Reader Help: Appalachian Mountain Photography Contest

January 20, 2009 at 12:44 am 11 comments

Friends, family, readers and lurkers…. I solicit your counsel!!!

ASU Outdoor Programs, the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation and the Turchin Center for the Visual Arts are sponsoring the 6th Annual Appalachian Mountain Photography Contest. The submission deadline is this Saturday, January 24th at 5 PM and for each photo you enter, there is a $5 fee (portions of which go to the Student Outdoor Learning Expedition).

I would like to participate and I would like to keep my submission modest, between 3-6 photos. Last year, the competition received 860 entries from all over the world, so I certainly don’t have expectations of getting my photos in the exhibition, much less winning a category. But the money is going to a good cause and I really want to join in and promote the beautiful Appalachian Mountains. Plus there is a little selfishness involved as well. I believe this exercise will also help me improve! I’ll learn more about what’s effective and not effective with my photos. So teach me, wise ones!

There are multiple categories available. I’ll go ahead and list each one, links to the previous years’ finalists (if available) and the description. Then I’ll post the contenders I’m considering. If there is one that catches your eye, let me know. If you think I’m completely off track, you can let me know that as well. And if you recall a picture of mine you saw on this blog or Flickr that you think might work– speak up.

If you are shy about commenting here, feel free to email me at vicky[at]


2008 Finalists | 2007 Finalists | 2006 Finalists | 2005 Finalists | 2004 Finalists

“Imagery depicting mountain sports such as climbing, kayaking, mountain biking, skiing, snowboarding, etc.”

This one I am leaning towards skipping, but I do thoughts for three different directions. First, I do have some rappelling pictures from Barney’s Wall. Next I noticed a lot of past years did include hiking and backpacking (one year even had someone taking a nap), so maybe a picture from Mount Rogers. Finally, I could take a different direction entirely and share a picture that shows the adventure in small things.

Rappelling at Barney’s Wall

Supper time after a day of backpacking at Mount Rogers

AT - Bill on Rock Crossing Rhododendron Gap - Bill and Jimmie Take in View

Sometimes adventure is in the small things…such as a snail!

Dogs on the Parkway

“Entries will be judged on impact, lighting, composition, and effectively conveying the idea of traveling, hiking, motorcycling or any Parkway activity with your dog. Make sure that your favorite photo shows your dog on a leash if out of the vehicle . . . ahem, newly enforced regulations! Ouch, the fines hurt!”

Brace yourself. I actually don’t have much to offer on this one! My Blue Ridge Parkway hikes are limited to Sharp Top, Devil’s Marbleyard and Apple Orchard Falls. And….. it turns out I have a shortage of leashed photographs. I have a total of four leashed dog photos on the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Henry and Jimmie are Eager to Ascend Sharp Top!

Jimmie on Stairs Jimmie
Jimmie on Stairs - Take II

Blue Ridge Parkway Vistas

2008 Finalists | 2007 Finalists | 2006 Finalists | 2005 Finalists

“Scenic imagery capturing the natural and/or cultural beauty of the Blue Ridge Parkway that may include landmarks as well as geological highlights.”

This one I think I’m going to skip– I don’t think anything sticks out as special with my view photos of Sharp Top, Devil’s Marbleyard and Apple Orchard Falls.

"Marbles" Tree and View
Namesake Radar Station
View Peaks of Otter


2008 Finalists | 2007 Finalists | 2006 Finalists | 2005 Finalists | 2004 Finalists

“Imagery depicting the people, their customs, traditions, architecture and ways of life unique to the Southern Appalachian region.”

With this category, I have two directions in mind. If they are looking for traditions, then perhaps a Pig Pickin’ in Craig County is what they covet. On the other hand, I did think it would be a good opportunity to share photos of the Thru Hiker culture– and I think Trail Days puts on quite a display.

Yard Skulls in Craig County

Pig Pickin' - Chopping 5 Pig Pickin' - Moonshine in Pocket
Happy Choppers Chopping

Duel at the 2008 Hiker Parade in Damascus, Virginia

Trail Days - Bill Bryson Trail Days - Hiker Parade - Squirting
Trail Days - Talent Show - Female Performer Sings


2008 Finalists | 2007 Finalists | 2006 Finalists | 2005 Finalists | 2004 Finalists

“Imagery depicting threats to and/ or defenses against the natural and/or cultural heritage of the Southern Appalachians.”

My dream entry would be to feature the American Chestnut‘s ongoing fight against the blight. But maybe dried out Mountain Lake offers another possibility?

Blighted Chestnut Tree in Douthat State Park

Dried Mountain Lake

Other Mountain Lake Possibilities

Mountain Lake - Layers of Cracked Lakebed Mountain Lake - Rules of the Water

Flora and Fauna

2008 Finalists | 2007 Finalists |2006 Finalists | 2005 Finalists | 2004 Finalists

Imagery of plants and animals common to the Southern Appalachians.

This one is very difficult for me. There are so many options- lichen, mushrooms, moss, deformed trees….but I did also notice that rhododendrons and mountain laurel have never made it into the finalist list and that’s quite a shame. So here’s a number of options to toy with:

AT - Rhodo From Above Prickly Pear - Rhodo from Below
Baby Rhodo (Take 2) En Route to Rice Fields - More Milkweed Bugs
Douthat State Park - Kooshball Fungus Side Dried Weed
Audie Murphy - Three Deer Snake (Close)


2008 Finalists | 2007 Finalists | 2006 Finalists | 2005 Finalists | 2004 Finalists

“Scenic imagery capturing the rich diversity and natural beauty of the Southern Appalachian region.”

With this, I’m thinking the rhodos of Mount Rogers, the rocks of Dragon’s Tooth or McAfee’s Knob or the fog at Symm’s Gap.

Lichen and View from McAfee’s Knob

Symms Gap at Dawn Six O One Between Two Bushes
Dragon's Tooth - Texture and Tooth

P.S. I know a few of you who should do your OWN submissions to this contest!


Entry filed under: Appalachian Trail, Hiking, Photography.

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11 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Mint  |  January 20, 2009 at 5:55 am

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  • 2. Anne  |  January 20, 2009 at 5:20 pm

    I like the supper on Mt. Rogers and the boy with snail.

  • 3. tgaw  |  January 20, 2009 at 7:12 pm

    Okay offline, I’ve received a few more suggestions:

    1) For Adventure, it has been suggested I do something with people sitting on the edge of McAfee’s Knob

    McAfee's Knob 2003 - Sitting Off Edge
    McAfee's Knob - Thomas Waves on Edge
    McAfee's Knob - Thomas on Edge (Close)

    2) For Adventure, someone proposed a different Barney’s Wall rappelling picture:

    Barney's Wall: Rappelling Prep

    Because the two dogs are on leashes and the person about to descend on a leash as well.

    3) For Adventure or Landscape,someone proposed Frozen Cascades (I don’t the the lighting on those shots are the best.

  • 4. Carolyn  |  January 20, 2009 at 7:35 pm

    Oh, I do like that different Barney’s Wall rappelling picture with the dogs.

    Barney's Wall: Rappelling Prep

    I would think someone hanging over McAfee’s Knob doesn’t sound as original, based on your blogpost about it showing all the other pictures that people have of that.

    For landscape, I think the first picture of the lichen and mcafee’s knob is the best.

  • 5. tgaw  |  January 21, 2009 at 9:18 am

    @Carolyn – Oooh, good point about all the McAfee Knob shots with people sitting on the edge.

  • 6. ideonexus  |  January 21, 2009 at 8:16 pm

    Photos that jump out at me:

    Falls Ridge – Xavier has a Snail

    Toss Up between these two:
    Dragon’s Tooth – Texture and Tooth
    Symms Gap at Dawn Six O One

    Pig Pickin’ – Skulls

    Mountain Lake – Dried Lake Bed and Trees
    Mountain Lake – Rules of the Water

    Flora and Fauna
    Milkweed Bugs

    Blue Ridge Parkway Vistas
    Devil’s Marbleyard: “Marbles”

    These are just the one’s that struck me, I could be wrong. : )

  • 7. ideonexus  |  January 21, 2009 at 8:19 pm

    Actually, to this, I’m adding:

    Mount Rogers: Baby Rhodo (Take 2) – I love the way it looks like it’s climbing out of the rock.
    Tony at Frozen Cascades
    McAfee’s Knob – Thomas Waves on Edge – It might be cliched, but it’s dramatic.

  • 8. Aaron  |  January 23, 2009 at 9:15 am

    All excellent contenders, in my opinion.

    BTW, I made the McAfee’s Knob photo my new background. 🙂

  • 9. geekhiker  |  January 25, 2009 at 4:06 pm

    And here I am catching up on blogs on Sunday. Oops. Sorry…

  • 10. tgaw  |  January 30, 2009 at 6:48 pm


    I got one in!!!!

    I’ll definitely do a full post later– but for now– thank you everyone (online and offline) for your help!

  • 11. friv  |  January 29, 2018 at 5:20 pm

    Thanks , I’ve recently been searching for info about this topic for ages and yours is the greatest I have discovered till now. But, what about the bottom line? Are you sure about the source?


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