Sharon Canter was speechless when she heard her name announced
as “Best in Show” for the 10th annual Appalachian Mountain Photography Competition.
She quickly covered her face in astonishment and was congratulated with firm embraces from friends and family who accompanied her to Saturday’s announcement at Appalachian State University’s Turchin Center for the Visual Arts in Boone.
“I’m quite honored, quite excited and totally in shock,” Canter said as she looked at her prize-winning entry on an adjacent wall.
Canter was among 45 finalists in a competition that fielded more than 900 entries.
Awards were distributed to top vote recipients in eight different categories in addition to three special recognitions.
The AMPC is a partnership between Appalachian State University’s Outdoor Programs, the Turchin Center for the Visual Arts and the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation.
Canter, of High Point, took an interest in photography while in college, but like with so many other dreams young adults develop, it was put on the backburner as life made other plans.
She picked it back up in 2008 when time permitted. “It’s a hobby, it’s therapy, and it’s a passion,” Canter said.
The recognitions for Canter soon followed.
She received a special feature in Our State magazine and won a few other contests in Greensboro. This year’s winning selection was an outdoors scene that featured a weathered tree on a beaten path.
“I’ve photographed that tree time and time before,” Canter said. “I love the strength of the tree and where it sits on the trail exposed to the elements… its strength to persevere. I named it ‘Another Autumn’ because of its strength to hold on and cling to life.”
Kenneth Voltz, of Brevard, took this year’s People’s Choice Award for his submission, “Looking Glass Sunrise.”
Voltz said he has been involved in photography for the past six years and sees the art as “adoration” in his retirement years.
“It was probably more work than actually winning the award,” Voltz said on soliciting votes. “I contacted a lot of people (about the picture). A lot of people looked at the image. They viewed it online and decided to vote for it.”
This year’s award was not the first for Voltz in this particular contest.
Two years ago, he took home first place in the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation category. “I’ve been fortunate,” he said.
Andrew Hawley, of Appalachian State University’s Outdoor Programs, which hosts the event, said proceeds from the contest offset funding for student programs and trips.
The contest is traditionally tied to the Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour, Hawley said, adding that the images displayed during Saturday’s announcement at the gallery will be exhibited during the film festival Sept. 20 to 21.
Dave Allen won the Landscape category for his entry, “A Glorious Greeting.”
Eric Heistand took home top honors for the Adventure category with his selection, “Lucy’s Dream Day.”
In the Blue Ridge Parkway category, Tommy Penick won with his photograph, “Fall Cycling.”
Chuck Almarez won the Culture category with his “Porta Portrait” photograph.
In the Flora and Fauna division, Amanda Prince received the most votes for her entry, “Just Bee.”
Rob Travis won the “Our Environmental Footprint” category with “Towers.”
Additionally, Nicole Robinson, Debra Vanderlaan and Kimberly Lane received Special Mention Honors from contest judges.
All 45 images selected for the 10th annual exhibition will remain on display in the Mezzanine Gallery of the Turchin Center for the Visual Arts through Aug. 16. An archive of AMPC exhibited images can be viewed http://www.highcountryphotos.com/appalachian-mountain-photography-competition.