2008 Conference Highlights

Estes Park, Colorado ~ The Eastern portal of ROCKY MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK

June 8-12, 2008

About 50 RMOWPers plus a few friends and family members gathered in beautiful Estes Park, Colorado in June for the 35th annual conference of Rocky Mountain Outdoor Writers and Photographers.

Dramatic lighting in Morraine Park – Rocky Mountain National Park. © Jack Olson

Conference participants represented a dozen states. While Colorado claimed the highest number of registrants, there were also several from Texas and Oklahoma and some came from as far away as Georgia, South Carolina, and Virginia.

Estes Park is the eastern gateway to Rocky Mountain National Park and several trips into the national park provided opportunities for photography and to practically rub noses with elk and bighorn sheep. Park naturalist Jeff Maugans led a walk and program in the park, and the history of the park, with some fascinating old photos, was the subject of a presentation by local historian and author Curt Buchholtz.

Other conference highlights included a visit to the area’s newest public area – Hermit Park – with a welcome from a pair of the park’s resident marmots and a guided hike with park manager Chris Fleming. History buffs made their way to MacGregor Ranch Museum for a glimpse of this area during pioneer times.

Well-respected wildlife photographer Weldon Lee, a RMOWP member, provided an inspiring sit-down workshop on capturing the winning image, followed by a trip into Rocky Mountain National Park for a photo shoot and hands-on tips.

There were also workshops on several technical aspects of digital photography by members Steve Schweitzer and Joe Zinn, and the always-popular writing and photography critique sessions presented by Anne Sullivan and Jack Olson, respectively. The auction, with auctioneer John Catsis and his able assistant Jim Baker, raised over $1,800 for the scholarship fund, which provides scholarships for college students pursuing outdoor writing and photography.

Special thanks to Suzy Blackhurst and Julie Nikolai of the Estes Park Convention & Visitors Bureau, who helped tremendously with organizing the conference. The CVB also provided a tasty barbecue lunch during our Hermit Park field trip.