Featured Writer: Ken Rimany
The Genesis of ‘Best in Show’
1st Annual Adirondack Paddlers Photo Contest
by Ken Rimany, Partner, Adirondack Wild: Friends of the Forest Preserve
Ken Rimany (right) being congratulated for Best in Show award in the 1st Annual Adirondack Paddlers Photo Contest by Jennifer Potter Hayes (left), Executive Director of the VIEW (Old Forge Art Center), and Tom Woodman (center), Publisher of the Adirondack Explorer News Magazine.
Photos by David Gibson.
Ken Rimany receiving Best of Show Award from John Nemjo (Mountainman Outdoor Supply Company, along with Betsy Dirnberger (Assistant Publisher of the Adirondack Explorer), and Alan Saban (VIEW Arts Center).
Ken receiving one of three gifts for Best in Show - a Werner Carbon Skagit Kayak paddle - from John Nemjo (Mountainman Outdoor Supply Company), a three year free subscription to the Adirondack Explorer News Magazine from Betsy Dirnberger (Adirondack Explorer), and a one year family membership to the VIEW Arts Center.
A photograph of mine just won Best in Show in the 1st Annual Adirondack Paddlers Photo Contest. I’ll tell you more about the award and the winning shot in a moment, but first offer this as background.
Early on in my friendship with Paul Schaefer, founder of Friends of the Forest Preserve, I came to realize that we both shared something very special in common – a passion for photography.
It was Paul’s mentor, John Apperson, who admonished his pupil in the 1930s to always carry a camera into the wild to document the many battles to help preserve and protect New York State’s ‘Forever Wild’ wilderness, our publicly-owned 3,000,000 acre Forest Preserve in the Adirondack and Catskill Parks. And so, Paul did. In the 1990s, he passed along this knowledge to me.
From the age of fifteen, with my first instamatic camera – an Olympus point and shoot – I have had a camera by my side.
Over time with a succession of different cameras, from film and to now digital, I enjoy photo journalizing people that I meet, places that I visit, and events that I attend - in particular in the Adirondacks.
I have been priviledged for almost twenty years, currently as a Partner in Adirondack Wild: Friends of the Forest Preserve, and formerly as a staff member of The Association for the Protection of the Adirondacks, to have had the opportunity to traverse the landscapes of the Adirondacks and Catskills, taking pictures all along the way.
While many areas in the Adirondacks are breathtaking in their own unique and special way, there is one place in the Adirondacks that is very dear and special to my family and to me.
Several years ago my wife, Nancy, and I were very fortunate to inherit a small seasonal camp at Jenny Lake in Corinth, NY from her stepfather, Dr. Herbert Strong. It’s in the southern tier of the Adirondack Park and sits on a mountain top, elevation about 1,800 feet. Two other small lakes, Hunt and Efner, grace it on both sides. It is a place that our family refers to as, “Our little piece of Heaven on Earth”. And it is here that I spend a lot of time photographing family, friends, nature, and all the activity and joy that abounds on, in and around it.
Each year our family participates in an annual ritual. As the first day of the New Year arrives we begin a daily count down as to when we can all be back again at Jenny Lake. Depending on the weather, we arrive late April/early May and try to stay as long as we can through October, just before the first frost arrives.
In between – we love being at camp.
Last year as summer was ending and fall just beginning, our family reflected on how fast the summer came and went, lamenting that soon we’d be closing camp, once again.
It was on an early October afternoon that the sun was shining in full glory, and warming the air. The thermals had stopped, and a calm came over Jenny Lake. It was intoxicating. As a bonus, the fall colors were in their prime.
I remember grabbing my camera, hopping into our 70 year old Grumman canoe named Stable Mable, and joining a number of other adventurous sailors, kayakers and canoeist who all felt the same attraction and pull to the lake.
As I paddled along I saw a couple in a canoe across the lake. They caught my attention primarily because of the shoreline behind them. It was a stunning kaleidoscope of radiant fall colors - a forest of firs and various hardwoods.
I snapped away with an 80-200 mm telephoto lens.
Fast forward to May 2012.
Reading the May/June Adirondack Explorer News Magazine, I happened to notice an advertisement announcing the 1st Annual Adirondack Paddlers Photo Contest. Among several categories being featured for entrants’ submissions, I noted the black and white category.
For many, many years black and white photography has been a keen interest and medium to me. I have enjoyed learning about the grayscale and all the challenges associated with it. From capturing extreme contrasts from black at the weakest intensity, to white at the strongest, and then all of the gray tones in between.
As we all know, Ansel Adams was the supreme master of this genre.
What I like most about black and white photography is that it allows the viewer see THE picture and all of it’s details . . . immediately.
As allowed, I submitted three photos (two color and one black and white) all taken at Jenny Lake: “A Grand Stretch’ – a color image of a loon spreading its wings; Reflections” – a color rendering of lakeside branches; and “October Paddle’ – a black and white study.
It was Wednesday morning, May 16th, that I received a call from Betsy Dirnberger, Associate Publisher of Adirondack Explorer Magazine. Betsy said she was pleased to inform me that my entry ‘October Paddle’ was unanimously selected by all the judges as Best in Show.
The four judges were: Nancie Battaglia – nationally-renowned photographer based in the Adirondacks; Susan Bibeau – designer of, and photographer for, the Adirondack Explorer; Mark Bowie – award-winning nature photographer and book author; and Clark Lubbs – nature photographer and Mountainman paddling professional.
It was a signal honor to receive the grand prize, and to know that a black and white photo could compete and win in a prestigious contest.
To the three sponsors of the Adirondack Paddlers Photo Contest: Adirondack Explorer, Mountainman Outdoor Supply Company, and the new arts center in Old Forge, VIEW - thank you for giving me and all of the other photo participants the opportunity to share our artworks of a place that we all love and care so much about, and in so many different ways – the Adirondacks.
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