BUCKHANNON – The June/July 2021 issue of Country Magazine showcases a collection of 20 unique, awe-inspiring photographs of striking ‘Summer Wonders’ – hidden gems located across the U.S. for its readers to add to their bucket lists.
Not only is the Monongahela National Forest of West Virginia one of those 20 hidden gems, a photograph of the Dolly Sods Wilderness area – one captured by longtime Buckhannon photographer Al Tucker –was selected to represent the beauty of West Virginia.
Tucker’s image of “Bear Rocks Vista” in the Dolly Sods is featured as of one Country Magazine’s 20 ‘Summer Wonders.’
When My Buckhannon reached out to Tucker, he said not only was the photograph published in Country Magazine’s most recent issue, “Bear Rocks Vista” also won big at the ART26201 Photography Exhibit hosted in collaboration with the Buckhannon Upshur Camera Club during the West Virginia Strawberry Festival. “Bear Rocks Vista” earned a top honor in the form of a Strawberry Festival ribbon – but it was also tapped as “People’s Choice.”
“It is one of my favorite photos,” Tucker said. “I put it in the ART26201 Strawberry Festival Photo Exhibit specifically so people could enjoy it. It has been a photo that has done extremely well, whether it was in a contest or merely in a show for people to enjoy.”
Tucker said the image of Bear Rocks is one of his top-five favorite photos, so it was an honor to have it published in Country Magazine, a nationally circulated periodical that highlights a treasure chest of scenic photos, ‘must-see’ dream destinations and tips for travelers planning sojourns of their own.
Tucker said Dolly Sods is one of his favorite places to visit.
“This is the best representation I have of Dolly Sods,” he said. “Dolly Sods is a wonderful representation of West Virginia, and I guess that is how it ended up being selected to be featured in Country Magazine.”
Tucker was pleasantly surprised when he was contacted by Country Magazine and learned the Dolly Sods photo would be printed in the publication’s June/July 2021 issue. And while he relishes sharing his images with people across the state and country, he isn’t interested in making money with his photography.
“I received a complimentary copy of Country Magazine, and I opened it up and was looking through it to see the photos,” Tucker said. “It was nice to be representing our state. I like my photography to be enjoyed by people. I do not do Tamarack or those other things because I have no interest in that. I like to share my photographs as much as possible versus trying to make money. It was a nice surprise.”
Tucker said even more surprising is that “Bear Rocks Vista” is the second photo of his that has been selected to be featured in Country Magazine.
“A couple of editions ago, Country Magazine had a write-up on the newest national park in the country – the New River Gorge – and they used one of my photos for that,” Tucker said. “That was kind of a nice surprise, too. I am happy they were worthy enough to be shared in that kind of periodical.”
He said the Dolly Sods photo featured in the June/July 2021 issue marks an important milestone in his personal journey to becoming a photographer.
“It is not my number one favorite photo, but it is in the top five,” Tucker said. “What makes it a favorite is that it is one of the first photos I ever took when I was getting interested in photography. Now, I have a really snazzy camera because I fell in love with photography, but I took that photo with a very early model of digital camera.”
Tucker said he feels the photo shows it does not matter how expensive the camera equipment is – what matters is the composition of the image.
“I just happened to be at the right place at the right time,” Tucker said of his Dolly Sods photo. “I saw that shot. After I took this shot, I stayed and took more sunrise photographs of Dolly Sods and down in the valley. It turned out to be the best shot I took that day. You never know with photography; that is why you spend time studying the scene trying to see if you can find something unique. I was fortunate to do that on that particular occasion.”
Tucker said he finds photography a rewarding, enriching activity because he enjoys spotting elements in nature that are unique and capturing them for all to see. And the Dolly Sods photo put him on a path to improve his photography practice.
“It got me on the path of better photos,” he said.
Country Magazine is available most places where periodicals are sold. Their website is country-magazine.com and the site invites readers to ‘discover the beauty and wonders of America.’