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Local photographer wins Pinnacles photo contest 

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Jason Hickman’s photo earned him top honors in the scenic category of the Pinnacles National Park’s photo contest.

The photography skills of Paso Robles resident Jason Hickman have earned him top honors in the scenic category of the Pinnacles National Park’s photo contest this month. The landscape photo that Hickman submitted was taken when he visited the park last year.

“The contest was done on Facebook,” Hickman said. “We had been there in June of last year. I had taken a bunch of photos and then saw the contest.”

Hickman said he has been taking photos since he was 9 years old. He started snapping shots with his 110 camera, developing the film as quickly as he could earn the money. While he continued to snap photos, he didn’t get serious about photography until a few years ago when his dad bought a digital Nikon camera. He said that when his dad bought the camera, he had to have the same.

“I got really serious about [photography] over the last few years,” Hickman said, adding that he started taking classes at Light Photographic Workshops in Los Osos.

Jason Hickman holds his winning photo for the Pinnacles National Park photo contest. Photo by Heather Young

Paso Robles resident Jason Hickman holds his winning photo for the Pinnacles National Park photo contest. Photo by Heather Young

Hickman, the bar manager at Firestone-Walker’s Taproom restaurant in Paso Robles for the last two years, started with the company just two months after the Taproom opened in 2012. Photography, however, is something that he would love to do full-time.

“It’s just something I love doing,” Hickman said. “It would be amazing to make that my full-time job at some point.”

While Hickman has photographed a wedding and shoots sporting events, his favorite subject is shooting the moon.

“You can’t just point your camera at the moon and shoot,” Hickman said.

Through the classes he’s taken over the years, he has learned techniques and has acquiring the right equipment that has enabled him to capture the photos of the moon — most recently, he photographed the Milky Way over Morro Rock. Hickman said he’s been trying to get that shot for a while, but with the fog and clouds, it wasn’t always possible. Until recently. On his drive to Morro Bay from Paso Robles via Highway 46, he contemplated turning around because he could see the fog socking in the coast. But he decided to that he’d gone far enough to take a chance.

That risk paid off. After waiting for low tide, he walked out as far as he could, as far away from the lights as he could get, and set up for the photo he posted on his Facebook page. He said he captured that photo at about 3:30 a.m., but it was worth the wait.

Hickman moved to Paso Robles nearly 10 years ago after visiting the area from Turlock many times.

“I used to come here on vacation from Turlock and decided I didn’t want to leave anymore,” Hickman said.

Hickman primarily shoots with a Nikon D600, but also has a D90; he uses 14-24mm, 2.8 and 70-200, 2.8 lenses. To see more of Hickman’s work, go to www.jhickmanphotography.com.

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