DADE CITY — Jeff Ekiss didn't think much of it when he first entered a couple of his pictures in the first AgrowKnowledge photography competition.
In fact, he'd pretty much forgotten about it altogether when he signed on to his e-mail account and discovered the notification that his photo was one of 13 selected nationwide for the AgrowKnowledge 2008 calendar.
The landscape photograph, taken of a garden he and his girlfriend, Rose Keigans, 19, had planted, was chosen to represent March. For that he was awarded a certificate, $50 and five copies of the calendar.
A photo Jeff took during a visit to the historic Bok Sanctuary in Lake Wales was chosen as a secondary photo for May.
Being named a winner was sweet in several ways for Jeff, a senior at Pasco High School.
It was his teacher, Gwyne Ellis-Powers, who brought the contest to her students' attention and offered them a grade to enter. Ellis-Powers' classroom is a favorite place on campus for Jeff, who has been enrolled in the Agricultural Communications program at Pasco High for four years.
Jeff said he really enjoys hanging out at the school barn. But he has had his sights set on a career in photography ever since he was in middle school, when his dad, Bret Ekiss, handed his two kids a Kodak digital camera.
"He just got us taking pictures of everything around us," Jeff said.
Jeff plans to keep that up and already has created a logo for his future business, Black Dragon Photography. He is preparing to post his pictures on a Web site.
Eventually, Jeff said he would like to be the one behind the camera when it's time to take those senior portraits at Pasco High and other local schools.
But for now, he's intent on seeing through the rest of his own senior year.
"I've had a couple of cases of senioritis," Jeff said. "But pretty much I'm keeping on track."