And more than 900 juried photographs that must be arranged by tomorrow, when the fair opens. Cosentino doesn't mind, though. She'll be one of the first to see a show by photographers who have stretched and manipulated the boundaries of a camera beyond belief. Visitors to the exhibit will find magnified botanicals, such as ribbed cacti coated with razor-sharp points and flowers with dew-dotted whorls of colorful petals. There are compelling close-ups of faces that exhibit every range of emotion. An area set aside for animal photographs features dogs in midair, ears flying and jaws agape in the seconds before they clamp down on a Frisbee. A family section captures the human dynamic between siblings, parents and children. And there is a creative section, where photographers have incorporated a wide range of digital and processing techniques to create an original work of art.- "San Diego County Fair Photography and Electronic Arts Exhibition" 1 p.m daily tour of the exhibit; exhibit buildings open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays and until 11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays; Del Mar Fairgrounds, 2260 Jimmy Durante Blvd., Del Mar; Free with fair admission; (858) 793-5555 or There are 19 divisions this year, including the new Sports, Documentary and Black and White Nature sections. The Electronic Arts division features video, Web design and digital and graphic art designs derived from paint, photo and 3-D programs. Cosentino, who also teaches photography at Palomar College, will conduct daily tours of the exhibit at 1 p.m., and point out its many highlights. "We have people from all over the country who enter, from as far as Norway and Australia," she said. "I'll select two or three areas of the gallery and talk about the award winners and how the judging process works." There were 27 judges and each category had its own set of three judges. Awards were based on a photograph's impact, composition, workmanship and technical quality or detail in light, use of shutter speeds, and color balance. Criteria in the digital division included message, design elements, creativity, craftsmanship and production elements. All 27 judges voted on the photographs that earned first place. A former news photographer, Cosentino has a penchant for photojournalism and work that captures reality. One of the first-place winners in the new Sports division was Paul Gallegos; his "Slap and Spray" is a good example of the type of action photojournalists try to shoot. It's an instant of time packed with visual sensations that demand a reaction. Two boxers are depicted in a fierce round and it looks as if Gallegos stepped inside the ring to capture a lucky punch. The view is so tight, the veins and muscles of the boxers can be seen bulging beneath glistening muscled flesh. Their faces are contorted and starkly illuminated beneath harsh stadium lights. "This is the moment in the fight," said Cosentino. "He just got hit in the head, the head is twisting and the sweat is flying off his body. It's beautifully composed." Another first-place winner is Karl Grobl, a San Diego photojournalist who created a stunning portrait titled "Woman, Wad Shaman, Sudan." The Sudanese woman's eyes are chocolate-colored pools of light, and the smooth bronzed surface of her skin is contrasted by a coarse brown veil that frames her face. "Karl shoots for a number of humanitarian organizations," said Cosentino. "He covered the aftermath of the tsunami disaster and he'll be here to talk about that." The talk will be during "The Photojournalist's Craft," a special lecture at 7 p.m. on June 25. That's when Grobl and photojournalists Fred Greaves and Dave Gatley will discuss and show examples of their work. Other special events during the course of the exhibit include the Judges Roundtable at 7 p.m. Wednesday and an Artist's Reception and Walk-through at 7 p.m. June 18.

Marcia Manna covers North County arts and entertainment for the Union-Tribune.