Farewell to Ouray

by Don Laine

Fall color around Ouray (c) Don Laine
Aspens come in all colors around Ouray © Don Laine

The fall colors were great, the weather mostly great albeit a bit cool, the road construction annoying, and the crowd a whole lot of fun at RMOWP’s 42nd annual conference, which took place in late September in Ouray, Colorado.

There was a record turnout – at least as far back as the 2003 conference – with 66 attendees from across the United States, including more than a dozen first-timers.

The highlight for many was the 4X4 trip into the high country – see Richard Holmes’ article, “Four-wheel Drive Adventure” – but there was also a lot to learn from good information and eager participation at the craft improvement workshops.

New President Kent Taylor (c) Don Laine
Newly-elected President Kent Taylor © Don Laine

Boulder, Colorado resident Bill Horton showed us how to turn our ho-hum photos into prize winners, thanks to the latest computer software, and Ken Papaleo of Evergreen, Colorado, told us of his journey from newspaper photographer to freelancer, with a side-trip hand-tinting black & white photos. We shared tips on the best writing and photography tips we had received or could give during a group discussion, got tips on how to improve our writing during the writer’s forum, and advice on how to improve our photos at the photo critique.

Ken Papaleo addressing the group © Diane McKinley
Ken Papaleo addressing the group © Diane McKinley

Would-be bloggers got the low-down on how to get started from Kit Horton of Boulder, Colorado. There were photo presentations by Beto Gutierrez, owner of Santa Clara Ranch, a wildlife sanctuary and photographers’ dream in south Texas; and from Stillwater, Oklahoma resident Jim Baker on his Sunday morning experience with a photogenic elk, a companion work to the article he presented at the writer’s forum.

We got to see the photos of several longtime members at the Showcase of Selected Members Photography, which this year featured former RMOWP President Tom Cummings of Cushing, Oklahoma; Stillwater, Oklahoma resident Merrillyn Hartman; and Jack Wendleton from Hermann, Missouri. Which brings up the question of who will be giving presentations at the 2016 conference. Those interested should contact Jack Olson, the showcase coordinator. And, to those who would rather not participate in the member’s showcase, don’t answer the phone when Jack calls!