Readers Photo Challenge: Three is a magic number

This month’s challenge assignment was the number 3. It could have been 3 similar objects or 3 dissimilar ones. It could have even been the number itself. While most were threes in found situations, a few people created the scenes themselves. Fourteen readers sent in 48 photos. Here are some of the top examples that show three is a magic number.


Dave Skinner of Stockton used a Nikon D7500 to photograph 3 trees near a vineyard in the fog near Flag City in Lodi.

Dave Skinner of Stockton went looking for photos at the Cosumnes River Preserve near Thornton but found one even before he got there. On a foggy morning he photographed three trees that were a part of group of them surrounding a vineyard near Flag City close to Highway 12 and I-5 with a Nikon D7500 DSLR camera. Silhouetted by the mist the trio of trees stand as silent sentinels above the grapevines.


Carolyn Silva of Jackson used a Nikon D7500 DSLR camera to photograph 3 decorative lights in her patio.

Carolyn Silva of Jackson also used a Nikon D7500 DSLR to photograph a set of decorative lights hanging in her backyard. The bulbs are backlit by the early morning sunlight which makes them and the dewdrops clinging on them stand out against the darker background. This same light glints off of the dark wire connecting the bulbs to give just a suggestion that it is there.


Kurt Gaetjen of Elk Grove used a Nikon D610 DSLR to photograph 3 sandhill cranes at the Cosumnes River Preserve near Thornton.

Kurt Gaetjen of Elk Grove used a Nikon D610 DSLR camera equipped with a 200-500mm lens and a 1.4 teleconverter, which extends the lens’ range to about 750mm to get his “three.” He photographed 3 Sandhill cranes at the Cosumnes River Preserve near Thornton. His shot brings the elegant birds in close enough to the viewer so that you can not only see the birds’ bright red patch on their foreheads clearly, but also the subtle shades of other colors in their plumage.


Teresa Mahnken of Morada used a Nikon D7200 DSLR to photograph three prints of a fork reflected in a kitchen counter at her home.

Teresa Mahnken created a still life for her “three” picture. Setting a simple 3-pronged fork on the kitchen counter at her home, she used a Nikon D7200 DSLR camera to photograph it as its reflection in the shiny surface to make an elegantly creative image.


Sydney Spurgeon of Stockton, used a Nikon D750 DSLR camera to photograph Matt Ward, left, and his sons Kellen, 5, top and Beau, 4.

Sydney Spurgeon of Stockton used a Nikon D750 DSLR to photograph Matt Ward and his sons Kellen, 5, and Beau, 4 in Walnut Creek. She captured their wonderfully happy expressions in a nice circular composition that shows the affection that have for each other.


Steven Rapaport used an Apple iPhone 8+ to photograph 3 windows at the El Torito restaurant in Stockton.

Stocktonian Steven Rapaport’s photo is a paragon of composition and color, in fact both go hand-in-hand in his shot. In seeing the El Torito restaurant on March Lane in Stockton, Rapaport saw how the bright yellow of its walls with the reddish frames of 3 windows and their white surrounds contrasted with the deep blue of the cloudless sky above. The red of the terra cotta roof tiles matched the window frames and served as a border between the 2 vivd colors. The colors and shapes help to make this shot stand out.


Susan Scott of Stockton used a Canon EOS Rebel XS DSLR to photograph a paper number 3 that she had taped up on a bathroom mirror and reflected into another mirror.

Susan Scott of Stockton came up with an inventive idea to photograph her “3.” She cut out the number 3 from a piece a paper then taped to her bathroom mirror. Then, using a second mirror, she reflected the image from the first mirror into the second to create the illusion of an infinity of 3s.


All of the entries can be seen in an online gallery at The next challenge assignment will be issued on Feb. 4.

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