When Rachael Wise entered a photography contest through the Rosamond Gifford Zoo at Burnett Park in Syracuse, she didn't think she would win anything.
After sending her submission in a day after the deadline, Wise was shocked to get an email from the zoo telling her she had placed as a runner up in the teen category for her photo of a spotter turtle she aptly named "Treading Turtle."
"I'm actually surprised they took it because I submitted it a day late," Wise said. "The zoo emailed me early during February break and told me I won. On all the entry things they said no late entries. I did it anyway and I won."
Wise spoke about her entry with great enthusiasm. Though many of the photos she took came out blurry because of the turtle's movement or simply weren't the shots she was looking for, she kept trying and finally took what later became her winning entry.
"He was swimming and it was really cool. I've got a few where he's in motion, but they came out blurry," Wise said. "That one [I entered] I just thought was so neat."
The turtle had come down off the rock he was sitting on and swam near to the glass separating him from the rest of the world, and that's when Wise took her photo.
The contest was something 36-year teaching veteran Linda Torrey had "stumbled upon," Wise said. But Torrey had also been on the lookout for art shows her photography students could enter.
Torrey said she was just cruising the Internet when she found information about the contest. With budget cuts district-wide, many of the competitions students would enter have been put on the back burner because of the cost of entry fees. Like the zoo's contest, she has found a few others she is hoping to have students enter as well.