Help UNC Asheville win $100,000!

Jaron Lane

Photo: Jaron Lane celebrates after UNCA Men’s Basketball’s big win over Coastal Carolina that put them into the Big South Conference regular season lead.

If you follow #Asheville on any form of social media, you’ve probably read about this “NCAA 6th Fan” competition. So what is this competition that has clogged your news feeds since January? “6th Fan” – a play on the “6th Man” title given either to the best reserve player off the bench or a team’s fans – is a contest between all Division I member institutions in which both schools and individual fans can win cash and prizes. Set up like a typical bracket, all member schools competed for a month for the top 16 spots because all Sweet Sixteen entrees receive sweet, sweet $10,000 scholarships each.

Last week, after feverish Facebook, Twitter, and online voting, UNC Asheville succeeded in landing a spot amid the top 16, garnering a $10,000 scholarship to be dispersed to random students (in the university’s own reward competition.)

But, just as Sweet Sixteen competitors still have 4 more games to win it all, UNCA has to make it through 4 more voting rounds to win the ultimate prize – $100,000 in scholarships. That’s where you, Asheville’s loving community, can help! With only 25 hours to go, Asheville is tied with round adversary Bryant University. Every single vote counts, so for UNCA to move on, we need to take to the Twitter-verse, the Facebook-osphere, and the world wide web (sorry, I ran out of creativity for that one.) Simply use the hashtags #UNCA #6thFan together for every Facebook or Twitter post, or vote for UNCA at There is no limit on the number of votes per day, so vote your fingerprints off!

But wait, “what’s in it for me?” On top of awarding scholarships, the 6th Fan contest also gives away an iPad Air for each round, and all entrees are submitted to the final drawing for an all expenses paid trip to the 2015 Final Four in Indianapolis. So, let’s bring the “madness” to February and push UNCA in the Elite Eight!

-Adrian Etheridge, UNCA Cross Country and Track runner, photographer

Best Places in Asheville for Late Autumn Portraits

Fallen leaves, colorful streets, and beautiful views: Asheville in the late fall is a beautiful city for portraiture. From brilliantly-colored leafy woodlands to creatively-painted graffiti backgrounds, a photographer only has to step out her front door to find a good backdrop for a photo shoot. This year, as you dust off your camera for for solo photos, family portraits, Christmas cards, or just a fun afternoon with a camera, keep a few of the best locations around Asheville in mind.

UNC Asheville Botanical Gardens

Botanical Gardens

If you’re looking for a nature setting, look no further than UNCA’s campus in North Asheville. The university’s botanical gardens offer a beautiful natural backdrop complete with fall colors and soft lighting filtering through the tree branches. On a warm day (because weather in Asheville can fluctuate from 20 to 60 degree days in the same week) the creek is a wonderful place for reflections.


The saturated fall colors of the leaves and dying foliage make for a very colorful background. With a wide open space to run around, you can create lively portraits playing in the leaves or skipping through the field.

Botanical Gardens

The garden’s gazebo is one of my personal favorite places for portraits. Hidden in the corner entrance, the gazebo only gets the last soft rays of sunshine, so it is a perfect location for softly-lit close-ups.

Wall Street, Downtown

Wall Street

After a day of window shopping and gorging in any one (or more!) of Asheville’s famously fantastic restaurants, Downtown is a great location for artsy portraits. Architectural ranging from the 1800s to now, statues both fun and iconic, streets lined with lights and leaves, and art at every turn create a perfect atmosphere for city portraiture. Wall Street’s green light poles, yellow leaves, and colorful building fronts pair well with a great leather jacket and a pretty smile.

Wall Street

Chicken Alley, Downtown

Chicken Alley

Chicken Alley is famous for the enormous painted chicken, and this unconventionally decorated backstreet provides a beautiful brick backdrop for photos. Commandeer a nice renter’s back porch and you can make portraits fit for any coffee-drinking city-goer.

Graffiti by the Hatchery Studios, River Arts District

River Arts District

The River Arts District is a great place for more than just buying artists’ work. The giant graffiti-ed wall and silo create an edgier setting. Looking for a place for band photos or artist portraits? Posing in front of Asheville’s underground muralists’ work is the perfect location.

River Arts District

Looking for a professional photographer to take your portraits? Check out ASE Photography by Adrian Etheridge: OR

Looking for a model to try out these locations? Contact Erin Dalton: