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Steve Lloyd has a winning knack for photographing skiers on steep, deep slopes in the Cottonwood canyons.
The 36-year-old Cottonwood Heights man won the Ski Salt Lake Shootout for the second straight year, defeating seven other photographers in the sixth-annual contest sponsored by Visit Salt Lake.
"It was nice to win the prize money," Lloyd said Friday of the $3,000 first prize. "But the money was just icing on the cake. I already won, getting all the photographs I got in the competition."
Eight photographers and a squadron of athletes had five days, Feb. 11-16, to show off Salt Lake County's four resorts Solitude, Snowbird, Brighton and Alta in ways that depict picturesque settings, challenging slopes, fluffy powder and ambiance.
When Lloyd won in 2012, he overcame "horrendous, super bad" conditions dictated by one of Utah's worst snow years on record. The situation was much better this year, but had its challenges as well.
"The snow wasn't crazy, crazy deep anywhere. But the wind had blown some into a few spots I could use," he said. "There was some crazy light, with clouds coming in and out, but it worked to my advantage. I had a plan going into the Shootout to be prepared for clouds and what I could do if it was sunny or in-between."
Lloyd's strategy worked. Not only did his portfolio of shots of skiers Eric Balken, John Collinson and Willie Nelson capture first place, but his photograph of Nelson somersaulting off a cliff at Alta also was selected as the best picture of an athlete in action.
That photo, said Visit Salt Lake spokeswoman Jessica Fredrickson, was worth $500 to Nelson and will be featured in a full-page ad her agency will buy in Powder Magazine.
"That shows what a win, win, win situation this is," she added. "It allows the photographers to pad their portfolios with these great shots in the Cottonwood canyons. It gives the athletes and their sponsors exposure. And we get editorial rights to some photos."
Visit Salt Lake gets the right to four pictures one from each resort that it can publish for one year in publications and on websites. In 2012, Fredrickson noted, Shootout photos appeared in the three pre-eminent skiing publications, Powder, Ski and Skiing.
"They showcase what a cool ski town we are," she added.
1st • Steve Lloyd (athletes John Collinson, Eric Balken, Willie Nelson)
2nd • Mike Schirf (athletes Marcus Caston, Tyler Peterson, Pip Hunt)
3rd • Tony Harrington (athletes Matt Reardon, Drew Peterson, Lyndsay Strange)
Urban meets Mountain
1st • Photographer James Douglas (athletes Parker Cook, Carlo Travarelli, Jason Astle)
1st • Willie Nelson (photographer Lloyd)
2nd • Tyler Peterson (Schirf)
3rd • Marcus Caston (Schirf)
Source: Visit Salt Lake