.

I had seven days in which to capture them as grandly as I could. My trusty Canon committed these autumn memories to bits and bytes; by the end of it all the castles and rainbows and deeply mossed forest glens told a story of adventure in a perfect glossy palette.

It is a palette of surprise. The digital era has made portraitists and landscapists of us all, increasing our appetite and our capacity for photography. Without the constraints of a limited roll of film we are allowed the freedom for “happy accidents” — those moments of discovery along the artist's journey that reveal scenes we never knew were there.

This was how I came upon the fences in the field.

Somewhere in the 1,000-plus photos taken by my wife and me, this little scene stuck out. It so perfectly matched the placidity of the Irish countryside, the calming greens of the grasses, the simplicity of a morning spent at one of the oldest inhabited places in Europe. It was a morning worth sharing, and come this weekend that's what I'll do.

On Friday, the Burbank Public Library opens its annual amateur photo contest. It takes submissions Feb. 1 through 16 during regular library hours at the Reference Desk of the Burbank Central Library, 110 N. Glenoaks Blvd.

Anyone can submit a photo, but only one, according to library coordinator Joan Venocchi.

“We have had to cut back on the number of entries because I couldn't hang 500 entries in the auditorium,” she said.

The popularity has grown, and the work has improved in the more than 20 years Bonnie Burrow has been involved with the contest. She is a photography teacher at Burroughs High School who coordinates the contest's judges, drawing from a considerable talent pool of studio photographers and photojournalists.

“Burbank is a real photo community,” she said. “It probably helps that we have the studios, but we also have an active photo department in the schools.”

There's one guiding force for the judges when they sit down to review the community's submissions: “We look it as something that would inspire us,” Burrow said. “The level of the entries overall is just amazing.”

I'm entering one of the toughest categories: scenic.

Burrow tells me if it's my strongest work, then that's what I should enter because no two years' judges are the same, and you never know which way the picking pendulum might swing.

“Anyone can win, and anybody has in the past,” Burrow said.

For the contest rules or to enter, download an entry form at www.burbank.lib.ca.us or go to the library. Photos are judged on composition, technique, concept and presentation.

Hopefully a blustery fall day north of Dublin fits the bill. I'll find out with the other entrants at the winners' reception at 7 p.m. Feb. 28 at the Buena Vista branch library.

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BRYAN MAHONEY is a recent transplant from the East Coast. He can be reached at 818NewGuy@gmail.com and on Twitter: @818NewGuy.