“Find a seat and your rear, and combine the two,” shouted Feet Banks, the presenter of the 7th Arc’teryx Deep Winter Photo Challenge presented by GOREtex. The competition blueprint is to challenge six invited photographers to capture the soul of skiing and boarding in our infamous resort within 72-hours. Thus ensues three hectic days of planning, shooting and editing. Caught within the boundaries of Whistler Blackcomb they must put together a slide show that wows the judges and the crowds at the Fairmont Chateau Whistler.
This year’s photographer red carpet included: Reuben Krabbe, Andrew Strain, Russell Dalby, Mike Helfrich, Nic Alegre, and Chris Christie – all competing for the King of Storms crown, a cut of the $8,500 cash prize and swag from Arc’teryx.
Chris Christie was first up. This Squamish local showcased the talents of the three Ragin’ Cajuns. Snazzy outfits against green trees, exposed rock, and sun-splashed skies filled the screens.
Rueben “Crafty” Krabbe, the Deep Summer Champion, took to the stage in a suit and tie. Known for his creativity the crowd was waiting to see what he would bring to the table and Rueben did not disappoint. Stunning photography with poetic narrative left the audience in awe, only bringing them out of their revere for rapturous applause for the top shots.
Nic Alegre, hailing from the US, was focusing on movement and progress for his slideshow. Spending time with some of the greats like Eric Berger and Blake Jorgenson certainly rubbed off. To thumping rock music “Cubicle Dreams” was clever, full of stoke and potential.
Mike Helfrich, originally a Cali boy this current resident of Whistler told the crowd, “The Mountain is our canvas”. He really got around the mountain and captured some of the epic mountain glow that’s dominated our skies recently.
Andrew Strain was a late addition to the competition. Spending 300+ days in the wilderness, Strain was ready when the call came. After stealing the microphone from Feet to profess his love to his girlfriend, the show began. Amazing tree , PEAK 2 PEAK and starry sky shots really got the crowd going.
Russell Dalby went last right after downing a Smirnoff Ice. Juxtaposing fresh corduroy with guitar strings quickly caught the audience’s attention. He went out on a limb and it really paid off, the unique combination kept working image after image.
The judges were gone for so long Feet started to run out of sponsors to thank and prizes to give out. The atmosphere was tense as the photographers gathered on stage. Last minute entry Andrew Strain took 3rd place and $1,000; Reuben Krabbe accepted 2nd and $2,500; but it was Russell Darby that won the crown and $5,000.
The best shot of the night and $500 went to newcomer Mike Helfrich. If you want your say you can vote for the “People’s Choice” by visiting: www.whistlerblackcomb.com/deepwinter.
Quote of the night: “Big Black Phallic Tusk” Feet Banks – best not to let the judges take so long next time.
Article source: http://www.whistlerisawesome.com/2013/01/20/deepwinter-2013/