by Kimberly Brown
CNI News Service
When Heather Conner went skiing with friends on Lake Rabun in mid-October, her goal was to get some great photographs.
She accomplished that goal, and one of her photos has been chosen as the cover art winner for the winter 2020 edition of Lake Living magazine.
Conner has lived in Clayton for about five years. She works as a physical therapist at Dosher Physical Therapy.
An artist who paints in oils, Conner has been a photographer for about four years. She said she loves “dramatic movement,” and nature photography with people in it. Her favorite thing to photograph lately is elopements.
“It’s real big now, especially with COVID,” she said. “Weddings are being canceled, so people are doing destination elopements. My favorite thing is to go out in the woods and take dramatic photos of people in dresses. I did an elopement recently where we went out to the falls [Toccoa Falls]. It was so much fun.”
About her winning photo, she said it was taken on a weekend in the middle of October. She and a group of friends water ski together regularly, and this was their last chance before the lake level was taken down for maintenance.
“It was the last chance for us to get together and ski,” she said. “It was at sunset, and my original goal was to have the sun directly behind him (her friend, Eric Striker), with him blacked out and the mountains behind him. But the way the boat lined up and the way he was cutting, it didn’t work out. So, I got this shot, and it worked out because you can see the skyline and the trees, and him as well.”
Conner has entered a couple of photography contests, she said, but the winter Lake Living contest is the first contest she’s ever won.
“I honestly didn’t think I had a chance,” she said. “I wasn’t super excited about the photo, because it wasn’t exactly what I wanted. I’m a bit of a perfectionist. I didn’t think I was going to be considered, so when I was called, I thought, ‘Wow!’”
Conner, who is originally from Piedmont, South Carolina, loves the mountains of Northeast Georgia for their beautiful scenery.
Photography is “all about understanding the light, and knowing which setting to use for each light scenario,” she said. “That’s a learned skill, and it’s taken me a while to learn it.”
Lake Living is a full-color magazine celebrating the lakes in Northeast Georgia, published in the spring, summer and winter by Community Newspapers, Inc.
In an effort to focus on local talent, Lake Living magazine invited artists and photographers to submit their visions of life on the lake in Northeast Georgia.
CNI Newspapers Regional Publisher Alan NeSmith said Conner’s photo of a skier stood out among the entries.
“We had about 25 entries in this contest, and it was a tough decision, because we received some great scenery photos,” NeSmith said. “But Heather’s photograph of a water skier on Lake Rabun in October shows fun can be had on the lake in almost any season.”
“We appreciate our local photographers who take on the challenge to provide great photos for our cover contest,” NeSmith added.
Lake Living magazine – a free publication – will be distributed to visitors centers, chambers of commerce and retailers throughout the Northeast Georgia lake region, beginning this week.