Here at pictureline, contests are a big deal! On the surface, we are, of course, a photographic retail store and our business runs on the supply and demand of customers purchasing our products. But more than that, our desire as a company is to create and support great photographers and that means we love helping people just like you. Yes, YOU! In doing so, contests are an important part of our company because we value the platform we provide for photographers to better themselves and promote their growing business. One of these awesome contests that we are associated with is the Red Rock Photo Contest, a brand-new contest that will happen a couple times each year, in which photographers post images to pictureline’s Instagram page in hopes of winning an in-store gift card and the opportunity to have their image hang in the Brewery.
The very first winner of the Red Rock Photo Contest is Bill Church, who won the contest with his fantastic image of ‘The Wave’ located in Marble Canyon, Arizona. We sat down with Bill to find out a little bit more about him, and to introduce him to you, the best customers in the world!
Tell us a little bit about the yourself and how you got started in photography.
I’m originally from Sacramento but have spent the majority of my life in Utah County growing up in Springville and currently living Orem. My interest in photography started in high school but didn’t really mature until I was in my mid 20’s. I started by taking a single roll of film on camping trips and that progressed to advanced point and shoots and eventually my first digital SLR.
What type of photography do you primarily shoot?
My favorite type of photography is definitely land-scapes. I love dramatic skies, stars and lightning. During the summer I like to chase sunrises and sun-sets, hike slot canyons, and shooting the Milky Way. In the winter I spend a lot of time around Utah Lake following the ever-changing ice formations. I also enjoy taking action shots, primarily BMX, skiing and mountain biking.
What gear do you use to achieve your shots?
I primarily shoot with a Canon 5D Mark III with a 16-35 f/2.8, Gitzo tripods, Click Elite backpack, and various canon lenses. I also have a Panasonic Micro Four-Thirds kit that I use while backpacking and canyoneering.
What type of photography do you primarily shoot?
My favorite type of photography is definitely landscapes. I love dramatic skies, stars and lightning. During the summer I like to chase sunrises and sunsets, hike slot canyons, and shooting the Milky Way. In the winter I spend a lot of time around Utah Lake following the ever-changing ice formations. I also enjoy taking action shots, primarily BMX, skiing and mountain biking.
Where has this genre of photography taken you?
I’ve traveled all over Utah exploring many slots canyons, alpine lakes, and other incredible landscapes. A few of my highlights from 2014 were backpacking the Lost Coast of California, Havasupai, Dark Canyon, and exploring some lesser known slot canyons.
Tell us about the winning photograph from the Red Rock Contest.
I was able to acquire a pair of permits for the Wave in December of 2011 but as the dates grew closer the weather forecast was becoming increasingly cold with rain and snow. The day before our trip, the BLM field office said that 4×4 vehicles were getting stuck on route to the Wire Pass trail head so in order to avoid the mud, we started driving a few hours before sunrise. By the time we left pavement, we were driving down the frozen road that was covered in five inches of fresh snow in whiteout conditions. We geared up and started hiking just after sunrise. The first mile or so of the trail was pretty easy with just a few inches of snow covering the sandy wash bottom but once we reached the slick rock, things became quite treacherous. Slick rock and snow are a bad combo! I took a few falls and, in all honesty, considered turning around, but we did keep on going. At one point I walked in a knee deep drift and became terrified that the wave would be completely covered in snow. Once we made it to the Wave it all suddenly became completely worth it. We had the place to ourselves, and the only concern I had the rest of the time was simply keeping snowflakes off my lens. Good karma for all the hard work and worrying during the travel to the site. After a few hours of shooting in flat light, things warmed up and the snow started slowly melting off the Wave. The sun made a very brief appearance in the 5+ hours we spent in Coyote Buttes North that day.
Any words of advice for aspiring photographers?
Embrace your weaknesses and most importantly remember to have fun.
Is there anything else we should know about you?
I have three boys, an amazing wife, and we spend our free time hiking, camping, and backpacking together. Our boys all started camping before they were 6 months old and have always loved being outside exploring arches, slot canyons, and wading into any stream they find. Our boys also have their favorite places to visit, Goblin Valley and Yellowstone are always at the top of that list. In 2014 we made our first river trip and already plan on making a few more in 2015.
Congratulations to Bill on his Red Rock win, and we hope to see more beautiful work from you soon!