Readers Photo Challenge assignment: Sky high

The sky’s the limit for the newest Readers Photo Challenge because the subject for the assignment is literally the sky.

This time of year is the perfect time to get photos of the sky. One can almost call it the “sky season.” With the ending of daylight savings time and the turning of our clocks back an hour on November 5, the sun goes down at around 5:00 p.m. That means you can get a nice sunset shot without staying up too late. If you’re an early riser then you still can get a sunrise as well. It takes a little bit of experience to know when a sunset/sunrise will be at its peak. If you stop shooting too soon and pack up and leave you may miss the peak. Start too late you may miss it altogether. It’s best to pick out a place to photograph from a little before the start of a sunset then shoot until it’s dark.

Another reason that fall is a great season for the sky is the weather. Gone are the featureless blue skies of summer. Storms and the clouds that come with them are more common place. Clouds, whether puffy cumulus or high wispy cirrus ones, can add some visual interest to the sky and your pictures.

The sky in and of itself can be the subject or it can make for a perfect background for other types of photos.

A bright blue sky can add color to a landscape or portrait. Clouds can add visual and/or compositional elements to your photos.

Birds are denizens of the sky and the sky makes for a natural background for them whether they’re in flight or at rest on a fence, power line or tree branch.

Don’t forget shooting at night. A rising moon or starry night are great subjects for you sky photos. While the moon is bright enough to hand-hold your camera, a tripod is necessary for long time-exposures (of 30-seconds or more) needed to capture the much fainter stars.

The sky must comprise a significant portion of the picture or the reason for taking the photo. It shouldn’t be only a small portion of the frame of just an incidental to the picture.

Whether the sky is the subject itself or just the background for your photo, your assignment is the capture the beauty of the great blue yonder.


How to Enter:

1. Email your entries to Type in “Sky” in the subject line.

2. Photos have to be shot between November 16 and December 7.

3. Entries are limited to up to 12 photos from each photographer.

4. Include your name (first and last), hometown, and the kind of camera/lens you used and where it was taken (e.g.: “John Doe of Stockton. Location: Pershing Avenue, Stockton. Camera: Canon Rebel T3 w/ 55-300mm lens”).

5. If there is a recognizable person in the photo, please identify them (name, age, hometown) and what they are doing in the photos and where they are. (e.g.: Jimmy Doe, 6, of Stockton plays at Victory Park in Stockton).

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

7. The deadline for submission is Thursday, December 7. A photo gallery of all the pictures submitted will be run on December 14 at

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