By Nathan Ham
Photographers from across the High Country submitted a wide variety of pictures from different parts of the Blue Ridge Mountains with the hopes of having their work included in the 2022 edition of the Blue Ridge Calendar put together by Ray’s Weather Center each year. The Grand Prize winner this year is Valerie Seals with her photo of Big Creek in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
There were a total of 641 photos submitted and 16,527 votes cast by visitors to RaysWeather.com.
“We had a lot of interest as usual and as has been the case for years, we could have made 10 calendars out of the submissions. The photography anymore is so good. You’ve got so many people up here that are semi-professional or professional photographers and so many people are out hiking and being outdoors all the time,” said Ray Russell, owner and operator of Ray’s Weather Center. “There are a lot of unique weather events, just a lot of things that would be hard for one person to do. It makes our calendar unique.”
Russell said that last year’s calendar was such a hot seller that they were completely sold out by December 1.
“We will order more calendars this year but I bet we will sell out again,” Russell said. “Last year with COVID-19, I thought maybe people wouldn’t be buying paper calendars and we thought maybe it would be a down year and cut our order by 500 calendars. Wow was that a mistake. There were some unhappy people that we were totally out of calendars.”
This is the 17th year that Ray’s Weather has been doing this calendar.
“I remember back to the first calendar. We didn’t have a lot of digital cameras then. A lot of the pictures were on film and I would take the pictures down to Boone Drug where you could digitize film. It was a challenge to pull off a good-looking calendar in the first year. Now, we could easily produce 10 great calendars from what is submitted,” Russell said.
Russell wanted to thank all of the folks that submitted photos for the calendar. Photographs were submitted from as far down as the Great Smoky Mountains around Asheville up through Alleghany County and into Virginia.
The Blue Ridge Conservancy will get a portion of every calendar sale once again.
The calendar features 15 total photos for November and December of 2021, January through December of 2022 and a cover photo.
In addition to information from Blue Ridge Conservancy, Russell said that there will be two pages of new climate normals from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) for locations across Southern Appalachia. The goal is to have calendars for sale at the end of August.
“I’m really excited about the quality of what is there and excited to be in a position to represent our region that is truly unique and truly has to be one of the most beautiful places in the world. It’s an honor to be able to sample the photography and try to represent where we live through this calendar,” Russel said.
Information about the 2022 Blue Ridge Calendar can be found here.
November 2021 photo
December 2021 photo
January 2022 photo
February 2022 photo
March 2022 photo
April 2022 photo
May 2022 photo
June 2022 photo
July 2022 photo
August 2022 photo
September 2022 photo
October 2022 photo
November 2022 photo
December 2022 photo