June 03, 2016  •  Leave a Comment

“Best Outdoor Media Award"
“Best Outdoor Feature Photograph”
“Best Nature Photograph”
Editor’s Choice: “Best Overall Photograph”
“Best Outdoor Magazine Feature”


Los Angeles, CA (June 1, 2016) – The Outdoor Writers Association of California (OWAC) annual Craft Awards competition honored High & Dry: dispatches from the land of little rain with the “Best Outdoor Media Award” at their spring conference in Auburn, CA.

Considered one of OWAC’s most prestigious awards, “Best Outdoor Media” is the highest award encompassing any medium: print, online, or broadcast. It went this year to High & Dry collaborators Christopher Langley and Osceola Refetoff.

Osceola also received the First Place Award for “Best Outdoor Feature Photograph” for "Sky, Whitecaps, Earth, Halobacteria – Salton Sea, CA.” The image has appeared in the various media outlets, including KCET’s Artbound, The Huffington Post, Reuters, and Compass magazine.


Sky, Whitecaps, Earth, Halobacteria - Bombay Beach (Salton Sea), CA - 2014Sky, Whitecaps, Earth, Halobacteria - Salton Sea, CA - 2014First printed: 2015

The Salton Sea was created in 1905, when the Colorado River Aqueduct broke free from irrigation canals, and for two years surged uncontrollably into a low desert basin. Today, the lake is drying up. Fed only by agricultural runoff and infrequent rains, California’s largest lake is an environmental disaster-in-the-making, but remains an active and essential sanctuary for birds migrating along the Pacific Flyway.

The distinctive red species of archaea that give parts of the lake its striking color form only in highly salt-rich environments, such as the increasingly toxic, sediment-laden Salton Sea. The intense coloring is the beautiful result of an untenable evaporative cycle, and a testament to nature’s remarkable adaptability in the face of direct human influence and climate change. This image first appeared in High & Dry’s story "The Salton Sea: A Distillation of the West’s Problems in Search of Solutions” and is re-syndicated on
KCET's Artbound.

Seismic Shift - Confronting Catastrophe – LAUNCH LA - Avenue 50 Studio, Highland Pk, CA - 2017
Desert Island - Desert X Parallel Program - Coachella Valley Art Center - Indio, CA - 2017
First Place Award - Best Feature Photograph - Outdoor Writers Association of California - 2016
Art Makes Change - Earth WE Gallery - Santa Monica, CA - 2015-16
VisionLA 2015 Climate Action Arts Festival - Santa Monica, CA - 2015
Museum Tour (Solo Show) - Venice Institute of Contemporary Art/Gypsy Trails Gallery - Torrance Art Museum - 2015
Compass Magazine - Summer 2015
Magic and Realism: Photographs by Osceola Refetoff & Bill Leigh Brewer Curated by Shana Nys Dambrot - Chungking Studio - 2015
Waterworks 2 - The Art Gallery at GCC - Glendale, CA - 2015
Waterworks 2 - Porch Gallery - Ojai, CA - 2015

Sky, Whitecaps, Earth, Halobacteria – Salton Sea, CA


Refetoff was also honored for “Donner Pass from Abandoned Train Sheds – Norden, CA.” The image received the First Place Award for “Best Nature Photograph” and the grand prize “Editors’ Choice” for “Best Overall Photograph.” This is the second year in a row that he received these three top awards.

In addition, Langley was honored in the category “Best Outdoor Magazine Feature” for his article Framing the Desert which appeared in the University of California publication, Boom: A Journal of California.

During the Auburn conference, OWAC members were treated to Placer County’s wealth of phenomenal scenery and outstanding outdoor activities. Langley and Refetoff stayed at the newly restored Miner’s Camp in Foresthill, CA. Twenty minutes from Auburn, the ten rustic cabins provide an authentic Gold Country experience, but with wifi and creature comforts beyond the dreams of your average 49er.


Miner's Camp - Wendy Whitley Lowery: Designer - Foresthill, CA - 2016Miner's Camp - Wendy Whitley Lowery: Designer - Foresthill, CA - 2016

Miner's Camp Sign - Foresthill, CA - 2016Miner's Camp Sign - Foresthill, CA - 2016 Miner's Camp Cabin - Foresthill, CA - 2016Miner's Camp Cabin - Foresthill, CA - 2016
Miner's Camp Sign, Exterior & Interior with Project Designer Wendy Lowery
Photos: Osceola Refetoff – 2016


The duo also explored the infamous Donner Pass, enjoying a pleasant vegetarian lunch without incident. It is there, during a hike through abandoned railroad Tunnel 6, that Osceola captured the “Shirley Miller Memorial Photo Contest” grand prize winner, for which images must be made during a single day of conference activities.

The team returned freshly obsessed with the history of the area, their hunger for knowledge sated in part by outdoor sport legend Norm Sayler, president of the must-see Donner Summit Historical Society museum. Norm's “why not? (just don't hurt yourself)” attitude facilitated the evolution of snowboarding, snowmobiling, and mountain biking into the extreme sports we know them as today. A High & Dry dispatch will follow, no doubt.


Donner Pass from Abandoned Train Sheds - Infrared Exposure -┬áNorden, CA - 2016Donner Pass from Abandoned Train Sheds - Infrared Exposure - Norden, CA - 20162016 Outdoor Writers Association of California (OWAC) Award Winner:
– Best Nature Photograph
– Editors' Choice (Grand Prize) Best Overall Photograph

Donner Pass from Abandoned Train Sheds – Infrared Exposure – Norden, CA


These and other award-winning photographs are available for purchase as signed, limited edition fine art prints, organized for your viewing pleasure at ospix.com.

For further info and media inquires, please email info(at)ospix.com.

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