Congratulations to Justin Potter, winner of BRO’s Cover Photo Contest! Readers selected Potter’s image of Roan Mountain as their favorite from 15 finalists and over 1,000 submissions.
The photographer grew up following his mom as she took photos for newspapers, eventually helping her edit photos as he got older. When Potter moved to North Carolina from the West Coast, he started hiking and exploring the nearby mountains.
“That turned into wanting to share these places I was going around to that were so much cooler than I ever expected,” he said.
Potter took the winning image on Roan Mountain early one morning after spending the night photographing the Milky Way.
“I woke up the next morning and the sunrise was really cool,” he said. “I was walking along the trail, I saw those tents, and I took the picture. When I got home, I really liked how it looked. When I think of my adventures in the Blue Ridge, I want to go camping and wake up to that view.”
Roan Mountain is an iconic hike on the North Carolina and Tennessee border known for the Rhododendrons that bloom every summer. The Appalachian Trail runs across the mountain, offering panoramic views for miles.
“It’s my favorite trail that I go back to over and over,” Potter said. “I always have weird, crazy weather that happens. I’ve been snowed on, hiked in ice, and caught in thunderstorms.”
But, Potter said, the views make it all worth it.
“Shoot what you love,” he said. “I just love being outdoors and I wanted to express that. So I think as long as you’re shooting what you love, you’ll get better and better.”
Thank you to Adventures on the Gorge for sponsoring this year’s contest and to all the amazing photographers who submitted photos!