Except for the occasional wild idea (the dog cover last summer, for example), we generally start with what we hear as the overall hope of our readers: a beautiful scenic photograph in the mountains.
The next goal is to find one that relates to a story in the issue. The happy day is when one of the images from our mid-issue photo essay can become the cover of the issue.
Failing that connection to a specific piece inside, we go for the prettiest shot we can find.
All of this comes to mind pretty much so I can talk about this issue’s cover: We hoped that from among our main pieces – West Virginia’s Sesquicentennial, the outdoor adventures piece and the waterfalls piece – we’d be flush with cover images. With the ideal being a falls in West Virginia with some people out there enjoying it.
And well, we sort of hit two out of three. That falls on the cover is in West Virginia. But there are no people in it, alas, and its specific location is mentioned in neither the falls piece nor the West Virginia piece.
Which is why I am here to tell you a little about Sandstone Falls. It’s in the New River, not far from the town of Hinton. Its modest 10-25 foot drop is perhaps mitigated by the river being some 1,500 feet wide at this point – where it transitions from being broad and slow-looking into the West Virginia section we know best – the deep, boulder-strewn gorge as it speeds toward its confluence with the Gauley to form the Kanawha.
Plus it’s a very handsome image, and we thank Ed Rehbein for it, as well as for our West Virginia photoessay on pages 42-43.