Readers Photo Challenge: Out in the open

This month’s Readers Photo Challenge assignment was an open one, meaning that the choice of subject was up to each individual photographer. While that may sound like freedom to do what they want for some, for others it may seem like a lack of direction. The choice of subjects was wide ranging as the challenge suggests. There were images of wild animals and pets, children and adults, landscapes and urban scenes. Some people traveled far and wide to find their photos while others looked no further than their own backyard. 100 photos were sent in by 21 readers. Here are some of the top picks.

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Veronica Monzon of Stockton used a Samsung Galaxy S9+ Smartphone to photograph the Mare Island Naval Officer’s Quarters in Vallejo.

Veronica Monzon of Stockton was at work at the VA hospital at Mare Island in Vallejo on a foggy morning when she spotted an eerie scene. Through the dense mist she could make out the Mare Island Naval Officer’s Quarters. Although the classic home was obscured, bushes and trees in the foreground were closer and clearer and helped to frame the building. Monzon used a Samsung Galaxy S9+ smartphone to capture a scene shrouded in mystery.

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Carolyn Silva of Jackson used a Nikon D7500 DSLR camera to photograph a cow in a field beyond her backyard.

Carolyn Silva of Jackson look out a back window at her home on and spotted her photo. A trio of oak trees in a field behind her home stood out against a hillside in the distance. A light rain was falling which help to obscure the hill. Dried grass in the foreground helped to give the scene some bright color. With a Nikon D7500 DSLR camera Jackson waited for a grazing cow to munch its way into the frame to give the scene the perfect accent point.

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Dave Skinner of Stockton used a Nikon D7500 DSLR camera to photograph a pair of sandhill cranes during sunset at the Isenberg Sandhill Crane Reserve in Woodbridge.

Dave Skinner of Stockton usually like to use early morning light to capture his scenics but this time he chose the other end of the day. In the waning last bits of sunlight, Skinner watched as a flock of about a dozen sandhill cranes land in a flooded field at the Isenberg Sandhill Crane Reserve in Woodbridge. With a Nikon D7500 DSLR camera equipped with a 200mm-500mm zoom lens, he isolated 2 of the birds. The cranes were gracefully silhouetted against pink sunset reflected in the water as they forage for food. Skinner captured a perfect moment with a splash from one of the bird’s beak as it breaks the water in a stab for a tasty morsel.

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Holly Stone of Lodi used an Apple iPhone 7 to photograph her dog Brodie in a pile leaves while a neighborhood walk.

Walking is one of the few pleasures that are left to us during this time of the COVID-19 pandemic. While out on a daily walk Lodian Holly Stone’s golden retriever Brodie likes to romp in pile of fallen leaves in their neighborhood. Stone used an Apple iPhone 7 to make a cute photograph of Brodie as he sat in one of the piles, his golden coat perfectly matching the color of the leaves, with some of them in his mouth.

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Naomi Schwinn of Stockton used a Google Pixel 3a XL smartphone to take a selfie at her home.

Most selfies are simple snapshots that often forego the photographic principles of nice lighting, getting close and simple backgrounds but Naomi Schwinn of Stockton used all three to raise the level of her selfie. She used a Google Pixel 3a XL smartphone to photographer herself at her home. Using simple window light she’s illuminated with a nice soft glow. She keeps the camera relatively close and fills the frame with herself. The light falls off quickly to darkness behind her, eliminating most of the clutter in the background. Finally, when taking selfies people will look at their phone’s screen and not its camera. Schwinn looks directly into the lens and creates a connection between the viewer and her piercing brown eyes.

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Steve Gong of Stockton used a Sony A7R3 digital mirrorless camera to photograph a warbler in his backyard.

In comedy there’s a saying that timing is everything and so it is in photography. Stocktonian Steve Gong’s photo is the epitome of timing. With a Sony A7R3 digital mirrorless camera he captured a warbler in midair as it came in for a landing in tree in his backyard.

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John Ranelletti of Stockton used an Apple iPhone 12 to photograph a mesh truck bed cover at his home.

John Ranelletti of Stockton used an Apple iPhone 12 to photograph a mesh truck bed cover at his home. The netting’s shape looks very web-like, just on a much larger scale. Water drops for a recent rain clings to its strands making it look like a dew-covered spiderweb. I just don’t want to see the size of the spider that made it.

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All of the entries can be seen in an online gallery at recordnet.com. A new challenge assignment will be issued on February 9.

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