2015 Writing and Video Awards

This year 27 written works and 10 video clips were submitted to the contest. A third judge was recruited to more fairly assess videos.

Writing & Books Judge – Mary Taylor Young
Award-winning Colorado writer Mary Taylor Young has been writing professionally for over 25 years. She has published fifteen books and hundreds of articles in periodicals such as Ladies Home Journal, Outside and Wildlife Conservation. Two of Mary’s books have been regional bestsellers and three have been finalists for the Colorado Book Award. Her titles include The Guide to Colorado Mammals, Colorado Wildlife Viewing Guide and Land of Grass and Sky: A Naturalist’s Prairie Journey. Her latest book, Rocky Mountain National Park: The First 100 Years, is the centennial history of the national park. In 2012, Mary was an Artist in Residence in Rocky Mountain National Park. She writes from her home in Castle Rock, Colorado where she lives with her family and many wild neighbors.

Video Judge – Mike Pellegatti
Mike Pellegatti is the Founder and Owner of Wild Visions. He produces compelling stories that inspire, entertain, enlighten, and inform. Mike has 25 years experience producing television productions, sports, video documentaries, interviews, interactive videos, infomercials, product promotion videos, public service announcements, web videos, and corporate video productions for local, national, and international clientele. His footage has aired on Discovery Channel. Discovery Channel Canada, PBS, National Geographic, NBC, ABC and various international broadcasters. Mike’s dynamic skill sets and his ability to tell a story with the camera have taken him over much of the globe in search of the elusive and challenging. He has shot and/or produced and edited countless hours of outdoor programming for various video and television production companies such as Bass Pro Shops, the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Cabelas, Outdoor Adventure Magazine, Game Warden Journal, and Outdoor Expeditions. Several of his programs have won awards for excellence in this industry.

Best of Show – Writing Categories 24 & 26

Virginia Staat, “Murdering Lola,” Rocky Mountain Outdoors, May/June 2014
Who couldn’t continue reading with that title?! The lead anecdote is instantly engaging and a good segue into the topic. Very engaging piece.

Writing Awards

Newspaper, Magazine – articles/columns/editorials – 24
1st Cecilia Travis “Beware the Carrots,” Anne Sullivan Writers’ Forum, Volume 2, 2013
“Carrots are killers…who knew? This readable piece offers good information in a humorous style. Short but to the point. The accompanying plant photos enlighten the text.”
2nd Ron Belak “To Go Light or Ultra Light, That is the Question,” Colorado Outdoors, Jul/Aug 2014
“Good, informative piece on outdoors equipment. The author weaves in personal experience references that lend credence to this service article.”
3rd Bob Good “And Let the BV Social Season Begin!,” Chaffee County Times, Jan 15, 2015
“Clever humor piece and good spoof of a red carpet event narrative. Though the references are for insiders, it’s clever enough to be fun and funny for any reader.”

Newsletter and Web Writing – 26
1st Virginia Staat “Like Candy on my Tongue,” Rocky Mountain Outdoors, Jul-Aug 2014
“Fun and creative piece on the abundant word choices that make writing a banquet! The lead-in quote (from Flannery O’Connor) nicely positions the piece.”
2nd Maryann Gaug “Hiking on the East Side of Glacier National Park,” Rocky Mountain Outdoors, Jul-Aug 2014
“Well-done, straight forward hiking piece. Author creates strong imagery and weaves in abundant information without slowing down the story.”
3rd Jack Olson “The Best Place in the World,” Rocky Mountain Outdoors, Jan/Feb 2015
“Nice piece that gets readers thinking about their own favorite outdoor places. Good job using second person and bringing the reader along on the trail.”

Books – 35
1st Maryann Gaug, Best Hikes Near Breckenridge and Vail, Falcon Guides, 2014
“Much more than a hiking guide, this highly informative book engages the reader with references to geology, plants, wildlife, ecology and human history and conveys the author’s love of the landscape.”
2nd Robert Stone, Day Hikes Around Big Sur, Day Hike Books, 2014
“This well-organized and informative hiking guide is packed with trail information and directions for the day hiker.”
3rd Robert Stone, Day Hikes in Grand Teton National Park, Day Hike Books, 2014
“Excellent detail and directions make this trail guide highly useful for hikers.”
Honorable Mention:
Al Perry, North American Waterfowl Decoys, Shutterfly, 2013
“There is no text in this book beyond species names of the decoys, but it is a lovely book and deserves recognition as an honorable mention.”

Al Perry, Al Perry Nature Photography, Volume 1, Shutterfly, 2015
“This is a book full of lovely photographs but no text beyond captions. It is worthy of an honorable mention nod for the quality and diversity of the photographs.”

Video Awards

Introductory comments by the Video Judge – Mike Pellegatti
I wanted to spend a moment and explain the criteria I used for judging entries in the contest. I look for proper exposure, good composition, focus, proper white balance, steady camera work, and degree of technical difficulty associated with the topic or the equipment used. Color is nice but not always available in nature so clips were not determined in this way unless it was a primary focus as in a scenery shot or sunset shot devoid of wildlife.
“As for many of the clips, the subject matter was perfectly acceptable and most of the criteria were met easily. The only downside was in the unsteady, shaky, or jerky camera work. This could be improved upon as the clips that were not selected were of interesting content and had all the other right criteria going for them. It is critical to pan, tilt, or zoom smoothly so as not to introduce a jarring motion to viewers, which can be distracting to the subject matter. A locked down shot would be better than a shaky one.”

Video – 30
1st Al Perry – The Story Behind the Images
This documentary style production gave me a great insight into the world of Mr. Al Perry as a photographer and outdoor enthusiast. A short bio gave me his background and his interview about his photography was a refreshing insight into his experiences in the outdoors as well as the knowledge he has gained over the years pertaining to wildlife. Kudos to Al for taking the time to edit his photography into a production that had a good story line coupled with interesting photography and personal experiences.”
2nd Kenita Gibbons – Dance video
A series of raw, unscripted or unedited video clips.”

Video Clips – 31
1st Al Perry – Milky Way time lapse
A beautiful and extremely detailed example of the Milky Way gracing the skies above. This time lapse showed a thorough knowledge the movements of the Milky Way and of equipment, not only in the proper exposure of the individual frames that created the time lapse, but in the use of a motorized rail as it the camera subtly moved in sync with the Milky Way. Mr. Perry artfully massaged the frames with post processing software, after the fact, to create a delightful view of the heavenly skies.”
2nd Frank Zurey – Swans Feeding
A very peaceful scene of two swans feeding in their natural environment. Mr. Zurey got the exposure right on with an otherwise difficult scene of white swans against a dark background. There is detail in the white feathers of the swans, a challenging situation at best. Good steady footage, proper exposure, and a good example of two swans gracefully feeding provides a perfect glimpse of their daily behavior with no distractions. It would be easy to pick any 5 or 6 seconds out of this to use in a production.”
3rd John Thornton – Bee on Flower
This clip portrays the daily life in a bee’s life, gathering pollen. Good composition, proper exposure, very nice colors, and the decision to lock off the tripod allowed the viewer to get a good view into the bee’s activity. My only suggestion would be to film the bee a little tighter after getting the shot that was portrayed. One part of the clip showed the pollen on the legs and this would have really shown up better, illustrating how a bee gathers the pollen for the flight back to the hive.”