Ordinary street sights

Recently I came across a couple of street scenes where the quality of light made the difference between ho-hum and exceptional.

I was walking around downtown Stockton last week looking for an enterprise feature photo when I stopped to cross the street at Sutter Street and Weber Avenue. At my feet was a grate covering a storm drain. You can’t get much more mundane than that, but the low angle of the late afternoon sun cast diagonal shadows from the grill’s bars onto it’s thicker slats. The tilted shadows contrasted with the rigid right angles of the grate and made for an interesting repetitive pattern.


Yesterday evening, I driving on my way to an assignment when I saw a peculiar shadow on an outside wall of St. Mar’s Church in downtown Stockton. I quickly stopped my car and got out to take a look. It was just a patch of light but with a rectangular shadow in the center. Light from the setting sun was reflecting off of a window of the Human Services Building across San Joaquin Street and shining onto the red bricks of the church. However there was a street sign blocking some of the light and casting a ghostly shadow.

Ordinary things are all around us often going unnoticed but it just takes a little effort in seeing them in a different light to elevate them to the extraordinary.


You have until the end of the day until the deadline for the latest Readers Photo Challenge assignment: “Ordinary.” so here are the rules:

1. Entries can be emailed to coto@recordnet.com. Type in “Ordinary” in the subject line.

2. Photos have to be shot between May 7 and May 21. The can be of any subject but they must be of an everyday object or scene.

3. Include your name (first and last), hometown, and the kind of camera/lens you used and where it was taken (ie: “John Doe, Stockton. Pool Station Road and Highway 49, San Andreas. Canon EOS Rebel Ti with 18-55mm lens”)

4. If there is a recognizable person in the photo, please identify them (name, age, hometown) and what they are doing in the photos.

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

6. The deadline for submission is Thursday, May 21. The top examples will be published on Thursday, May 28 with an online gallery of all the photos on the same day.

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