Readers Photo Challenge assignment: The happiest color

“Orange is the happiest color.” – Frank Sinatra

The subject of the latest Readers Photo Challenge assignment is the color orange. According to, the color didn’t have a name before the 16th century in Europe. It was referred as yellow-red or sometimes saffron, which has more of a yellow hue. It wasn’t until Portuguese traders brought the orange tree from Asia was the color named after the ripe citrus fruit.

(11/5/13) A bicyclist rides over the Donald B. Wood pedestrian bridge over the Calaveras River in Stockton during sunset. [CLIFFORD OTO/THE STOCKTON RECORD]

Orange is also the color of other fruit and vegetables. Carrots, tangerines, pumpkins, mangoes and yams all have various shades of orange. You can arrange them in a still life or go out and photograph them in a field, orchard or even backyard garden.

[8/15/20] Sunlight shines through an orange slice in Record photographer Clifford Oto’s backyard.. [CLIFFORD OTO/THE STOCKTON RECORD]

On the color spectrum orange is a secondary color between red and yellow. Indeed, mixing equal parts of each color will render orange. It’s usually a bold, vibrant and dynamic color. Anything orange in a photo will likely have the viewer’s eye drawn toward it which makes it a very powerful compositional element.

(10/31/12) Rain drops cover a rose in Clifford Oto’s backyard. [CLIFFORD OTO/THE STOCKTON RECORD]

From poppies to begonias to marigolds there are many varieties of flowers that are orange. Try shooting extreme closeups of flowers to get the most out of them.

(1/2/19) A Stockton firefighter battles fires in 2 large dumpsters full of cardboard to be recycled at the Goodwill facility on Market and Grant streets in downtown Stockton. The flames can be spectacular but the addition of the firefighter helps to give the photo context. [CLIFFORD OTO/THE STOCKTON RECORD]

Fire makes a good subject for the color orange. You can shoot a single candle in the dark or a campfire or fire pit in your backyard.

(4/8/12) Alfred Smith with the Reach Worship Center gives the sermon at the 13th annual Easter Sunrise Service at the Weber Point Event Center in downtown Stockton.[CLIFFORD OTO/THE STOCKTON RECORD]

Orange is the color of sunsets and sunrises. The sky usually turns orange just as the sun sinks or rises, depending on the time of day, low in the sky. Too long after a sunset or before a sunrise, the sky will be hues of pink and purple.

(9/19/18) A fisherman fishes during sunset at McLeod Lake from the Joan Darrah Promenade in downtown Stockton [CLIFFORD OTO/THE STOCKTON RECORD]

You can use the color as an accent to draw attention to your subject in an otherwise neutral scene. Or you can use it as the primary color where the majority of your image is orange. Just make sure that it’s the main reason for you photo.

(5/6/11) Carrots sold on the first day of the downtown Farmer’s Market on Main Street between San Joaquin and Hunter Street in Stockton. [CLIFFORD OTO/THE STOCKTON RECORD]

How to enter:

1. Entries can be emailed to The preferred format is jpeg. Type in “Orange” in the subject line.

2. Photos have to be taken between August 18 and September 1.
3. The number of photos is limited to 10.

4. Include your name (first and last), hometown, the kind of device you used, how you got your close up and where the photo was taken (eg.: John Doe of Stockton, Canon Rebel T6i with 50mm macro lens. At Victory Park in Stockton).

5. If there is a recognizable person or persons in the photo please identify them (name, age, hometown) and describe what is going on in the photo (eg.: “Jane Doe, 10, wears an orange hat at Victory Park in Stockton”). Please indicate how they are related to you (friend, mother, father, daughter, son, etc).

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

7. The deadline for submission is September 1. The top examples will be published on September 8 with an online gallery of all the photos on the same day at

(5/2/18) After playing a round of golf Sharon Aldred shops for some oranges at the first certified farmers market at the Swenson Park golf course in Stockton. [[CLIFFORD OTO/THE STOCKTON RECORD]

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