If Abby Giles isn't directly involved with an event, there's a good chance she's taking pictures of it. The Pratt County 4-H'er was recognized for her photography skills last weekend at the Kansas State Fair.

If Abby Giles isn't directly involved with an event, there's a good chance she's taking pictures of it. The Pratt County 4-H'er was recognized for her photography skills last weekend at the Kansas State Fair.

She earned a purple ribbon for a photo of four Air Force jets at the U.S.A.F. Academy graduation in Colorado Springs. She borrowed a telephoto lens from a cousin to get the shot, and was one of three cousins to win State Fair purples.

The picture will hang in Senator Pat Roberts' office in Washington, D.C., for the next year.

Her success is not the result of luck. Abby attended a 4-H photography camp at Rock Springs Ranch, subscribes to photography magazines and is always experimenting with camera settings to get the results she wants. She frequently checks websites of wedding photographers to see how they handle lighting, according to her mother, Marilyn Giles, of rural Byers. The 4-H photography curriculum, available to all members, is very good and up to date, she said.

Younger sister Betsy exhibited the grand champion photography exhibit at the Pratt County Fair, but Abby was right beside her, advising on settings for the silhouette photo. The two also get help from their mother, who took a photography course when she was in college.

Sixteen-year-old Abby has about nine years of experience behind the lens and seven years in the 4-H photography project. She is also a photography leader for the Lincoln Climbers 4-H Club.

She likes the fact that pictures are forever — a record of people, places and events.

Several Pratt County 4-H'ers earned recognition for photography exhibits at the state fair. K-State Research and Extension Agent Jodi Drake credits the judges at the county fair for providing good instruction as they critique photos in a conference with the 4-H'ers. Katelyn Strobel earned a purple ribbon and other members' exhibits were selected for display by the state 4-H department.

Those photos could be used in two ways, Cindy Aramowicz, office professional at the Extension office, said. They could be displayed at the Rock Springs Ranch 4-H conference center near Junction City, or they could become part of photo judging kits developed by area Extension offices to help youngsters learn about photography, develop decision-making skills and prepare for a contest at the state fair.

State Fair visitors to the 4-H Centennial Hall will find Pratt County well represented, with 92 exhibits and a good number of top ratings of purple and blue ribbons. All of the projects received a top rating at the county fair, in order to qualify.

The process "takes the best and puts them into competition with the rest of the best," Extension Agent Mark Ploger said, adding that Pratt County 4-H'ers "always do a good job."

The county was also well represented in livestock shows last weekend; however, those results have not yet been posted. Horse performance classes are scheduled for the final weekend of the fair.

Purple ribbons

Hunter Berens, entomology

Katie Buhler, quilting

Jay Crowdis, food

Jarod DeWeese, electric

Colton Gatton, entomology

Abby Giles, clothing and photography

Betsy Giles, vegetable

Ciara Hodgkinson, food

Brady McComb, entomology

Kami McComb, clothing

Allisan McGowan, quilting

Gabrielle and Shiloh Murray, illustrated talk

Wyatt Slade, shooting sports

Hannah Spitzer, clothing

Katelyn Strobel, photography

Taylor Tobin, clothing

Selected for photo display:

Abby Giles, Washington, D.C., and state 4-H department

Betsy Giles, state 4-H

Katherine Shanline, traveling collection

Cassie Van Slyke, state 4-H

Complete results as available at www.Kansas4-h.org/ksfair