When asking Ardmoreite Charrie Shockey what her favorite thing to photograph is, she will reply, "nature."
Shockey, who has her own photography business, does what any professional photographer does to make a living: Seniors, family portraits, engagements, and any other venue where there are immediate clients. And while she says she enjoys photography of all kinds, nature still stands out as her favorite.
"Sometimes I'll go wander off into the woods behind our house to take photos and get a call from my husband wanting to know where I'm at," she said.
It's no surprise, given her professional background and love of nature, that during one of Shockey's outings, she was bound to find a photo worthy of a calendar cover — which is exactly what happened.
Shockey landed the cover shot for the 2013 Oklahoma Living calendar, a much-sought after calendar in the state. The photo is of a wild flower outside of her home called Antelope Horns.
"They grow all over the place, but I happened to catch this one in bloom," she said.
The photo stayed in a file of Shockey's photos for a while until she saw an ad for the Oklahoma Living Calendar contest.
"We're members of the Red River Valley Co-op so we get the magazine and I saw the entry in there," she said.
Shockey submitted nine entries and hoped for the best. The proceeds from entering go to help undeveloped countries establish electricity in their villages.
A short time later, she received an email regarding her photos, asking for additional information.
"I knew something was up, but I had no idea that this would happen," she said.
The next thing she knew, she received a $300 check in the mail and a congratulations on her photo winning the cover spot, which was a surprise since she never expected to win anything.
"I was just hoping to get a page on the inside and was blown away by a cover win," she said.
That win capped off a great year for Shockey in contest entries. With the exception of a trial run at submitting photos to Oklahoma Living last year, Shockey's first year of real contest entries was a successful one. She won second place with a photo at a Goddard Center contest, open category.
"That photo was bought even before the show began, so someone has my photo in their home already," she said.
She also won first place in the professional black and white category of the OK Tree Photo contest with a piece she called "Winter Picnic."
"That was during one of my trips into the woods around Lake Murray," she said. "It was a foggy winter morning, and I went out to drive around to see what I could photograph and ended up finding the huge trees in the Pecan Grove Picnic area."
That win also came with a $500 prize and her photo was displayed for a month with other award winners at First Fidelity Bank in Norman.
Then her year ended with the cover of Oklahoma Living Calendar.
"It's been a great year for me and makes me anxious to see what this year holds," she said. "It'll be challenging. People have seen my name out there and the competition is going to be tough.
"But the joy of finding something unique and letting someone else enjoy seeing it is why I'll keep doing it."