Fifty-five people – an unprecedented 18 of whom were new to the group – gathered in West Glacier, Montana to explore Glacier National Park with RMOWP’s local guru Tom Ulrich. It was unforgettable – Tom shared his phenomenal knowledge of the flora and fauna, his vast experience in the outdoors, and some very funny stories. His love of the park shown through all the time spent with him. One of the lucky people who snagged a spot in the all-day pre-conference tour of the park was amazed at how frequently Tom would say something like up ahead is a good place to see a moose (for instance), and sure enough, right after he stopped the car a moose stepped out of the trees – as though on command.
To kick off the conference, Tom and LInda served up a terrific barbecue at their delightful cabin, complete with it’s own pond and myriad huckleberry bushes laden with ripe berries. It was the perfect opening to welcome the many first time conference attendees, and a very good time was had by all.
Our time was packed with field trips, workshops, and presentations. Al Perry shared some intriguing night photography, Tom Ulrich gave us insights into macro photography, while Hector Astorga showed us how he sets up some of his more intricate images. Kit Horton took us quickly through some of the ins and outs of online publishing, and Virginia Staat put us to work using words to paint a picture of place so clearly that one who might never see it could visualize and experience it through our prose.
We thoroughly enjoyed seeing how three of our members express themselves photographically: Linda Bundren’s family takes center stage in many of her photos; pretty impressive sports photography is Jo Dodd’s love, and Dave Pecoraro captured the Kentucky Derby in a grand action-packed display.
A rainy boat ride on Lake McDonald (what’s a little more water, anyway?) preceded one of Jack Olson’s famous sunrise/sunset photo opportunities that wasn’t: heavy clouds blocked the sunset. But the next night, after a spectacular ride along Going-to-the-Sun Road in the historic open-topped Red Busses, the skies cooperated with a great balance of light and cloud at the south end of Lake McDonald. The morning’s tour of Hungry Horse dam just down the road from the park offered a change of pace with an important engineering feat plus scenic photo ops.
Beto Gutierrez’s auctioneering antics inspired both laughter and bids, raising over $6000 from the truly amazing donations by both RMOWPers and our corporate friends.
The Saturday night awards banquet was a fitting close to a wonderful conference. Thanks to everyone who attended and contributed. See you next year!