Readers Photo Challenge assignment: Bringing out the animal in you

(3/24/02) Ron, left, and Marti Inouye of Morada, take their pet llamas, Sir Lipton, left, and Earl Grey, out for a weekend walk down Quashnick Road near Oakwilde Avenue in Morada. (Camera: Nikon D1H. Lens: Nikon 70-200mm @ 155mm. Exposure: 1/500th sec. @ f/8. ISO: 200).[CLIFFORD OTO/THE RECORD]

Animals are the subjects for June’s Readers Photo Challenge. Most people have an affinity to on sort of creature or another and this challenge will encompass them all: mammals, birds, reptiles fish and insects. Whatever strikes your fancy and you can photograph it is fair game.

(12/1/17) 8-month-old Pomeranian Simvol Goda Kelly from Klamath Falls, Oregon awaits judging at the Golden Valley Kennel Club’s annual dog show at the San Joaquin Fairgrounds in Stockton. [CLIFFORD OTO/THE RECORD]

(7/30/18) Cathy Garvish of Lodi paddles a kayak with her 5-year-old border collie/doberman pinscher-mix Zane aboard during the Headwaters Kayaks’ Dog Paddle event at Lodi Lake in Lodi (Camera: Nikon D5. Lens: Nikkor 200-400mm w/1.7 extender @ 650mm. Exposure: 1/1000th sec. @ f/9. ISO: 800). [CLIFFORD OTO/THE RECORD]

Pets are a natural source of subjects for most people. Some can ham it up for the camera others shy away from it. Pets are a part of our families. You know your pet the best. Try to capture it’s personality as well as its likeness. Also you can control when and where you take your pet’s picture. Look for good light, like in the early morning or late afternoon and watch your backgrounds. Try to avoid cluttered and visually confusing backdrops. Also look for people with their pets. Human/animal interactions can make for some great moments to capture with your camera.

(11/1/07) Shrouded in a blanket of fog, horse graze in a pasture along Highway 12 near Wallace (Camera: Nikon D2x. Lens: Nikon 80-200mm @ 200mm. Exposure: 1/250th sec. @ f/8. ISO: 200) [CLIFFORD OTO/THE RECORD].

(6/20/15) A tourist takes pictures of sea lions on a rocky outcropping at La Jolla Cove in San Diego (Camera: Canon EOS 20D. Lens: Canon 70-200mm w/1.4. extender @ 260mm. Exposure: 1/500th sec. @ f/5.6. ISO:200). [CLIFFORD OTO/THE RECORD]

While you can use a wide angle lens to photograph your pets, they are used to you and usually will allow you to get close to them with a camera, other kinds of animals are another story. Domesticated animals such as cows or sheep are usually seen in a field or pasture. If you can’t get permission from the farmer then you’ll have to photograph them from the side of the road, requiring a long telephoto lens if you want to get a close, tight shot. Animals and birds found in the wild are usually very skittish and can sense you coming a mile away. Long lenses are a must for taking pictures of them. A word of warning about wild animals. Many people don’t realize that they are really wild and are unpredictable and dangerous. Too many people try to take a selfie with a sea lion or bear only to get bitten, mauled or even killed. Keep your distance and stay safe.

(12/26/07) A mountain lion rests in it’s enclosure at the Micke Grove Zoo. The camera is too far away from the fence so that it still can be seen in the photo (Camera:Nikon D2x. Lens: Nikkor 1/12th sec. @ f/5.6. ISO: 400). [CLIFFORD OTO/THE RECORD]

(10/27/05) A mountain lion rests in its enclosure at the Micke Grove Park Zoo in Lodi. The camera is close enough to the fence to render it basically invisible (Camera: Nikon D2H. Lens: Nikkor 80-200mm @ 200mm. Exposure: 1/160th sec. @ f/2.8. ISO: 200). [CLIFFORD OTO/THE RECORD]

A safe way to photograph wild or exotic animals is to simply go to a zoo. With lions, tigers, bears and more, you can see animals that you’d have to travel across the globe to see. Some zoo enclosures can present problems in shooting. Chainlink fences can pose a obstacles to shoot through. There’s a trick to minimizing or even eliminating them. Using a telephoto lens, try to get as close to the fencing as you can while simultaneously having the animal be as far away from the fence as possible. This will throw the fence extremely out of focus, rendering it virtually invisible to the camera.

(5/7/08) A California sea lion basks in the sun at the end of a dock at the downtown yacht harbor in Stockton (Camera: Nikon D300. Lens: Nikkor 300mm. Exposure: 1/500th sec. @ f/8. ISO: 200) [CLIFFORD OTO/THE RECORD]

The key to taking any animal picture is patience. In photographing a wild animal you may have stalk it much like a hunter would. Even after you find one you may have to wait for it to get into the right light or the perfect place in your composition. Some pets may become over excited. It may run around frantically because of it, making it difficult to get a shot of it. You may have to wait for it to calm down enough for you to get a picture. Others are shy and you may have to wait for it to open up enough to get a shot.

(8/20/14) 19-month-old Samantha Morgan of Stockton pets a llama at the Critter Corral at the San Joaquin County Historical Museum in Micke Grove Park in Lodi (Camera: Nikon D3s. Lens: Nikkor 70-200mm @ 160mm. Exposure: 1/250th sec. @. f/4. ISO: 200). [CLIFFORD OTO/THE RECORD]

Whether wild or domestic, animals are fascinating subjects and with a little patience you can get a great photo of them.

(3/2/15) A baby golden lion tamarin, born of Jan. 29, clings to the back of its mother in their enclosure at the Micke Grove Zoo in Lodi (Camera: Nikon D3s. Lens: Nikkor 200-400mm @ 400mm. Exposure: 1/500th sec. @ f/4. ISO: 800). [CLIFFORD OTO/THE RECORD]

How to enter:

1. Entries can be emailed to Type in “AnimalPics” in the subject line

2. Photos have to be shot between June 4 and June 18.

3. The number of photos is limited to no more than 12 per person
4. Include your name (first and last), hometown, and the kind of device you used and where it was taken (eg.: “John Doe of Stockton. Micke Grove Park, Lodi. iPhone6s”)

5. If there is a recognizable person in the photo, please identify them (name, age, hometown) and what they are doing in the photos (eg.: Jane Doe, 15, walks her dog Skippy through 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 June 18. The top examples will be published on Tuesday, June 25 with an online gallery of all the photos on the same day.

(3/20/08) A Maylasian tiger looks up from eating in its enclosure at the San Diego Zoo. (Camera: Canon EOS 20D. Lens: Canon 70-200mm @ 200mm. Exposure: 1/500th sec. @ f/5.6. ISO: 200) [CLIFFORD OTO/THE RECORD]

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