Taos, New Mexico
Sunday – Thursday, June 10-14
Another conference has come and gone, and this year’s event in Taos, New Mexico offered several firsts, the most significant being RMOWP’s first all-day writing workshop, “Paint Your Prose with Pizzazz,” presented by RMOWP member and award-winning nature writer Mary Taylor Young. Offered as a pre-conference program, the workshop had eleven participants who delved into the art of creating text that readers can’t put down, learning to use all their senses to examine the world around them and make it come alive in their writing.
During that workshop, Mary explained how we can improve our writing by imagining ourselves as a camera lens to really SEE a subject, and then describe it with words.
Ms. Taylor Young also led two shorter workshops during the conference, including a fascinating and somewhat scary look at how new technologies are changing the world of publishing, and what we as outdoor writers and photographers need to learn to avoid being left in the dust of yesterday.
Taos is a well-known art colony, so naturally we had to visit an art museum, the Harwood, which has an excellent collection of the area’s early twentieth-century artists. Of course, every Taos visitor has to see the San Francisco de Asis Church in Ranchos de Taos, made famous in Ansel Adams’ photography and Georgia O’Keeffe’s paintings. We just happened to time our field trip perfectly to catch the annual mudding — by parishioners and friends — of the historic church, which provided an opportunity for some unusual photos.
Other programs included a talk and photo show by Taos fishing guide and author Taylor Streit; the writing critique, this year moderated by Kenita Gibbins; and the photo critique, with tips from Jack Olson and Fred Lord.
We enjoyed a field trip to the Orilla Verde Recreation Area in the Rio Grande Gorge south of Taos. (Since March 25, 2013, a part of the Rio Grande del Norte National Monument.) Taos BLM Ranger Randy Roch led a hike to a viewpoint above the river, detouring to point out the many ancient hard-to-find petroglyphs. The evening concluded with a picnic supper along the river.
There was also a half-day raft trip, shows of photos of what we can expect at future conferences, and a somewhat boisterous auction, in which auctioneers Jim Baker and John Catsis helped RMOWP members part with more than $1,500 for our scholarship fund.