With more than 1700 entries in our 2011 Fall Photo Contest, the judges had their work cut out for them. From a total of 68 finalists, these four images were selected as the winners. The contest judges – professional photographers Matt Rose and Emily Chaplin (emilychaplinphoto.com) and Our State staff members – chose the first, second, and third place winners. Readers’ votes determined the selection of the Readers’ Choice photograph.

With all of the submitted images, we were inspired by the beauty of North Carolina – from mountains to coast – and by the photographers who picked up their cameras and went in search of the perfect photograph of our beloved Tar Heel state in the fall.

Here are the winners, along with comments from our judges and the photographers themselves. You may click each image to enlarge and you may still view the finalists or all entries in the contest. You are welcome to continue to make comments on photographs.

Thanks to contest sponsors GreatSmokies.com and Bryson City. More information about the sponsors and the prizes can be found below the winning photographs.

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First Place Photograph

Fall Morning at Price’s Lake by Ben Albright of Siler City

Judges’ Comments: This shot screams out fall, with the brightly colored foliage and the steam coming off the lake and the warm sunlight. Nice composition.

Photographer’s Comments:
Early morning at Price’s Lake, fog on the water with brilliant morning sun. Taken at Price’s Lake along the Blue Ridge Parkway in October 2011.

Second Place Photograph

Transition by Sharon Canter of High Point

Judges’ Comments: A fantastic capture, both beautifully executed and composed. This image reflects an extraordinary moment in nature.

Photographer’s Comment: The seasons transition in a vivid way along the ridges of the Great Smoky Mountains. What an unexpected pleasant surprise! Taken at Newfound Gap Road on October 20, 2011.

Third Place Photograph

October Moonset by Daniel Burleson of Spruce Pine

Judges’ Comments: The sea of fog settles between fall-colored ridges in this peaceful composition.

Photographer’s Comment: This is an image of the full moon setting below the Blue Ridge Mountains. This shot was taken right beside the road on the Blue Ridge Parkway near Grandfather Mountain on October 12, 2011.

Readers’ Choice Photograph

Sunrise over the Pasquotank by Karen Cahoon of Elizabeth City

Readers’ Comments: Expresses such boldness with a magical aura. Depth of this picture is very unique and the changing colors are captivating. God’s handiwork at its best!!! -ramblin4ro

So beautiful! I can feel the soft puffiness of those clouds!! Perfect image of our river! -Seasonb3

Photographer’s comment: I am constantly trying to capture that “perfect” sunrise that explodes in color. This photo not only seemed to get the color right, but it also captured the depth of the river with the rolling clouds above. The shadows and mirror images from the trees provides a calmness against the color. Taken in Elizabeth City in November 2010.

About the Sponsor

Our State‘s Fall Photo Contest is presented by Bryson City and GreatSmokies.com. Visit us for travel information, event listings, and trip resources.

About the Prizes

First Place

The First Place winner will receive a package including three-nights accommodations provided by Bryson City Cabin Rentals, a fully-guided raft trip for a family of four from Nantahala Outdoor Center, and breakfast for four at Fryemont Inn (approximate total prize value: $1000, some restrictions will apply). Details of this and all prizes can be found in the Official Contest Rules.

Second Place

The Second Place winner will receive a package including two-nights accommodations provided by Lands Creek Log Cabins, a ½ day fly fishing tour for one from Fly Fishing the Smokies, and breakfast for four at the Fryemont Inn (approximate total prize value: $750, some restrictions will apply.) Details of this and all prizes can be found in the Official Contest Rules.

Third Place

The Third place winner will receive a package including Great Smoky Mountains Railroad tickets for a family of four and breakfast for four at Fryemont Inn (approximate total prize value: $350, some restrictions will apply.) Details of this and all prizes can be found in the Official Contest Rules.

Readers’ Choice

The photo selected as the Readers’ Choice Photo will receive an Our State Gift Basket from the Our State Store. (approximate retail value: $60.)

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