Art Association of Jackson Hole’s First Annual Photography Competition Series

May 24, 2012
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Last night concluded the Art Association of Jackson Hole’s first annual photography competition series. It was a four-part, juried competition with a different theme each week. Though I never placed first, I did receive 3rd place in the first week and 2nd place in the second week. I was very surprised and honored, however, when I was awarded Best in Show last night at the final opening. The reasoning I was told was because in addition to getting an entry into each competition, I still maintained my personal style and consistency of work despite the wide range of categories.

Below are my entries, along with each theme.

Energy and Adrenaline – 3rd Place

A dramatic sunset casts a pink glow over the North Fork of Cascade Canyon in Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming. (Mike Cavaroc)
A dramatic sunset casts a pink glow over the North Fork of Cascade Canyon in Grand Teton National Park.

For Energy and Adrenaline, I knew a thunderstorm would best convey that premise through my work. It’s hard to argue that either isn’t apparent when a large thunderstorm comes roaring through. I went to an image from this past summer in the North Fork of Cascade Canyon in Grand Teton National Park that I had witnessed while backpacking there. It was easily one of my better stormy scenes as the sunset colors saturated the landscape, reflecting off of the immense clouds above.

Wild and Sublime – 2nd Place

A black wolf on a ridge in the Lamar Valley of Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming. This is the alpha female of the Canyon Pack. (Mike Cavaroc)
A black wolf stands on a ridge in the Lamar Valley of Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming.

In terms of my imagery, I knew nothing would say "Wild and Sublime" better than my photo of a black wolf from the Lamar Valley in Yellowstone National Park. I was excited to see it place 2nd, especially since this theme was juried by three local photographers whom I highly admire: Henry Holdsworth, Tom Mangelsen, and David Brookover. Wolves, in my opinion, are the last truly wild species because of their refusal to be tamed or controlled. They’re our reminder that there’s something for everybody to be found in wilderness and to allow oneself to be completely immersed in the unknown and unexpected results of being disconnected from every day life.

Character and Identity

Grizzly Bear #399 nurses her three cubs of the year of 2011 in Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming. (Mike Cavaroc)
Grizzly Bear #399 nurses her three cubs of the year of 2011 in Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming.

In my opinion, especially in Jackson Hole, Wyoming and Grand Teton National Park, no animal has more character and identity than Grizzly Bear #399. If anything, she’s become the identity of wildlife itself in this region. Having successfully raised her first three cubs along roadsides several years ago, she captured the hearts of everyone living in the area. Emerging with new cubs last year within close proximity of her daughter, #610, her story began making press worldwide. As one of, if not, the most photographed grizzly bear in the world, she possesses more character and identity than just about any wild animal found throughout the world.

Unknown and Enigmatic

Pink northern lights light up the night sky above the Teton Mountains and Jackson Hole in Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming. (Mike Cavaroc)
Pink northern lights light up the night sky above the Teton Mountains and Jackson Hole in Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming.

I knew right away that very little of my work spoke more to the unknown and enigmatic more than the recent flurry of northern lights photos that I had been taking earlier this year. A sublime, starry night sky behind a mysteriously glowing sky against clouds and the Teton Mountains created the perfect blend of wonder for this theme. I almost think this photo works even better with the "waves" of the auroras blurred, leaving it just a subtle, but bold glowing purple or pink color.

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