Readers Photo Challenge: The nature of things

“Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.” – Albert Einstein

Nature is the subject of the latest Readers Photo Challenge.
From the mountains to the oceans to our own backyards, the natural world is all around us. Many readers sent in photos of of scenic landscapes of poppy-covered hillsides or river scenes. Others took closeups of flowers and plants. Yet others photographed the critters, birds mostly, that inhabit these lands.

Twenty-two readers sent in a total of a whopping 128 pictures. Here are some of the best examples sent in.

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Rick Wilmot of Lodi was one of those who ventured no farther than his own backyard to find nature. He used a Canon EOS 5D Mk III DSLR camera to photograph a honey bee as it foraged for nectar in a blossom of a Valencia orange tree at his home. The bees rich golden color is framed by the flowers’ crisp white petals which in turn were framed by the green of the tree’s leaves.

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Carrie Walker of Stockton was another who stayed close to home for her shot. She used an Apple iPad to photograph a simple dandelion seed head in her yard. With an accessory macro lens clipped to the tablet was able to get a very tight closeup of the plant. The white plumes of the seeds created a delicate veil over the center of the seed ball.

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Gareth Olsen of Stockton used a Nikon 810 DSLR camera to photograph a great blue heron at the Cosumnes River Preserve near Thornton. The muted blue/grey tones are nearly matched by the color of the reeds surrounding the elegant bird.

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Kurt Gatejen of Elk Grove also visited the Cosumnes River Preserve for his shot. He used a Nikon D7100 DSLR camera to photograph a tree swallow perched on the branch of a valley oak with holding nesting material in its beak at the preserve near Thornton.

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Ken Class of Lodi used an Apple iPhone 7 to photograph the dunes at Manzanita Beach, Oregon as storm clouds approached. I liked how he captured the different layers of the scene. In front are the windswept dunes covered in gold and green wild grasses lit up by the late afternoon sun. . The next layer is Neahkani Mountain in the background sending darken ominous. Finally, there’s the swirling grays of the gathering of fierce storm clouds overhead.

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Dave Skinner of Stockton traveled up to Amador County in the Mother Lode for his nature photo. He used a Nikon D7100 DSLR camera to photograph a Blue Dick wildflower on a hillside along Electra Road near Jackson. Shooting with a 55mm macro lens he used a wide aperture opening for a narrow depth of field which threw the background so out of focus that it looks like an impressionist painting. The flower’s delicate stem winds its way out of that unsharp fuzziness and gradually comes into focus at the flower’s lavender head.

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Stocktonian Steven Rapaport’s photo is an exercise in graceful minimalism. He used a Canon EOS 5D Mk IV camera to photograph a belted kingfisher at the Village West Marina in Stockton. The bird sits on the bare branch of a tree as it juts in from the right bottom corner of the frame against a nearly featureless sky.

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Oran Schwinn of Stockton used a Google Pixel XL phone to photograph dandelions growing at Oak Park in Stockton. The put his phone down low, much lower than he could have with a regular camera, and shot up at the weeds making them look like a tall, nearly majestic, grove of alien trees.

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Janet Baniewich of Stockton used a Nikon D3300 DSLR camera to photograph a calla lily at her home. It had just rained and water drops gracefully covered the creamy white petals of the flower.

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Teresa Glandon of Lodi used a Samsung phone to photograph a sunset with a tree in the foreground at Lodi Lake.

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An online photo gallery of all the photos can be viewed at recordnet.com. A new challenge assignment will be issued on Thursday, May 3.

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  • Blog Author

    Clifford Oto

    Clifford Oto, an award-winning photographer, has been with The Record since 1984. Through the changes from black and white to digital photography, he’s kept his focus on covering the events, people and life of San Joaquin county. This blog deals ... Read Full
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