20th Annual
Palo Alto Weekly Photo Contest
First Place, Views Beyond the Bay Area


"Mountaintops in Clouds"
By Deven Hickingbotham

Click on photo for larger image.

About Deven Hickingbotham

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 when he was in the 8th grade, in middle school during the late 1960s, working in the darkroom in his home. He let his hobby become a career in professional sports photography that has seen him featured in national magazines and newspapers. He has photographed sports events ranging from cross-country running to football, taking many photos of sporting events at Stevenson High School in central California, where his daughter and son both attended school. He said he now primarily focuses on taking pictures at alpine ski races. In addition to his professional interests, Hickingbotham also has a keen interest in taking photographs of landscape scenes.

His award-winning photograph "Mountaintops in Clouds" was taken in the Donner Summit area near Tahoe around Christmas of last year. Hikingbotham was skiing at Sugar Bowl when he saw he had "certain weather conditions that covered everything but a few mountain tops." And, as he put it, "it was a composition that was clearly attractive." He pulled out his Nikon B40 and snapped the photo.
Hickingbotham said that winning first place in this year's photo contest "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 of related photos," he said.

-- Aaron Guggenheim


Judge's Comment

Deven Hickingbotham's "Mountaintops in Clouds" takes us far beyond the hustle and bustle of everyday life to a serene place. We were struck by the elegant simplicity of this image, especially the delicate rendering of the clouds.

-- David Hibbard

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