WyoFile was floored with the amazing photography sent in to the 2011 Cold Snap Challenge. Picking a winner wasn’t easy, but it happened:

Born, raised and currently living in Cody, Wyoming, Dewey Vanderhoff has worked as a freelance photojournalist since high school. He’s shot for The L.A. Times, Newsweek, The Daily Beast, The Denver Post, The Casper Star-Tribune and WyoFile, among others. He’s also developing a photo archive of the living and landscape of northwest Wyoming, dating back to his earliest days as a photographer in 1967. He’s named his lifelong project “Codypedia.”

For photographers tackling an animal pack, clean composition can be difficult, especially when shooting in a landscape as unique as Yellowstone. Vanderhoff pulled it off during a cloudy February afternoon in 2004. Traveling through Hayden Valley with a group of photographers on a promotional tour, he wandered off from the group to pursue a bison herd. About 150 yards later, he set up at his vantage point and waited.

“The important thing was to place the bison directly under the low sun, in order to get the direct diffraction and reflection on the open water,” Vanderhoff said in an email interview. “Wouldn’t have worked if the Sun was off to one side or the other, even by a small amount.”

To enhance the water and kill the snow’s glare from the sun behind him, he used a polarizing filter in his Olympus E-1 Pro digital camera. The DSLR noninterchangeable lens he used had a mated 28~140mm equivalent range.

For his work, Vanderhoff will receive a Flickr Pro account and a $50 cash prize. His shot was one among many incredible images received, so the staff at WyoFile would like to acknowledge our runners-up, who will receive WyoFile goodies and have their work featured in upcoming Photo Fridays. In no particular order, they are: David J. Bell, Dawn Wilson, Michelle Kidd, Jerry Hannelly, Rob Koelling, Jenn Geringer, Kathy Lichtendahl, Scott Kane and J.L. “Woody” Wooden.

Thanks to all who participated!

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  1. Dew- As always a really great photo. I am amazed that I am still amazed by your photography after all these years….

  2. Thanks for the kudos, Scott.

    I hope WyoFile will publish a gallery of the other entries, so we can all have a good look around at the majesty of Wyoming in Winter. The landscape is what kept me in my hometown all my life. As much traveling as I I’ve done, it’s hard to find a better looking better feeling place than Wyoming, in any season. Or else I’m just too naive to know any better. It’s an acquired taste, and being born here helps.

  3. I am moved by Dewey Vanderhoff’s perserverance. I have known him since our high school days and he has never veered from his one true path. Though he would say he doesn’t need a fan club I am one of those who admire his life and his work. To look at this prize winning photograph confirms this.