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BHSU student photographer in the Black HillsPhotographers from all over the country will soon converge on the Black Hills State University campus to hone their skills and showcase the beauty of the Black Hills as their subject.

The third annual Black Hills Photo Shootout will be held from Sept. 28-30 at BHSU and throughout the region. The event attracts photographers of all skill levels from the photography student to professionals and hobbyists to people who “just like an excuse to get out in nature,” according to Steve Babbitt, photography professor at BHSU.  The event showcases the natural beauty of South Dakota along with the photography expertise of highly respected professional photographers.

The Photo Shootout was started by the South Dakota Department of Tourism as a way to bring in photographers and show off the beauty of the Black Hills. The Dept. of Tourism sponsored it for the first two years and has now handed the reign to Black Hills State University and Outdoor Photo Workshops, a well-respected leader in professional photography instruction.

Babbitt said last year more than 100 photographers from 22 states attended the three-day event. Registration for this year’s event is slightly above that, and photographers are still registering, according to Babbitt. Photographers can register until Friday by going to www.bhsu.edu/blackhillsphotoshootout/

Participants will have the opportunity to attend a keynote presentation by Rick Sammon, four photography workshop sessions, and several other informational and social events throughout the weekend. Sammon has published 36 books including a series of 3-D books for kids. He is in the Explores Club and has photographed in almost 100 countries around the world. He is a Canon Explore of Light, a Westcott Top Pro and a Lexar Elite Photographer. The keynote presentation on Friday at 7 p.m. is free and open to the public in the Meier Recital Hall at BHSU.

The weekend includes some in-studio classes as well as outdoor workshops in Spearfish Canyon, Bear Butte, Devils Tower and a Jeep tour through some South Dakota Ghost Towns.   Despite the various skill levels, Babbitt said everyone has the same passion for photography and they have a fun time.

Babbitt said they are also adding a few new features this year including scholarships for high school students to attend some of the workshops. “We pair them with a photographer who serves as a mentor,” he said.  So far, three students have received scholarships to this year’s event.

BHSU has a strong and growing mass communication program which includes an emphasis in photography. The photography department is made up of award winning and nationally recognized professors, and BHSU has among the finest darkroom and digital imaging facilities in South Dakota and the surrounding region with three black and white and color labs, a film developing area, and an imaging lab.

For details about the Shootout visit www.BHSU.edu/blackhillsphotoshootout.