Author Archives: Clifford Oto

Clifford Oto

Clifford Oto, an award-winning photographer, has been with The Record since 1984. Through the changes from black and white to digital photography, he’s kept his focus on covering the events, people and life of San Joaquin county. This blog deals with photography, camera gear, the photos taken for the paper and the stories behind them.

Readers Photo Challenge: Raise a glass

The subject for the June/July Readers Photo Challenge was “glass.” The difficulties for the assignment were twofold. First, photographing glass one has to deal with it’s physical qualities. Glass is often transparent so properly dealing with the background very important. It’s also shiny and one has to also look to eliminate unwanted reflections or incorporate […]

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Working within the limits

I had a photo instructor who had a theory that stated, given 2 students of equal talent and experience, and one would get unlimited resources of film and equipment while the other would only receive a single camera and lens and just one roll of film, the one with the most limitations would most likely […]

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Sideways thinking

We as human beings have evolved to see things horizontally. Our field of view spans about 200 degrees side to side, though much of that is peripheral vision, while our vertical sight range is around 150 degrees. Yet we insist on taking photos with our cellphones vertically. It’s not a problem with DSLR cameras because, […]

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Readers Photo Challenge: As smooth as glass

The subject for the next readers Photo Challenge assignment is as clear as day: glass. Glass has some interesting qualities that can make it challenging to photograph well. Most glass is clear, sometimes to the point of near invisibility. It’s only when we see reflections upon it, from light or the surrounding scenery, that we […]

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Readers Photo Challenge: Phoned it in

The latest challenge assignment eschewed the use of fancy DSLR cameras and instead use a simple cellphone to take a photo. Cellphones are as common as the air we breathe. Nearly everyone has one. That pervasiveness often lends itself to the perception that cellphone photos are not as good as images take with other kinds […]

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Beginning with the finished product

I recently came across this quote by the legendary photography pioneer Edward Steichen: “Every other artist begins with a blank canvas, a piece of paper…the photographer begins with the finished product.” I don’t believe that Steichen was criticizing or downplaying photography’s artistic role compared to the other arts. I see it as a statement on […]

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One intense morning

On Tuesday, May 26 I woke up as usual. I didn’t have any early morning assignments so I was puttering around the house before going into work. I checked social media for anything interesting when I saw a photo of large column of smoke rising from a large fire. It didn’t mention where, but I […]

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Readers Photo Challenge assignment: Hold the phone!

Most of the challenge’s assignments are geared towards DSLR users. Those “big” cameras have great controllability in terms of exposure and depth of field and flexibility with their interchangeable lenses. But for this challenge, we’re going to ask you to put down those cameras, reach into your back pocket and use your cellphone. Cellphones, and […]

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Readers Photo Challenge: Small wonders

In the latest Readers Photo Challenge, entrants were asked to forsake visions of grand vistas and to think small. “Closeups” was the assignment and readers abandoned the normal sized world for one that embraces the minuscule. The found whole new worlds, most not farther than their own homes. 177 photos were sent in by twenty-nine […]

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Is now photography’s golden age?

Some photographers, especially those of my generation and older, yearn for the old days of film. They think that things have gotten too easy in the digital age and they lament the fact that the photography’s golden age of Ansel Adams, Dorothea Lange, Gordon Parks, and others, is gone. While it’s true that those early […]

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