Readers Photo Challenge: Open season

The first Readers Photo Challenge assignment of 2021 is going to be an open one. That is, the subject is open for you to decide. More over the time period, normally 2 weeks, will be extended retroactively to Dec. 22 and forward to Jan. 26.

(3/2/18) Storm clouds are reflected in a puddle as they approach Undine Road and Wing Levee Road in French Camp. [CLIFFORD OTO/THE STOCKTON RECORD]

Some may think that having an unlimited choice of subjects may be a utopia but don’t forget about the parable of the dog with 2 bones. The dog couldn’t decide on which bone to choose so it didn’t make a choice and ended going hungry. Don’t get so caught up trying to decide what to photograph that you don’t take any pictures at all.

TOP: (11/4/18) Jennifer Sila of Florida takes pictures of sandhill cranes during sunset at the Isenberg Sandhill Crane Reserve west of Lodi. BOTTOM LEFT: (2/1/18) The sun sets over the Port of Stockton’s turning basin in Stockton. BOTTOM RIGHT: (12/14/18) Clouds tinged with the colors of sunset rise behind palm trees along the Joan Darrah Promenade in downtown Stockton. [CLIFFORD OTO/THE STOCKTON RECORD]

This time of year is a good time to photograph sunsets due to the relatively early hour when the sun goes down at around 5:00 p.m. Try to find a sky with clouds if you can. Clouds can pick up the warm golden colors of the sunset rather than just having a flat, plain sky. Having something in the foreground, a person, a tree or even a flying bird, can add some visual interest to your sunset.

TOP: (1/4/21) A light rain falls as pedestrians cross the street at Weber Avenue and Hunter Street in downtown Stockton. BOTTOM LEFT: (2/1/19) Rain drops cling to the window of a car near the Regal Stockton City Centre Stadium 16 movie theaters at Janet Leigh Plaza in downtown Stockton. BOTTOM RIGHT: (1/24/08) Cyclists cross a rain-slickened El Dorado Street near Janet Leigh Plaza in downtown Stockton. [CLIFFORD OTO/THE STOCKTON RECORD]

Rather than the constant sunshine of spring, summer and fall, winter weather can be the most interesting the photograph. There are more days of the aforementioned clouds which can be more interesting than a featureless sky. Inclement weather can also be advantageous for photography. Rain and raindrops can add a visual element of weather to your photos. Rain-sickened streets make a urbanscape more picturesque especially at night where the city lights can reflect off of the wet surfaces.

TOP: (5/6/16) McNair senior Gaby De Silva, left, sits with her mother Jhnaira “Jenny” De Silva at their home in Stockton. BOTTOM LEFT: (9/25/04) 14-year-old Juan Martinez of Manteca waits in the wings for his turn to perform as a part of the Manteca-basaed Ballet Folklorico Mayra Gazcon at the International Day of the Migrant Bracero held at the Centro Communitario Mexicano in Stockton. BOTTOM RIGHT: (/17/16) Director of marketing and design Ian Bender, left, and owners Rodney and Gayla Schatz sit in the new “pop-up” tasting room at the Peltier Winery in Acampo. [CLIFFORD OTO/THE STOCKTON RECORD]

If portraits are your thing, the cold, wet weather may not be a benefit for you. But you could move your sittings indoors. Try looking for some soft window light to flatter your subjects which can include pets as well as their human counterparts.

TOP: (3/4/17) A flock of snow geese takes flight from the Stone Lake National Wildlife Refuge near Elk Grove. BOTTOM LEFT: (9/28/20) A sandhill crane performs a mating dance in a flooded field at the Phil and Marilyn Isenberg Sandhill Crane Reserve on Woodbridge Road west of I-5 near Lodi. BOTTOM RIGHT: (1/12/17) A meadowlark perches on a fence at the Phil and Marilyn Isenberg Sandhill Crane Reserve in Woodbridge.[CLIFFORD OTO/STOCKTON RECORD]

This is also a good time to take pictures of birds. Migratory birds are currently wintering in the area. Birds such as sandhill cranes or snow geese can be found places like, the Woodbridge Ecological Reserve outside of Lodi, Staten Island near Walnut Grove and the Cosumnes River Preserve near Thornton. Smaller birds such as sparrows, pigeons and humming birds can be found as close as your own backyard.

TOP LEFT: (11/22/13) A shaft of light illuminates a saltshaker in the kitchen of Clifford Oto. TOP RIGHT: (6/28/13) Record Photographer Clifford Oto takes a self-portrait in the broken window on Market Street near California Street in downtown Stockton. BOTTOM LEFT: (1/21/20) An otter swims with a fresh catch of a fish in tow in the waters of McLeod Lake at the head of the Stockton deep water channel in downtown Stockton. BOTTOM RIGHT: (11/5/11) Snow covers the ground and trees outside of Dardanelle along Highway 108 in the Stanislaus National Forest in Tuolumne County. [CLIFFORD OTO/THE STOCKTON RECORD]

You need not limit yourself to just these suggestions. The possibilities for photos are endless. From still life to selfies, from animals to landscapes, the limitations are only your imagination. As the Nike ad says, all you have to do is to get out and just “do it.”

(2/10/19) A horse stands in a snow-covered pasture along Highway 4 on Sunday after storms left several inches of snow in the Mother Lode town of Douglas Flat, elevation 1965′. The tree and snowy landscape are pretty enough but the addition of the horse help to put things in scale and balances out the composition. [CLIFFORD OTO/THE STOCKTON RECORD]

How to enter:

1. Entries can be emailed to coto@recordnet.com. The preferred format is jpeg. Type in “Open” in the subject line.

2. Photos have to be taken between December 22 and January 26.

3. The number of photos is limited to 10.

4. Include your name (first and last), hometown, the kind of device you used, how you got your close up and where the photo was taken (eg.: John Doe of Stockton, Canon Rebel T6i with 50mm macro lens. At Victory Park in Stockton).

5. If there is a recognizable person or persons in the photo please identify them (name, age, hometown) and describe what is going on in the photo (eg.: “Jane Doe walks her dog Fido past a tree wit fall leaves at Victory Park in Stockton”). Please indicate how they are related to you (friend, mother, father, daughter, son, etc).

6. Please feel free to include any interesting anecdotes or stories on how you took the picture.

7. The deadline for submission is January 26. The top examples will be published on February 8, with an online gallery of all the photos on the same day at recordnet.com.

Posted in Photo contests, Photography, Readers Photo Challenge | Leave a comment

Top 100: A most memorable year

In years past I have posted a top 10 review at of each month’s photos. But my duties have increased this year. Not only have I shot photo assignments and enterprise pictures but I write a weekly column for The Record, and manage content for the Recordnet’s Instagram account. In addition I have been writing stories for the paper as well. So, with the added pressures of covering pandemic and finding new ways to cover stories under the new restrictions, the monthly top 10 has fallen by the wayside (something that I hope to pick up again next year).

From those top 10 lists, I used to picked a Top 12, one from every month with a little-behind-the-scenes story for each image, to supplement my yearend slideshows. This year is going to be a little different. I’ve replaced the 12 photos with a gallery of 100 favorite photos from the year. While the slideshow is organized by category; features, news, sports, portraits and pictorials, the gallery is in chronological order. The 52 images that are in the slideshow are represented, as well as 48 others to round out the year.

So here are 100 of 2020’s triumphs and tribulations; the joys and sorrows; the unprecedented events and the everyday things that we had to learned to cope with in different and extraordinary ways.

(1/7/20) A couple spends time on a fog shrouded Joan Darrah Promenade in downtown Stockton. CLIFFORD OTO/THE RECORD]

(1/20/20) Jamison Sadler of French Camp, aka “Cowboy Jamo”, rides his horse Miss Queen Bee down Weber Avenue at American Street in downtown Stockton. Sadler and Miss Queen Bee teaches kids how to ride, gives rides at birthday parties, and rides in parades and other events. Sadler brought his horse to Stockton for some urban exercise. [CLIFFORD OTO/THE RECORD]

(1/20/20) Lincoln’s Analillia Cabuena, right, shoots over San Joaquin Memorial’s Meadow Roland on the final day of the MLK Showcase at St. Mary’s High School’s Morelli Gym in Stockton. [CLIFFORD OTO/THE RECORD]

(1/21/20) 104-year-old Marine Major Bill White, retired, has asked the public for Valentines Day cards for his memory collection. So far, he’s received tens of thousands of them. [CLIFFORD OTO/THE RECORD]

(1/21/20) An otter swims with a fresh catch of a fish in tow in the waters of McLeod Lake at the head of the Stockton deep water channel in downtown Stockton. [CLIFFORD OTO/THE RECORD]

(1/22/20) Bear Creek’s Carlos Quintero, left, fights for the ball with Franklin’s Wilfredo Aguinada during a boys varsity soccer game at Franklin’s Verner field in Stockton. [CLIFFORD OTO/THE RECORD]

(1/23/20) Pacific’s Jahlil Tripp, right, fights for a loos ball with BYU’s Jake Toolson during a WCC mens basketball game at UOP’s Spanos Center in Stockton. [CLIFFORD OTO/THE RECORD]

(2/19/20) Artist Moises Resuello works on a mural on an exterior wall of Tibon’s Goju-Ryu Fighting Arts in the Yosemite Street Village business district in Stockton. Resuello, also a resident of the area, says that the mural, which he began work on Sunday, will take about 2 weeks to complete and will depict a stylized sun rising over Mount Fuji in Japan. [CLIFFORD OTO/THE RECORD]

(2/29/20) Manteca’s Cameron Silva, shoots the ball past Christian Brothers goalkeeper Lillian Smith to score during the Sac-Joaquin Section Division III girls soccer championship played at Liberty Ranch High School in Galt. [CLIFFORD OTO/THE RECORD]

(2/29/20) The Manteca bench erupts with joy at winning the Sac-Joaquin Section Division III girls soccer championship over Christian Brothers 2-1 played at Liberty Ranch High School in Galt. [CLIFFORD OTO/THE RECORD]

(3/2/20) Tim Ulmer, owner of Ulmer Photo, is collecting plush animals for children in the bereavement programs of Hospice of San Joaquin and Community Hospice at his business on Adams Street and Pacific Avenue in Stockton. So far, Ulmer has collected more than 250 toys towards his goal of 500 by March 30. [CLIFFORD OTO/THE RECORD]

(3/5/20) Picketing SEIU workers take over the intersection of Weber Avenue and San Joaquin Street in downtown Stockton. [CLIFFORD OTO/THE RECORD]

(3/16/20) Lincoln High School principal Lori Green, right, turns away student Julius Montes on Monday morning. The school is temporarily closed due to concerns over the coronavirus COVID-19. All Lincoln Unified School District schools have been closed until April 13. [CLIFFORD OTO/THE RECORD]

(3/17/20) Chata Espitia of Stockton takes advantage of partly cloudy skies to fly a kite in an open lot next to the Stockton Arena in downtown Stockton. [CLIFFORD OTO/THE RECORD]

(3/24/20) A cyclist rides against a backdrop of cloudy skies around Lodi Lake in Lodi. [CLIFFORD OTO/THE STOCKTON RECORD]

(4/2/20) A cyclist rides by a mural, painted by high school students in 2016 as part of the Momentum Mural Project, that says “Don’t Give In” on a side wall of the Walgreens on Harding Way and Center Street in Stockton. [CLIFFORD OTO/THE RECORD]

(4/3/20) Weston Ranch algebra teacher Sheryl Glaze, right, waves while riding on a motorcycle driven by her husband Ron Glaze in a teacher parade through the Weston Ranch neighborhood in Stockton. Teachers from Weston Ranch High, August Knodt, George Komure and Great Valley Elementary schools waved to their students and parents who came out to watch the teachers as they drove through the community. [CLIFFORD OTO/THE RECORD]

(4/3/20) Gisela Lopez and her 7-year-old son Logan Lopez, a 2nd grader at August Knodt Elementary School wave signs while watching a teacher parade through their Weston Ranch neighborhood in Stockton. Teachers from Weston Ranch High, August Knodt, George Komure and Great Valley Elementary schools waved to their students and parents who came out to watch the teachers as they drove through the community. [CLIFFORD OTO/THE RECORD]

(4/3/20) Weston Ranch High School teacher Lauren Riley holds up a sign while riding in her car in a teacher parade through the neighborhood. Teachers from Weston Ranch High, August Knodt, George Komure and Great Valley Elementary schools waved to their students and parents who came out to watch the teachers as they drove through the community. [CLIFFORD OTO/THE RECORD]

(4/11/20) Tonya DeSpain places portraits of parishioners on pews at St. Andrews Lutheran Church. DeSpain came up with the idea of placing photos of church members in the pews to surprise pastor Dan Deuel for his live streamed Easter Sunday service. Deuel has been preaching before a camera and an empty church due to the coronavirus. DeSpain was able to get 112 church goers to sender her there pictures so that Deuel would have a full house on Easter. [CLIFFORD OTO/THE RECORD]

(4/16/20) Stockton Christian Academy boys varsity basketball assistant coach Robin Hong videos himself doing a ball-handling drill at the basketball courts at Grupe Park in Stockton. Hong was recording the drills to be available for any student or athlete at the K-12 school, who wants to work on their skills. [CLIFFORD OTO/THE STOCKTON RECORD]

(4/17/20) Keith Stowers of Stockton enjoys the warm, sunny day by dancing to Hip Hop music through his headphones while walking down Weber Avenue near Madison Street in downtown Stockton. [CLIFFORD OTO/THE STOCKTON RECORD]

(5/1/20) Ron Kuwahara, left, hits a serve while his partner Terry Sazama, both of Lodi, waits for the return while playing doubles at the Oak Park Tennis Center in Stockton. The center which has been closed due to the coronavirus pandemic for several weeks, reopened on Friday after getting the go ahead from San Joaquin County chief medical officer Dr. Maggie Park as long as social distancing rules and other precautions are taken. Players must maintain social distancing. Doubles players who are not family members must wear masks. All players must wear a glove on his or her non-dominant hand for picking up balls. For at least the first month of operation, the lounge will be closed. Also, any post-match social gatherings will not be allowed until further notice. [CLIFFORD OTO/THE STOCKTON RECORD]

(5/1/20) Ron Kuwahara prepares to hit a forehand while playing doubles at the Oak Park Tennis Center in Stockton. [CLIFFORD OTO/THE STOCKTON RECORD]

(5/1/20) Peter Lucchesi tosses the ball into the air during a serve while playing doubles at the Oak Park Tennis Center in Stockton. [CLIFFORD OTO/THE STOCKTON RECORD]

(5/4/20) Cal Henderson waves to guests during his drive-by 100th birthday party at the home of his daughter Gail Henderson in Stockton. [CLIFFORD OTO/THE STOCKTON RECORD]
(5/4/20) Lenora Peterson, left, holds up a birthday banner as she and her husband Charles Peterson, center and his brother Kenneth Peterson participated in a drive-by 100th birthday party for Cal Henderson at the home of his daughter Gail Henderson in Stockton. [CLIFFORD OTO/THE STOCKTON RECORD]

(5/7/20) John Phan of Modesto fishes from a public dove as May’s full moon sets over the Sacramento River in the Delta town of Walnut Grove. It was the last of 4 successive “supermoons” for 2020. A supermoon is when a full moon is at its perigee, or closest Ito the Earth in its elliptical orbit. It appears larger and brighter than an average full moon although only slightly. So much so that most people probably wouldn’t notice the difference. The 3 previous supermoons were in February, March and April. The next one won’t appear until April 26, 2021. According to the Old Farmer’s Almanac, May’s full moon is also known as a “Flower Moon.” Moons were often “named” during Colonial times by Native Americans to track the seasons, usually by the Algonquin tribes who lived in the same areas as the colonists. May’s full moon refers to the abundance of flowers that usually grow this time of year. [CLIFFORD OTO/THE STOCKTON RECORD]

(5/21/20) Dr. Elyas Parsa with the San Joaquin County General Hospital Clinics, left, performs a test for COVID-19 virus on Rosa Dail at an encampment under the Crosstown Freeway at Aurora and Lafayette streets in downtown Stockton. [CLIFFORD OTO/THE STOCKTON RECORD]


(5/21/20) Dr. Elyas Parsa with the San Joaquin County General Hospital Clinics, left, performs a test for COVID-19 virus on Trina Everett at an encampment under the Crosstown Freeway at Aurora and Lafayette streets in downtown Stockton. [CLIFFORD OTO/THE STOCKTON RECORD]

(5/26/20) A plastic pallet fire is reflected in a pool of runoff water as it rages at the former Del Monte food processing plant on D Street near Poplar Street in east Stockton on Tuesday, May 26. [CLIFFORD OTO/THE STOCKTON RECORD]

(5/26/20) Stockton firefighters battle a plastic pallet fire at the former Del Monte food processing plant on D Street near Poplar Street in east Stockton on Tuesday, May 26. [CLIFFORD OTO/THE STOCKTON RECORD]
(5/26/20) Stockton firefighters battle a plastic pallet fire at the former Del Monte food processing plant on D Street near Poplar Street in east Stockton on Tuesday, May 26. [CLIFFORD OTO/THE STOCKTON RECORD]

(5/27/20) Cesar Chavez High School senior Daniel Gonzalez waves to spectators while participating in the school’s graduation parade through the surrounding neighborhoods. [CLIFFORD OTO/THE STOCKTON RECORD]

(5/29/20) Instructor Barb Gonzalez holds a virtual Zumba class under the art installation known as Umbrella Alley next to the Catalyst art and fitness studio in the Yosemite Street Village business district in Stockton. Gonzalez was set to start her first classes at the studio when the COVID-19 pandemic shutdowns hit. For the last 6 weeks she has been holding 1/2-hour virtual sessions in the alley every Friday evening a 6:30 p.m. and can be viewed at the Catalyst’s Facebook page and Instagram. [CLIFFORD OTO/THE STOCKTON RECORD]

(6/1/20) Cars filled with Stagg graduates snake their way through the Stagg High School parking lot in during a drive-through graduation ceremony at the school in Stockton. Graduates either drove or were driven up by family members to the school where they slowly made their way through the parking lot. They had names announced though a loudspeaker as they were given their diploma and finally they had the opportunity to pose for a picture with interim principal Gary Phillips before exiting the lot. [CLIFFORD OTO/THE STOCKTON RECORD]

(6/1/20) Stagg graduating senior Michael Ellege, right, receives his diploma from counselor Andrew Guillot during a drive-through graduation ceremony in the Stagg High School parking lot in Stockton. Graduates either drove or were driven up by family members to the school where they slowly snaked their way through the parking lot. They had names announced though a loudspeaker as they were given their diploma and finally they had the opportunity to pose for a picture with interim principal Gary Phillips before exiting the lot. [CLIFFORD OTO/THE STOCKTON RECORD]

(6/1/20) Demonstrators march down Center Street in downtown Stockton to protest against the death of George Floyd who died while in the custody of the Minnesota Police. [CLIFFORD OTO/THE STOCKTON RECORD]

(6/1/20) Stockton Police Sgt. Gary Benevides takes a knee with others during a protest rally against the death of George Floyd while in the custody of Minnesota Police at Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Plaza in downtown Stockton. Benevides says he took a knee in support of the demonstrators but also for the safety of the community and police officers as well. [CLIFFORD OTO/THE STOCKTON RECORD]

(6/1/20) Protestors perform a group dance together at the end of rally at Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Plaza downtown Stockton against the death of George Floyd who died while in the custody of the Minnesota Police. [CLIFFORD OTO/THE STOCKTON RECORD]

(6/3/20) Protester Kylie Creighton, 17, of Stockton, holds signs during a protest against the killing of George Floyd at Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Plaza in downtown Stockton. [CLIFFORD OTO/THE STOCKTON RECORD]

(6/3/20) Stockton Police lieutenant Craig Smith, left, talks with protester Nesta Marley at a protest against the killing of George Floyd at Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Plaza in downtown Stockton. [CLIFFORD OTO/THE STOCKTON RECORD]

(6/5/20) Tobin Moore was a part of several hundred people who marched down Pacific Avenue between March Lane and Robinhood Drive in Stockton on Friday, June 5, to protest the death of George Floyd who died at the hands of Minneapolis Police officers last week. [CLIFFORD OTO/THE STOCKTON RECORD]

(6/5/20) Debrille Spencer was a part of several hundred people who marched down Pacific Avenue between March Lane and Robinhood Drive in Stockton on Friday, June 5, to protest the death of George Floyd who died at the hands of Minneapolis Police officers last week. [CLIFFORD OTO/THE STOCKTON RECORD]

(6/5/20) People hold up their lit phones during a “candlelight” vigil in front of Tracy City Hall in Tracy on Friday, June 5, to protest the death of George Floyd who died at the hands of Minneapolis Police last week. [CLIFFORD OTO/THE STOCKTON RECORD]

(6/5/20) NAACP representative Melissa Barrett holds her lit phone at a candlelight vigil in front of Tracy City Hall in Tracy on Friday, June 5, to protest the death of George Floyd who died at the hands of Minneapolis Police last week. [CLIFFORD OTO/THE STOCKTON RECORD]

(6/5/20) A protester raises a fist during the reading of names of African Americans who have recently were killed by law enforcement officers, during a candlelight vigil in front of Tracy City Hall in Tracy on Friday, June 5, to protest the death of George Floyd who died at the hands of Minneapolis Police last week. [CLIFFORD OTO/THE STOCKTON RECORD]

(6/21/20) Boaters cool off from the summer heat by riding their personal watercraft down the deep water channel near Louis Park in Stockton. [CLIFFORD OTO/THE STOCKTON RECORD]
(6/28/20) Saul Serna, owner of the Catalyst health and art studio in the Yosemite Street business district in Stockton, opens up umbrellas in the art installation known as Umbrella Alley next to the studio. [CLIFFORD OTO/THE STOCKTON RECORD]

(7/3/20) Registered nurse Katrina Nguyen with Community Medical Centers, left, performs a COVID-19 test on Juan Cisneros of Stockton as his 5-year-old daughter Jaylah Cisneros sits on his lap at the free testing site in the parking lot of the Rancho San Miguel market in Lodi. Adventist Lodi Memorial and its partners, including San Joaquin County Public Health Services and El Concilio, offered the free tests and distributed information about the coronavirus. [CLIFFORD OTO/THE STOCKTON RECORD]

(7/3/20) Jasmine Davenport of Stockton has a COVID-19 test performed on her by LVN Ashley Ohls from Adventist Lodi Memorial at the free testing site in the parking lot of the Rancho San Miguel market in Lodi. Adventist Lodi Memorial and its partners, including San Joaquin County Public Health Services and El Concilio, offered the free tests and distributed information about the coronavirus. [CLIFFORD OTO/THE STOCKTON RECORD]

(7/5/20) Residents flee from a fire that attacked several homes on Stanford Avenue in Stockton. The grassfire started in an open lot east of the Stockton Rural Cemetery in Stockton. A steady breeze pushed it northeast, jumping railroad tracks and setting homes afire on Stanford Avenue. The San Joaquin County Sheriff’s department evacuated Stanford Street due to the quick pace at which the fire was moving. [CLIFFORD OTO/THE STOCKTON RECORD]

(7/7/20) Chavez High head varsity football coach John Ward, left, runs with player Jesus Para during a sprinting exercise at a summer conditioning camp at the school in Stockton. [CLIFFORD OTO/THE STOCKTON RECORD]

(7/13/20] The comet NEOWISE is seen in the northeastern morning sky from the Cosumnes River Preserve near Thornton.The comet is named after the telescope that first discovered it in March 2020, the Near Earth Orbit Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer. Launched in 2009, the telescope’s mission was to find any object that could an impact hazard to the Earth. According to NASA, the comet, about 3 miles in diameter, will pass harmlessly by the Earth at a distance of about 63 million miles. Look for the comet in the northeastern sky about an hour after sunset starting July 14 through July 23. It will appear as a faint star with a long tail. [CLIFFORD OTO/THE STOCKTON RECORD]

(7/17/20) A kite surfer rides the winds on the waters of the Sacramento River at the Sherman Island County Park near Rio Vista. [CLIFFORD OTO/THE STOCKTON RECORD]

[8/5/20] LVN Isabel Quintero with Community Medical Centers, center, gets help from back office supervisor Reyna Hinojosa, left, and RN Katrina Nguyen in getting her protective gown on before the start of COVID-19 testing at a farm in Linden. [CLIFFORD OTO/THE STOCKTON RECORD]

[8/5/20] RN Katrina Nguyen swabs a farmworker Fernando Munoz Zuniga during COVID-19 testing at a farm in Linden. [CLIFFORD OTO/THE STOCKTON RECORD]

[8/14/20] Maria Marquez of Lodi has her nose swabbed by Carbon Health medical assistant Jenny Suarez at the free coronavirus testing event sponsored by El Concilio at the First Baptist Church in Lodi. [CLIFFORD OTO/THE STOCKTON RECORD]

[8/14/20] Ethel the pot-bellied pig with ducks Patty, left, and Andy, cool off from triple digits heat wading in a kiddie pool with built-in sprinklers at Harvest Home Animal Sanctuary in French Camp. Executive director Christine Morrissey says the 200 rescued barnyard animals at the sanctuary are kept cool in a number of ways including kiddie pools and sprinklers. Morrissey says she bought the pool on Amazon for $15 and it’s the best thing she’s bought for the animals. [CLIFFORD OTO/THE STOCKTON RECORD]

[8/15/20] Stockton spoken word performer and America’s Got Talent contestant Brandon Leake performs a poem at the Words Outspoken spoken word and art summit live streamed from the Podesto Teen Impact Center in Stockton. [CLIFFORD OTO/THE STOCKTON RECORD]

[8/19/20] Downed tree branches burn in the LNU Complex fire along Lagoon Valley Road in Vacaville, California. [CLIFFORD OTO/THE STOCKTON RECORD]

[8/19/20] Louis Aguirre is pushed in a wheelchair by registered nurse Samantha Belso as he cheered on by the staff at St. Joseph’s Medical Center in Stockton. Aguirre was the 500th patient to recover from COVID-19 and discharged from the hospital. [CLIFFORD OTO/THE STOCKTON RECORD]

[8/23/20] Navy corpsmen from the Navy Operations Support Naval reserve from Sacramento escort the casket of Christopher “Bobby” Gnem, a Stockton native who was killed in an accident during a Marine training mission in Southern California while serving as a Navy corpsman with the 5th Marine Expeditionary Unit in July. The funeral service was held at the hold of Joe Fasso in Stockton. [CLIFFORD OTO/THE STOCKTON RECORD]

[8/23/20] Nancy Vienna is comforted by her husband Peter Vienna as she weeps on the casket of her son Christopher “Bobby” Gnem during funeral services for Gnem at the home of Joe Fasso in Stockton. Gnem a Stockton native, was killed in an accident during a Marine training mission in Southern California while serving as a Navy corpsman with the 5th Marine Expeditionary Unit in July. [CLIFFORD OTO/THE STOCKTON RECORD]

(9/9/20) The sun, turned into a red orb by smoke from the California wildfires, is seen through the branches of a tree along Bacon Island Road near Highway 4 west of Stockton. [CLIFFORD OTO/THE STOCKTON RECORD]

(9/10/20) Armani Small participates in a protest near the county courthouse on Weber Avenue near Hunter Street in downtown Stockton over the July 15 killing of Antwaune Burrise by Stockton Police officers. CLIFFORD OTO/THE STOCKTON RECORD]

(9/22/20) Second grade teacher Trina Ledesma conducts an online, socially-distanced class at Flora Arca Mata Elementary School which is named after the first Filipina teacher in California and SUSD. [CLIFFORD OTO/THE STOCKTON RECORD]

(9/28/20) Sandhill cranes fly into a flooded field at the Phil and Marilyn Isenberg Sandhill Crane Reserve on Woodbridge Road west of I-5 near Lodi. According to Cornell Lab All About Birds website, many Sandhill cranes may reach the age of 7 before they start mating. They mate for life, which could be up to 20 years,. Juveniles stick close to their parents up to 9 or 10 months after hatching. The sandhill crane is one of the oldest species of birds known. The earliest fossil has been estimated to be 2.5 million year old. The birds can stand up to 4 feet tall and have a wing span of 6 to 8 feet. They were once common in the western states but through unregulated hunting and habitat loss. But the 1940s there were only 5 breeding pairs left in California. But the numbers have rebounded due to the conservation of wetlands and the water flooding of agricultural fields which lie dormant in the winter. The sandhills found in California migrate down from Siberia and Alaska for the winter says audubon.org. They can be seen in the Central Valley as early as August but don’t start arriving in numbers until mid to late September. [CLIFFORD OTO/THE STOCKTON RECORD]

(9/28/20) A sandhill crane practices a mating dance in a flooded field at the Phil and Marilyn Isenberg Sandhill Crane Reserve on Woodbridge Road west of I-5 near Lodi. [CLIFFORD OTO/THE STOCKTON RECORD]

(10/1/20) The driver of a Toyota Camry that collided with a Ford Mustang in the intersection of California Street and 5th Street in south Stockton is wheels on a gurney to an awaiting ambulance by emergency personnel. A witness says the Toyota, traveling east on 5th, came to a complete stop at the stop sign. It then proceeded into the intersection when it was hit by the southbound Ford which did not have a stop sign. The driver of the Toyota and a child passenger were take to an area hospital with unknown injuries. The driver of the Ford was uninjured. [CLIFFORD OTO/THE STOCKTON RECORD]

(10/7/20) Barber Ken Smith plugs his electric clippers into a plug on a light pole to give Darrel Holland a haircut outdoors at the McLeod Lake amphitheater park in downtown Stockton. It was 30 years ago when Smith started out as a barber working in shops in Oakland and Hayward. About 11 years ago he moved to Stockton and began giving haircuts shaves to the poor and homeless primarily at St.Mary’s Dining Hall in Stockton. Smith would travel around south and downtown Stockton on bike to get to those who couldn’t get to the dinning hall. He recently bought a used car which has expanded his range throughout the city. He normally charges $10 per haircut but accepts whatever his customers can afford. “I do accept donations. If you ain’t got the money, I won’t charge you” says Smith. He can be reached for appointments at (510) 253-7599. [CLIFFORD OTO/THE STOCKTON RECORD]

(10/7/20) Darrel Holland has his hair cut outdoors by barber Ken Smith at the McLeod Lake amphitheater park in downtown Stockton. [CLIFFORD OTO/THE STOCKTON RECORD]

(10/8/20) City of Stockton employee Jeff Vanover uses high-powered pressure washer to clean the 20-ft tall steel sculptures “Anchored” as a part of a crew cleaning the fountain at DeCarli waterfront Plaza in downtown Stockton. [CLIFFORD OTO/THE STOCKTON RECORD]

(10/9/20) Public Health nurse Doreatia Hart holds a sign while protesting in downtown Stockton on Friday, October 9. Registered nurses who work at San Joaquin County General Hospital, Public Health, county clinics and the County Jail took their strike, which started on Wednesday, to downtown Stockton to picket in front of the San Joaquin County Administration Building. The nurses walked off the job over patient care, safe staffing and lack of adequate personal protective equipment (PPE), as well as county executives demands for extreme contract changes. [CLIFFORD OTO/THE STOCKTON RECORD]

(10/10/20) Tea Matcha, 21, of Stockton, left, and Jessie Bitner, 22 of Sacramento, both dressed in “J-Fashion” attire, pose for a photo next to the Hello Kitty Cafe van which made an appearance at the Weberstown Mall in Stockton. [CLIFFORD OTO/THE STOCKTON RECORD]

(10/11/20) A 1950s era Chevrolet Bel Air is reflected in the flanks of a 1933 Ford Coupe on display at the 31st annual Pete Paulsen’s Hot rod Party cars show in French Camp. [CLIFFORD OTO/THE STOCKTON RECORD]

(10/14/20) City of Stockton senior recreation assistant Dave Silva, left, loads a box of food onto the mobility scooter of Virginia Lallana at the weekly food distribution at the Oak Park Senior Center in Stockton. More than 100 boxes and bags of food are give away to seniors 60 and older who would usually partake in the daily lunch program at the center, which is closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The distribution is held every Wednesday at 10:30 a.m. The food is provided by the Brown Bag, Food For You and Congregate Meal programs and distributed by the city of Stockton once a week at the Oak Park Senior Center as well as Arnold Rue, Stribley and Van Buskirk community centers. [CLIFFORD OTO/THE STOCKTON RECORD]

(10/24/20) Andrea Hawkes plays the alto saxophone as a part of a saxophone quartet from the Stockton Symphony at a pop up concert at the Spenker Winery in Lodi. [CLIFFORD OTO/THE STOCKTON RECORD]

(10/31/20) Dennis Cochran works to restore one of 3 murals on the back wall of Valley Brew on Adams Street and Pacific Avenue soon the Miracle Mile in Stockton. [CLIFFORD OTO/THE STOCKTON RECORD]

(11/1/20) Kyomi Gonzalez with the Stockton-based Ballet Folkorico Raices Mexicana de Maria Valdovinos, performs a traditional Mexican dance at the Dia De Los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, celebration at the HATCH workshop in downtown Stockton. The celebration featured vegan food, live Catrina models, Day of the Dead ofrendas, cultural dancing, live music and local artisans. [CLIFFORD OTO/THE STOCKTON RECORD]

(11/2/20) Diocese of Stockton Bishop Myron Cotta, right, conducts the All Souls Day mass in front of the mausoleum at the Catholic Cemetery in Stockton. [CLIFFORD OTO/THE STOCKTON RECORD]

(11/10/20) Emergency crews wheel a motorcyclist into an ambulance at an accident scene at Lincoln and Worth streets in south Stockton. A witness says that the motorcyclist, traveling west on Worth, stopped briefly at the stopping before pulling into the intersection where it was hit by a van which did not have a stop. The motorcyclist was taken to an area hospital with unknown injuries. [CLIFFORD OTO/THE STOCKTON RECORD]

(11/11/20) Retired Marine Aaron Bazan, who served from 1968-1971, salutes during the posting of the colors at the annual Lathrop Veterans Day observance at Valverde Park in Lathrop. This year’s celebration was held as a drive up event due to the COVID-19 pandemic. About 2 dozen cars filled the parking lot of the Lathrop Community Center at the park. “It’s different but it’s going to have to work because it’s what we can do right now to protect ourselves and protect others” said Bazan. Don Britton, a retired Army staff sergeant was the keynote speaker. Lathrop Parks and Recreation director Zachary Jones and Mayor Sonny Dhaliwal also spoke. Lathrop resident Dreama Diaz sang the national anthem The East Union High School JROTC performed the posting and retiring of the colors. [CLIFFORD OTO/THE STOCKTON RECORD]

(11/13/20) Jacquelyn George with the Haggin Museum puts a photo for the Awkward Family Photos exhibition. The show celebrates “the perfectly imperfect moments that come with the family experience and provides a place for people to take comfort in the fact that their family is not alone. The collection includes more than 200 classic Awkward Family Photos framed in vintage, era-appropriate frames, and hilarious ‚Äòbehind the awkwardness‚Äô stories. The exhibition opened to record attendance at the Kohler Arts Center in Sheboygan, Wisconsin on June 17, 2012 and has been traveling ever since.” The exhibition opens at the Haggin on November 19 and runs through February 7. Museum deputy director Susan Obert says “Although we booked the show in advance, this is something that everyone needs right now.” [CLIFFORD OTO/THE STOCKTON RECORD]

(11/23/20) Eight-year-old Amelia Morelli, left, twirls for her Michelle Morelli for a family portrait while her her 5-year-old sister Vivian waits her turn at Knowles lawn on the University of the Pacific campus in Stockton. [CLIFFORD OTO/THE STOCKTON RECORD]

(11/30/20) An ambulance crew wheel the driver of a Honda Accord to an awaiting ambulance. The Honda crashed into bollards on the corner of California Street and Main Street in downtown Stockton. Witnesses say that the Honda and an unidentified white car were “battling” at high speed. The cars were seen racing northbound on Sutter Street at California. The Honda then sideswiped an Oldsmobile Intrigue at the corner of Weber Avenue and Sutter. The Honda and white car proceeded east on Weber then turned south on California. The 2 cars raced down a block to California Street where one tried to run the other off the road. The Honda came to an abrupt stop when it struck the bollards. The white car fled the scene without stopping. The driver of the Honda was taken to an area hospital with undisclosed injuries. A small dog in the Honda was killed in the accident. [CLIFFORD OTO/THE STOCKTON RECORD]

(12/1/20) Abel Jacquez with the City of Stockton Public Works department hangs a branch on the city’s Christmas tree at the Weber Point Events Center in downtown Stockton. A crew from public works and community services/public events worked to erect the 35-ft artificial tree on Tuesday. [CLIFFORD OTO/THE STOCKTON RECORD]

(12/3/20) Five-year-old Mateo, who is battling leukemia, accepts a letter to Santa from Maggie Lozano in front of the Macy’s store in the Sherwood Mall in Stockton. His number one wish list to be a mailman. The Make-A-Wish Foundation teamed up with Macy’s to have Mateo as the “mailman” for the Believe letter-writing to Santa campaign. On Thursday, Mateo accepted letters in from the public and placed them into a special mailbox at the store. For every letter delivered this week, the Macy’s will donate $2.00 to the Make-A-Wish-Foundation and $1.00 per letter in subsequent weeks. [CLIFFORD OTO/ THE STOCKTON RECORD]

(12/4/20) Robin McKeegan, left, David Flynn spend some time hanging out together in the sunshine while masked and socially distanced on a small triangle of lawn near the Starbucks at Pacific Avenue and Regent Street on the Miracle Mile in Stockton. [CLIFFORD OTO/ THE STOCKTON RECORD]

(12/7/20) Navy veteran Dave Lurgio salutes during the posting of the colors during a short Pearl Harbor Day ceremony put on by VFW Luneta Post 52 at Weber Point in downtown Stockton. The short ceremony marking Japan’s attack on the United States in 1941 was attended by about 20 people. Post commander Sam Pachuca opened the ceremony followed by a benediction by veteran’s Ralph Rodriguez. Army veteran Phil Gutierrez who served in the Army from 1962 to 1982, gave the keynote speech on the history of the Pearl Harbor attack. WWII vets Lurgio and John Cardona along with representatives from the VFW auxiliary tossed wreaths onto the water of McLeon Lake in downtown. A 21-gun salute by the color guard, the playing of Taps by Al Lopez and the playing of Amazing Grace by bagpiper Raphael Pazo following the laying of the wreath. The ceremony ended with a closing prayer by Rodriguez. [CLIFFORD OTO/ THE STOCKTON RECORD]

(12/7/20) Eric Anslinger uses a ladder to put up Christmas lights on his home on Acacia Street near Edison Street in Stockton. Anslinger estimates about 10.000 LED lights will be put up in his trees, front yard and on his house by the time the 2-day project is done. [CLIFFORD OTO/ THE STOCKTON RECORD]

(12/7/20) Eric Anslinger puts up Christmas lights on a tree in his yard at his home on Acacia Street in Stockton. Anslinger estimates about 10.000 LED lights will be put up in his trees, front yard and on his house by the time the 2-day project is done. [CLIFFORD OTO/ THE STOCKTON RECORD]

(12/8/20) While some fall leaves grace the trees, many more blanket the ground at the beginning of December at Lodi Lake in Lodi. [CLIFFORD OTO/ THE STOCKTON RECORD]

(12/10/20) Stockton Firefighters Local 456’s lighted ladder truck carrying Santa, portrayed by firefighter Gregor Cameron drivers down Picardy Drive in Stockton. The Stockton Firefighters Local 456 will be cruising through various Stockton neighborhoods in the lighted truck and playing music with Santa until Christmas. [CLIFFORD OTO/ THE STOCKTON RECORD]

(12/11/20) Deb Lee helps her son with his school lessons on his computer at their Manteca home. Manteca Unified School District has employed a hybrid return-to-school model since November. Families are struggling with distance learning and Lee, in particular, believes kids should back on campus full-time, as the toll on her kids, especially 8-year-old Joshua, has been more than difficult. [CLIFFORD OTO/ THE STOCKTON RECORD]

(12/11/20) Fourteen-year-old Chloe Lee does school work on her laptop in a room of her Manteca home. Her parents say that they had to build a wall to separate Chloe from her sister so that they both could be free from being distracted by the others online learning. Manteca Unified School District has employed a hybrid return-to-school model since November. Families are struggling with distance learning and Hannah’s mother Deb Lee in particular, believes kids should back on campus full-time, as the toll on her kids has been more than difficult. [CLIFFORD OTO/ THE STOCKTON RECORD]

(12/11/20) Officer Joseph Garcia hands out bags of toys at the Lathrop Police Department’s drive-up toy giveaway at the Lathrop Generations Center on Lathrop Road. The event, which used to be held indoors and was called Cocoa with the Chief,” distributed hundreds of toys donated by businesses and organizations to children on a first come basis. [CLIFFORD OTO/ THE STOCKTON RECORD]

(12/15/20) Dr. Michael Herrera, D.O., left, receives a shot of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at St. Joseph’s Medical Center in Stockton. [CLIFFORD OTO/ THE STOCKTON RECORD]

(12/16/20) The sun struggles to peek through some high fog that formed at Hammer Lane and Lower Sacramento Road in Stockton. [CLIFFORD OTO/ THE STOCKTON RECORD]

(12/17/20) First grade teacher Gina Hughes leads an online virtual class from her classroom at Joshua Cowell Elementary School in Manteca. [CLIFFORD OTO/ THE STOCKTON RECORD]

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Twinkle, twinkle little Christmas lights

The beginning of December is the start of the holiday season and already many people have put up their Christmas lights. Some displays are pretty spectacular and you may want to take some photos of them. Here are a few tips to get the best pictures you can.

(12/13/17) Lights, inflatables and other decorations, Rogelio Gallegos and Maria Dello’s dazzling Christmas display has something for everyone at their home at 3 S. Oro Street in Stockton. [CLIFFORD OTO/THE STOCKTON RECORD]

Avoid using a flash. Either you will be to far away for the flash to be effective or the flash will wash out the colors and give and artificial look to your photos.

(12/12/17) Wooden soldiers stand guard over Jim Galindo’s Christmas display at his home at 122 E. Gibson Street in Stockton. Galindo has toiled after work since August to put up the thousands of holiday lights which he has done for the past several years. [CLIFFORD OTO/THE STOCKTON RECORD]

There are two ways to avoid in blurry pictures due to the shaking of the camera. The first is to shoot at a higher shutter speed. For most people that means about 1/250th of a second or faster. There are some who are practiced at holding the camera still at slower shutter speeds but 1/250th is a general rule for most. Because of the low lighting situation that most Christmas lights at night involve, that means increasing the camera’s ISO, or light sensitivity. But there’s a trade off. Raising the ISO also means increasing the noise, or little colored specks, that you image might get in low light. So to use a lower ISO to avoid the noise, you’ll need to use a tripod. A good, study tripod can hold the camera still and avoid camera shake.

(12/13/01) A zoom-effect during a time exposure adds movement to the patriotically-themed house at 18987 Lambert Way in Lockeford. [CLIFFORD OTO/THE STOCKTON RECORD]

Don’t use an automatic exposure on your camera. Either the camera will read the scene as too dark and will grossly overexpose your shot or it will be fooled by a scene that has a lot of lights as too bright and underexpose you photo. You want an image that is slightly overexposed so the lights have a nice glow to them. Set the exposure manually (I know, it’s a scary step for many people) and then check your camera’s monitor. Keep adjusting the settings until the exposure is right.

(11/17/20) A tree and about 80 rose bushes are adorned with about 10,000 white lights in Morris Chapel’s annual Christmas display on the campus of the University of the Pacific in Stockton. CLIFFORD OTO/THE STOCKTON RECORD

For many the so-called “blue hour” of dusk is the best time to photograph Christmas lights. This is after the sun goes down and the sky turns a deep azure. It will add more color to your scene and add definition to roof lines and trees that don’t have lights on them.

(12/12/17) 3-year-old Hunter Mitchell, left, 6-year-old Alivia Mitchell and 4-year-old Natasha Mitchell take in the wonder that is the Christmas light display at their grandfather Jim Galindo’s home at 122 E. Gibson Street in Stockton. [CLIFFORD OTO/THE STOCKTON RECORD]

Most of these tips are for DSLR users but they also will work if you use your phone. Most current phones have small adjustments for exposure and there are tripods made for them as well (they also have the added benefit of being small and lightweight).

(12/16/16) Christmas lights are reflected in the window of Paulette Daniel’s car as she looks at the impressive holiday display at the home of Jim Galindo at 122. E. Gibson Street in Stockton. Galindo puts up a display of about 400,000 lights starting in mid-August. [CLIFFORD OTO/THE STOCKTON RECORD]

Lastly, as with all night shooting, go with a friend our family member. There is safety in numbers, especially in the dark of night, and it’s always nice to have someone to talk to when you’re out shooting. Also, it can get chilly this time of year so make sure you dress warmly. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

(12/23/16) Stockton firefighter Kyle Suchland adjust the lights on a vintage 1958 ladder truck all decked out in Christmas lights with a speaker system playing Christmas songs at Station 2 in downtown Stockton. [CLIFFORD OTO/THE STOCKTON RECORD]

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Readers Photo Challenge: Turning over a new leaf

Fall color is the subject of the latest Readers Photo Challenge assignment. Many may think that springtime is the most colorful time of the year with the blooming of flowers and such, but in its own way, fall can equal the vibrancy of spring. The leaves of many trees turn to a variety of hues as the days shorten and grow colder. But there’s a certain melancholy in this autumnal beauty. The flash of color is the year’s last hurrah before the leaves turn brown, brittle and fall to the ground as the trees turn dormant.
Twenty-six readers sent in 147 photos. Here are some of the best examples.

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Carolyn Silva of Jackson used a Nikon D7500 DSLR camera to photograph a fallen liquidambar leaf on a lawn in her neighborhood.

While on a morning walk, Carolyn Silva of Jackson saw fallen liquidambar leaves in a neighbor’s yard. It had rained the night before and drops of water still flung to the leaves. Silva had been practicing how to use her camera’s manual exposure lately and it paid off for her. With a Nikon D7500 D7500 DSLR camera she captured the morning light as it showed the subtly shifting yet still vibrant tones of the red leaves with the raindrops giving the scene and added visual dimension.

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Cynthia Barker of Stockton used an Canon EOS Rebel T3 DSLR camera to photograph a goldfinch in a birch tree in her front yard.

Cynthia Barker of Stockton used a Canon Rebel T3 DSLR camera to capture a goldfinch as it carefully perched on branch on a birch tree in her front yard. The yellow leaves of the tree are mostly thrown out of focus by the relatively narrow depth of field given the image an overall wash of color and emphasizing the bird which is in focus.

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Melinda Will of Stockton used a Panasonic LUMIX DC-ZS70 digital point-and-shoot camera to photograph a leaf floating on the water at Lodi Lake in Lodi.

Stocktonian Melinda Will’s photo is an example of simple elegance. She used a Panasonic LUMIX DC-ZS70 digital point-and-shoot camera to photograph a leaf floating on the water at Lodi Lake in Lodi. The curled and dried leaf seems to float effortlessly on water that’s so still that it could be ice or even glass. The leaf casts a shadowy reflection it its surface, making for a serene and peacefully elegant image.

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Tom LaBounty of Stockton use da Google Pixel 3 cellphone to photograph leaves through a window in his front door.

Tom LaBounty of Stockton leaf photo doesn’t feature any individual leaves. Using a Google Pixel 3 cellphone, he photographed a tree turning yellow through a decorative window in his front door. The tree and its leaves were turned to a golden blur by the swirling pattern of the textured glass framed within the door, making for an impressionistic photo.

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Steven Rapaport of Stockton used a Canon 5D mark IV DSLR camera to photograph a squirrel among some fallen leaves at the Cosumnes River preserve near Thornton.

The Cosumnes River Preserve is a haven for migratory waterfowl bout here is also a bevy of other kinds of wildlife there as well. Steven Rapaport of Stockton used a Canon 5D mark IV DSLR camera to photograph a squirrel at the Cosumnes River Preserve near Thornton. The light brown rodent is surrounded by fallen golden oak leaves on the ground.

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Paul Engelman of Stockton used a Canon Powershot ELPH 100 HS digital point-and-shoot camera to photograph a leaf at McLeod Lake in downtown Stockton.

Paul Engelman of Stockton used a Canon Powershot ELPH 100 HS digital point-and-shoot camera to photograph a couple of sycamore leaves at McLeod Lake in downtown Stockton. The leaves, a larger one obscuring a smaller one underneath, balanced on a railing to the lake. The Stockton Arena and the landscaped trees surrounding it are slightly out of focus in the background but still can be seen through the misty morning air.

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Sydney Spurgeon of Stockton used a Nikon D750 DSLR camera to photograph her nephew Vincent Spurgeon on some fallen eaves in Stockton.

Kids playing in piles of leaves is a visual autumnal trope which Sydney Spurgeon of Stockton employee for her leaf photos. With a Nikon D750 DSLR camera, she photograph her nephew Vincent Spurgeon on laying on a bed of fallen leaves in Stockton.

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Jessica Flores used an Apple iPhone 11 to photograph her dog Bodie playing in some fallen leaves in her neighborhood.

In a similar vein, while out on a walk in her neighborhood Jessica Flores of Stockton used an Apple iPhone 11 to photograph her dog Bodie, happy as a clam, while sitting in a pile of fallen liquidambar leaves in her neighborhood.

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Anne McCaughey of Stockton used an Apple iPhone 11 Pro to photograph pear leaves pressed between 2 panes of glass within a frame at her home.

Anne McCaughey of Stockton created her photo from leaves found in her yard. She used an Apple iPhone 11 Pro to photograph leaves from an ornamental pear tree pressed between 2 panes of glass within a frame at her home.

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Dave Skinner of Stockton used a Nikon D600 DSLR camera to photograph fallen leaves at the University of the Pacific in Stockton.

Dave Skinner of Stockton went to the University of Pacific in Stockton to get his picture of fall leaves. UOP is a natural place to shoot. It’s a picturesque campus that has been the setting for several movies. It has plenty of trees with beautiful foliage. Skinner used a Nikon D600 DSLR camera to photograph a number of different leaves together exemplifying the diversity of the species on the campus. He captured both the subtly and the deep saturation of color as well as the detail of the leaves.

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Teresa Mahnken of Morada used a Samsung Galaxy 8 smartphone to photograph a leaf on a beach near Bellingham, Washington.

Teresa Mahnken of Morada was out on a walk looking for driftwood on a beach at Snatelum Point, Washington. While most of the trees on an overlooking bluff were evergreen, there was one maple tree dropping its colorful leaves. Mahnken found a single leaf as it contrasted agains the blue/grey of the beach’s gravelly pebbles.

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All of the photos entered can be seen in an online gallery at recordnet.com. The challenge is going to take a break for a little while. A new assignment will be issued on January 12.

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Winning isn’t everything but that shouldn’t stop you from trying.

Entering contests can be a way to sharpen your photographic skills. It can teach you how to edit your photos and push you to become a better photographer. But what does it take to win? I’ve entered many contests and even won a few. I’ve even been a judge also, so I’ve been on both sides of the equation.

Matthew Baker of Stockton used a Nikon D7500 DSLR camera to photograph fog rising over Eight Mile Road at Honker’s Cut in Stockton. The unexpected interpretation of the fog as a cloud during sunrise made this photo a top pick in the March 2019 Readers Photo Challenge assignment: Clouds.

I’ve read articles that promise foolproof ways to win but there’s no real formula for victory. And there’s the biases and inclinations of the individual judges that you can’t account for. But are a few tips to improve your chances of winning.

Carolyn Silva of Jackson used a Nikon D7500 DSLR to photograph a cow eating in a field near her home. The fog shrouded trees in the background made this photo a top pick in the March 2020 Readers Photo Challenge assignment: Plants.

The first step to winning a contest is to make sure you’ve enter your photo in the right category. You could have the most beautiful image of a landscape, but if you enter it into a portrait category, it will be tossed out without a second thought. I’ve judged the San Joaquin County Fair’s photo contest a few times and there were many pictures that were simply entered in the wrong category. It’s not up to the judge or contest organizers to correct your mistake.

Teresa Mahnken of Morada used a Nikon D3200 DSLR camera to photograph a horse at Marval Stables in Lodi. The unusual placement of the horse in the frame made this photo a top pick in the October 2016 Readers Photo Challenge assignment: Animals.

To win, your image must reach a certain level of technical expertise. You must show that you know your imaging device’s strengths as well as weaknesses and that you know how to exploit the former and minimize the latter. In other words, you must be able to make your camera do what you want it to do. It’s something that the best photographers, amateur or pro, know how to do.

Cynthia Barker of Stockton used an Apple iPhone 8 to photograph her favorite glass cup at her home. The unusual view of the cup and the light shining through it made this photo a top pick in the July 2020 Readers Photo Challenge assignment: Glass

On top of that, your photos must attain a certain artistic level of excellence that’s above the rest. That means is has to be well composed, well lit and have an attention to detail. It also has to reach the viewer/judge on an emotional level. That comes from your approach to the subject matter. Whether it exhibits strong visual impact or a high level of intimacy, the image has to have enough appeal to viscerally move the viewer and not just you.

Mary Paulson of Valley Springs used an iPhone 5s to photograph a hot air balloon through her bathroom window in Abingdon, England. The bright colors and the unusualness of the balloon appearing inn the window made this photo a top pick in the June 2015 Readers Photo Challenge assignment: Vacation.

The last thing is the most important and the hardest to achieve. Winning photos tend to have something different or special about them that the other entries lack. Atlanta-based commercial photographer Zack Arias recounts a story when he as a young photographer helping out at the National Press Photographer Association’s Pictures of the Year contest. His job was to show the slides to the judges who would say “yea” or “nay” to the pictures on the screen. Arias says that he would see some images pictures that he thought were incredible but were quickly dismissed by the judges after only a few seconds of viewing. Arias learned that the judges were looking for something more than just excellence. The were looking for something different as well. They wanted to be surprised.

Teresa Mahnken of Morada used a Samsung Galaxy 8 smartphone to photograph a mountain through the broken windshield of an abandoned car in the ghost town of Nelson, Nevada, near Las Vegas. The unusual use of a hole in the windshield of an abandoned car to frame the mountain made this photo a top pick in the November 2019 Readers Photo Challenge assignment: Landscapes.

A contest like the NPPA one receives thousands of photos. If, say in the sports category, they get a hundred pictures of a player sliding into the catcher at home or a wide receiver fighting for a catch with a defender, all of equal quality, how can anyone judge one image over another? Something that’s different will catch the judges eye and give you a chance to win.

Freya Schwinn of Stockton used a Canon EOS Rebel T6 DSLR camera to photograph a side tunnel of the Stoneman Bridge in Yosemite National Park. The use of the reflection in the water to repeat the arch made this photo a top pock in the July 2018 Readers Photo Challenge assignment: Bridges.

Not winning can be discouraging but don’t give up. Keep entering and then follow up by seeing what won. This isn’t to say that the same subject matter will win again. Most likely it won’t, but look at the quality of the winners. Look for the artistic and emotional content and how the photo might have surprise the judges.

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Imitation is the sincerest form of improvement

Many photography experts will give the advice of not to copy or imitate the work of the masters or other photographers you admire. They will tell you to find your own style and forge your own way. This is true but what they don’t tell you is that this advice is for advanced photographers and professionals wanting to step up their game.

(11/28/16) The leaves on a liquidambar tree turn to their fall colors of red and orange at the Weber Point Events Center in downtown Stockton. [CLIFFORD OTO/THE STOCKTON RECORD]

For beginning and even intermediate level photographers, not only is imitation Ok, it can be a great tool to improve one’s skills. To copy another’s work you need to study it and thus learn about the the techniques use to create it.

(10/5/12) The setting sun glints off of the railroad tracks near Lincoln and Church Streets in Stockton. [CLIFFORD OTO/THE STOCKTON RECORD]

Lighting is very important to most photos. When considering light, you need to think about what direction it’s coming from and how it affects the quality and mood of the scene. The quality of light also can change the feeling as well. Is it harsh lighting with hard light and shadow or is it soft lighting that is more subtle.

(4/15/10) Alex Gray will graduate from Middle College High School with 6 AA degrees from Delta College. [CLIFFORD OTO/THE STOCKTON RECORD]

Through composition one can bring attention to the subject of a photograph. By placing the subject, say, on the right or left or even in the center, can make an image more effective. You can also use other elements such as leading lines or framing to help the subject to stand out. The use of color and affect a photos composition. Having the subject on one color against a backdrop of an opposing or complimentary color can bring one’s eye to the subject.

(9/6/14) Delta College’s William Mafi dives for a pass with Santa Rosa Junior College’s Mikal Quintoriano during a football game at Delta’s Di Ricco Field in Stockton. [CLIFFORD OTO/THE STOCKTON RECORD]

Timing is an important thing for a photographer to learn. Split-second timing can be the difference between a smile or a frown, a perfect catch or an incomplete pass, a perfect picture or what could have been. When you study the masters you can see when the pressed the shutter button and then practice on your own to get the precise moment.

(12/14/10) Ginkgo leaves lay on the ground at the base of a tree on the San Joaquin Delta College campus in Stockton. [CLIFFORD OTO/THE STOCKTON RECORD]

All these things and more are used by advanced photographers to create their works. By imitating them, you learn techniques that you can use in your own photos.

(9/16/14) A butterfly rests on a wild sunflower growing along Highway 4 near Roberts Road in Stockton. [CLIFFORD OTO/THE STOCKTON RECORD]

If you keep at it, there will come a time that you will reach a certain level of proficiency. Then you can use the lessons you’ve learned through copying to find a photographic viewpoint of your own. So long as you don’t try to pass someone else’s work off as your own, imitation can be an effective way help you to improve your skills.

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Readers Photo Challenge assignment: Colors of the season

Fall leaves is the subject of this month’s Readers Photo Challenge assignment. With the season’s shortened days and colder weather, Autumn colors are coming into view all around us.

(11/13/13) 6-year-old Angel Carranza, left, and his 2-year-old brother Gabriel Carranza walk across a carpet of gold and red fallen leaves at the Weber Point Events Center in downtown Stockton. [CLIFFORD OTO/THE STOCKTON RECORD]

Nearly all types of photos can be enhanced by early morning/late afternoon light but even more so with fall leaves. The inherent warm glow of those times of day will make the yellows, reds and oranges of the seasonal leaves even more intense.

(12/12/17) A fallen leaf is backlit from a low afternoon sun at the Weber Point Events Center in downtown Stockton. [CLIFFORD OTO/THE RECORD]

Speaking of light, try photographing the leaves with then light coming from behind them. Their paper-thinness can make them almost translucent when backlit. This can intensify the saturation of their colors, especially when they’re shot against dark background where they can pop out light Christmas lights.

(10/22/20) Wild blackberry leaves turn to their fall colors along a hiking path at the Cosumnes River Preserve visitor center near Thornton. While the visitor center is closed due to the pandemic, the 4 miles of hiking paths remain open from sunrise to sunset daily. [CLIFFORD OTO/THE STOCKTON RECORD]

Many people will try to shoot an entire tree or even stand of trees to get their fall colors, which is fine enough. But try looking at parts of the tree. A single branch or even a lone leaf, properly photographed, can have as much visual impact as an entire forest.

(12/1/07) An early morning frost covers a leaf at Don Notoli Park in Elk Grove. [CLIFFORD OTO/THE STOCKTON RECORD]

You can also find leaves that have fallen to the ground. The detail of a single yellow or red leaf on a bed of green grass can be a study in contrasting color. Or carpet of colored leaves on the ground can give your photo a magical quality.

(12/3/15) Rain instead of blue skies didn’t greet University of the Pacific student Alexandria Chan but she did sport a bright blue umbrella to shield herself from the rain as she walked past rows of ornamental pear trees in their fall colors lining the Baxter Walkway on the UOP campus in Stockton. [CLIFFORD OTO/THE STOCKTON]

I like including a human element into fall photos. If you’re photographing a stand of trees in a forest, adding a person can help to give things scale. You can get someone using a rake or leaf blower to gather up the leaves. You can capture children enjoying the simple pleasure of playing in a big pile of leaves. Or you can use fall color as a background to add color to a portrait.

(12/10/15) A wet red liquidambar leaf lies on a carpet of other fallen leaves knocked down high winds and rains on a driveway in Walnut Grove. [CLIFFORD OTO/THE RECORD]

This time of year also can bring some inclement weather. Don’t let that deter you. Try to work it to your advantage. Rain soaked leaves can actually make the colors more intense. And the sheen from the water can give some added visual interest. On really cold days, bundle up and try getting shots of leaves that are covered with frost.

(11/21/03) 1-year-old Grace Salazar of Stockton, right, plays with her cousin Megan Falkner, 3, of Temecula in a pile of fall leaves at Grupe Park in Stockton. [CLIFFORD OTO/THE STOCKTON RECORD]

You need to make sure that the color of the season are the reason for your photos; whether you get in close or take an overall wide shot, go on a sunny day or during a rain storm, add a person to your photo or just shoot the leaves.

(10/22/20) Wild blackberry leaves turn to their fall colors along a hiking path at the Cosumnes River Preserve visitor center near Thornton. While the visitor center is closed due to the pandemic, the 4 miles of hiking paths remain open from sunrise to sunset daily. [CLIFFORD OTO/THE STOCKTON RECORD]

How to enter:

1. Entries can be emailed to coto@recordnet.com. The preferred format is jpeg. Type in “Fall Color” in the subject line.

2. Photos have to be taken between November 17 and December 1.

3. The number of photos is limited to 10.

4. Include your name (first and last), hometown, the kind of device you used, how you got your close up and where the photo was taken (eg.: John Doe of Stockton, Canon Rebel T6i with 50mm macro lens. At Victory Park in Stockton).

5. If there is a recognizable person or persons in the photo please identify them (name, age, hometown) and describe what is going on in the photo (eg.: “Jane Doe walks her dog Fido past a tree wit fall leaves at Victory Park in Stockton”). Please indicate how they are related to you (friend, mother, father, daughter, son, etc).

6. Please feel free to include any interesting anecdotes or stories on how you took the picture.

7. The deadline for submission is December 1. The top examples will be published on December 8, with an online gallery of all the photos on the same day at recordnet.com

(10/25/06) Loose leaves are held up tightly against a chain link fence by a strong steady wind at Kofu Park in Lodi. [CLIFFORD OTO/THE STOCKTON RECORD]

Posted in Nature, Readers Photo Challenge, Scenics | Tagged | Leave a comment

Readers Photo Challenge: Face the music

The current Readers Photo Challenge assignment was about faces. Landscapes and nature are the most popular subjects for most photographers. Taking pictures of people can be out of the comfort zones of many people. But for this challenge readers stepped up, faced the music and overcame any reluctance they may have had and came up with some great images. Twelve readers sent in 41 photos. Here are some of the top examples.

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Sydney Spurgeon of Stockton used a Nikon D750 DSLR camera to photograph 5-year-old Izzy Martinez at the University of the Pacific in Stockton.

While portraits aren’t some people’s cup of tea, others have an affinity for it. Sydney Spurgeon of Stockton submitted a portrait of 5-year-old Izzy Martinez at the University of the Pacific. With her Nikon D750 DLSR camera, she fills the frame with a head and torso shot. The background is out of focus enough as to give only impressions of color which brings more attention to the girl. The child’s expression and natural pose helps to give the photo some joy and spontaneity even though it’s a posed shot.

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Cynthia Barker of Stockton used an Apple iPhone 8 to photograph her daughter Beriah with her cat Patchie at her home.

Cynthia Barker of Stockton sent in a heartwarming of her daughter Beriah and her cat Patchie. With an iPhone 8, she got in so close that she eliminated the background all together, so she didn’t have to worry about any distracting details. As Beriah warmly embraces the cat she has a subtle look of love and happiness on her face.

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Carrie Walker of Stockton used an Apple iPhone 8 Plus to photographer her 2-year-old nephew Jaxlee Walker at her home.

Carrie Walker photographed her 2-year-old nephew Jaxlee Walker after a harrowing experience. The boy went into anaphylactic shock after eating a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Fortunately, he was diagnosed a week early as having an allergy to shrimp, so the family had an EpiPen on hand. After administering the shot and calling 911 he recovered quickly form the incident. Walker used an Apple iPhone to capture her nephew with an exhausted look of relief on his face as he lay on the family’s couch.

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Josephine Ratekin of French Camp used an Apple iPhone to photograph her 4-year-old grandson Santos Rangel at her home.

Apple must realize the problem that most people have with cluttered and distracting backgrounds. That must be the reason why that they’ve come up the the “stage lighting mode” on their iPhone’s cameras. Though some technical voodoo they’re able to blackout the backgrounds when in that mode. Josephine Ratekin of French Camp used it to her advantage when photographing her 4-year-old grandson Santos Rangel at her home. She actually got in close enough to eliminate most of anything that would be behind the boy and the camera did the rest

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Mike Ratekin of French Camp used a Canon 5D Mk III to photograph Kassandra Rodriguez in French Camp.

Ratekin would say that her husband Mike is actually the photographer of the family. He took maternity shot of Kassandra Rodriguez in a flower garden of his home in French Camp. Ratekin took advantage the late afternoon light to illuminate Rodriguez and he used an off-camera flash to fill in the shadows. The flowers around her provide some nice spot color to the scene.

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Jessica Flores of Stockton used a Nikon D3200 DSLR camera to photograph her son Mitch Flores piloting his boat on the deep water channel in Stockton.

Jessica Flores of Stockton took a picture of her adult son Mitch Flores while on a boating trip on the deep water channel in Stockton. With a Nikon D3200 DSLR she photographed him from behind as he piloted their MasterCraft boat. But instead she captured his face as it was reflected in the review ski mirror ahead of him and captured sort of a double portrait of her son.

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Dave Skinner of Stockton used a Nikon D600 DSLR camera to photograph co-worker Satjyot Gil at his job KP, LLC in Stockton.

Dave Skinner of Stockton is most comfortable doing landscapes/nature photography and this assignment took him out of his comfort zone. He photographed co-worker Satjyot Gil at their place of work KP, LLC in Stockton. He posed Gil near a large doorway in a warehouse. Soft indirect sunlight illuminated Gil’s face and falls off to darkness quickly in the background. With a Nikon D600 DSLR Skinner got in tight on Gil’s face which eliminated what little background count be seen even further.

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All of the photos sent in can be seen in an online gallery at recordnet.com. A new assignment will be issued on November 17.

Posted in Portrait, Readers Photo Challenge | Leave a comment

The backward thinking of manual exposure

Learning how to make a manual exposure is an essential step if you want to really learn how to get the most out a DSLR camera. However, it’s a step that most people get tripped up on. The concepts takes some practice to understand but mostly it’s the terminology that really confuses people.

(8/30/18) San Joaquin Delta College student Beny Dawson looks through his school-issued film cameras while participating in a lesson of the Photo 1A beginning black/and white photography class on the Delta campus in Stockton. [CLIFFORD OTO/THE STOCKTON RECORD]

There are three major factors in making an exposure, often known as the “exposure triangle.” The first is ISO. It controls the light sensitivity of your camera. This is pretty straightforward. The higher the sensitivity, the lower light you’ll be able to take photos in. There’s a tradeoff, though. The higher the sensitivity, the more noise, those little colored specks you often see in low-light photos, that you’ll get in your images. The scale used here is pretty logical. The lower numbers represent low sensitivity, the higher numbers correspond to more sensitivity. Fortunately, one usually just sets the ISO for the situation and forgets about it unless the lighting situation changes dramatically.

Difficulties start to appear when you talk about shutter speed and aperture.

(8/30/18) San Joaquin Delta College students Lisa Sovuth, left, and Stefanie Palacio looks through their school-issued film cameras while participating in a lesson of the Photo 1A beginning black/and white photography class on the Delta campus in Stockton. [CLIFFORD OTO/THE STOCKTON RECORD]

The two work together to allow a certain amount of light through to your camera’s sensor. Think of a garden hose. Aperture is the diameter of the hose. A hose with a large opening will let out more water than one with a smaller opening. A shutter speed is the velocity at which the water comes out of the hose. More water will come out the faster the water is flowing. This is easy enough to understand but the learning the numbers requires a little backwards thinking.

LEFT: (6/16/10) Jockey Diana Skinner rides mule Jessica Nelson in the first race at the San Joaquin County Fair. A fast shutter speed of 1/500th of a second freezes the motion of the horses and jockeys. RIGHT: (6/16/10) Genaro Vallejo jockeys Wild Wes to a win in the third race at the San Joaquin County Fair. A slower shutter speed of 1/125th of a second caused the background and the horse’s legs to blur. The rest of the horse an jockey are sharp because the camera and lens were panned with the motion. [CLIFFORD OTO/THE STOCKTON RECORD]

Shutter speed numbers represents the time, from full seconds to fractions thereof, that light is exposed to the camera’s sensor. While long timed-exposures and may last for many seconds or even minutes, most exposures consist of bite-sized portions. Most will be something like 1/60th, 1/125th or 1/250th of a second, etc. To save space on a camera’s information panel, they are usually represented by the just bottom number: 60, 125, 250. The problem here is that the larger numbers represent the smaller fraction of time and vice versa. If you keep in mind that they’re fractions of seconds, then it’s a little easier to understand.

LEFT: (7/21/10) Light shines through the aperture blades of a Nikon 17-35mm zoom lens. RIGHT: (8/20/18) The aperture scale on a 24mm Canon lens mounted on a Canon F-1 camera. [CLIFFORD OTO/THE STOCKTON RECORD]

The aperture scale represents the aperture opening of the lens and can be even more confusing. It’s segmented into what are called “f/stops” or simply “stops.” The scale starts at its widest opening, which lets in the most amount of light to the smallest opening which lets in the least light. Each full stop either doubles or halves the amount of light of the next stop depending on whether it comes before or after that stop. For example, stop “B” is twice as much light as stop “A” that comes before it, but only half as much as stop “C” which comes after it. All this takes some time and practice to get used to, but wait, it gets worse.

LEFT: (6/6/11) Golden poppies grow at the Stockton Sailing Club beneath cloudy skies at Buckley Cove in Stockton. A single poppy is in focus due to a wide aperture of f/3.2. RIGHT: More poppies are in focus due to a small aperture of f/16. [CLIFFORD OTO/THE STOCKTON RECORD]

Each stop is represented by what’s called an “f/“ number. However, the smallest numbers represent the largest openings, while the larger numbers correspond to the smaller apertures. So, an aperture of f/11 is much smaller than f/4 even though, counterintuitively, the numbers suggest otherwise. Also, even though each aperture stop doubles or halves, the actual f/number doubles or halves every other stop.

LEFT: (8/5/15) Spools of colored yard on a hat embroidering machine at the Dorfman Pacific Hats in Stockton. A single spool is in focus due to a wide aperture of f/2.8. RIGHT: More spools are in focus due to a smaller aperture of f/8. [CLIFFORD OTO/THE STOCKTON RECORD]

So why bother with all this in the first place when automatic modes can do an adequate job? Auto exposures will measure the overall average amount of light in a scene without much precision. Manual exposures allow you to have total control. Do you want a lot of depth of field (the amount in focus) or just a sliver of tack sharpness while the rest of the image blurs out? Do you want to freeze the movement of a fast moving person or object, or do you want to allow some motion blur to give your images some energy? These questions are things that the camera can’t decide for you, it’s up to you. So, you may have to endure a little backward thinking, but learning manual exposure will put you in the photographic driver’s seat

Posted in Column, Exposure | Tagged | Leave a comment

The ones that got away

(10/19/19) Delta College’s Alvin Howard, right, reaches out for a pass past Fresno City College’s Tremell Harrell during a football game at Delta’s DeRicco Field in Stockton. [CLIFFORD OTO/THE STOCKTON RECORD]

I remember one the first times I covered a prep football game as a young photographer. The quarterback faded back and threw the ball in a beautiful arc. It sailed gracefully in the air and the receiver made a perfect fingertip catch. I remember it so vividly because when the play was over I realized that I was holding my camera in my hands but not looking though it. The whole play happened right in front of me and I hadn’t taken a single frame.

Every photographer has a story about the shots that they’ve missed. Many, like me, have multiple tales of the ones that got away.

(10/15/20) Austin Cushman gets a flu shot from Stockton Unified School District nurse Sharon Lal at the drive-up/walk-up flu clinic held at the School for Adults parking lot on Pacific Avenue near Harding Way in Stockton. [CLIFFORD OTO/THE STOCKTON RECORD]

Sometimes you’re just in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Recently I photographed a drive-thru flus clinic held at the SUSD School for Adults in Stockton. I asked a woman who drove up I she wouldn’t mind having her picture taken and she agreed. When the nurse came up to give her the shot I was standing outside the driver’s door. The woman turned her head away so as not to look at the needle going in her arm, so I hustled around to the other side of the car to shoot through the passenger side window. But when I did he woman changed her mind, turned her head back the other way and I missed the photo.

(10/13/17) University of the Pacific student Prajakta Prasana, left, shows her camera’s monitor to fellow student Lena Perry after taking her picture in a photo studio at the DeRosa University Center on the UOP campus in the Stockton. ” [CLIFFORD OTO/THE STOCKTON RECORD]

One of the things I see other photographers do when they miss a shot is when they “chimp.” Chimping is a slang term for looking at the monitor on the back of the camera. In and of itself chimping isn’t bad. It’s when you do it that’s a problem. Quite often something picture-worthy will happen right in front of them and they’’ll be looking at a photo that they shot previously. Chimp only when you’re sure that there’s a lull in the action and not when it’s still going on.

(3/28/13) Lodi’s Logan Morita, right, waits for the throw as East Union’s Mason James dives safely back to second on a pickoff attempt during a varsity baseball game at Tony Zupo Field in Lodi. [CLIFFORD OTO/THE STOCKTON RECORD]

Baseball is the bane of my sports shooting existence. You have to practice constant vigilance. But there can be inning upon inning, sometimes entire games, where nothing happens. It’s easy to have my mind wander off to what other assignments I may have, or what to have for dinner or even to think my your taxes. But then, in an instant, all hell can break loose. A runner can decide to steal a base, a batter, who’s previous at-bats have produced nil, may hit a grand slam or a shortstop may make a diving catch. Over time I’ve learned to focus on the game, but I can’t count the times when I’ve been daydreaming and missed a shot.

(5/9/09) Matt and Christa King leave their wedding ceremony at the Catta Verdura Country Club in Lincoln. [CLIFFORD OTO]

Preparation and experience accounts for a lot when it comes to getting the shot. Many wedding photographers will attend the wedding rehearsal and ask questions so they know things like what the layout of the church is like, or when the cutting of the cake or first dance is going to be. The more you know going into any event, the better off you’re going to be.

(11/22/19) Manteca’s Sunny Dozier, right, catches a pass over Capital Christian’s Carlos Wilson in the end zone but the catch was ruled out of bounds during a Sac-Joaquin Section Division III football semi-final at Capital Christian High school in Sacramento. [CLIFFORD OTO/THE STOCKTON RECORD]

Many people think that photographers capture everything that happens at an event. The trick is to get the right shot at the right time and not to worry about getting every single thing.

You can’t be everywhere, all the time. You’re going to miss some shots. It’s inevitable. With focus and vigilance, hopefully it won’t be THE shot.

Posted in Assignment, Commentary, Photography, Techniques | Leave a comment
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