So this is the New Year?

Published 9:24 am Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Every year, we go through some of the same processes. In January, we make resolutions, and often by February they are done — if they made it that far.

There are holidays, birthdays and other events to look forward to throughout the year, and of course some to dread, such as tax day, and perhaps even your own birthday.

Thinking about those events and more has been a part of our process here at The Tidewater News for the past few weeks.

That’s right. While it’s not exactly the New Year yet, we have been thinking about it a little early. That’s because every year around this time we put out our annual calendar after going through the photo contest.

As far as our staff goes, Ryan Outlaw, Graphic Designer Extraordinaire, is largely responsible for this product.

Sure, we all pitch in, and this year that was mostly toward the end of the process when it was time to select 15 photos out of the nearly 400 that had been entered. We did it blindly and randomly, having no idea who took what photos.

Now, that’s only a 1-2 hour meeting sometime in October, but going back to September, Ryan has been involved in gathering and organizing the photos, along with working on the ads that let people know it’s submission time. Then, after we selected the photos, he’ll sat down and design the calendar to be printed.

The only thing more he could have done from our end was to actually operate the press while it was being printed. Maybe next year.

But Ryan definitely can’t do it alone, and it’s not his baby. It’s yours. You, the Western Tidewater community at-large, did a wonderful job taking photos throughout the year, and then also thinking about our contest and submitting them.

We have to thank your for that, as we think we have 15 great photos throughout the calendar, which, barring any printing problems, looks great. The photos were so good that we had to actually meet a second time and bring in more people to select which photo was going on the cover.

That didn’t happen last year. It was pretty obvious when we first saw it what photo was going to go on the cover.

But this year, y’all didn’t make it easy, which is a great thing for the calendar, as we think it will be an enjoyable resource. This was even a year where there were several photos that did not make the calendar, which could have easily been in a different year’s edition.

The 2015 Photo Calendar is set to hit the streets with this upcoming Friday’s edition. Congrats to everyone who made it.

As far as those who did not, I do have three pieces of advice:

The first one, please mind the horizontal rule. There were several times where we saw a vertical picture and thought, “I sure wish it was horizontal.”

Yep, several photos could have made the cut, but did not because we couldn’t use it. The calendar is oriented horizontally, so we can’t use vertical pictures.

The second, please mind the no cell phone and tablet photo rule. There are exceptions, of course, but most cell phones do not take pictures with enough pixels to survive being blown up to the size our calendars are.

So, if you don’t know if your cell phone can handle it, please take your pictures with a camera instead. It seems like every year we have to go back and get an alternative, as a finalist doesn’t have a higher resolution picture they can send in.

The last one, well, is keep submitting! You don’t know how close or difficult it was to narrow it down to 15, and we want next year’s edition to be just as challenging and good.

CAIN MADDEN is the managing editor of The Tidewater News. He often looks forward to his October birthday. You can reach him at 562-3187 or at