Readers Photo Challenge: Open season

The current Readers Photo Challenge assignment was an open one meaning the choice of subject matter was up to each photographer. Many chose to send in images of the natural world like landscapes and sunsets/sunrises. There were quite of few of animals, whether wild or pets. Children were also a popular subject.

Twenty-five readers sent in a whopping 148 photos. Here are the top picks.


As the saying goes “the early bird gets the worm,” or in Stockton resident Steven Rapaport’s case, gets the picture. Rapaport captured a beautiful sunrise on Eight Mile Road at White Slough in Stockton with his Canon EOS 5D Mk III DSLR camera. The ground is glistening with the remnants of an overnight rain shower and overhead the breaking storm clouds are painted with the morning’s warm glow. The picture has subtlety of tones and colors, yet also a dramatic impact at the same time.


Dave Skinner of Stockton is also an early riser. He used a Nikon D7000 DSLR camera to photograph a sandhill crane in a flooded field at Staten Island near Walnut Grove. The surrounding water is imbued with the color of the golden sunrise as the crane, silhouetted against the warm morning light, gracefully wades in the shallow water.


Mike Ratekin of French Camp photographed his 10-year-old granddaughter Josephine Ceja as she sits on a bench on his porch. Using a Canon EOS 5D Mk III DSLR camera he got her as she raised her hand to make it look like she’s holding the setting sun peeking out from beneath some dramatic storm clouds. Ratekin used a fill-flash technique, using a flash during the day, to illuminate the shadows.


Janet Baniewich of Stockton used a Nikon D3300 DSLR camera to photograph a man looking at a Christmas tree on a rainy night at Union Square in San Francisco. Just enough light passed through the umbrella to just make out the silhouette of the man while the tree’s festive lights are reflected in the wet ground.


There’s an old adage in show business attributed to comedian W.C Fields that goes “never work with children or animals,” meaning that they can upstage the star. However, if they are the main subject of your picture then their inherent cuteness can work for you.

Valerie Loza of Stockton used an Apple iPhone to photograph her 6-year-old granddaughter Nora Perez and her puppy Nana at her home. Loza got in close to the pooch and child as they crouched down on her carpeted floor to capture their adorableness.


Frank Whitney of Stockton used an Apple iPhone 7 Plus to photograph his granddaughters Addisyn Whitney, 5, and Brooklyn Whitney, 3, as they waited for the Polar Express train ride in Jamestown. His photo has an anticipatory quality as the children wait to start a Christmas adventure.


Sydney Spurgeon of Stockton used a Nikon D500 DSLR camera to photograph 2-month-old Calvin White of San Francisco. Asked to take a portrait of the infant by his grandmother, Spurgeon arrived at her home prepared to used artificial light but saw that there was a large picture window in the living room. She used the soft natural light coming through the window to create a gentle picture of the baby.


Carolyn Silva of Jackson used a Nikon D7500 DSLR camera to photograph blackberry vines near Clements. A blaze of color in the leaves that have turned to their fall colors pops out against the green of those that have yet to turn and the brown to those that have fallen from the vines and faded to brown.


Color is what Stockton resident Susan Scott’s photo is all about. She used a Canon EOS Rebel DSLR camera to photograph the leaves of a flowering pear tree in her front yard. The images is awash in the orange-red of the tree’s fall colors and that of its small perfunctory fruit.


Donn Sperry of Stockton used an Apple iPhone SE to photograph the sunset at Buckley Cove in Stockton. Sperry use the branches of a tree in the foreground frames the subtle tones of the storm clouds as the sun sets.


Normally a photographer can only have 1 top pick photo chosen per challenge assignment but Steven Rapaport deserves a little extra recognition. Most people shy away from taking pictures of people, especially candid ones. Rapaport was substitute teaching at Kohl Open School in Stockton when he shot this picture of 3 students working on a supplemental English program in class. His shot shows them engaged in their activity seeming without awareness of or care for the camera.


All of the entries can be seen in an online gallery at The challenge will be taking a bit of a break for a few weeks. A new assignment will be issued on January 8.

This entry was posted in Readers Photo Challenge and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. Post a comment

Post a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.

We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Rules. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or fill out this form.
  • 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
  • Categories

  • Archives