2020 Writing & Video Contest Results

Best of Show: Richard Holmes

“Am I Really Retired?” © Richard Holmes
1st Place Unpublished Written Works
“Though this is a very brief essay, it stands out for the authenticity of the writer’s voice as he reveals himself to the reader. Showing your vulnerabilities is frightening, causing many writers to avoid it, thus losing an opportunity for strong connection to the reader. When a writer opens up authentically, as this writer does, it is a strong tool to engage readers.” ~ Judge Mary Taylor Young

Click here to read Richard’s winning article.

Writing Judge: Mary Taylor Young

Award-winning writer and naturalist Mary Taylor Young has been writing about the landscape and heritage of Colorado and the American West for 30 years. Her 17 books include Rocky Mountain National Park: The First 100 Years and Land of Grass and Sky: A Naturalist’s Prairie Journey. She has published hundreds of magazine, newspaper and web articles and her “Words On Birds” column appeared in the Rocky Mountain News for 16 years. Mary was a National Park Service Artist-in-Residence at Rocky Mountain National Park in 2012. She is the 2018 Frank Waters Award honoree for exemplary literary achievement and a canon of writing that communicates a deep understanding, celebration, and love of the West. Previous recipients include Barbara Kingsolver, Tony Hillerman and CJ Box. Mary lives in Castle Rock, Colorado with her family.

Video Judge: 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 over 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. 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 is the President/CEO of the “Park County Creative Alliance”, a newly formed nonprofit with the vision to “Unite Park County Through the Arts.” Ann, also, sits on the Board of Arts for Colorado, a state arts advocacy organization. In addition, Ann has been involved with promoting film production to Colorado.

Winning Written Works

(Judges comments appear in italics.)

24 Newspaper, Magazine – articles/columns/editorials 
Ron Belak “Goldens and Tigers and Grayling, Oh My!” Colorado Outdoors, Jul/Aug 2019. “Good anecdotal lead takes readers into an overview of fishing for exotic species. Engaging style even for non-anglers.”
2nd Ron Belak “Birding for Beginners” Colorado Outdoors, Jan/Feb 2020. “Well-written, basic primer for getting started birdwatching, covering equipment and some technique. Nice phrase about the author being a lifelong geologist looking down, now he looks up at birds.”
3rd Russ Bromby “Colorado’s Master Anglers” Colorado Outdoors 2020 Fishing Guide, July 2020. “Succinct overview of the Master Anglers program in Colorado, with a strong lead and solid how-to information.”

26 Newsletter and Web Writing
Virginia Staat “The Cutting Room Floor” Rocky Mountain Outdoors, May-Jun 2019. “Strong essay on using intense self-editing to strengthen your writing. Loved how author put their first attempt at a novel “in a drawer to heal itself.”
2nd Judy Lehmkuhl “Having a Moment” Rocky Mountain Outdoors, Jan-Feb 2020. “Prose poem capturing not just the details but the emotions of hearing elk bugling. Good detail creates the scene and the cadence. Nice mirror of the lead in the close.”
3rd Maryann Gaug “The Unwelcome Guest” Rocky Mountain Outdoors, Mar-Apr 2020. “Amusing first person account of a snake encounter. Good descriptive detail and engaging use of first person.”

28 Unpublished Written Works
Richard Holmes – Am I Really Retired? “Bright, humorous essay about aging. Very fun use of characterizing body parts as “retiring” at different times. I would agree with his statement “My mind is certainly not retired” as he proves with this creative essay!”
2nd Maryann Gaug – Life at the Edge of the Greenland Icecap “Fascinating travelogue about the author’s trip to Greenland. Brimming with strong details that bring the surroundings to life for readers.”
3rd Judy Lehmkuhl – Plants and People of the Sonoran Desert “Vivid experiential poem with strong rhythms and excellent word choice that draws the reader into the poet’s experience.”

Video Winners

(Judges comments appear in italics.)

30 Video
Dan Bernskoetter – South Africa Safari “I liked the use of the maps at the beginning to introduce this story. This piece has a good pace and quality. The upbeat African music added to the experience. There was good use of combining still photographs and live video. The transitions between the two was very good. It made me want to see the longer version.”
2nd Ron Belak – The Diversity of Peru “This video had good use of text titles to tell the story. It told a story and brought you along on a journey through Peru.”

31 Video Clips
Ron Belak – The Launch “This clip had a good story beginning to end with several places you could edit into for use in a longer video. The camera work was steady which technically was difficult. The zooms were decisive which provided several editing options.”
2nd Maryann Gaug – Kids jumping waves “Although this clip appears technically simple, the operator allowed the camera to capture the action. Knowing when not to move the camera is just as important as long pans. The scene was hypnotic with the way the waves played in the foreground. Even though it was just a clip, children and mother running in and out of the frame, coupled with the movement of the waves, told a story of kids playing.”
3rd Frank Zurey – Moose Feeding in Sprauge Lake “While this is a great video of the moose and his reflection in the water, the added element of the duck swimming by in the foreground was extra production value. Those simple movements can take a clip to the next level.”
HM Maryann Gaug – Cutting fish “The bright orange bibs provided a bold color which drew the viewer into the action. A piece of this clip could definitely be added into a longer production.”