2018 Writing & Video Winners

Nine members submitted 20 written works and seven videos to this year’s contest. The video judge stated that the videographers did a great job this year.

Hiking Centennial Trail
“Hiking Centennial Trail” by Cheryl Whetham

Best of Show in writing went to new member Cheryl Whetham for “Hiking the Centennial Trail” published by CreateSpace in 2018.

“A well-organized, practical hiking guide loaded with useful information and first-hand insight from the authors. Nicely illustrated with color photos and maps. This guide creates a sense of discovery by profiling a great trail in a state (South Dakota) not usually known for its hiking.“

Writing & Books Judge – Mary Taylor Young

Mary Taylor Young
Mary Taylor Young

Award-winning Colorado writer Mary Taylor Young has been writing professionally for over 30 years. She has published seventeen 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 – Ann Lukacs

Ann Lukacs
Ann Lukacs

Ann Lukacs fell in love with photography at an early age. She has been working in the camera department in the motion picture industry for almost 40 years, and 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 contributing to major studio feature films, she works as an independent filmmaker. She has produced an award-winning documentary, “Behind The Chutes,” telling the story of rodeo bareback riders, and produced “Thunder Over Europe,” a documentary about the crew of a B-17 during WWII. Working as a filmmaker 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. She has also been involved with promoting film production to Colorado.

2018 Winners in Writing & Video

(Note: Judges comments appear in italics.)

24 Newspaper, Magazine, or other publication – articles/columns/editorials/short stories
1st Ron Belak “Autumn Splendor,” Colorado Outdoors, Sep-Oct 2017. Nice discussion of autumn, interweaving the science of autumn foliage colors with the many recreational activities to be enjoyed in the fall. Clever lead — Call me Mr. October.
2nd Laurie Ford “The Continuing Fight for Freedom,” Desert Exposure, July 2018. Effectively-written editorial advocating for continued protection for wild horses and burros. Good use of data, references and quotes balanced with personal opinion.
3rd Ron Belak “The Simplicity and Elegance of Tenkara,” Colorado Outdoors – Fishing Guide, 2016. A Highly informative article on Tenkara flyfishing technique and equipment, interesting enough to keep even this non-angler engaged!

26 Newsletter and Web Writing
1st Virginia Staat “The Making of a Grammar Ninja,” Rocky Mountain Outdoors, Nov-Dec 2017. The writer makes grammar and good writing – topics generally considered dull – interesting by use of story and humor, weaving in tips for better writing.
2nd Jack Olson “Ashes to Ashes, Dust to Dust,” Rocky Mountain Outdoors, May-Jun 2018. An engaging story of discovering the hidden richness of the Colorado prairie through its people and fading places.
3rd Virginia Staat “Earworms and Other Things,” Rocky Mountain Outdoors, Jul-Aug 2017. Good technique using a common annoyance – a song playing over and over in your head – to show how music can be a useful tool for creativity and for people suffering dementia.

28 Unpublished Written Works
1st Maryann Gaug “Maasai Mara Journey” Vivid first-person account of a safari in Kenya. Well-done imagery creating the sights, sounds and smells of each scene.
2nd Bob Good “The Trip to Big Two-fisted Lake” A playful piece using the style of Hemingway to describe a fishing trip. Fun and creative.
3rd Virginia Staat “Lovelady,” Good imagery using the voice of an elderly farm woman to tell a story of a violent home invasion contrasting with a tranquil rural setting.

35 Books
1st John Hanou “Modern Visions of the Crucifix,” 2018. Though primarily a photographic book, it has strong thematic structure and the thoughtfully-chosen Bible passages as captions provide interesting interpretation for each image.

30 Video
1st Virginia Staat “Ruffing It” This video did the best job at telling a story through the editing process. It is a cute story and does a good job at introducing the characters at the beginning of the film. They definitely carry the “ruffing it” theme throughout the video, maybe a little too many times. However, they did deliver the assignment of incorporating interviews, narration and images pertinent to the story line. In addition, they creatively incorporated on-screen text and motion effects. One of the challenges to a family documentary is being able to edit it shorter.
2nd Ron Belak “Galapagos Wildlife” This contestant submitted a short video. It incorporates the beauty of the Galapagos with good music. They chose to use on-screen titles instead of narration. However, the result was similar to reading subtitles. It was a bit of a distraction from the beautiful footage. They did a good job at editing and the various clip lengths are a good length.

31 Video Clips
1st Frank Zurey “Great Blue Heron Feeding Youngsters” This clip of “dancing birds” could be used in a variety of videos, especially when paired with the right music.
2nd – tie Maryann Gaug “Mary Anne Bedrock rapid” and “Jim dory leaving Bedrock” Probably the same contestant. These clips worked well for composition and steady camera work. One clip panned with the boat; one clip let the frame stay static and let the boat fill the frame as it moved across the water.
3rd Frank Zurey “Barred Owl,” This was an interesting study of the owl. Good clip.
Honorable Mention
Bob Luce “Beaver Movie,” This was a patient study of the beaver. Camera was steady as they watched the beaver in his environment.