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| Tanya Ishikawa | News

RACC Announces Photo & Video Contest Winners

Ridgway residents Natalie Heller, Trisha Oakland, and Katrina Toucke were selected as winners of the Find Yourself in Ridgway Year Round Photo & Video Contest on Nov. 25.

The contest was organized by the Ridgway Area Chamber of Commerce to highlight photos of discovery where people are feeding their souls and spirits in the Ridgway area, especially in the quieter times of the year from October to April.

The video winner is Katrina Toucke, who will be awarded $300, for her 25-second video montage titled Find Yourself in Ridgway Year Round, and included scenes from around the area such as restaurants, dark skies, Noel Night, Ridgway State Park, and other popular local places and events. 

Contest judge JT Thomas, who is a science and environmental photojournalist and Ridgway town council member, described the video as a “super fun and balanced collection of vignettes from all around town,” while judge Kane Scheidegger, a landscape and ski photographer and RACC board member, wrote, “The video is great – a good, little collection of all things Ridgway, good to have some music too.

Contest Judge and RACC Executive Director Ashley Perkins agreed, “It is a fun synopsis of Ridgway including downtown businesses and winter activities. I would be interested in seeing some of these snapshots at greater length. Good content.

Toucke is the founder and owner of Katrina Toucke Video Production, located in between Ridgway and Ouray, Colorado. In addition to being a commercial videographer, she is an avid outdoor adventurer.

 “As a commercial videographer, I am always filming events, scenery, wildlife, and all of what makes this area so amazing, so I can use the footage to add interest to my commercial projects. I love sharing the beauty of this area with others through video while creating engaging content for businesses,” she said.

 The photo winner is Natalie Heller, who will be awarded $200, for her photograph titled “Summer Sunset over the Cimmarons.” Heller, who sells her photos through Lonecone Photography, explained the genesis of the photo: “The sunsets this summer were filled with beautiful clouds due to the monsoons and I knew the combination of sky and alpenglow against Courthouse Mountain would make a captivating image. The grand old cottonwoods anchor the image with their majestic presence.”

“My passion is photographing the mountains and Colorado lifestyle.  Photography is an outlet to express that love and sharing my images is just as rewarding,” she said.

Perkins said of the photo, “I love how she captures Ridgway’s iconic alpenglow and the coloring of this photo overall. The image is clear and a beautiful representation of our area.”

“Simply put, this is the cleanest composition of the bunch with dramatic color and exposure of an iconic landscape,” added Thomas.

I agree with the others, this is a nice, high-quality image with good composition, and feels like Ridgway as that classic alpenglow and ranch lands below is a good representation of our area,” summed up Scheidegger.

Heller also won honorable mention and a Ridgway, Colorado hat for her photograph, “Fishing the Uncompahgre River.” Judges commented: The photo includes a person spending time in our wilderness doing something they enjoy and has a feeling of tranquility. This has that nice golden hour light with sparkling water, and shows activities/action (captured mid cast). Also a nice representation of fall. Looks like a high quality image. Lovely light, reflection and a nice sense of motion.

Also receiving an honorable mention and a Ridgway, Colorado hat is Trisha Oakland for a photo of the March Fourth performance at the Sherbino Theater. 

Judges’ comments  included: An image with great energy, good interior exposure, and the doppled light on the audience is super fun and well captured. Nice image quality and another example showing people participating in artistic/sustainable activities. I like the colorful strobe-like beams on the crowd as well. Unique photo. Shows an event space, which is important, and cool lights effect.

The winning photos and video are posted at The RACC manages Ridgway’s tourism website, produces an annual visitors guide, and develops various marketing campaigns to promote shopping locally and visitation to Ridgway year round. The chamber is collaborating with Ridgway FUSE, the town’s creative main street program, to promote Noel Night on Friday, Dec 2 to bring shoppers and diners to downtown Ridgway for festivities including live music, Santa visits, giveaways, holiday treats, and guided star and planet gazing.

Photo winner: Summer Sunset over the Cimmarons by Natalie Heller (at top of page)

Honorable Mention: Fishing the Uncompahgre by Natalie Heller

Natalie Heller's photo: Summer Sunset over the Cimmarons

Honorable Mention: March Fourth party at the Sherbino by Trisha Oakland

Trisha Oakland's photo from March Fourth at the Sherbino

Video winner by Katrina Toucke