Driftwood Beach is seen in a file photo from October 2016. An upcoming photo contest will highlight Georgia’s waterways, and Coastal Photographers Guild president Elma Andrews says the Golden Isles is uniquely competitive place for photographers to capture images.


Golden Isles photographers will have the chance to highlight the area’s sweeping coastal scenery during an upcoming photo contest.

The Georgia Conservancy, a nonprofit environmental advocacy group, is hosting the contest, and invites amateur and professional photographers to enter images of the Peach State’s outdoor waterways.

The contest is open now through May 20, and the grand prize winner’s photo will be featured on the cover of the “Water Junky Georgia” photo book. There is no fee to enter the contest. The prize package also includes four tickets to a Georgia Conservancy event, a year membership to the group, T-shirts and two pairs of floating sunglasses made by Atlanta-based Rheos Gear, which is co-sponsoring the contest. The value of the package is estimated at $360.

“Water is the lifeblood of this state,” said Robert Ramsay, Georgia Conservancy president. “It feeds our farms and our forests and provides life to an incredible array of native species. It’s also an incredible resource for recreation in Georgia.”

Rheos Gear founder Jake Berton said his company is proud to partner with the conservancy to share Georgia’s remarkable scenery.

“We want more people to fall in love with Georgia’s outdoors and help connect them with the Georgia Conservancy, an organization that has a 50-year reputation of successfully protecting our land and water,” Berton said.

Elma Andrews is president of the Coastal Photographers Guild, an group of photo enthusiasts who meet on St. Simons Island. She said Golden Isles photographers will have a leg up on photographers from other regions in Georgia, simply because of this area’s natural beauty.

“We have such a diverse ecosystem here,” she said. “From beaches, to upland and maritime forests to estuaries, anywhere you go in Glynn County, you’ll find a very rich natural world.”

Andrews suggests photographers take their cameras to Driftwood Beach, Cannon’s Point Preserve, Harris Neck Wildlife Refuge or any of the area’s marshes.

The contest will be judged by Eric Champlin, founder and editor of “Atlanta Trails,” an online magazine that catalogues outdoor exploration opportunities across Georgia. He will will choose the top 50 photos, and the public will be able to vote for their favorites online. As a freelance writer and photographer, Champlin has traveled the state capturing its scenery.

“From Georgia’s sandy shoreline on the Atlantic Coast to the tumbling waterfalls in the southern Appalachian Mountains, to the crystal-clear rivers in Georgia’s remote Cohutta Wilderness, water and lake shape our state’s unique landscapes and incredibly diverse terrain,” Champlin said.

Champlin said he was honored to judge the contest and applauded the efforts of the Georgia Conservancy and its partnership with Rheos Gear.

The top 50 winning images will be printed in the photo book, and proceeds of its sales will go to the Georgia Conservancy. Published photographers will receive credit in the book.

Berton said he hopes the contest will encourage people to make time to explore Georgia, the largest state east of the Mississippi River.

“Seeing a beautiful sunrise over Driftwood Beach, or the rushing water of Amicalola Falls might inspire people to take time away from their screens and make more memories outside,” Berton said. “We want to help more people make outdoor exploration a part of their daily or weekly activities, and not just reserved for vacation time.”

The Georgia Conservancy, based in Atlanta, was founded in 1967 and advocates for the protection and conservation of the state’s natural resources. Its work includes outdoor stewardship, land conservation, coastal resource protection and sustainable growth planning.

For more information on the conservancy, visit its website at www.georgiaconservancy.org.

To enter the photo contest, or for additional details, visit www.rheosgear.com/gaconservancy.

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