Readers Photo Challenge: Home is where the art is

This month’s assignment, “backyard” is inspired by the fact that nearly all of us are homebound by restrictions enacted to fight the coronavirus. The task was to look for creative ways to photograph things in, around or from your backyard. The boundaries were expanded a bit to include anything on your property but the idea was the same: look beyond the mundane and to see everyday things with a creative eye. Twenty-nine readers sent in 161 photos. Here are some of the top examples.


Carolyn Silva of Jackson used a Nikon D7500 DSLR camera to photograph a pair of cedar waxwings on a plum tree in her backyard.

There are times when everything comes together for the perfect photo. It was a rainy day when a pair of cedar waxwings landed on a plum tree outside of Carolyn Silva’s bedroom window in Jackson. The deep red leaves of the tree glistened from the raindrops clinging to them. Silva used a Nikon D7500 DSLR to photograph the birds as they faced each other making them look more like love birds rather than waxwings.


Janet Baniewich of Stockton used a Nikon D3300 DSLR camera to photograph a dogwood blossom in her backyard.

Janet Baniewich of Stockton also took advantage of wet conditions for her photo. Using a Nikon D3300 DSLR camera she photograph a single dogwood blossom, one of many strewn about her backyard patio, as it lay on the rain-covered ground. The flower’s vibrant colors stand out against the dark and neutral color of the ground.


Luis Rodriguez of Stockton used a Ricoh GR III digital point-and-shoot camera to photograph a HO scale miniature on a mirror in his backyard.

Rather than finding his photo, Luis Rodriguez of Stockton created it. He set a mirror on his backyard lawn which reflected the gentle, puffy clouds in the sky. He then set a HO scale figure of a fisherman in a boat, creating a scene of whimsy and fantasy.


Dave Skinner of Stockton used a Nikon D7100 DSLR camera to photograph roses in his kitchen.

Dave Skinner of Stockton brought a little bit of his backyard inside. He used a couple of roses from his yard into his kitchen and set up a still life scene. He put one in a cup and set the other one on the counter. Using window light as his main illumination source, Skinner used a LED flashlight to help fill in some of the shadows. With his Nikon D7100 DSLR camera he created a still life that would make a Renaissance master proud.


Steve Gong of Stockton used a Sony A7R III digital mirrorless camera to photograph Brookside Lake from his Backyard.

Steve Gong of Stockton used time to his advantage for his backyard photo. He set his Sony A7R3 digital mirrorless camera on a tripod overlooking the manmade lake that his house backs up to. The very long 6 to 10 minute exposures he used caused the clouds to appear streaked, giving an otherwise static photo a dynamic look.


Justin Grant of Stockton used an Apple iPhone to photograph an orange slice at his home.

Justin Grant of Stockton employed some nice backlighting for his photo. He held up an orange slice against the morning light coming in through the kitchen window and with his Apple iPhone 8 captured the rich color and textures of the fruit.


Mike Ratekin of French Camp used a Canon EOS 5D Mark III to photograph his granddaughter Cali Lopez praying at a cross that he and his wife Josephine made for Easter in their backyard.

Mike Ratekin and his wife Josephine built a cross in their backyard to celebrate Easter. He photographed his 5-0year-old granddaughter Cali Lopez praying in front of it. Ratekin took advantage of the “blue hour” that occurs at dusk to to get a rich indigo of the evening sky and then used an off-camera flash to illuminate his granddaughter and the cross.


Jessica Flores of Stockton used Nikon D3200 DSLR camera to photograph a sunset from her backyard.

Jessica Flores of Stockton used a Nikon D3200 DSLR camera to photograph the sunset from her front yard. She captured the nice, crisp silhouettes of trees across the street against the warm colors of the sunset soaked up in the clouds in the sky.


Tom LaBounty of Stockton used a Sony A7R IV digital mirrorless camera to photograph the moon from his backyard.

Stocktonian Tom LaBounty’s photo isn’t of backyard but rather is of something that could be seen from it. In fact, it could be seen far, far away. LaBounty used a Sony A7R IV digital mirrorless camera Sony 100-400mm telephoto zoom lens with 2X extender, effectively making it an 800mm lens, to photograph the full moon, more than 238,000 miles away. Many people think that to take a picture of the moon at night that one has to use a very high ISO or long time exposure, but the light that falls on a full moon is the same as what falls on Earth during the day, so the exposure is a daylight one which is what LaBounty did.


All of the photos entered can be seen in a gallery at A new challenge assignment will be issued on April 28.

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