Paralyzed photographer from Chandler wins awards

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Greg Wickenberg won a couple of awards recently at a photography contest. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Greg Wickenberg won a couple of awards recently at a photography contest. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
But advances in camera and wheelchair technology have made photography possible for Wickenberg. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) But advances in camera and wheelchair technology have made photography possible for Wickenberg. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
He uses a wand to adjust the camera and frame the shot. He holds the shutter cable in his mouth and bites to snap a shot. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) He uses a wand to adjust the camera and frame the shot. He holds the shutter cable in his mouth and bites to snap a shot. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
Wickenberg has had no formal training but he just won a Blue Ribbon for a picture of a roadrunner. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Wickenberg has had no formal training but he just won a Blue Ribbon for a picture of a roadrunner. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
A photo called the "Conducktor" won the People's Choice Award. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) A photo called the "Conducktor" won the People's Choice Award. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
CHANDLER, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -

A Chandler man has impressed the photography world with his wildlife and desert photos along with overcoming major hurdles.

Greg Wickenberg has had no formal training but he just won a Blue Ribbon in a photography contest with a picture of a roadrunner. Another photo, called the "Conducktor," won the People's Choice Award.

"When I first took that picture I thought it was the best pic I'll ever take," Wickenberg said.

He was paralyzed in a crash in 1982. He got behind a camera 20 years ago.

"I just got frustrated and quit," Wickenberg said.

But advances in camera and wheelchair technology have made photography possible.

He uses a wand to adjust the camera and frame the shot. He holds the shutter cable in his mouth and bites to snap a shot.

Wickenberg specializes in double exposures, the art of meshing two images into one, like a cat peering through a cactus or a dog's silhouette over a desert plant.

Wickenberg's service dog Roo and he spend a lot of time photographing wildlife and desert scenes in the hot sun for a reason.

"When you're paralyzed, your body's thermo no longer works. I'm freezing cold all the time," Wickenberg said.

His desert photography has given him an excuse to get outside and a series of honors, too.

Wickenberg is hoping to raise $30,000 for a new wheelchair. A gallery in Scottsdale will start selling some of his work.

He's also set up a GoFundMe page for a new wheelchair-accessible van. 

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