Readers Photo Challenge: Open to all

My photo instructor Dick Fleming once hypothetically posited that given two photo students, one with unlimited resources (film, access to any piece of equipment, time, etc.), the other with limited means (1 camera & lens, only a few frames of film), the student with only a few choices would do a better job on the same assignment. Why? Creativity, he said, doesn’t come from an abundance of choices but rather working within the restrictions that you have. It forces one to think and plan first before shooting.

The latest subject for this month’s challenge was open to any one of the 22 previous assignment issued since the beginning of the challenge in April of 2013. While 14 people sending in a total of 48 photos aren’t disappointing numbers, I was bracing myself for even more. I think that perhaps there were so many choices that some people couldn’t make up their minds on which one to pick. Still, most of the ones that were sent in were outstanding.

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Darrin Dension of Stockton missed the very first assignment, which was “flowers” issued in April of 2013, but he made up for it by entering it in this month’s “open” challenge. Now winter isn’t normally the time one would find flowers but that wasn’t a problem for Denison. Thinking out of the box he went out and got some store-bought flowers. He sprinkled a little water on the flower for an added accent and used his iPhone to photograph the bold and bright colors of the blossom.

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Sydney Spurgeon of Stockton was one of the few people to retry a people-based assignment. She chose to revisit the “smiles challenge (May 2014) and photographed her friend Mary Massod on the campus of the University of the Pacific in Stockton with her Nikon D90 DSLR camera. Spurgeon used the open shade of a building for some nice soft light and an unusual overhead angle for a flattering photo of her friend.

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Floria Libres of Stockton used a Canon Rebel T5 DSLR camera to take on the “reflections” assignment (March 2014). She captures the nearly perfect mirror image of the University Plaza Waterfront Hotel as it’s reflected in the still waters of McLeod Lake in downtown Stockton, creating a bold eye-catching photo.

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Tom LaBounty of Stockton chose a hard assignment for his entry. When it was originally issued in October of 2014, only 6 people entered the “sports” challenge (and LaBounty wasn’t one of them). Using a Canon 7D Mk II DSLR LaBounty photographed Lincoln’s Cameron Kiser as he shot a jumper during a junior varsity game against West High at Lincoln in Stockton. A fast shutter speed help to freeze Kiser in mid-air and the grimace of exertion on his face showed the effort of his play and made for an excellent photo by LaBounty.

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Susan Scott of Stockton revisited the “motion” assignment (Oct. 2013). She used a Canon Rebel DSLR camera to photograph a small bird as it flitted between the branches of a tree at Buckley Cove Park in Stockton. The long thin crop helps to give a graceful horizontal sweep to the photo and its minimalistic quality gives it a Japanese watercolor painting feel to it.

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Dave Skinner of Stockton used a Nikon D7000 DSLR camera with a 55mm macro lens to revisit the “close-up” assignment (Sept. 2013). He photographed a fallen oak leaf as it lay on an old telephone pole and created a nice juxtaposition between the natural and the man-made.

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Although she missed the original “silhouette” assignment issued in Feb. of 2014, Carolyn Silva of Jackson made up for it in the open challenge. Silva used a Nikon D5000 DSLR camera to capture the beauty of the leafless trees in her backyard rising out a morning fog.

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Nicole Hazel of Stockton entry was from the “pets” assignment (June 2014). She used a Nikon Coolpix L820 digital point-and-shoot camera to photograph the face and eyes of her cat Patches.

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All of the pictures entered can be seen in a photo gallery at Recordnet.com. Stay tuned to next Thursday for a new challenge assignment.

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