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Jan 15 2020

Picture Wild Montana Countdown: Second Place

“Overlooking the Missouri River” by Roland Taylor

We’re one day away from announcing the grand prize winner of the 2019 Picture Wild Montana Photo Contest

In the meantime, we’re sharing the runner-ups.

The theme of this year’s contest was “People and Public Lands.” In an effort to highlight the connection that Montanans feel to our public lands and waters, we asked participants to submit photos that featured friends, family, or themselves enjoying everything our public lands have to offer.

Thanks to you, we were inundated with beautiful photos of outdoor enthusiasts exploring our wilderness areas, state parks, national forests, wilderness study areas, and other federal, state, and local public lands. 

After our staff whittled down the photos to the best of the best, we passed the lot to our guest judge Luke Duran, art director at Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks’ “Montana Outdoors” magazine.

Without further ado, we’re pleased to present the second place winner...

Second Place: “Overlooking the Missouri River” by Roland Taylor

Roland Taylor photo of Hole in the Wall State Recreation Area

From Luke Duran, guest judge:
“Even though the name “Montana” means mountains, the public lands and wild spaces of Big Sky Country are much more than tall mountain ranges and deep conifer forests. Huge swaths of Montana’s beauty are found on open prairies, sagebrush-dotted grasslands, limestone river bottoms and sandstone badlands. Roland Taylor’s wonderful photo reminds the viewer that many people find their special place in Montana’s public lands far away from the mountains. This photo to me is about presence and mindfulness for these two friends, in an incredible Montana landscape that they have all to themselves. While the human eye tends to look across an image from left to right, the movement is flipped here, with the hikers looking to the right. This makes the hikers’ gaze, and the ribbon of the Missouri River leading to the sunset, create an interesting sense of reminiscence and reflection on a special day, but also the promise and potential of what tomorrow will bring in such a special place. I love the colors of this image, with earthy sage and tan tones of the landscape and a cool evening gradation in the sky. The beautiful colors of shrubbery and wildflowers in the foreground add visual “pops” of accent. There is also a very beautiful balance of colorful orange lichens in the foreground complementing the orange sunset tones. There is a strong “rule of thirds” composition in this image, with the photo divided in to sky, river valley, and foreground rocks cut by the diagonal movement of the river. The image “temperature” is raised by the last moments of sunlight illuminating the Missouri River and warming the face of the hiker.  This is a great illustration of the theme “people and public lands,” reminding us that Montana’s natural spaces are wild and diverse.”

If you haven’t visited the Hole In The Wall State Recreation Area, what are you waiting for? With views like this, it’s a must-see. 

Before you go out exploring, don’t forget to plan your hikes on hikewildmontana.org. With over 300 trails on public lands throughout Montana, there’s sure to be something for everyone.

Plan Your Next Adventure

Check out Roland's website to see more of his work.

Stay tuned for the grand prize winner announcement on Thursday, Jan. 16.


– Keely Damara, communications coordinator

Keely Damara
Communications Coordinator

Keely provides communications support for our chapters, programs, and campaigns and manages our social media channels. In her free time, she enjoys fly fishing on Montana's scenic rivers, hiking, camping, and exploring public lands in her home state.
Email Keely