Arts & Culture

Summer Photo Contest

Thank you to all who shared photographs in this contest. Enjoy these selected photographs of "Summertime in North Carolina."

summertime photo contest

From misty mountain streams to coastal sunrises to popsicles in the Piedmont, the photos entered in this contest captured the essence of summer in North Carolina. Though our definitions and representations of summer may vary from photograph to photograph, our love of North Carolina certainly does not.

Click here for a full gallery of images submitted in this contest. Scroll down to view selected photographs.

About the Photos:

Thank you to all who entered a photograph and voted in this contest. Unfortunately, during the course of reviewing and tabulating the votes, we noticed irregularities that left us unable to declare a winner of the contest. Because we were unable to fully validate all the votes cast, we could not, in good faith, affirm any single photograph as the winner.

While we were unable to declare an individual winner, we are pleased to present these photos which were selected by a panel of Our State judges. Photographs are listed alphabetically by the photographer’s name. The captions read as they were provided by entrants and the images were resized to fit the slideshow format.

We do appreciate the comments and suggestions you have shared. All prior comments have been read by Our State staff and will be considered when planning future contests.

Click on any photo below to view single image or to begin slideshow.


Summertime Fun

M. Batts

S. Craig

E. Devenny

A. Dunlap


T. Kotlarz

A. McClure

A. Robinson

C. Stotts

A. Taylor

C. Tucker

A. Wright


Carolina Coast

S. Carr

C. Daughtry

J. Keeney

J. Maresca

D. Martin

E. Richardson

S. Skinner

M. Smith

R. Sumrell

B. Wear



R. Brown

K. Hinterkopf

D. Leeper

J. Massey

S. Smith

M. Stevens

R. Walter


Nature and Agriculture

C. Adamczyk

J. Harding

J. Killian

B. Lafoon

G. Livesay

M. Melnotte

D. Payseur

P. Peterson

H. Williamson


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33 Responses to Summer Photo Contest

  1. Jody Little says:

    No winner? how can you have a contest and not have a winner?
    you GOT to be kidding me !

    • ourstate says:

      Hi Jody, As you can see from the comment thread and our note above the photos, there were issues validating a true winner. This was not an issue in following photo contests. The Spring Photo Contest is currently accepting Readers’ Choice votes and the winners will be announced Friday, May 4. We’d love for you to cast your vote!

  2. Jeff S. says:

    So sorry to hear about the problems. I too had photographs entered and quite frankly am not surprised that the magazine had voting issues. Did anyone have problems with the Captcha technology being used? OMG. Very difficult to enter the correct caption when voting. Better luck with the next contest. It was nice to view these photos though!

  3. Jay says:

    Thank you for the summer contest and allowing us to see all the photographs. There are some very nice shots among them. Hopefully the next context will be judged by Our State judges only. It was clear that this was a popularity voting process by the sheer numbers of votes for some shots that were obviously not that good. Not to mention pics taken before the timeline or shots that had nothing to do with summer. Thank you for presenting the photos picked by the judges, congratulations to those selected! Taking the high road and not declaring a winner was a class act and the right thing to do. Your work and your magazine are greatly appreciated!

    PS I can’t wait to see what the “you bet I’ll enter an awesome FALL photo that will knock everyone else out of the water” person enters next time? ; )

  4. Brad says:

    First off, kudos to the magazine for their handling of the situation. Again, tough position but you did the right thing.

    A couple separate notes though:

    - In your fall contest, you need to be a little more descriptive of what you are looking for. As I look through the photos chosen, there are some great photos that reflect “Summertime in NC” – you can actually feel the sun and light breezes, even the stiffling heat. But even some of those picked make me ask “What does this have to do with summer?”. I understand that everyone defines this differently, but some sort of guidance would be nice.

    - Your judges should also be placing some sort of emphasis on technical side of the photo also. There are a couple photos above that the subject is out of focus or the coloring is unnatural for NC. This has to play a part in any photography contest. I have no problem with post-processing a picture (not everyone shots jpegs), but if it looks unreal, then something is wrong. The technical side of photography is what makes the difference between a photograph and snapshot.

    - In conjunction with the above, there should be no pictures allowed that were taken by a PAID professional and entered by another or by the professional. Basically, if you received pay for it or you paid for it to be taken, it shouldn’t be entered. Get our camera out and take your own pictures with being paid to do so – that’s what the contest is about. If a pro enters a picture he/she took of the mountains/sunset/sunrise/their family/whatever, I’m OK with that. I have a problem with it when money becomes involved (outside of sales on your website).

    - Date ranges for the the pictures accepted should be within the contest period. If the contest is about photography, let’s get people out photographing. Allowing pictures taken a year ago really doesn’t push people to get out and enjoy our state. It also doesn’t keep people on their toes looking for new opportunities and challenges.

    - Categories worked very well here although I would suggest separate Nature and Wildlife categories for the Fall contest. I would expect that you’ll get alot of wildlife in the fall being that it when the animals become most active and begin the breeding season. Additionally, this time of year begins the waterfowl migration. I know that’s where my focus goes at this time of year – bears fattening for winter, elk and deer rutting, the first wave of incoming swans and geese. And, no, I’m not taking them at a zoo.

    I enjoyed most of the entries. Whether I enter the fall one will be determined by the changes that the magazine makes.

    • Mary says:

      Very interesting comments , this sounds more like what you would expect from a contest . Everyone should be allowed to enter but the weeding process should take all the things you mentioned into consideration. It might be nice also to have an amateur and a professional category.

      • Brad says:

        Mary, I thought about the pro and amatuer category but the line is blurred between the two. For example, I shoot alot of higher end gear, have a website where my pics are for sale. However, I in no way make a living doing this. Where you draw the line between pro and amatuer is a question answered differently by individuals and based on different things.

        • Mary says:

          Brad, I think it would be safe to say that if you make over half of your living from the sale of your photography you would fall into the professional category. I checked out your website and you have some very beautiful photos, your love for photography shows.

  5. Judy says:

    I think the judges panel did a wonderful job of selecting pictures for each of the categories. The shots depicted in each category caught the essense of your theme. Good Job Our State! I am looking forward to the fall contest. I am pleased that my nephew’s photo was chosen to be in mountains category. He got up very early to capture that sunrise!

  6. Dan Bennett says:

    You guys have shown me why you are a first class magazine by your decisions. Keep up the good work.

  7. Judy Butler says:

    Nice job by the panel of judges. I think they captured the essence of the categories and the theme overall. There were so many good pictures! I am happy to say my nephew was picked in one of the categories. His shot was amazing! Thank you Our State for making the best of an unfortunate situation. PS: I’m live in South Carolina!

  8. Kathy Brown says:

    I’m so proud of my son. ( R. Brown ) I’ve been telling him he’s very talented. Maybe now he’ll believe me. All the photos are absolutely beautiful. I can see why the judges couldn’t choose just one. It takes a very special person to be able to take a good photograph. We have several in North Carolina. Thank you so much for choosing one of my sons.

  9. Dwayne McKinney says:

    I truly considered it a pleasure to be a part of this even if one of my photographs was not chosen.Your magazine has inspired me more than I could ever tell you and I will continue to shoot photographs regardless.Thank you for the platform to show our work.

  10. Shawn Bailey says:

    I appreciate your integrity in handling this situation. In part, I believe this showcases some problems in having the public judge. I know I was concerned about several things. First of all, it becomes more of a popularity contest vs. a judgement of quality photos. Not everyone tweets or uses Facebook, and those participants should not be marginalized simply because they are not networkers, social or otherwise. At the very least, the public votes should only count for a partial percentage of the winning photo. Secondly, I have some suspicion that a few of the entrants are professional photographers and that as such, more than 50% of their income is generated by the business. That being said, I enjoyed looking at all the photos. There are some amazing shots to view.

    • Sylvia says:

      I have to agree. I was also concerned about the idea of popularity vs quality photography. There are truly some gifted amateur photographers in NC.

    • ourstate says:

      Thank you for your comments and for sharing your thoughts with us. We do appreciate it.

      Laurie Weaver
      Online Media Manager

  11. Steve Hale says:

    Seriously disappointed.

  12. Carmen Albertolli Daughtry says:

    Thank you! I have always enjoyed your magazine and all images that photographers submit to it. The contest was not only diverse but fun to do!

  13. Heather Williamson says:

    I am glad to see Our State decided to have a panel of judges select some of the amazing photos from the competition. There were so many beautiful photographs and the judges had their work cut out for them. Kudos to them and how Our State handled the situation. I am looking forward to the Fall contest.

    • Virginia Parrish says:

      Love looking at all the entries, sometimes my choice wins sometimes it doesn’t Beauty is indeed in the eye of the beholder. Our State does an excellent job & happy you made the right decission. I actually agree with Shawn Bailey below,do not know him but I have seen where people go online & ask friends to vote for their child, their recipe, their picture & friends will do just, that not because they think its the best but they know or know of the person. would love to see our state employees do 75% of the judging. I have never entered this contest, but enjoy the pictures that are in it.

  14. Dawn Olson says:

    Love J. Keeney’s photo it is Beautiful!!1

  15. Donna says:

    They are all so beautiful…it’s hard to pick my favorite (other than the one my daughter submitted).

  16. Becky Lee. says:

    Thank you for this photo contest. It was inspiring to see all the beautiful places, faces and moments in the wonderful state we call home. I want to enter next year.

  17. Mary says:

    Just wanted to say I very much appreciate the postion the Magazine has taken concerning the contest and what was happening. This is a very nice collection of beautiful photographs you have chosen to showcase, each person whose photos were chosen should feel very proud. I am looking forward to the next contest.

  18. private says:

    I think it’s sad that such a popular “magazine” couldn’t come up with a winner. I had a photo entered. You bet I’ll enter an awesome FALL photo that will knock everyone else out of the water!! Maybe this time you all want have a problem!!!!!!

    • Jenn says:

      It’s “won’t.” I guess all your energy goes into photography, though, and not grammar. Carry on.

    • Sean says:

      Really? I think you’re attitude is sad. Goodluck in the Fall contest. I’m always amazed how people become irate of the most trivial of matters. I think in lieu of the situation they did the right thing by listening to reader’s comments and doing a juried selection. Be happy for the people who’s work was also highlighted besides just one “winner.”(I’m assuming by your entry your photo was one of the selected).

  19. deborah Bair says:

    Just wanted to thank you …they are beautiful..we have so many talented people in NC!

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