Readers Photo Challenge: More than window dressing

Windows is the subject of the latests Readers Photo Challenge assignment. Using something in the foreground to frame your subject is a compositional technique that’s often used in photography. What better frame to use than a window?

Twenty six readers sent in 96 photos. Many delved beyond the subject matter and entered photos that were more than mere window dressing. Here are some of the top picks.

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Donn Sperry of Stockton returned home from work on Flag Day, June 14. A flag that he put up in his window was backlit from a light inside the house. With a Sony Alpha NEX-7 mirrorless digital camera Sperry photographed bright flag standing out against the darker frame of the window.

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Erv Rifenburg of Lodi went on a fishing excursion to the Gulf of Alaska. The skies were rainy and the seas were rough and the fishing was so-so. But he managed to come back with a great photo. Rifenburg used a Nikon P510 digital point-and-shoot camera to photograph fellow fisherman Mike Kosmide through the front window of their charted fishing boat. Kosmide wearing a bright yellow rain slicker, stands out against the neutral colors of the darker interior of the boat and the grey sky and ocean.

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Susan Scott of Stockton photographed the reflective windows on the UOP Professional Development Building on March Lane in Stockton. With a Canon Rebel DSLR camera she captured reflections of the surrounding trees with the angles of the window panes reminiscent of the rigid geometric patterns of abstract Dutch painter Piet Mondrian creation.

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Most people thought about photographing houses of other structures for their entries. Janet Baniewich of Stockton did a little out of the box thinking for her photo. While on a visit to Billings, Montana, she used an Apple iPhone 8 to photograph a portrait of her 2-year-old granddaughter Rose Holland as she looked out the window of her playhouse.

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Dave Skinner of Stockton captured the art of decay and dilapidation in his photo. He used a Nikon D7000 DSLR camera to photograph a broken window pane on an old west replica building at the Amador County Fairgrounds in Plymouth. Hazy reflections are caught on the dirt-covered glass while the cracks make an interesting pattern.

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In the old days of film there was a process called reticulation in which the film was processed in very warm to hot developer and then doused in a cool fixing bath. The method distorted the film giving it an pronounced grain pattern and sometimes even damaged the film to the point where parts of the emulsion sloughed off the base celluloid. It all created an artistic effect that nowadays you can just add a filter to a modern digital image.

Rick Wilmot of Lodi recently visited the Old Sugar Mill in Clarksburg. A former sugar manufacturing plant that stood vacant for years, the building has been repurposed to house several different wineries. With his Canon 7D Mk II DSLR camera Wilmot photographed a window that had been painted over long ago. Shot from the inside, the backlit glass shows a grainy texture and the scratches and cracks in the paint make it look like a frame of reticulated film all without scalding developer or digital filter.

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Sydney Spurgeon of Stockton is currently on a trip to Munich, Germany. On her travels she visited the former Dachau concentration camp which now stands as a memorial to the horrors of the Holocaust. Through the windows of a set of barracks she photographed others across the garrison compound. The think windows and its sills, silhouetted against the brighter outdoor light, almost look like prison bars, adding to the solemnity of the scene.

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Ward Downs of Stockton visited his stepdaughter Katelin Holloway at the Original Joe’s restaurant in San Francisco. He snapped a picture with his Samsung S8 smartphone as she held up her 4-month-old son Juno Ramirez to one of the restaurant’s windows for her 3-year-old son Luca Ramirez to see.

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On a trip to Columbia State Park in Tuolomne County, Diane Beltz of Stockton photograph a window with a sign panted on the glass. The sign, that said “Entrance on corner” with a finger pointing in that direction, stood out against the dark interior. A curtain falls in the opposite side of the frame from the sign and what appears to be the end of a wooden hangar peeks out from behind the far edge of the curtain and timidly points back at the finger.

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Teresa Mahnken of Morada who’s a realtor used a Samsung Galaxy 8 smartphone to photograph a window latch in a house she was showing near Victory Park in Stockton. Indirect light gently illuminates the old-fashioned latch and window frame to make the picture warm and inviting.

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Marty Kuslich of Stockton was sitting in his car eating for a meeting to start in Jackson when he saw a dog peeking out of a window of a nearby house. He used a Apple iPhone 8+ to photograph the pup as it did its job as a watch dog.

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Most of the entries concentrated on one or two windows but Carrie Walker of Stockton found a building that’s almost nothing but windows. She used an Apple iPad to photograph the new San Joaquin County Courthouse at night. The interior lights makes nearly every window in the building to glow against the black night sky.

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Steven Rapaport of Stockton used a Canon EOS 5D Mk IV DSLR camera to photograph his daughter Annie Hunt near a window at her home in Washington, D.C. He captures Hunt as she works on her computer and a raindrops from a storm outside obscures the view through the window.

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All of the photos can be seen in an online photo gallery at recordnet.com. A new challenge assignment will be issued on July 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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