Readers Photo Challenge: Face the music

The current Readers Photo Challenge assignment was about faces. Landscapes and nature are the most popular subjects for most photographers. Taking pictures of people can be out of the comfort zones of many people. But for this challenge readers stepped up, faced the music and overcame any reluctance they may have had and came up with some great images. Twelve readers sent in 41 photos. Here are some of the top examples.


Sydney Spurgeon of Stockton used a Nikon D750 DSLR camera to photograph 5-year-old Izzy Martinez at the University of the Pacific in Stockton.

While portraits aren’t some people’s cup of tea, others have an affinity for it. Sydney Spurgeon of Stockton submitted a portrait of 5-year-old Izzy Martinez at the University of the Pacific. With her Nikon D750 DLSR camera, she fills the frame with a head and torso shot. The background is out of focus enough as to give only impressions of color which brings more attention to the girl. The child’s expression and natural pose helps to give the photo some joy and spontaneity even though it’s a posed shot.


Cynthia Barker of Stockton used an Apple iPhone 8 to photograph her daughter Beriah with her cat Patchie at her home.

Cynthia Barker of Stockton sent in a heartwarming of her daughter Beriah and her cat Patchie. With an iPhone 8, she got in so close that she eliminated the background all together, so she didn’t have to worry about any distracting details. As Beriah warmly embraces the cat she has a subtle look of love and happiness on her face.


Carrie Walker of Stockton used an Apple iPhone 8 Plus to photographer her 2-year-old nephew Jaxlee Walker at her home.

Carrie Walker photographed her 2-year-old nephew Jaxlee Walker after a harrowing experience. The boy went into anaphylactic shock after eating a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Fortunately, he was diagnosed a week early as having an allergy to shrimp, so the family had an EpiPen on hand. After administering the shot and calling 911 he recovered quickly form the incident. Walker used an Apple iPhone to capture her nephew with an exhausted look of relief on his face as he lay on the family’s couch.


Josephine Ratekin of French Camp used an Apple iPhone to photograph her 4-year-old grandson Santos Rangel at her home.

Apple must realize the problem that most people have with cluttered and distracting backgrounds. That must be the reason why that they’ve come up the the “stage lighting mode” on their iPhone’s cameras. Though some technical voodoo they’re able to blackout the backgrounds when in that mode. Josephine Ratekin of French Camp used it to her advantage when photographing her 4-year-old grandson Santos Rangel at her home. She actually got in close enough to eliminate most of anything that would be behind the boy and the camera did the rest


Mike Ratekin of French Camp used a Canon 5D Mk III to photograph Kassandra Rodriguez in French Camp.

Ratekin would say that her husband Mike is actually the photographer of the family. He took maternity shot of Kassandra Rodriguez in a flower garden of his home in French Camp. Ratekin took advantage the late afternoon light to illuminate Rodriguez and he used an off-camera flash to fill in the shadows. The flowers around her provide some nice spot color to the scene.


Jessica Flores of Stockton used a Nikon D3200 DSLR camera to photograph her son Mitch Flores piloting his boat on the deep water channel in Stockton.

Jessica Flores of Stockton took a picture of her adult son Mitch Flores while on a boating trip on the deep water channel in Stockton. With a Nikon D3200 DSLR she photographed him from behind as he piloted their MasterCraft boat. But instead she captured his face as it was reflected in the review ski mirror ahead of him and captured sort of a double portrait of her son.


Dave Skinner of Stockton used a Nikon D600 DSLR camera to photograph co-worker Satjyot Gil at his job KP, LLC in Stockton.

Dave Skinner of Stockton is most comfortable doing landscapes/nature photography and this assignment took him out of his comfort zone. He photographed co-worker Satjyot Gil at their place of work KP, LLC in Stockton. He posed Gil near a large doorway in a warehouse. Soft indirect sunlight illuminated Gil’s face and falls off to darkness quickly in the background. With a Nikon D600 DSLR Skinner got in tight on Gil’s face which eliminated what little background count be seen even further.


All of the photos sent in can be seen in an online gallery at A new assignment will be issued on November 17.

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