Readers Photo Challenge: On holiday

The assignment for the current Readers Photo Challenge was to send in your best photos of your summer vacation.

From weekend getaways to extended vacations everyone can use some time off to rest, relax and recharge their batteries. Some of us travel to distant lands while others go no further than a day trip. Whether near or far, the new sights and experiences we take in are perfect opportunities for pictures.

For this challenge 16 people sent in 97 photos. Here are some of the top examples that give the view a sense of place.


In some ways we go on vacations to get away from the drab routine of our daily lives. In the classic 1939 movie “The Wizard of Oz” the film starts out in black and white. In one scene, the main character of Dorothy literally opens a door from her dreary colorless world and walks into one of vibrant color.

While vacationing in Abington, England, Mary Paulson of Valley Springs heard a strange wooshing sound coming from outside her bathroom window of the bed and breakfast she was staying in. Upon opening it she saw a colorful hot air balloon being inflated getting ready for an evening ride several yards away.

With her iPhone 5s, Paulson nicely framed the scene through the bathroom’s window. The dark near-monotone of the interior opened up to brilliant Oz-like hues not only gives her photo a sense of place but that of wonder as well.


It’s always difficult to find a different way to take a picture of something that’s been photographed a million times before. That’s the problem with famous landmarks such as the Statue of Liberty or Golden Gate Bridge.

That’s what faced Sydney Spurgeon of Stockton while on a family vacation in Washington DC. The Washington Monument has been photographed from every conceivable angle by millions, if not billions, of tourists. On Spurgeon’s trip, it had rained the day before, but was sunny when she toured the Capitol Mall. She saw the puddle and felt she “hit the jackpot.” With a Nikon D90 DSLR camera Spurgeon captured the monument’s pure white obelisk shape as well as the deep blue sky reflected in the puddle’s shallow waters, which gave her something different from everyone else.


Taking one’s own picture while on a trip is a staple of vacation photos. We take them of ourselves or have a passerby take them of us and show that you and your companions were actually there and were having a good time. We’re usually standing in front of a statue or monument or building or something else really big.

Sam Doan of Stockton on a trip to Lake Tahoe set up his Canon 5D Mk III DSLR camera on a tripod and a long exposure and took a photo of one of the biggest thing there is: the night sky. Through the crystal clear mountain air he captured thousands of stars sparkling like jewels with the Milky Way arcing across the sky.

Doan placed himself within the picture. Silhouetted against the starry night he marks his place in the universe on a mountain ridge and he points a flashlight up to the heavens in a quiet search for God.


Rick Wilmot and his wife Debby spent a week in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. They spent their time having fun in the sun and sand. According to the Lonely Planet web site the ocean side resort town is not only know for it’s sandy beaches but

also its nightlife and the city did not disappoint. On their last night the Wilmots quite a few thunderstorms swirled around their hotel. As the sun sank in the west the storms stopped long enough and clouds parted Wilmot picked up his Canon EOS 5D Mk III to capture the last of the sun’s golden rays painting the sky for a fiery sunset.


While on a trip to the central coast of California near San Luis Obispo Dave Skinner of Stockton stopped at a vista point along Highway, a place that he’s been before. Looking south he had a great view of Morro Bay and Morro Rock, which would have made for great pictures but he cross the road to the north side where he had never been before. With his Nikon D5100 DSLR camera he captured the fog lifting from the gently rolling costal hills for a photo just a picturesque as the ocean view on the other side.


Some vacations are all about packing in as many sights, places and experiences that you can in a short amount of time. Other vacations are just quiet getaways which are as valid as the more hectic ones. Kathy Ackerman of Stockton took a picture that made her cruise to Cabo San Lucas look like the latter. Using an iPhone6 she photographed the morning sunrise from her room’s balcony on the ship. A couple smaller boats float on the calm sea which, combined with the golden early light, emphasizes the sense of peace and serenity that a vacation can bring.


Something that’s often overlooked is taking night shots while on vacation but night photos can show a perspective that even a native resident of a city find new and exciting.

Steven Rapaport of Stockton was making timed exposures with his camera on a tripod on a quiet street scene at night while vacationing in the small village of Montignac, France when a French man came up to him and asked him what he was doing, He thought Rapaport was a bit odd for photographing an near empty street with only an occasional car passing by. Then Rapaport show him the picture on the monitor on the back of his Canon EOS 70D DSLR camera. It shows the scene bathed in the warmth of streetlights contrasting against a small patch of a blue hour sky with the taillights of a car snaking up a lonely street. There’s a sense of mystery to the image. When he saw the photo the man so enamored with the picture that he asked in broken English if he could follow Rapaport as he took more photos.


Sometimes a vacation photo can be about a certain detail of your trip rather than the overall experience. Tom LaBounty of Stockton used a Fuji X-T1 DSLR camera to photograph is meal while dining at the Anton and Michel restaurant in Carmel. The rack of lamb with vegetables artfully arranged in a stylishly rectangular plate was bathed in a nice soft light, which brought out the richness of the meal’s colors.


All of the entries can be seen in a photo gallery at A new Readers Photo Challenge assignment will be issued next Thursday.

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