INTRO - A farm kid at heart and who actually has Homer Simpson's job! True. Cheryle Battrum exchanged an unwanted phone for a point'n'shoot camera a few years back. Next thing you know she's hooked and producing awesome images from places like the Canadian Rocky Mountains, namely of her not-to-camera-shy boyfriend - Todd Learn. You may recognise a few winning readers gallery shots from old KW issues.
Where did you grow up?
I was raised in Central and Southern Alberta, Canada. I'm a farm kid at heart!
Where do you live?
I split my time between Red Deer, Alberta and Canmore, Alberta. It makes for a nice mix of prairies and mountains - unfortunately not alot of water, however!
How old are you?
Forty. Four zero. Wow. Time flies!!
What's your full-time job?
I'm a power engineer for a chemical manufacturing company. Many of my friends joke that my job is like Homer Simpson's... and some days, that's more true than they know!!
What was your first camera?
A few years back, a friend gave me a cordless phone as a housewarming gift... and since I already had a telephone, I exchanged it for a Panasonic point'n'shoot camera. It was a whopping 3.2MP! Thus, I pretty much started out with digital... no 'back in the good ol' days' of film for me.
What is your current camera set-up?
Right now I have two Pentax K20D's and a variety of lenses, plus I've upgraded my point'n'shoot to a Panasonic DMC-LX2. As well, I just bought the cute little Canon D10, which I'm looking forward to taking everywhere from snorkelling to snowkiting!
How did you get into photography?
I really enjoy travelling and being outdoors, and since my family lives far away from me, I started to blog and post pictures from my adventures so they could follow along. The more pictures I took, the more I started to realize that I quite liked photography, and it fit really well with my lifestyle. Kind of a lame story, but that's how it happened.
When did you get into shooting kiting and how did it come about?
The first time I saw people kiteboarding was about three years ago, when I was on a rock climbing trip in British Columbia. I mentioned to my boyfriend that it looked like a cool sport... and later that summer he bought some gear, thrashed around on some of the local lakes, and then took a trip to South Padre Island, Texas, where he seriously learned to kite. He goes hard at all activities he partakes in, and of course he engrossed himself in studying the sport and bought every kitesurfing magazine under the sun... all the colors and the beautiful locations and the action intrigued me... and he soon became my guinea pig! He's the subject of most of my kiting pictures.
Can you remember the first shot you got published?
Yes - and I discovered it by accident! At work one night, I was reading through the web version of one of my favorite photography magazines, and as I was scrolling through a section of pictures, all of a sudden mine was there! With my name attached to it and everything! It was very exciting, and I went the next day and bought about 5 hardcopies of the mag and made my parents and sister and a few close friends keep them on their coffee tables.
Who is your favourite rider to shoot with and why?
Well, since the majority of my photos right now are of my boyfriend... I'd better say it's him! His name is Todd Learn, and he is great fun! He rides for hours on end, and he's trying more and more tricks, plus I've finally convinced him it's okay to ride really close to me and even jump right over me - I know how to 'tuck and roll' if necessary! Actually, last summer we spent a couple of weeks in Hood River, Oregon, and another week at Nitinaht Lake on Vancouver Island. Many pros were at both locations for competitions, so I was fortunate to get a few pics of the likes of Jeremie Tronet, Eric Reinstra, Shannon Gormley and Brittany Todd. I was stoked!
What rider / riders would you like to shoot if you could and why?
John Bilderback! His photography is stunning, he captures everything from such an interesting perspective, his pictures make you feel like you are right inside of them! It would be awesome to be the photographer who got a shot of him that made him say, "Hey, nice pic!" (See Bilderback images here) And Chasta. The man is smooth - he does amazing things with a kite and makes it look unbelievably easy! I think it would be fantastic to follow him around for a day.
Where is your favourite place to shoot and why?
I'm going to have to say anywhere in the Canadian Rockies. So far, I've seen few places as pristine as the snowcapped peaks we have right in our own backyard. I do happen to be a bigger fan of snow than water... but that could change at any time, since I'm spending a month this fall in Australia and three weeks in the Virgin Islands in February.
What's the best tip anyone's ever given you or that you could give any other budding photographers?
Always try to be objective... there are definitely technical aspects to great photography... but what I like best is that six individuals are going to photograph the same thing six different ways - and that is totally okay!
Do you have any exciting shoots planned for the future?
I'm leaving Friday for a month of rock climbing and kitesurfing in southern Australia, and in February I'll be spending three weeks sailing around the Virgin Islands. For me that is extremely exciting! I'll probably spend more time hanging from the tops of crags and bobbing around in the water with my camera, than partaking in climbing and kiting... but I'm alright with that!