Photo by Randy Robbins
Photo by Randy Robbins

APU Alumnus Goes to Great Lengths to Capture Award-Winning Photograph

by Abigail Reed

Azusa Pacific alumnus Randy Robbins ’99, ’02 clutched his camera and eyed the distant trees, hoping today was the day. Water gently lapped against his kayak and a breeze drifted across the Northern California lake, nestled among sweeping forests and distant hillsides, as an eagle took flight. The beating of wings, splashing of water, and click of the camera shutter—in a flash, Robbins captured a spectacular shot of a bald eagle catching a fish, a photo he had been hunting for months.

This photo, a “bucket list” item for Robbins, won the 2019 Sierra Nevada Conservancy California Wildlife Photo of the Year contest. It was the only time in history the three judges of the contest came to an immediate consensus. The prize photo will be displayed for public viewing in the State Capitol, just outside the Governor’s office.

Whether donning full camouflage to capture an image of a mountain lion or silently waiting for a deer to enter a snowy clearing, Robbins photography goes deeper than just a hobby, closely intertwining with his devotion to Christ.

“I believe that God speaks to us through His creation,” said Robbins. “While I get to experience many breathtaking moments firsthand, I find incredible joy capturing His majesty with the camera and sharing it with others.”

Robbins' experience as a photographer enriches his work as an associate minister and worship pastor at the Community Church of Susanville, CA. While singing about God’s glory and teaching others about His character, Robbins recalls the images of breathtaking sunsets and soaring eagles.

As a pastor, photographer, father, and husband, Robbins traces his journey back to Azusa Pacific, where he received a bachelor’s degree in social studies and master’s in education. While studying at APU, Robbins served as the Student Government Association president and met his wife, Jill Robbins ’98.

“We feel so blessed for the life-changing examples of leadership we encountered at APU,” said Robbins. “They still influence our approach to ministry and family today, continually pointing us back to Jesus.”

As he looks toward the future, Robbins takes on another dream photo opportunity—donning his camouflage and tracking the only wolf pack in California. Follow his adventures and explore his photographs at his website,

Abigail Reed is a public relations intern in the Office of University Relations. She is a liberal studies major with an honors humanities minor.