2017 Writing & Video Awards

Eleven members submitted 32 written entries this year, an increase of almost 15% over last year. The video entries doubled this year, with 18 submissions from six members. Winners were announced at the awards banquet the last night of the 2017 conference in Sierra Vista, Arizona.

2017 Best of Show writing
Hanou’s “A Round Indiana”

Best of Show in writing was awarded to John Hanou for his book  “A Round Indiana – Round Barns in the Hoosier State,” published in 1993 by Purdue University Press.

Writing & Books Judge – Mary Taylor Young

Mary Taylor Young

Award-winning Colorado writer Mary Taylor Young has been writing professionally for over 30 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. See www.marytayloryoung.com.

Video Judge – Ann Lukacs

Ann Lukacs

Ann fell in love with photography at an early age, and has been working in the camera department in the motion picture industry for almost 40 years. Her industry experience coupled with her knowledge of living in the mountains has unwittingly realigned some of her work to location scouting. In addition to working on major studio feature films, she works as an independent filmmaker, and has produced an award-winning documentary, “Behind The Chutes”, telling the story of rodeo bareback riders (see www.behindthechutes.com. Currently Ann is in production of a documentary about the crew of a B-17 in WWII, “Thunder Over Europe” (see www.thunderovereurope.com). Working in filmmaking has given her the experience of storytelling and how to combine all the various elements of production to create the final film. Ann sits on the Board of Arts For Colorado, a state advocacy organization supporting Colorado Creative Industries, plus she is involved with promoting film production to Colorado.

2017 Winners in Writing and Video:

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

24 Newspaper, Magazine, or other publication – articles/columns/editorials/short stories
Michael Salomone “Opening Day,”
The Pointing Dog Journal, Sep/Oct 2015 Who can resist a sporting dog article that starts with a description of “an English Setter who travels with the extravagance of a prince on safari”?! Nice essay tying together elements of family, hunting traditions and dogs that resonates well with multiple audiences.
2nd Robert Good “The Egg and I,”
The Chaffee County Times, Oct 20, 2016 A creative approach using a script format, with characters and scenes, which is definitely unexpected in a newspaper outdoors column. Good use of humor.
3rd Ron Belak “The Brown Trout,”
Colorado Outdoors, Mar/Apr 2016 Well-done, thorough expository piece on brown trout, with a personal anecdote used as an effective lead.

26 Newsletter and Web Writing
1st Virginia Staat “A Gumshoe in Hiking Boots,”  Rocky Mountain Outdoors, Mar/Apr 2016
Very creative piece on the writing craft about discovering story ideas, first person experience and the research required for nonfiction writing.
2nd Jack Olson “A Yukon Dream Come True,” Rocky Mountain Outdoors, Nov/Dec 2016
A Robert Service poem, an eccentric, hung-over teacher are unlikely but engaging leads into a nice, first-person travelogue about Yukon.
3rd Michael Salomone “Autumn Angling,” www.vailvalleyanglers.com\blog, Sep 22, 2016
Evocative lead into a well-done, straightforward piece on techniques for fishing in the fall.
Honorable Mention
Virginia Staat “Stranger Than Fiction,” Rocky Mountain Outdoors, Nov/Dec 2016 and “The Game of Words de Mois,” Rocky Mountain Outdoors, May/Jun 2016
Both of these articles are cleverly written and very engaging, with strong leads and fun anecdotes used to reveal skills for the craft of writing.

28 Unpublished Written Works
1st Robert Good “Frank and Old Blue, Chapter 4, Trout Creek Valley”
A touching story of an emotionally-wounded man and the beat-up stray dog who find each other and heal together, taking readers through vivid scenes of the journey.
2nd Maryann Gaug “Hiking Guide Dream”
Straightforward account of how the author transformed a love of outdoor recreation into success as a guide book author, a story that inspires others who want to take that trail (pun intended).
3rd Joanna Gray “Invitation to the Dance: Tips for Imaging the Reddish Egret”
Excellent article on photographing a rare bird. Offers an effective characterization of the species’ dramatic behaviors coupled with techniques for photographing it.

35 Books
1st John Hanou “A Round Indiana – Round Barns in the Hoosier State,” Purdue University Press, 1993
An intriguing theme for a photographic history book, the author’s text makes the round barns of the title engaging beyond the beautiful photographs.

30 Video—The entries were very short videos and were judged as trailers.
1st Dan Bernskoetter “Niangua River Float”
The video follows kayakers down the river. A peaceful feeling is created by eliminating human conversation and leaving just the music and sounds of nature. It is a very sweet depiction of their afternoon journey. Additional Comments: All the shots are from one angle since the camera is probably mounted on the kayak. For a longer version, it might be helpful to see some “B-Roll” cutaways with different angles. What is the purpose of the story? Would interviews be helpful? What about seeing birds or other elements of nature?
2nd Ron Belak “Into Africa”
The video captures action shots of animals in Africa. The camera moves are very good especially considering the logistics that must have been involved to film these shots. Any of the clips could be used in a production. The footage is very successful in capturing the lifestyle of these magnificent animals. Use of strong music sells the vista and power of the location. Additional comments: What is the story? The trailer basically links together various clips. The clips could be shorter which would keep the viewers interest longer. While the music is powerful, it is copyrighted music and instantly recognized from the “Out Of Africa” movie soundtrack.

31 Video Clips
1st Frank Zurey “Grizzly Bear Fishing”
This video clip captures a wildlife moment that required some unique technical skills. Assuming this was shot with a long lens makes the camera moves even more challenging as they were following unknown movements and action. Good exposure, focus and composition support the overall quality of the clip.
2nd Maryann Gaug “Dancing Sea Nettles”
This was a mesmerizing clip of a unique subject matter. The use of the blue background and lighting the jellyfish provided an interesting study of their dance. The camera was stationary but effective as the jellyfish fill the frame and provide the movement.
3rd—Tie Al Perry “Northern Lights”
The “Northern Lights” are the subject in this clip and their dance provides the action. The exposure focuses on highlighting the uniqueness of this light show. John Thornton “Common Buckeye Feeding” The quality of exposure and focus make this a very interesting clip that could definitely be used in a production. The camera is steady but it allows for the action to fill the frame. It is also very intriguing that the color of the butterfly compliments the colors in the flower.
Honorable Mention Frank Zurey “Bryce Canyon Hoodoos at Sunrise”
This clip has a good exposure and color saturation of these dramatic red rocks. Panning up the landscape on a diagonal demonstrates the epic expanse.