I thoroughly enjoyed the first Great Smoky Mountains Photography Summit last year and made many dear friends. So it wasn’t a difficult choice to go again this year. It is held in nearby Townsend, Tennessee. The summit gathers together some of the best nature and wildlife photographers and instructors in the country. There are five days of shooting, instruction, critique, camaraderie, and a print competition.
Due to travel time constraints, I didn’t enter the print competition last year. This year I entered all six categories: macro; mobile photography; black and white; Great Smoky Mountains National Park; landscapes, seascapes, and cityscapes; flora and fauna. Below were my choices for 16” x 20” prints.
I have featured five of these previously on my blog. The only new one is the Professor Valley landscape in the middle of the first row. I took it with my iPhone 6s when I traveled to southeast Utah in March.
The competition was really fierce this year. So how did I fare?
I placed second with the purple flower photo in the macro division! I won $125 worth of photography accessories.
Drum roll, please…
I also won the Best of Show for this autumn scene captured at the Smokies last year! (See my September 14, 2016 blog post.) The prize was a Fuji X-T1 camera and 18-55mm lens!
I had three major purposes for entering. First, I wanted some beautiful prints to decorate my cottage. Second, I wanted to get some validation from the fifteen judges, all highly skilled and successful professional photographers. Third, I hoped to win a camera to give to my sister-in-law and best friend, Pris.
I told her this summer that I was going to enter and give her the camera if I won. It was a huge long shot. She prayed like crazy! I already have that camera and used it to make the award-winning photo. And, it is an upgrade from the camera that she currently owns. So she is over-the-moon happy for my success.
I can’t possible verbalize how much her emotional support has meant to me during the past couple of years. This gesture is a small token for my appreciation and love for her. I know the camera will give her much joy and pleasure as she continues to grown in her photography skills!