Readers Photo Challenge assignment: Cityscapes

“But a city is more than a place in space, it is a drama in time.” – Patrick Geddes

(4/20/13) A view of Manhattan at night from the Top of the Rock observation deck at 30 Rockefeller Center in New York City. [CLIFFORD OTO/THE RECORD]

Cityscape is the subject of the latest readers Photo Challenge assignment. More than just images of buildings, a cityscape involves presenting an urban environment in a picturesque and dramatic way, much like a landscape does for nature.

(3/8/12) The onramp to the westbound Crosstown Freeway from Stanislaus Street in downtown Stockton. [CLIFFORD OTO/THE RECORD]

While landscapes have majestic mountains, tall skyscrapers can be considered mountain-like with their imposing solidity. While light poles, traffic lights, power lines and street signs are to be avoided in a landscape, they can be used as accents in a city images, much like when the painter Bob Ross would add a “happy little tree” to a corner of one of his paintings.

(11/22/02) The setting sun reflects off the windows of the Waterfront Towers building as fishermen troll the yacht harbor in downtown Stockton. [CLIFFORD OTO/THE RECORD]

Like the landscape, sunsets and sunrises are the best time to photograph in a city. The orange-red tones of a setting or rising sun can imbue the cold hardness of glass, brick and steel with an inviting warmth.

(2/28/18) Although Stockton isn’t a 24-hour city like New Your City, there are still sights to see and things to do after the sun goes down. The Haggin Museum is open until 9:00 p.m. every 1st and 3rd Thursday in Victory Park in Stockton. [CLIFFORD OTO/THE RECORD]

Night photos are also great for cityscapes. Many cities come alive at night, visually speaking, even those that you may not think have much of night life. Buildings tend to be lit from within, giving them a jack-o-lantern-like glow. Also the darkness of night can lend an air of mystery to your photos (A tip on night shots: use a tripod to help hold your camera still and go with a friend because there is safety in numbers).

(2/16/18) Although Stockton isn’t a 24-hour city like New Your City, there are still sights to see and things to do after the sun goes down. The University Waterfront Plaza Hotel is reflected in McLeod Lake at night in downtown Stockton. [CLIFFORD OTO/THE RECORD]

Just as in landscape photography, water can help to enhance a cityscape. Nearly every city has some sort of water feature. You can use a fountain as a foreground for your photo. You can catch refections in still puddles, rivers or lakes within the city.

(4/23/10) The Court Tower building is reflected in the walls of the Chase Bank building in downtown Stockton. [CLIFFORD OTO/THE RECORD]

Speaking of reflections, you can uses the reflections off of windows of cars or other buildings to photograph your city scene.

(4/19/13) People on their way to work walk through the financial district of Manhattan, New York City. [CLIFFORD OTO/THE RECORD]

Don’t forget to add people to your pictures. They help to add scale and context to your images. For portraits you can use the urban setting as a background for them.

(4/20/13) The One Fifth Avenue Building is framed through the Washington Square Arch in Manhattan, New York. [CLIFFORD OTO/THE RECORD]

This assignment is obviously right up the alley of those who like taking pictures in the city, but for those who like nature and landscapes, many of the techniques are the same and it just takes a slight adjustment to get into an urban state of mind.

(9/19/18) Golden sunlight reflects off of the windows of the Medco-Dental Building during sunset in downtown Stockton. [CLIFFORD OTO/THE RECORD]

How to enter:

1. Entries can be emailed to coto@recordnet.com. Type in “City” in the subject line

2. Photos have to be shot between August 27 and September 10.

3. The number of photos is limited to no more than 12 per person

4. Include your name (first and last), hometown, the kind of device you used, what the photos is of and where it was taken. (eg.: “John Doe of Stockton. iPhone6s. The Lodi Arch at Pine and Sacramento streets in Lodi.”).

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, of Stockton, walks under the Lodi Act on Pine and Sacramento streets in downtown Lodi”).

6. Please feel free to include any interesting anecdotes or stories on how you took the picture.

7. The deadline for submission is September 10. The top examples will be published on September 17 with an online gallery of all the photos on the same day.

(2/1/19) Rain drops cling to the window of a car near the Regal Stockton City Centre Stadium 16 movie theaters at Janet Leigh Plaza in downtown Stockton. [CLIFFORD OTO/THE RECORD]

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