Q&A: Sara Wittenberger, Winner of Our Photo Contest

Long shadows form at sunset on Christmas Day at snowy Mount Ord, northeast of Phoenix. | Sara Wittenberger
Long shadows form at sunset on Christmas Day at snowy Mount Ord, northeast of Phoenix. | Sara Wittenberger

If you've been following our most recent online photography contest, you know that we recently announced the winners. Out of more than 5,000 submissions, we had hundreds of strong contenders, but in the end, Sara Wittenberger's shot from the summit of Mount Ord took the top prize, netting her a photo workshop valued at $2,500 from Arizona Highways PhotoScapes.

Via email, Sara answered a few questions about the photo, her background and what's next for her. Her photo and those of the other winners will be published in our September issue.

Tell us about your background, both in photography and in Arizona. How did you get into shooting landscape photos?
Photography has been a passion of mine since I was a kid. I took darkroom classes in high school and college, and after that, I continued shooting just for fun. After I moved to Arizona in the fall of 2012, I fell in love with the local landscape and desert light, and I decided that I wanted to improve my skills and do more with my photography. I purchased my DSLR in the summer of 2014, and since then, most of my free time has been spent exploring around my home.

How did your contest-winning photo come together?
My photo from Mount Ord was taken on Christmas Day. We were headed up north on State Route 87 and saw that Mount Ord had quite a bit of snow on it, so we decided to stop and explore. The light and views that day were so amazing that we ended up staying until sunset.

What did you like about the shot?
It has a little bit of everything that I love about Arizona: amazing sunsets, mountain layers, red rocks and then snow, which is always special to witness in the desert.

What was your reaction when you found out you had won?
I was surprised and excited. And, to be honest, I'm still not sure that it's sunk in yet. But it's a great feeling.

What are your plans for photography in the future?
Right now, my immediate goals are to spend as much time as I can exploring the Southwest and trying to bring the amazing things I find out here to life with my camera.

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