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|| SportsShooter.com: News Item: Posted 2000-05-30

Feeling Like a Million
By Steve Ringman, Seattle Times

Photo by San Francisco Chronicle/Steve Ringman

Photo by San Francisco Chronicle/Steve Ringman
I feel like the luckiest photographer alive.

On May 11 I got the surprise of a lifetime when I won the grand prize in an Internet promotional contest sponsored by PhotoPoint.com. One million dollars.

Winning the contest hasn't changed my life, but it did help me to set up a fund for my children's college education, and it helped my wife and I relax about the future (even sports shooters have to retire someday).

My good fortune began in March while covering the Mariners spring training when I heard for the first time about the contest with an unprecedented payout of $1 million. A group of photograpers dining at The Pink Pony in Scottsdale, AZ. were casually discussing the contest and urged me to enter.

I initially gave it no consideration. But once I got back to Seattle I dusted off a 17 year-old print I had made while working as a staff photographer at the San Francisco Chronicle. It was a pure-luck picture; a weather photo of Catholic schoolgirls caught in a windstorm. I was in my car with my camera in my lap, and saw them struggling against the wind. The picture was made from my car window.

Photo by
The only requirement for entering the contest was that I could release to PhotoPoint.com rights to the picture. At the Chronicle, my good friend and former director of photography Gary Fong asked the Executive Editor for permission to enter it. After the big boss's laughter died down, the request was eventually granted with the understanding that The Chronicle would share a percentage of the prize, which they in turn would donate to their "Season of Sharing" charity.

Thank you Chronicle! And especially Gary Fong!

Fast forward several weeks later, and I'm standing on the street in NYC with Sally, my wife, stunned and amazed and very, very happy.

It was a total luck image and more luck winning with it. Since winning I've heard from so many friends and relatives including a few "good friends" from high school that I don't even remember. The Seattle Times newsphoto dept. was the most fun throwing a party for the entire newsroom.

It's been great.

(Steve Ringman, a two-time POY Photographer of the Year is a staff photographer at the Seattle Times.)


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