2016 Writing & Video Awards

Twelve video clips and 25 written works were submitted to this year’s contest. Winning entries were announced at the awards banquet at the culmination of the 2016 conference in Bryce Canyon, Utah.

Best of Show – Writing

Virginia Staat “Fearful Symmetry,” Rocky Mountain Outdoors, May/June 2015
Very nice exploration of the art and craft of writing, built around the concept of symmetry.
Bravo for leading with William Blake’s iconic poem.

Writing 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
Founder and owner of Wild Visions, Mike Pellegatti produces compelling stories that inspire, entertain, enlighten, and inform. He has 25 years experience producing television sports programs, video documentaries, interviews, interactive videos, infomercials, product promotion videos, public service announcements, web videos, and corporate videos for local, national, and international clientele. His footage has aired on Discovery Channel, Discovery Channel Canada, PBS, National Geographic, NBC, ABC, and various international broadcasts. 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, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Cabela’s, Outdoor Adventure Magazine, Game Warden Journal, and Outdoor Expeditions. Several of his programs have won awards for excellence in this industry.

Criteria Used by Video Judge: Mike Pellegatti looks 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 judged in this way unless it was a primary focus – as in a scenery shot or sunset shot devoid of wildlife.
Videos should tell a story through the process of editing. This can be accomplished with interviews and narration, with pertinent video to support the story line. In this way, the viewer will hear the story and see the corresponding video. Another way to do this is with text on screen. The text tells the story along with subsequent video clips.
There were some very compelling clips to look at in this year’s contest. After last year’s comments about shaky camera work, likely derived from the use of still photography heads, most entries were of locked down shots. Only a couple tried to pan or follow with the action, which helps make video so compelling. However, a locked off steady shot is very usable in a production.

(Note: Judge’s comments appear in italics.)

Newspaper, Magazine – articles/columns/editorials/short stories – 24
Russell Bromby “Keira and I Went Fishing” 2012 Fishing Guide, Colorado Outdoors
Heartwarming piece using the teaching of a grandchild to fish to also share useful information on angling in general.
2nd Ron Belak “Tantalizing Terrestrials for Trout” Colorado Outdoors, July/August 2015
The entertaining writing style makes the subject of “terrestrial” trout flies interesting even to non-anglers.
3rd Maryann Gaug “The Comfort Zone” Anne Sullivan Writers’ Forum Proceedings, Feb 2016
Nice interweaving of a travelogue with the author’s personal experiences and motivations.

Newsletter and Web Writing – 26
Virginia Staat “Confessions of a Failed MonomaniacRocky Mountain Outdoors, March-April 2015
Vivid, engaging exploration of a writing technique.
2nd Richard Holmes “Four-wheel Drive AdventureRocky Mountain Outdoors, Nov-Dec 2015
Very active prose and great use of verbs puts the reader dynamically in the scene.
3rd Jack Olson “Passing The TorchRocky Mountain Outdoors, July-Aug 2015
Charming recollection and travelogue about the author on a trip through Europe with his two nieces.

Unpublished Written Works – 28
Maryann Gaug “Autumn Reflections”
A nice evocation of enjoying the Colorado outdoors and tying it into personal revelations and universal themes.
2nd Richard Holmes “Beyond Adversity”
Straightforward account of photographing birds under less than perfect conditions, revealing photography techniques within the context of the moment.
3rd Kenita Gibbins “Waging Peace”
Account of an international program, ending with the takeaway of waging peace among former enemy nations.

Books – 35
Andy Lightbody, Kathy Mattoon All Things Jerky Skyhorse Publishing, 2015
Richly designed book illustrated with photos. This book for niche-interest foodies, truly relating all things about jerky. Recipes, background information, equipment and ingredients, all brought together in a very nicely-done and engaging book.
2nd William Horton Churches in Iceland 2016
In addition to lovely photographs of the churches, this book includes tidbits of history and information on each site, which are just enough to engage the reader without overwhelming.
3rd Robert Stone Day Hikes Around San Luis Obispo, Day Hike Books, 2015
An information-packed, well-organized hiking guide to a particular region. Each writeup begins with an overview of trail information-at-a-glance, then good descriptions and directions for the day hiker.
Honorable Mention
Al Perry  Al Perry Nature Photography, Volume 2, May 2015
This is a book full of astounding photographs, but no text beyond captions. It is worthy of an honorable mention nod for the quality and diversity of the photographs.

Video Clips – 31
Al Perry “Steam Train Crossing River”
Nice colors, good composition, and the camera person added some motion with the camera work which added to the difficulty of getting a good shot. This shot could very easily be used in a production on trains or the outdoors.
2nd Frank  Zurey “Childs Glacier”
A very nice example of an iceberg at the end of its run falling into the ocean. Good colors, steady work, and capturing just the right moment as a large chunk breaks away. Being in the right place at the right time.
3rd Al Perry “Night Sky in Motion Featuring the Milky Way”
Technically a very good representation of the milky way moving across the sky. This time-lapse was composed of a long period of many still exposures over several hours. Colors are good, post processing was very good, and the end result was a nice example of our milky way moving through the night sky.
Honorable Mention John Thornton “Black Butterfly Feeding on Cone Flower”
This clip is nicely composed with saturated colors. It very easily could be used in a production.