Calling All Photographers: Ray’s Weather 2023 Blue Ridge Calendar Photo Contest Has Begun

This photo by Valerie Shields won the Grand Prize and became a cover shot of the 2022 Blue Ridge Calendar. Photo courtesy of Ray’s Weather Center.

Harley Nefe

The Ray’s Weather Center has sponsored photo contests and calendars featuring photographs of predicted areas for the past 20 years. This year we are working to create the best calendar ever.

The photo contest has already started as it started on February 15th, much earlier than usual.

“We’re just trying to expand,” said Ray Russell of the Rays Weather Center. “We have great products and we are just trying to give them the opportunity to expand their market.”

Russell talked about one of the biggest limitations faced with retailers and the reasons behind the previous schedule.

“Retailers have already made decisions about most products for next winter, so even putting out a calendar by June 1st will be late in the game for most of those people, but that’s it. It helps us get it to more retailers and just spread it, “the ability of us to achieve this,” Russell said. “This is a top-notch product. It deserves a larger market out there, so we’re doing it now, starting the process and trying to achieve this by June.”

In addition to starting the process earlier, Ray’s Weather is adding more months to the product and changing it to a 16-month calendar.

“Therefore, if someone wants to buy it, they can hang up by September 1, 2022 and use it as a calendar until December 2023,” Russell explained.

The calendar will be produced again in partnership with the Blue Ridge Conservancy.

“They got $ 1 for every calendar we sold, and we plan to do that again,” Russell said. “We plan to sell more calendars.”

Last year, the Rays Weather Center donated $ 2,500 to the Blue Ridge Conservancy.

“It’s fun,” Russell said. “We started it, and hopefully we’ll be as successful as last year. It’s been sold out for the past two years in a row, so this time it’s more ambitious and the same as long as it’s sold out. I hope it will be a result. “

For the current photography contest, the 2023 Blue Ridge Calendar will feature photographs of the various seasons taking place somewhere in the Southern Appalachian Mountains (southwest Virginia to Southwest North Carolina) and in the hills.

“We believe that being a crowdsourced calendar is of real value,” says Russell. “We can capture the events that happened and everything else.”

Last year, about 650 photos were posted.

“They were all very good,” Russell explained. “It’s not an exaggeration to say this literally, but from those photos we should have been able to make five calendars as good as the ones we put out.”

The deadline for this year’s photo contest is March 1, so it’s time to “hit them with the best shots,” as advertised by the Rays Weather Center.

“Every year, we ask a professional photographer to submit it,” Russell said. “But semi-professionals and enthusiasts also participate, and some aren’t photographers, but they have their phones in the right place at the right time, which is reflected in the calendar.”

He further said that they enjoy receiving photos from different people.

“Every year, there are teenagers who win all the way to the winning retirees,” Russell said. “Last year there was a great reception for all photographers and people talked about their photographs.”

Russell continued to explain that there were tears shed at the previous reception.

“Some of the pictures were very meaningful to all these people,” Russell said. “When you really jump into this, they really are an extension of who they are. For example, one of our photographers lost his son and was taking pictures. He’s pretty I had a terrible day and went home. Suddenly I saw the sun shining in my rearview mirror. Trees. When the sun’s rays pass through something like that, I call them glorious shots, And he saw it in the rear-view mirror. He stopped the track, went out and got a photo that came out of nowhere. It was on the calendar. The glorious shot was It made me feel like my son was with me that day. There is only one. Talk. “

According to the Ray’s Weather Center, the contest and production mechanism is as follows:

  • Contests can be submitted until March 1, 2022. Photographers can submit up to 3 photos each season.
  • From March 2nd to March 5th, judges will meet for the difficult process of choosing 20 finalists each season. Criteria include: top quality photography, including as many photographers as possible, flora and fauna, activities, diverse geography, diverse themes, and uniqueness of the scene.
  • From March 6th to March 16th, each season’s finalists will be open to the public to share their favorites with the Rays Weather Center. People can vote daily if they wish.
  • After March 17th, the judges will do the most difficult job. Choosing a winner. This year, there are 16 “Monthly Winners” and one Grand Prize Cover Photo Winner. Over the next few weeks, 30-40 “Best of the Rest” winners will also be selected and included in the Cameo Role Calendar.
  • From late March to mid-April, the Rays Weather Center explores other calendar content and graphic designers put it all together. Then, from mid-April to late April, a large number of files will be shipped to the printer. Their goal is to print the calendar in the office by June 1st.
  • As usual, the Rays Weather Center will have a pre-publishing sale. The discounted price period will be in late May or early June of this year. They plan to maintain calendar pricing this year (no price increases).

Winners of the photo contest will be awarded different levels of prizes. According to the Ray’s Weather Center, the winner of the Grand Prize (selected on the cover of the calendar) will receive a $ 200 RaysMarketplace.Com gift certificate and a $ 200 prize. The 16 “Month Winners” will receive a $ 100 RaysMarketplace.Com gift certificate, and the “Best of the RestWinners” will receive two free calendars.

For more information and to enter photos for the contest, please visit

Below are the winners of the 2022 Blue Ridge Calendar Photo Contest. Photo courtesy of Rays Weather Center.

Gabby Comstock, November 2021
Lisa Maultsby, December 2021
Tim Davis, January 2022
Leslie Restivo, February 2022
Thomas Mabley, March 2022
Mary Bentson, April 2022
Robert Menart, May 2022
Clay McCreary, June 2022
Timothy Reeves, July 2022
Lynn Townsend, August 2022
Kathryn Greben, September 2022
Weiss Collins, October 2022
Erin Williams, November 2022
Bonita Loggins, December 2022


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