Dave Stalling’s Wild Montana Calendar

David Stalling loved the outdoors. Growing up in Westport, he was an avid hiker, camper and fisherman.

After graduating from Staples High School in 1979, he served in a Marine Corps Force Recon unit. He has degrees in forestry and journalism, has worked for several wildlife conservation organizations, served as president of the Montana Wildlife Federation, and is a passionate advocate for conservation. He lives in Missoula.

But Stalling did not take nature photography seriously until he went walking in the woods with his son.

Nearly a decade ago, Cory was diagnosed with Duchenne muscular dystrophy. A severe form of the disease, characterized by rapid muscle degeneration.  Eventually, even involuntary muscles are affected.

Cory and David Stalling

Cory is now 17. When he was 12, and first slowed down, Stalling would walk ahead. He’d sit on a rock or log, and wait for his son.

“I started noticing surrounding details: diverse, smaller, colorful plants; rocks painted with lichen; the geometrical shapes of tree buds; the beautiful, ever-changing arrangements of raindrops, snow, sun, dew shade,” Stalling recalls. “It was the art of nature.”

He surprised himself that — despite a lifetime of roaming the wilds — he’d overlooked such details. Or taken them for granted.

Or didn’t even know they existed.

So Stalling started to capture what he saw with his camera.

“My son taught me to ‘slow down and smell the roses,” he says. “And — while I was at it — to photograph the thorns.”

David Stalling’s photo of a bighorn sheep.

His images are popular. Stalling has won national awards, including a recent 1st-place prize from the National Wildlife Federation. He sells limited-edition prints.

Every December, Stalling combines his love for photographing the wilds with his love for his son. He creates a “Calendar for a Cure,” to raise awareness and funds to find treatments and a cure for Duchenne MD. Besides Cory, the disease afflicts 400,000 people worldwide.

“It’s a genetic, muscular degenerative, fatal disease for which there is currently no cure,” Stalling says.

“But there is hope. A lot of treatments, like the steroid-based medications Cory takes, slow the progression.” Promising clinical trials are underway too.

“I use my photography to focus on hope and beauty, while helping my son and others,” Stalling explains.

Images from David Stalling’s 2018 calendar.

Cory — a high school junior — spends as much time as he can in the beautiful, wild mountains surrounding his home.

And, following in his father’s footsteps — literally and figuratively — he’s a budding photographer too.

(To enjoy 365 days of wild Montana in 2018 — and help Cory and others with Duchenne MD — click here. The calendar costs $19.95)

6 responses to “Dave Stalling’s Wild Montana Calendar

  1. Thank you, Dan, for helping to create awareness about this project, and Duchenne; and thank you for the good, kind words. And a big thanks to all the generous 06880 readers ordering Calendars for a Cure!

  2. David is a great man and an even better father! The calendar is beautiful and Corey is an amazing, talented and inspirational young man. I have truly enjoyed watching him grow up. (via Facebook) I can’t think of a better cause or a more deserving family. Great work as always Dave !

  3. I can attest to the beauty of my brother’s 2017 calendar, as well as to the horrible disease Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. Thanks Dan for this post!

  4. Catherine Calise

    I was so pleased to see Dave’s name on the 06880 email as a fellow Staples ’79 Classmate having no idea of the subject. What an incredibly touching story and an amazing Man you are Dave. It takes a lot of courage to face Duchenne with your Son and then find a way to do something to help make a difference. The photos are absolutely stunning!! I’ll be buying a calendar & will help to get the word out too. Reading that you were a part of The Marine’s Special Force Recon is really awesome, my Dad was in that same unit back in 1958! Though I personally don’t know Corey I can tell he is strong and he’s fighting Duchenne MD. Keep up the fight Corey, be strong!! Dave I wish you and your Family all of the Best.
    Catherine Calise Staples ’79

    • David Stalling

      Thank you Catherine! I remember once, when I was home on leave, talking to your Dad, Mike, at Compo Beach about Force Recon. He’s a great guy! Cory and I greatly appreciate your support.

      • Catherine Calise

        You’re welcome Dave! Thanks for your comment on my Dad, It’s very cool you & he had that conversation!! I’m happy to do what I can to help and get others to know about it & buy the calendar too. Tell Cory he has a new friend in Westport. Happy New Year to you & your Family!