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Photo contest winners

BY ZACK STEEN zsteen@dailycorinthian.com

A near perfect sunrise over the Smokey Mountains captured by a local photographer on his birthday was the overall winning photo in the 17th annual Crossroads Museum Photo Contest.

It was long time contest supporter and Corinth native Torrance Pollard who took Best of Show honors for the first time with his entry entitled "Brick Sunrise."

Pollard said the photo highlights the Oconaluftee Valley Overlook just below Newfound Gap in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. This view is from the North Carolina side of the park.

"It was getting close to time for my wife, Alfredia, and I to wrap up our annual vacation trip to the mountains and I wanted to try my luck at a sunrise shot," said Pollard. "I had done some research and this identified as a great location. We got there well before sunrise, and were the first to pull into this location, however, it wasn't long before other early risers began to arrive."

Pollard said conditions weren't great with below freezing temperatures.

"A person just doesn't get many opportunities to capture the perfect sunrise and I bet I checked my camera settings at least 20 times. It was absolutely beautiful as the sun began to crest the mountain top and I started shooting," he added. "I was blessed to get such a great shot and what makes it that much sweeter is this image was captured on my birthday, October 26."

The nonprofit organization received 180 entries for the fundraiser this year which will help the museum stay open in a rather tough financial outlook.

"We had some amazing entries this year," said Ben Tucker, president of the museum's board of directors. "The judges had a really tough time picking out the winners - I'm glad I didn't have that job."

Tucker said the museum received more entries than expected.

"After having to move the contest to the spring, we were worried participation would be down, but our long time contest supporters showed up with entries," he said. "We even received a good number entries from new participates."

The contest has historically been held in the fall.

Entries received included 53 natural landscape, 32 pets animals wildlife, 43 architectural landscape, 33 close-up and 19 people. Entries were judged based on use of lighting, clarity, composition, expressions, creativity, exposure and color.

Photos will be on display through June 3 at the museum.

Winners include:

Best of Show:

Torrance Pollard, "Brisk Sunrise"

Natural Landscape:

First place, Don Meints, "Point Betsie Beach"; second place, Susanne Cooper "Why I Love Mississippi"; third place, Susanne Cooper, "Perspective"; staff pick, Eunice Bolt Lugenbuehl, "Palm Trees"

Architectural Landscape:

First place, Jennifer Earles, "Lady Liberty"; second place, Peggy Grissom, "Swinging Bridge"; third place, Erika Salinas Davis, "Structurally Shocking"; staff pick, Cheryl Meints, "Soul Rest and Protection"

Pets Animals Wildlife:

First place, Torrance Pollard, "A Mated Pair"; second place, Peggy Grissom, "Shoo"; third place, Mike Floyd, "2 Swans"; staff pick, Rebecca Parent, "Horse Talk"

People:

First place, Erika Salinas Davis, "A Picture of a Thousand Mentors"; second place, Marissa Stanley, "Speak No Evil, See The Evil"; third place, Peggy Grissom, "A Gentle Man"; staff pick, Lisa Lambert, "Snow Kisses"

Close-Up:

First place, Erika Salinas Davis, "Transparency of Beauty"; second place, Randy Dickerson, "Mississippi Moon"; third place, Cheryl Meints, "Tenacity"; staff pick, Jimmy Meeks, "Orchid"