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Splash Down

Retired hotel executive reels in the Best of the South photo for 2013.

When Jim McCauley and his sons traveled to Gaston’s White River Resort in Lakeview, Ark., the plan was to enjoy a little fishing and family time. But McCauley caught a trophy with his camera instead of a fly rod. The photo, “Early Morning,” was selected as the 2013 Best of the South first-place photo.

Two years ago, the guys spent two nights at Gaston’s and fished every day. On one of those mornings, McCauley’s son (who also likes photography) got up just before sunrise to cast his fishing line. McCauley grabbed his camera–and a cup of coffee–and headed out with his son.

“The sky had an early morning glow,” McCauley said. “I sat down to watch him and I saw the sun come out, reflecting in the water, so I started to take pictures. My friends and family have always enjoyed it (the photo). It brings a beautiful memory, and the color was magnificent.”

McCauley picked up photography as a hobby while working and traveling for Holiday Inn, a subsidiary of the InterContinental Hotels Group. One of his responsibilities was organizing trips–such as cruises and African safaris–for franchise owners of Holiday Inn hotels. “I’ve traveled a lot around the world,” said McCauley, who retired in 2001 after 28 years with the company.

At the invitation of a good friend, McCauley and his wife moved from Atlanta, Ga., to Oxford, Miss., where both enjoy an active life in community service. He has been a member of Oxford’s tourism council for nine years, and she’s president of the local garden club.

In addition, McCauley is a writer. He’s self-published one novel, a mystery entitled Pinpoint Inc., and currently is working on his second book. He’s also a columnist for the local paper, the Oxford Eagle.

“I write about life as an older person,” said McCauley, 72. “Most of it is pretty light and funny.”

To get the shot, McCauley used a Panasonic Lumix F240. He said it’s not an expensive camera, but he’s quite pleased with its performance.

Judges’ Comments

Editors and Darlene Copp, who’s been a AAA Southern Traveler contributor since the magazine’s beginning, agreed this was a special photograph.

“Quite original,” Copp said.

Added Associate Editor Don Redman, “A very alluring photo.”

“There’s an ethereal, almost heavenly, quality to this photo. The fisherman is wearing shorts, which implies warm weather, and the forested hills in the background say the Ozarks to me,” said Managing Editor Deborah Reinhardt.

Observed Editor and Publisher Mike Right, “Good color. An interesting shot.”

“The photo not only captures a lovely scene splashed with vibrant color, but it evokes an emotional response, a feeling of serenity. You can sense the quiet of that morning in the image,” said Regional Editor Dennis Heinze.

Two more winners

This year’s second-place photo, “Callaway Gardens Chapel,” was taken by Suella Mae Bratton of Ozark, Ark. The image depicts the Ida Cason Callaway Memorial Chapel in Pine Mountain, Ga. Bratton said the lovely chapel is on Falls Creek Lake in the garden.

“It (the chapel) is used for weddings and special services,” Bratton said.

Copp said the photo was “very, very pretty.”

Our third-place winner, “Best Buddies,” comes from Diane Wilensky of Metairie, La. It’s a photo of Blue Mountain Beach in Florida, which is between Grayton Beach and Sandestin on the Gulf Coast.

“My husband and our German Shepherd, Romeo, are enjoying the beauty of nature as a summer storm rolls in,” said Wilensky to describe the photo.

Judges gave the photo high marks.

“Intriguing feel to the photo,” Redman said. “Beach fun for man and dog halted to watch approaching storm.”

View a slideshow of these and other Best of the South entries.

Jul/Aug 2013 Issue


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