Elbert County names photo contest winners

Residents provided entries highlighting beauty, Western spirit

Tabatha Stewart
Special to Colorado Community Media
Posted 5/14/19

Elbert County residents who visit the county administration building, Elbert County Museum and Kiowa Town Hall will see some new local artwork adorning the walls. Elizabeth residents John Duvall and …

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Elbert County names photo contest winners

Residents provided entries highlighting beauty, Western spirit

Posted

Elbert County residents who visit the county administration building, Elbert County Museum and Kiowa Town Hall will see some new local artwork adorning the walls. Elizabeth residents John Duvall and Bonnie Skalecke recently received awards for their photography in the county’s first photo contest, which was created last December to commemorate the Pedal the Plains cycling event and sought images of the county from local residents.

“The Pedal the Plains cycling event in 2018 showcased the beauty and Western spirit of Elbert County,” said Eileen Krauth, deputy county manager. “The $500 contest prize money was funded through a generous donation from Colorado Creative Industries as part of their Community Canvas initiative, and it sure brought out the creativity of our citizens.”

The contest included a youth and adult category, and dozens of local artists submitted their photos, which were voted on by residents and then reviewed by a panel of local judges, who awarded Skalecke with the youth prize, and Duvall with the prize in the adult category. Each received $250 for their winning entry.

Skalecke, a junior at Elizabeth High School, submitted a photo of an old barn taken at sunset. The barn has since been torn down to make way for the new Independence development, and Skalecke said she was lucky to get the shot, even if it wasn’t the one she was looking for.

“I wanted to shoot the photo of the barn in the morning, so I went out the evening before to check it out and take some test shots,” Skalecke said. “I ended up getting a great shot, using a mirrored camera.”

Skalecke has been dabbling in art for most of her life, and in addition to photography, she creates works in 3D and mixed media. Although she loves photography, she plans to pursue a career in emergency management when she graduates next year.

“There are a lot of great photographers who entered the contest,” said Skalecke. “I’m really thankful for all those who voted for mine.”

Duvall, who is an eye surgeon by trade, said photography has been a hobby of his for years, but he wasn’t actually looking for the shot that won him first prize in the adult category. He and his family moved to Elbert County four years ago, looking for the rural lifestyle, and lease their property to cattle ranchers.

“I was out mowing our grass one morning, it was early and the sun had just started coming up,” said Duvall. “I watched it for about 20 minutes and then took out my iPhone and snapped a few pictures. I didn’t use any filters or anything and I just happened to get the perfect photo.”

Duvall said he remembers when he was a young man waiting hours for a sunrise or a sunset, then taking pictures with his 12-shot film camera, then waiting for the photos to be developed to see if any of them were good shots.

“I was known for my sunrise and sunset photos as a kid,” said Duvall, who blows up many of his pictures and puts them on canvas. He will be donating his prize money to a local food bank.

“Thank you for the award,” said Duvall. “And thank you for the opportunity to display my photography.”

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