Readers Photo Challenge: Seeing red

The subject of the latest Readers Photo Challenge assignment as the color red. Red is a bold and bright color. Most people sent in photos of things that were fire-engine or stop-sign red. A few others found shades that were more subtle and nuanced. Whatever way they approached the subject, this assignment got them seeing red.

Twenty readers sent in 84 photos. Here are the top picks.

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Jonathan Wong of Elk Grove followed one of the first rules of portraiture: give your model something to do. On a wet and grey day, he photographed 17-year-old Justine Mar with a Canon 80D DSLR camera at the Laguna Town Hall in Elk Grove. Wong had Mar leap into the air while holding a red umbrella. The resulting photo, with her bright smile and scarlet umbrella as she kicks up her heels, gives color and life to an otherwise drab day.

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Red is the color of heat and that was Stocktonian Matt Baker’s take on the assignment. Using a Nikon D7500 DSLR camera, he photographed docent Elton Carnes in the blacksmith shop at the San Joaquin County Historical Museum at Micke Grove Park in Lodi. Carnes worked making items for the museum’s gift shop. The red hot fire stands out against the surrounding blue-black coals and metal that have yet to heat up.

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A bright color like red can be used as a compositional element. Sydney Spurgeon of Stockton, who’s attending the Rocky Mountain School of Photography in Missoula, Montana, used to great effect in her wintry picture. With a Nikon D500 DSLR camera she photographed a skier making his way up to the ski lift for another run.The photo, which is basically a landscape and is, for all intents and purposes, a colorless one, with dark – almost black – trees covered with white snow. The the skier is only a very tiny a part of it but stands out because of his bright red coat. You can even make out his even tinier red ski boots.

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Hernando Haddaway of Stockton took a night shot for his entry. He photographed a Mexican restaurant on Wilson Way in Stockton. With a a Fuji X-Pro2 digital mirrorless camera he captured the red light of a neon Dos Equis sign in one of the windows. I liked how he also managed to include the spill over of red light onto the sidewalk and roof overhang in the image.

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Carolyn Silva of Jackson took a picture of a red fence in her neighborhood. A climbing grape vine, which has long lost its leaves to fall, weaves itself onto the fence like a spider’s web. The fence’s rigid uniformity and bright red color stand out against the drab vine. Using a fill-flash technique on her Nikon D7500 DSLR camera, she illuminated the fence to help her match the brightness clouds in the background to even out the exposure between the two.

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Teresa Mahnken of Morada found a more understated shade of red in her photo. A mated pair of red-red-shouldered hawks have been flying around her neighborhood for about a week. With her Nikon D3300 DSLR camera equipped with a 70-200mm telephoto zoom lens, she photographed one of them soaring overhead. The raptor’s feathers are more of a rust color than a bright red, but still, it was enough to make it stand out against the blue sky.

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How do you make an all-black dog fit into the “red” challenge? Why put a red hat on him, of course. Steven Rapaport of Stockton put a red baseball cap on his 7-month-old Labrador puppy Teddy as he took a nap on his couched then photographed him with his Canon G7x Mk II digital point-and-shoot camera.

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Carrie Walker used an Apple iPad to photograph the bright neon marquee at the Bob Hope Theater which stood out against the black night in downtown Stockton.

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All of the entries can bee seen in an online gallery at recordnet.com. A new assignment will be issued on March 5.

You can contact photographer Clifford Oto at (209) 546-8263 or coto@recordnet.com.

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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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