2009 Conference Wrap-up

Zion National Park, March 25 – 29, 2009

Despite the shaky economy and chilly March weather, this year’s conference in Zion National Park in southwestern Utah had an excellent turnout, with more than 50 participants. As in the past few years there was a good mix of long-time members and newcomers, with eleven individuals who were attending their first conference. Conference participants came from Colorado, New Mexico, South Carolina, Virginia, Indiana, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Oklahoma, Texas, Georgia, Utah, and Wyoming.

Linda Martin & Ryan Weishalla along the Virgin River. © Don Laine

Due to transportation and trail restrictions we opted to break into small groups for most hikes and field trips, taking advantage of the skills of a few of our more ambitious photographers. Members also presented workshops and the park service provided a lively ranger talk and a ranger-led hike.

Sunrise photo shoot at the Eastern Portal to Zion National Park.
© Don Laine

The group also received a presentation on global warming’s effect on outdoor recreation from the president of the Wildlife Management Institute, and the director of the Zion Field Institute gave a brief talk and some excellent photo location tips. New this year was a showcase of selected members’ photography, which we hope will become an annual event.

2008 Conference Highlights

Estes Park, Colorado ~ The Eastern portal of ROCKY MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK

June 8-12, 2008

About 50 RMOWPers plus a few friends and family members gathered in beautiful Estes Park, Colorado in June for the 35th annual conference of Rocky Mountain Outdoor Writers and Photographers.

Dramatic lighting in Morraine Park – Rocky Mountain National Park. © Jack Olson

Conference participants represented a dozen states. While Colorado claimed the highest number of registrants, there were also several from Texas and Oklahoma and some came from as far away as Georgia, South Carolina, and Virginia.

Estes Park is the eastern gateway to Rocky Mountain National Park and several trips into the national park provided opportunities for photography and to practically rub noses with elk and bighorn sheep. Park naturalist Jeff Maugans led a walk and program in the park, and the history of the park, with some fascinating old photos, was the subject of a presentation by local historian and author Curt Buchholtz.

Other conference highlights included a visit to the area’s newest public area – Hermit Park – with a welcome from a pair of the park’s resident marmots and a guided hike with park manager Chris Fleming. History buffs made their way to MacGregor Ranch Museum for a glimpse of this area during pioneer times.

Well-respected wildlife photographer Weldon Lee, a RMOWP member, provided an inspiring sit-down workshop on capturing the winning image, followed by a trip into Rocky Mountain National Park for a photo shoot and hands-on tips.

There were also workshops on several technical aspects of digital photography by members Steve Schweitzer and Joe Zinn, and the always-popular writing and photography critique sessions presented by Anne Sullivan and Jack Olson, respectively. The auction, with auctioneer John Catsis and his able assistant Jim Baker, raised over $1,800 for the scholarship fund, which provides scholarships for college students pursuing outdoor writing and photography.

Special thanks to Suzy Blackhurst and Julie Nikolai of the Estes Park Convention & Visitors Bureau, who helped tremendously with organizing the conference. The CVB also provided a tasty barbecue lunch during our Hermit Park field trip.

2007 Conference Highlights

Colorado Springs, Colorado, June 6-10 2007

RMOWPers heading up to the Theresa Mine above Victor. It was a cold day – it acturally started to snow before we headed back down the mountain! © Don Laine

Some 50 plus enthusiastic writers and photographers found their way to Colorado Springs for the 2007 conference of Rocky Mountain Outdoor Writers and Photographers.

We renewed old friendships and made new ones.

Numerous things occupied our time: the showing of all photo contest entries… several informative and frequently entertaining workshops… field trips into the beautiful areas around Colorado Springs… the ever evolving annual auction – this year with the addition of a captivating Hawaiian shirt contest… the incredibly well-orchestrated awards at the Saturday night banquet… plus the attendant business of RMOWP: board meetings…. annual meeting… It seemed like we hardly stopped to sleep.

Light streaming through the lovely stained glass in the US Air Force Academy Chapel. © Lee Car

For more details see the July-August issue of Rocky Mountain Outdoors.

2006 Conference Highlights

May 3-7, 2006: Moab, Utah

Morning shot along Potash Road © Jack Olson

Close to 50 seekers of wisdom and excitement trekked to the beautiful red rock country of Moab, Utah last year for RMOWP’s annual conference, returning home with numerous photos, ideas, skills, contacts and memories. There were field trips, workshops, guided photo shoots, and socializing, with opportunities to trade tips and tales of woe with our fellow writers and photographers

We saw some magnificent images and learned about the business of scenic photography from internationally-known photographer Tom Till, learned what to do – and not to do – in a panel discussion on How to Make Money as a Freelancer, found out how to build our own websites during Website Creation 101, and explored the often baffling world of digital photography with two highly informative workshops.

Turret Arch at Sunset
© Jack Olson

There was a wonderful turnout of early risers for the Sunrise Photo Shoot, plenty of tips at the Photo Critique session, and lots of guidance and good information at the Writer’s Critique. Field trips included stops at most of Moab’s scenic attractions: a bus or hiking tour of Arches National Park, a visit to a wetlands preserve operated by the Nature Conservancy, and a trip to a restaurant-museum-winery along the Colorado River where we met John Wayne (or at least a reasonable cardboard facsimile). There was also a sunset boat trip, a guided tour of the local historic museum, and opportunities to see prehistoric rock art.

We were pleased to see some new faces and renew old friendships, and make some business contacts that just might help lead to fame and fortune. Or at least enough to pay for that new digital camera, lens, or notebook computer we’ve been drooling over.

2005 Conference Highlights

June 8-11, 2005: Silver City, NM

2005 Annual Conference Attendees
2005 Annual Conference Attendees

RMOWP’s Annual Conference was a tremendous success! The conference was held in Silver City, NM on June 8-11, 2005.

John Oakleaf, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service in Aline, AZ gave an opening night presentation on the introduction of Mexican Gray Wolves in southwester NM and southeastern AZ.

Clare Gutierrez at the Gila Cliff Dwellings in National Monument.
Clare Gutierrez at the Gila Cliff Dwellings in National Monument.




The next day provided incredible photography opps as a personalized guided tour of the Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument was conducted by Dr. Cynthia Bettison, Archeologist and Director of the Western New Mexico University Museum.

Silver City wasn’t just for photography. Silver City author, editor and teacher Mary Lynn discussed the business of writing, offering tidbits for budding writers and sage advise for seasoned authors.

Winners of RMOWP Annual Photo & Writing Competition
Winners of RMOWP Annual Photo & Writing Competition

Other Conference Highlights: Western New Mexico University’s photography professor Anthony Howell shared innovative photographic techniques. Dale Giese, dressed in authentic garb from 100 years ago, gave a guided tour of Fort Bayard, America’s newest National Historic Site. Park Ranger Larry Reed provided a guided tour of City of Rocks State Park, offering rare glimpses of secluded Indian sites not often seen by the general public. Writers were once again rewarded with author David Fryxall (“Write Better, Write Faster“) offering interactive writing critiques in forum style.

Tom Cummings (in Pinos Altos, NM) He ALWAYS uses the right equipment for the job :)
Tom Cummings (in Pinos Altos, NM)
He ALWAYS uses the right equipment for the job 🙂