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Mile High on natural beauty

Grandfather Mountain’s annual Nature Photography Weekend welcomed a large crowd of photography enthusiasts. Photo by Hugh Morton, Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation.

By Tamas Mondovics

More than 200 photographers of various skill levels from beginner professional enjoyed Grandfather Mountain’s annual Nature Photography Weekend, a three-day workshop held on the mountain earlier this month. Event organizers were pleased with the sizable turnout for the event, which featured presentations from renowned photographers, spectacular shooting opportunities on the mountain and optional, friendly, but competitive photo contest.

“The weekend was an outstanding success,” said Frank Ruggiero, Director of Marketing and Communications, with the not-for-profit Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation.

Aside from the chance to celebrate nature photography at one of the nation’s most spectacular places, participant learned some new tips and techniques from a lineup of distinguished presenters, including David Akoubian, Mollie Isaacs, Les Saucier, Kelly Walkotten, Kyle Cook, Melissa Southern, Vinny Colucci, Tommy White and Alistair Nicol. The line of talented shooters shared their take on a variety of photography topics encompassing both the technical and artistic elements of the craft, while participants had the additional opportunity to explore Grandfather Mountain and take their shots during the day.

“Many were able to take part in several outdoor field sessions with our professional photographers,” Ruggiero said.

While the annual event offered a great venue to bring together those of like interest, it was also a benefit for the community in that it draws guests and tourism to the High Country.

“It is also a benefit in that it celebrates the community, as the attendees are so supportive of each other, offering tips, assistance, and advice in improving each other’s photography,” Ruggiero said.

Of course, brandishing each other’s gear was an added perk for all photography lovers. Adding to the event’s success organizers emphasized the quality of this year program, which saw an increased number of breakout sessions offering guests an opportunity to enjoy seminars in the field with hands-on learning. The Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation strives to inspire conservation of the natural world by helping guests explore, understand and value the wonders of Grandfather Mountain.
For more information, call (800) 468-7325, or visit to plan a trip.

Jessica Henderson and Tommy White pause for a photo during the annual Grandfather Mountain Nature Photography Weekend that offered participants the opportunity to learn from expert photographers and then apply their newfound techniques in the field. The weekend also allows guests to photograph the mountain’s flora and fauna in a friendly, but optional, photo competition. Photo by Skip Sickler