Congratulations to Scott Hotaling, Grand Prize Winner, and to all the photographers with images selected in our 2010 Fall Photo Contest!
With more than 1400 entries in our first-ever Fall Photo Contest, the judges (professional photographers Matt Rose and Allison Breiner and Our State staff members), had a difficult time choosing the winners. The beauty of North Carolina in the fall was captured in scenes of nature, wildlife, and people. With every image, we were reminded of just how lucky we are to live in a state where the change of seasons is so breathtaking and awe-inspiring.
Scroll down to see each the winning images and the judges’ comments on each of them. Honorable mention photographs are listed by alphabetically by photographer’s last name. You may click on any image to enlarge. Please share your thoughts on these photographs by posting at the end of this page.
Congratulations to our winners and thank you to all of the entrants. Check ourstate.com often for announcements of our 2011 photo contests!
A Note to the Photographers
It is a real honor to be asked to judge the Our State Magazine’s Fall Photo Contest. There were so many fine photographs to view and consider. It seems natural to expect some good work from shooters who are fans of Our State, a magazine that celebrates great photography. Selecting only a few photographs out of more than 1,400 entries was a difficult task.
I have a love for the process of photography. It is a combination of intellect, instinct, sweat and luck which usually comes together to create some good work. Sometimes some great work. But always gives me a chance to discover new places, see new things and meet interesting people. Whether or not I come up with that “once-in-a-lifetime” winner, I know I will always keep shooting. It’s what I love to do. I can tell by all the great entries, it is what you all love to do, too.
All the best,
Grand Prize Winner
Majestic Elk by Scott Hotaling
Photographer’s Note: Early morning in the Cataloochee Valley of western North Carolina. A light layer of fog covered the valley floor making for fantastic light as the sun rose higher. The valley is in the northeast corner of Great Smoky Mountains National Park and a bit off the beaten path for most visitors.
Judges’ Comments: “This is a remarkable photograph of an elk in hazy silhouette. The light streaming through the antlers, the stream, the faded grass, the darker background in the upper third contrasting with the stream. All these elements work together in this photo. This may truly be one of those “once-in-a-lifetime” shots all photographers search for. For that reason, it is the winner of the contest.”
First Runner Up
Maple on the campus of Southeastern Community College by Olivia Lewis
Photographer’s Note: Photo was taken on October 19, 2010 at Southeastern Community College in Whiteville.
Judges’ Comments: “This lovely photograph really captured my imagination, taking me back to younger days of playing in the leaves and climbing trees. I appreciate the photographer’s unique perspective. The low angle makes the maple stand out as a force of nature. The overexposed sky, eliminating any background distraction, enhances the feeling of the tree’s grandeur.”
Mandarin Duck in Autumn by Jane Best
Photographer’s Note: Mandarin duck perched near the shore of Lake Susan in Montreat, North Carolina on an autumn afternoon.
Judges’ Comments: “This little duck seems to be giving us a smile as he looks back. The stance and color of the bird, as well as placement in the frame, are just perfect. The reflection and two leaves in the water provide a nice hint of fall.”
Sea of Fog by Daniel Burleson
Photographer’s Note: Taken just after sunrise at Table Rock.
Judges’ Comments:“Of all the majestic mountaintop views, this one stands out with its extreme drama. The golden light, rocky outcroppings, dried out foliage, cottony clouds below and dark storm clouds looming overhead…all in one well composed photo. Fine work.” “This photograph made me stop and say ‘wow!’ The combination of clouds, stark rock and dramatic lighting take you to another world.”
Mattamuskeet at Dawn by Christopher Chao
Photographer’s Note: Dawn light breaks over Lake Mattamuskeet as wintering birds arrive from the north, taken 11/21/10.
Judges’ Comments: “At first glance, this image is all about gorgeous color. Take a moment to look at all the details and it becomes much more. I love the two “bottoms up” birds mimicking the trees.” “I like the simplicity of elements and sense of balance in this largely monochromatic work.”
Frosty Morning on Round Bald by Keith Clontz
Photographer’s Note: Frosty autumn morning on Round Bald (North Carolina side). Photographed on November 21, 2010.
Judges’ Comments: “The photographer’s use of line and texture really make this photo. The soft, glowing cloud compliments the wind blown river of frosty dried grass.” “The frost enhances the texture of the grasses and balances the brightness of the sky in this well-composed image.”
Old Forgotten Barn by Thomas Cureton
Photographer’s Note: This old barn on a dirt road in Anson County, N.C. seemed to “stand out’ by itself on the hill.
Judges’ Comments: “The starkness of this photo reminds me of the great Farm Security Administration documentary photographs of the late 1930′s and early 1940′s. I like the clean composition with the strong horzontal lines, texture of the dried corn stalks and minimalist color. Well done.”
Black Birds by Brent Grantham
Photographer’s Note: These are black birds near my house in Mount Olive, N.C. Taken in Duplin County at the end of November 2010.
Judges’ Comments: “A large flock of birds adds a symphony of movement over a blue, brown and green backdrop. As with all the winners, the elements of design: color, line, space, repetition, etc. were used successfully to create this fine photograph of nature in motion.”
Cemetery Road by Sandra Heatherly
Photographer’s Note: Located off Fruitland Road in Henderson County
Judges’ Comments: “The shade on the road and the late afternoon light on the tree are elements that help make this a fantastic photo. I like the curvature of the road. The photograph has a literary feel to it stimulating the imagination to create some untold story.”
Swirl Pool by David Hopkins
Photographer’s Note: This is a shot from Roaring Fork Falls in Yancey County, NC. The movement of the leaves in the pool at the base was mesmerizing.
Judges’ Comments: “One of the best river swirl photos I’ve seen with a strong sense of color, movement and design in a well-thought-out statement.”
Shadow of the Bear by Jerry Jaynes
Photographer’s Note: Rhodes Big View Overlook on Hwy 64 at Whiteside Mountain, between Cashiers and Highlands, N.C. The shadow, caused by Whiteside Mountain, is visible between 5:30 – 6:00PM the last half of October and into early November. It is again visible the last half of February into March.
Judges’ Comments: “This photo of the stunning autumm colored mountains is made even more awesome by the unique bear-shaped shadow at left. Great composition.”
North Carolina State Fair by Jordan Mangum
Photographer’s Note: North Carolina State Fair, Raleigh, NC. Leaving at dusk through smoke and sunlight. Taken on October 21, 2010.
Judges’ Comments: “This photograph proves there are many different ways to say “Autumn in NC.” I love the action, especially the child in the foreground and the people all walking toward the light in the right half of the frame. Black and white was a great choice that adds mystery to the image.”
The Cape Fear by Jim Maresca
Photographer’s Note: The Fort Fisher Basin Trail leaves Fort Fisher Beach and winds a couple of miles through the wetlands of the lower Cape Fear. This walk was cut short by a surprisingly fast moving storm.
Judges’ Comments: “The layers of vibrant color were composed very well here. The green texture in the foreground, repeated in the trees further back, adds interest to the scene. Overall, stunning and dramatic.”
Blowing Rock and Clouds by Steve Mezardjian
Photographer’s Note: From this perspective, on the Blowing Rock observation deck, it appears as if the town of Blowing Rock is bordering on the edge of annihilation with this apocalyptic looking cloud cover hovering above it.
Judges’ Comments: “I like the symmetry of the land and sky which is divided by the fuzzy line of clouds. The view of the nearly cloud-covered town of Blowing Rock at right gives a feeling of the smallness of civilization in nature. A thought provoking photo.”
The Forest Theatre by Nate Montgomery
Photographer’s Note: The Forest Theatre at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in November, 2010.
Judges’ Comments: “The photographer took a thoughtful perspective on this subject matter. The monochromatic color of the stones and sweeping lines create a solid foundation for the spots of color created by fallen leaves.”
Fall Leaves by John Peltier
Photographer’s Note: Leaves in motion on the Eno River, Pump Station Trail in late October 2010.
Judges’ Comments: “I enjoyed many of the contest images that incorporated leaves and moving water, but I kept coming back to this one. The contrast of the colorful leaves against the rock initially caught my eye, and the movement and light between the rocks kept my attention.”
Autumn Maple by Rob Travis
Photographer’s Note: Standing out in the rain under my unbrella to catch this wonderful tree and super-saturated colors. Taken in Henderson County, N.C. on 11/16/2010.
Judges’ Comments: “The soft light of a rainy day brought out the stunning color in this scene. I’m impressed with the photographer’s ability to use the foul weather to his advantage.”
Heaven is in Banner Elk by Heather Wolf Turner
Photographer’s Note: Taken in Banner Elk on October 11, 2010.
Judges’ Comments: “I liked the use of the low horizon making room for the amazing clouds that seem to mimic the trees below them. The rounded shapes repeat .. trees, hills and barn creating a feeling of timeless tranquility.”
OBX Sunrise by Mark VanDyke
Photographer’s Note: Atlantic Ocean Sunrise in Frisco, North Carolina. Accessed via NC-12. This morning was a fantastic sunrise with what felt like freezing temperatures and forty mile per hour winds!
Judges’ Comments: “Rays of sunlight streaking through the sky hitting the ocean spray make this photo sing. Breathtaking color and light.”