Monday, May 3, 2010

Snow: The Surest Sign of Spring--Montana Style That Is

Snow, at times serious snow greeted us last Wednesday as we drove the 200 miles or so from our home in Dillon to Seeley Lake, MT to attend the Northwest Outdoor Writers Association (NOWA) annual three-day conference. Not at all surprising to us but something of a surprise for the writers and photographers who live on the west coast where snow is mostly a winter phenom, or as one put it, "Where I come from we have SPRING RAINS...SNOW? NEVER!!!

Anyway it snowed all day Wednesday (the day prior to the start of conference) and all night and in the morning the scene--as you can see from the shot above--was way more winter like than perhaps even some less hardened Montana pilgrims might have expected. Coming from the high elevation southwest corner of the state, however, we've come to expect spring snow days but nonetheless disappointed since it was sure to put a crimp on some of the planned outdoor activities which make the conferences so enjoyable. 

Over the next several days I plan to post more on just what our group and conference is all about. But first let me tell you about one of my favorite activities. It's called the Photo Shoot-Out. Starting at 8 Thurday morning and running until about noon Friday participating photographers (any member can) try their best to fulfill a variety of "assignments." This year there were three "catagories" Lifestyle, Recreation and Scenic. Individuals could shoot any number of shots but only 10 could be entered for final judging. Of the 10 shots you could mix and match any way; in other words all 10 could be Scenics or you could enter several in one category, the rest in another category and so forth. Judging was blind, in other words the judges only saw the photo and not the name of the photographer. Criteria judged were Theme, Composition, Technical (exposure, focus, etc.). 

While the above photo was one of many shot during the Shoot Out it did not make the final cut for obvious reasons. One it's not much more than a revealing snap shot certainly not one I would deem worthy of competing against, for example, my Livingston MT pal Keith Szafranski whose scenics rival and often exceed the best artwork and two...well since "one" kills it why go there. So I spent the first day rambling around the area apparently in something of a brain dead state as nothing seemed to click. I did manage a nice shot of a snowshoe rabbit in transition but since wildlife wasn't a category...what to do with it who knows?

Day 2 dawned somewhat nicer, a little morning sun and much better light. I had planned to pose Gale in a variety of shots but alas she'd come down with a nasty cold and didn't feel up to the task. So setting the camera on a tripod and using the self-timer I posed myself fishing and after took a couple shots of flies...really stretching it I know but...To make a long mostly sorry story short...The shot below did somehow manage to garner second spot (Recreation). My take is the judges just felt bad for the ol' boy....Oh well. Stay tuned...


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