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Waterfall photo claims top prize in contest

Mark Houser’s snapshot of Roaring Fork Falls waterfall near Busick took Best of Show in the Arts Council’s Amateur Photography Competition.

JENNA-LEY HARRISON
Staff Writer

Western Lincoln County native Mark Houser was just a teen when his parents bought him his first camera. Now, at 40 years of age, Houser is pursing the art form as a serious hobby, winning this year’s Best of Show award at the Arts Council’s Amateur Photography Competition.
This year was his first time entering the contest, which awarded him the honor for his waterfall photograph taken at the Roaring Fork Falls in Busick.
Houser was on a hike with several friends when he snapped the winning scene.
“This waterfall was just my favorite of the day,” he said. “It just had more character and charm than the others.”
Waterfalls are just one of the many natural elements that Houser enjoys shooting. His other favorite subjects include lightning and landscapes, particularly in the Linville Gorge area.
“God has made so many wonderful things for us to photograph,” he said.
“There is something magical about hiking to places off the beaten path and capturing a moment with a camera that will never be exactly the same way again.”
Despite his particular fondness for the waterfall’s “silky” look and how it seems to illuminate the rest of the photograph’s scenery, it’s not his favorite picture of all time, he said.
Houser attributes that honor to another simplistic scene, a small Methodist church, that he photographed on North Carolina’s infamous Outer Banks. He said local volunteers help keep the church, which is located in an abandoned town on Portsmouth Island, in “pristine condition.”
“It’s fascinating that such a beautiful wooden frame church has stood the test of time and survived countless storms,” Houser noted. “I think the story behind the image is what makes it so special to me.”
In 1986, Houser received his first camera, a Kodak 110, but it wasn’t until just three years ago that he purchased a modern digital single-lens-reflex (SLR) camera and began to appreciate the art even more.
“That sparked my desire to learn how to take good photographs,” he said.
Currently, Houser snaps photos for family, friends and even himself, noting how he’s committed to learning and improving his photography skills for the rest of his life.
Houser thanked the Arts Council for hosting the contest and praised the competition for their display of “a great deal of talent and skill.”
“It was a surprise and an honor for me to win,” he said.
To view more of Mark Houser’s work, visit www.houserphotography.net.

Houser finds much of his inspiration in natural landscapes, especially in the Linville Gorge area.

Images courtesy of Contributed

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