Mountaintops in Clouds
Almost entirely drained of color, two mountaintops rise above the clouds. They are spotted with thickets of dense, dark trees that alternate with patches of bare white snow. The rest of the landscape remains obscured, further bringing out the mountaintops as isolated islands among a sea of white, buoyant clouds. When all of these elements are put together, they make for an iconic and captivating photo.
Palo Alto resident Deven Hickingbotham has always possessed a passion for photography. He started during the late 1960s when he was in the eighth grade, working in the darkroom in his home. His hobby later became a career in professional sports photography, and his work has been featured in national magazines and newspapers. He has photographed sports events ranging from cross-country running to football, including many at Stevenson High School in central California, where his daughter and son both attended school. He said he now primarily focuses on photographing alpine ski races. In addition to his professional focus, Hickingbotham also has a keen interest in landscape scenes.
"Mountaintops in Clouds" was taken in the Donner Summit area near Tahoe around Christmas last year. Hickingbotham was skiing at Sugar Bowl when he saw he had "certain weather conditions that covered everything but a few mountain tops. … It was a composition that was clearly attractive." He pulled out his Nikon B40 and snapped the photo.
Hickingbotham said that winning first place this year "fulfills a goal I've had since 2004, when I first entered the contest and placed third." He added that the competition gives him "motivation to capture unusual and artistic images that stand out from the crowd."
Hickingbotham plans to travel to more scenic locations and attend photo workshops to help further hone his photography skills. And sometime in the future, he harbors another ambition.
"As a culmination to all these efforts, I'd like to together an exhibition," he said.
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