Outtakes: February 2018

“February is merely as long as needed to pass the time until March.” – J.R. Stockton

Apologies for the late post but here are my 10 favorite previously unposted photos from February.

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2/9/18:

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2/13/18:

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2/15/18:

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2/19/18:

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2/20/18:

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2/23/18:

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2/28/28:

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Throwback Thursday: Women’s day

Today is International Women’s Day. Here are some recent photos of women and girls from the recent past.

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(1/2/02) Instructor Kim Alxeander leads a group in a work out at the Jazzercise Center on Grand Canal Blvd. in Stockton.

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(2/3/02) UOP’s Estee Okumura runs into UC Berkley’s Courtney Scott at home plate during the Tigers’ softball home opener at Simoni Filed on the UOP campus

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(2/26/02) Rachel Moore of Lodi helps her 3-year-old son Alonzo with batting as her husband Tim throws the ball during an outing at Lodi Lake Park in Lodi.

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(7/26/09) New York Athletic Club’s Emily Feher blocks a shot during the USA Water Polo Women’s Open Championship game against Stanford Red at UOP’s Kjeldsen Pool in Stockton.

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(12/20/09) Emiko Harner, left, and Cristen Cademartori participate in a class at the Bikram Yoga Studio in Stockton.

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(11/13/11) Members of the Fresno-based Nkanjhmoob International dance group rehearse a Hmong dance at the annual Hmong New Year Celebration at the San Joaquin County Fairgrounds in Stockton put on by the Lao Family Community of Stockton.

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(2/16/13) Umpire Theresa Zumsteg of Modesto calls a safe call while participating in the Greater San Joaquin Umpires Association’s umpiring clinic at the Louis Park softball complex in Stockton.

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(2/27/14) Pacific Pep Band saxophonist Kelsey Rees plays with her face painted in the UOP colors of orange and black during a men’s basketball game against Gonzaga at UOP’s Spanos Center in Stockton.

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(1/20/15) Sarah Kuo plays bass with the latest iteration of the Brubeck Institute Quintet as they rehearse at Burns Tower on the UOP campus in Stockton.

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(1/21/15) Bree Ruonavaara holds her 12-week-old daughter Irieona Touh as they take in some afternoon sun on the balcony of their apartment on El Monte Street and Pershing Avenue in Stockton.

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(2/6/15) 4-year-old Amaiyah Pizano protects herself from the rain with a binder held over her hear as her mother, San Joaquin Delta College student Liz Lomas, carries her across the Delta campus in Stockton.

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(2/12/15) Doneishia Ligon, left, Rosalita Limas and Khamvilay Saradeth were a part of the hundreds of county workers participate in the kick off of the Wellness Walk Path, part of county’s new Employee Wellness Program, through downtown Stockton.

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(7/25/15) Omega White of Stockton shades herself with a parasol while listening to saxophonist Shawn Raiford perform at the Stockton Marina Jazz Festival held in the courtyard of the the Waterfront Towers in downtown Stockton.

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(10/16/15) University of the Pacific student Gina Myers carefully balances on a slackline set up between two trees on Hand Lawn as she practices her tightrope walking skills on the UOP campus in Stockton.

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(10/30/15) Stockton Police officer Pilar Battaglini, front, leads a flash mob dance put on by the police in front of Barnes and Noble in the Weberstown Mall in Stockton in conjunction with a book fair to raise money for a new juvenile hall.

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(3/20/16) Michelle Ruiz-Esparza blows on a conch shell during a performance of the Kalpulli Ketzoatl Ehecatl dance group at Draw It Out’s An Afternoon of Music and Dance event at the San Joaquin County Fairgrounds in Stockton.

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(3/20/16) Emmalee Yang with the Nkauj Hmoob Pacific dance group performs a Hmong dance at Draw It Out’s AN Afternoon of Music and Dance event at the San Joaquin County Fairgrounds in Stockton.

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(6/7/16) Assembly woman Susan Eggman Talamantes greet supporters  at the county Democratic Party’s election party at Valley Brew in Stockton.

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(7/17/16) Anastasia Pivovarova hits a backhand during a match against Alison Van Uytvanck in the USTA Stockton Challenger women’s tennis tournament final at the University of the Pacific’s Eve Zimmerman Tennis Center in Stockton.

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(8/10/16) 2-year-old chihuahua Sam balances on the shoulder of his owner Sabrina Price as she waits to pick up her granddaughter from her first day of school at Acacia Elementary School in Stockton.

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(8/20/16) Shaunte Neely of Vallejo dressed as X-Men superhero Storm at Stocktoncon at the Stockton Arena in downtown Stockton.

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(9/3/16) Karena Bradshaw performs a praise dance at the 7th annual Stockton Spirit Festival held at the Weber Point Events Center in downtown Stockton.

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(9/10/16) University of the Pacific’s Katrin Gotterba cheers a point scored by her team during a match against Oregon State in the Community Classic volleyball tournament at UOP’s Spanos Center in Stockton.

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(9/15/16) Singer Sara Estrella performs during the Lodi Musicians Showcase at the annual Grape Festival in Lodi.

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(9/26/16) San Joaquin Delta College student Aidee Hernandez of Stockton takes refuge from the sun under 2 trees while working on a landscape painting for a beginning painting class on the Delta campus in Stockton.

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(10/5/16) Lodi’s Paige Ward, left, Weston Ranch’s Felicity Pitts, Franklin’s Tatiana Ugale and Jelani Williford and Tokay’s Samantha Patton are female players from area prep football teams.

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(11/14/16) Bear Creek student Abigail Maina uses surveying equipment at the Non-traditional Employment for Women event at San Joaquin Delta College in Stockton. Nearly 200 girls from Tracy, Stockton, Lodi and Calaveras participated in the day-long event.

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(11/21/16) Volunteers hand out Thanksgiving food donations at the Emergency Food Bank in Stockton.

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(12/16/16) Christmas lights are reflected in the window of Paulette Daniel’s car as she looks at the impressive holiday display at the home of Jim Galindo at 122. E. Gibson Street in Stockton.

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(3/17/17) Winnie Williams of Sacamento takes a selfie in front a field of daffodils on the opening day of Daffodil Hill near the Mother Lode town of Volcano in Amador County.

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(4/16/17) Michelle Herrera is moved by the spirit of the Lord at the Stockton Citywide Easter Sunrise Celebration at the Weber Point Events Center in downtown Stockton.

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(6/25/17) Mya Fairbanks of Lodi takes advantage of the mild weather to get some exercise with a jump rope workout at Lodi Lake Park in Lodi

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(8/24/17) Cindy Johnston and her pet chihuahua Cookie play the accordion for passersby at the Throwback Thursday along Pacific Avenue on the Miracle Mile between Harding Way and Castle Street in Stockton.

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(10/8/17) Nora Duffy plays the congas in a weekly drum circle with a group of other percussionists  at DeCarli Waterfront Square in downtown Stockton.

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(12/2/17) Photographer Meghan Camino takes a picture at the Help-Portrait free picture event at the Stockton Shelter for the Homeless in Stockton.

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(12/26/17) Cherina Williams of Oakland has fun tubing down a snow hill at the Dell’Osso Holiday on the Farm in Lathrop.

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(1/10/18) Juliana Browning, left, pushes her 10-year-old daughter Alyssa Browning on her skates, center, who in turn pushes her 9-year-old step-sister Lucy Register riding a cart through Grupe Park in Stockton.

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(1/14/18) Cozetta Esater sings the gospel song “Precious Lord”at the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day observance at the Stockton Civic Memorial Auditorium in downtown Stockton.

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(1/21/18) Soprano Jessica Siena sings the aria from the 4th movement of Gustav Mahler’s Symphony no. 4 in G major in a performance with Pacific Symphony Orchestra musicians paired with about 40 select high school students in a concert at the Faye Spanos Concert Hall on the UOP campus in Stockton.

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(1/26/18) Mary Riordon, left, and Amanda Chang with the Silicon Valley Curling Club sweep the ice ahead of a moving stone to reduce friction to help its accuracy and distance during a game in the Stockton-based Granite Curling Club of California’s curling tournament at the Stockton Arena in downtown Stockton.

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Readers Photo Challenge assignment: Three is the magic number

The subject of the newest Readers Photo Challenge is the rule of thirds. It is a compositional rule of thumb of sorts. If you divide the camera’s frame into thirds with imaginary lines, both horizontally and vertically, where those lines intersect are what is know as points of interest. Placing your subject at or near one or more of those points will help draw the eye of the viewer to that point. It is more interesting than placing your subject boringly at the center of the frame.

As I said, the rule is more of a guideline. I find that subjects of most of my own photos fall somewhere outside of those points. But the rule of thirds is a good technique to know and practice as a starting point from which to explore your own compositional style.

The rule of thirds tends to work well when you have minimalist scene with a strong subject, such as a full moon in the sky or a lone person walking on an empty beach. Conversely, it can also help to make your subject more prominent in a busy scene.

Some cameras can have the option of a rule of thirds grid in the viewfinder or on the monitor if you want to be exact, but you don’t have to be precise as long as you get close.

There are other compositional techniques such as leading lines, diagonals and symmetry, among others. But the rule of thirds is usually one of the first that one learns.

Once mastered, or at least practiced, you’ll find that applying the rule of thirds automatically, almost without thinking. They you’’l see that 3 is truly a magic number.

How to enter:

1. Email your entries to coto@recordnet.com. Type in “Thirds” in the subject line.

2. Photos have to be shot between March 8 and March 22.

3. Entries are limited to no more than 12 photos from each photographer.

4. Include your name (first and last), hometown, and the kind of camera/lens you used and where it was taken (e.g.: “John Doe of Stockton. Location: Victory Park, Stockton. Camera: Canon Rebel T3 w/ 55-300mm lens”).

5. If there is a recognizable person in the photo, please identify them (name, age, hometown) and what they are doing in the photos, and if they’re related to you. (e.g.: Jimmy Doe, 8, of Stockton plays in the grass at Victory Park in Stockton).

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

7. The deadline for submission is Thursday, March 22. A photo gallery of all the pictures submitted will be run on March 29 at recordnet.com.

 

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Readers Photo Challenge: True blues

“If the sight of the blue skies fills you with joy, if a blade of grass springing up in the fields has power to move you, if the simple things of nature have a message that you understand, rejoice, for your soul is alive.” – Eleonora Duse

The subject of the latest Readers Photo Challenge assignment was the color blue. Some readers used the color as the main ingredient in their photo while others used it as just an accent. Either way, they showed that having the blues is something to be happy about. There was a bumper crop of entries. Twenty-one readers sent in 118 photos. Here are some to the top picks.

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It’s natural to think that the color of water is blue, but it’s essentially a colorless liquid. It gains color from what’s in it or the environment around it. The water in Lodi resident Holly Stone’s pool isn’t blue but it’s bottom is. She used an Apple iPhone 7 to photograph a blossom from a fortnight lily floating in her pool. The grainy blue bottom of the pool combined with ripples on the surface of the water makes it look like the flower is on some sort of blue sand.

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Some entries used blue just as an incidental accent to their photos. Teresa Mahnken of Morada used a Samsung Galaxy 8 smartphone to photograph her sister Sheri Keane releasing a lantern at the Lantern Festival in Phoenix, Arizona. Thousands of floating paper lanterns, rising aloft by the heat of candles suspended within them, look like a sea of stars against an inky black sky. Kean’s pale blue sweater serves as a cool counterpoint to warm glow of the lanterns.

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Lillian McDonell of Stockton was a passenger in her car on I-580 east of Livermore. With her Apple iPhone 6, she was taking a picture of a blue semi tractor-trailer rig in her car’s side mirror. The another semi, also blue, passed them up. That truck mostly fills McDonell’s photo. Its color, as well as its shadow, bathes her car, it side reflected in the mirror along with the truck behind, with a blue hue.

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Stocktonian Dave Skinner’s photo is a study in contrasts. On Valentine’s Day he photographed the awning at the Sizzler restaurant on Hammer Lane in Stockton. Skinner usually likes to shoot landscape sunrises with a Nikon DSLR camera, this entry was a sunset in an urban setting shot with a Samsung Galaxy 7S smartphone. Gentle clouds peacefully float horizontally until their abruptly interrupted by the hard edges and angles of the awning at the right edge of the frame. The sky’s subtle blue color contrasts with the bright and bold yellow and red of the awning.

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Steven Rapaport of Stockton swims almost daily at the In-Shape Marina Health Club in Stockton. On February 14 he photographed the pool before an early morning swim. The pools surface reflected the blue in the sky. The lane dividers and lines on the bottom of the pool head towards a vanishing point on the horizon and visually leads to the clouds tinged with the morning sunrise and the blue of the sky.

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Carrie Walker of Stockton used an Apple iPad to photograph her 2-week-old nephew Jax Walker at her home. She capture the baby as he slept peacefully wrapped in a blue and white blanket while sucking on a blue pacifier.

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Former Record publisher Roger Coover sent in a photo of Lake Tahoe on a windy day. The blue waters of the lake are turned into ocean-like surf by the strong gusts as they pound against a pine tree lined shore.

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Kurt Gatejen of Elk Grove used a Nikon D7100 DSLR camera to photograph a large flock of snow geese taking off at the Stone Lakes National Wildlife Refuge near Elk Grove. The white birds with lack wingtips fill the frame like a feathered mosaic against pale blue sky and clouds.

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Rick Wilmot of Lodi used a Canon EOS 7D Mk II to photograph an apricot tree just starting to bloom in his backyard. The red of the buds and the white of the lone blossom stands out against a deep blue sky.

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Sydney Spurgeon of Stockton used a Nikon D500 DSLR camera to photograph a sunset on the deep water channel in Stockton. She captured the golden glow after the sun sank below the horizon. Above that, the sky turns to a pale blue and proceeds to change to a deep indigo the higher in the frame it goes. To finish it off Spurgeon positioned a tree in the foreground as a silhouetted frame to the scene.

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Oran Schwinn of Stockton used a Canon EOS Rebel T6 DSLR camera to photograph a his Siamese fighting fish “Triton’ in a fish bowl at his home. Schwinn captured the pale yet iridescent fish’s scales and large circular highlight in the background created by the bowl’s curvature.

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Mike Ratekin of French Camp used a Canon 5D Mk III to photograph his granddaughter Josephine Ceja playing a youth soccer game in Ceres with the blue of her and her teammates uniforms providing the primary color in the shot.

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A photo gallery of all the pictures sent it is at recordnet.com. A new Readers Photo Challenge assignment will be issued on March 8.

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The frustrating nomenclature of photography

Photography has its own jargon and some of the terms can be obscure and confusing, which may be why some people find photography challenging to learn and even off putting.

I recently watched a video in which husband-wife photography team Tony and Chelsea Northrup take common photography terminology to task (https://fstoppers.com/humor/are-common-photography-terms-dated-and-stupid-218633). In the video, the Northrups suggest that the terms, some of which date back to nearly the beginning of photography, are not only archaic but confusing as well.

F/stops are a logarithmic doubling or halving of the lens aperture. The Northups say that the term “stop”, the setting from one aperture opening to the next, is confusing. My guess is that it probably stems from the lens indents which marked the settings. When turning the aperture ring there would be a definite click and the ring would stop at each click. Apertures on modern lenses are now controlled from digital displays on the camera, no clicking or stopping involved. I think a more accurate term would be “step” to represent from one full setting to another.

Related to the “stop” is the actual f/stop scale which is counterintuitive. The smaller numbers (f/2.8, f/4, etc) represent the larger aperture openings, while the larger numbers (f/16, f/22. etc.) correspond to the smaller openings.

Lenses that allow more light through or films that are more sensitive to light are called “fast,” which is ambiguous at best. The Northrups suggest that a better word would be “bright.”

Focal length refers to lens size but not very accurately. While a 300mm lens is longer than a 24mm one, both can be physically longer or shorter than their actual numbers. They actually refer to the angle of view that each lens provides. Depending on the imaging device, 2 lenses of different focal lengths can have the same angle of view. But the Northups didn’t offer an alternative for the term.

ISO refers to the light sensitivity of your camera (or film). It stands for the International Organization of Standardization, so really the acronym should be IOS, but there is a further twist. The organization picked ISO because they reasoned that the acronym would be different in different languages so they actually picked the word “iso,” which is Greek for “equal.”

They also take to task “depth of field.” It’s the distance, from front to rear, that’s in focus in the photo. The Northrups suggest that “depth of sharpness” is a more accurate, less confusing term. I think “depth of focus” can also serve the same purpose.

While I agreed with most of the Northrups’ complaints, there were a couple where I differed from them.

They proposed that “exposure time” replace the term shutter speed. I don’t think that’s necessary, the original seems to be pretty self explanatory (the speed at which the shutter falls) but how we refer to it can change. For a faster shutter we often say “raise your shutter speed” which sounds like you’re actually adding more time but in reality it means you’re using a setting that’s smaller fraction of time. I think describing shutter speeds as shorter or longer would be more accurate.

The Northrups don’t like the term “exposure triangle” for the relationship between aperture, shutter speed and ISO. They believe that it doesn’t take into account the fact that you can add light via a flash. But I think the triangle is a simple and accurate way to represent the link between the 3 factors.

All of theses terms are ingrained in photography and have endured for more than 150 years. But it is now the digital age and photography and the desire to learn more about it has become much more widespread, so perhaps over time people will come to change and accept a more clear and understandable terminology.

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Good moon rising

On January 31 the country was witness to a rare celestial event and I was determined to photograph it. A so-called “super blue blood moon” occurred in the wee hours of the morning of the month’s last day.

The event was a heavenly hat trick of sorts. First, it was a “supermoon.” That’s when a full moon is at its closest to the earth in its elliptical orbit. The moon appears slightly larger and brighter in the sky than a normal full moon. Secondly, it was a “blue” moon, the second of 2 full moons in a single month. The first was on January 1, coincidentally also a supermoon. Finally, it was also a full lunar eclipse, also known as a blood moon for the orange-red color that it turns at the peak of the eclipse.

The eclipse started at about 3:45 a.m. and ended about 7:00 a.m. but the period of totality was from about 4:50 a.m. to 6:07 a.m.

I decide to photograph the moon away from the distraction of city lights, choosing the Cosumnes River Preserve near Thornton. It’s relatively remote and dark but I wouldn’t have to travel for hours to get there. It also has a paved parking area were I wouldn’t have to worry about tripping over anything in the dark.

My biggest concern was the weather. If it was a cloudy night, then the moon wouldn’t be visible. Weather forecasts all predicted a partly cloudy morning. I went to sleep with my fingers crossed.

I opened my eyes around 4:00 a.m. and to my relief that sky was clear. The eclipse had already begun with about 1/3rd of the moon being covered by Earth’s shadow. I had gone to sleep on the living room couch and already dressed so not to disturb my wife when I woke up so, I was ready to go. But it turns out the clouds weren’t the weather condition I should have been worried about.

Once I was on the road I drove into a thick bank of fog. The further I drove, the thicker the fog became. At some points I only could see less than 50 yards ahead of me. It did not bode well that the fog would likely become even denser near the preserve due to all the standing water surrounding it, but still I hoped that luck would be with me and soldiered on.

When I arrived and got out the car, I realized the mist was tule fog: thick at ground level but less dense the higher you go. In fact, I could look straight up and see the stars. The moon, however, was at approximately a 45-degree angle from the ground right at the edge of the boundary between thick and thin. What’s worse it was setting, slowly descending into the fog.

Still, I held out hope. I set up my camera on a tripod and waited. The crescent slice of the white moon grew thinner and thinner. It was pretty cold but I had a nice heavy coat with a hood that kept me warm enough. I was surprise that a chorus of frogs also croaked in the dark coldness. A flock of what sounded white-fronted geese started their high-pitched honking about 200 yard north of my position.

After a little while I noticed that the fog was ever so slightly seemed to be ebbing away, almost imperceptibly at first. Then I could see the very top light of one of several TV transmission towers, which range from 1,000 to 2,000 feet tall, that were several miles eastward. A few more minutes and more of the towers’ lights could be seen.

Then the moon was completely enveloped in shadow. It grew redder as it the shadow deepened and stars that were obscured by the moon’s brightness became much more visible. Better yet, the fog continued to lessen.

I quickly got to work, getting telephoto shots at first then overall wide angle shots. I got photos with trees and water in the foreground and I thought to myself “what I need is to have people in the foreground.” As luck would have it, nearly as soon as that thought entered my head, a car pulled up and a young man and woman got out.

Siblings Angela and Samuel Tsubera from Elk Grove came out to see the super blue blood moon themselves. Samuel Tsubera had a camera and tried to take some photos but to no avail. He didn’t have a tripod so he could use the long exposures needed for the shot. I told him about a technique of nestling the camera on a bean bag in lieu of a tripod. Bean bags are something one normally has laying about, but you can use anything soft, like a wadded up towel or blanket to the same effect. He took off his coat and bunched it up atop of his car and nestled his camera in it, which seems to do the trick.

After a while the siblings stopped shooting and just stood by the edge of a flooded field to take in the scene. I got a shot of them as the fog dissipated even more revealing more stars and more of the towers in the distance.

By about 6:00 a.m. the totality was nearly over and the fog was starting to rise and thicken again. I could have stayed longer but I decided to call it a quits because I figured I had used up all the luck that I was going to get that morning.

Posted in Column, Nature, Night | Tagged | Leave a comment

Readers Photo Challenge assignment: Into the blue

Blue is a primary color along with red and yellow upon which all other colors are based and it’s the subject of this month’s Readers Photo Challenge.

Blue is the color of the sky and sea (though technically the sea’s color is reflected from the sky). There are bluebirds, blueberries and bluebell flowers. Blue is the color can be the color of sadness but can also symbolize loyalty and courage. It is the color of law enforcement and for some sports officials. There is royal blue, baby blue and midnight blue. Turquoise, cyan and periwinkle are also alternative shades of blue.

You can approach using a color, in this case blue, in a few different ways. First and the most obvious is that most of your photo can be blue. Think of the deep blue sea meeting a blue sky at the horizon or a field full of blue wildflowers covering a hillside. It could be part of you background like a bird flying against a deep blue sky or white puffy clouds floating against that same azure sky.

You an isolate the color against a neutral or contrasting color to make it pop out, like blue on a field of red or yellow. Or you an do just the opposite with the opposing color on a field of blue. Either technique also works well with the rule of thirds; dividing the frame into thirds horizontally and vertically and where the lines intersect become points of interest. Placing your subject near one of those points can make your composition stronger.

Time of day is important. You can shoot during the so-called “blue hours” of just before sunrise and after sunset where the lowlight imbues the ambient light with a blue hue. Obviously there is less light at those times of the day so watch your exposure. You may even need a tripod to help you hold the camera steady as it gets darker.

So whether you’re close at home or out in the wild blue yonder, shoot until you’re blue in the face ad send in your photos.

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How to enter:

1. Email your entries to coto@recordnet.com. Type in “Blue” in the subject line.

2. Photos have to be shot between February 8 and February 22.

3. Entries are limited to no more than 12 photos from each photographer.

4. Include your name (first and last), hometown, and the kind of camera/lens you used and where it was taken (e.g.: “John Doe of Stockton. Location: Victory Park, Stockton. Camera: Canon Rebel T3 w/ 55-300mm lens”).

5. If there is a recognizable person in the photo, please identify them (name, age, hometown) and what they are doing in the photos, and if they’re related to you. (e.g.: Jimmy Doe, 8, of Stockton plays in the grass at dusk at Victory Park in Stockton).

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

7. The deadline for submission is Thursday, February 22. A photo gallery of all the pictures submitted will be run on March 1 at recordnet.com.

Posted in Color, Column, Readers Photo Challenge | Tagged | Leave a comment

Outtakes January: 2018’s first days

“Nature is infinitely creative. It is always producing the possibility of new beginnings.” Marianne Williamson

January is over and, so far it’s been a productive beginning to the year. Here are 10 of my favorites from the month.

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1/10/18:

Juliana Browning, left, pushes her 10-year-old daughter Alyssa Browning on her skates, center, who in turn pushes her 9-year-old step-sister Lucy Register riding a cart through Grupe Park in Stockton. The two girls were trying out their new Christmas presents with a little help from mom.

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1/11/18:

Human trafficking survivor Denise Estrada, right, is hugged by Family Justice Center project director and family crimes coordinator for the San Joaquin County District Attorney’s Office Suzanne Schultz at the 2nd annual Human Trafficking Community Summit at the San Joaquin County Office of Education in Stockton.

Welder Nick Campo with Cronos Constuction works on building a new 30-ft-tall, 2-million gallon, ground level water tank on El Dorado and Jackson streets in south Stockton. The new tank replaces the 100-ft. tall water tower built in the 1940s which was removed in May due seismic concerns.

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1/14/18:

Sign painter Rod Lundy, owner/operator of the Eugene, Oregon-based Goldnrod Graphix, paints a new sign for the Twisted Barrel wine tasting room in downtown Lodi. Lundy, was in the Lodi wine country visiting friends when he got the opportunity to pick up a little extra work.

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1/18/18:

The Lodi Arch is reflected in a puddle left by a rain that soaked the ground at Pine and Sacramento streets in downtown Lodi.

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1/26/18:

Gillian Moffitt with the Wine Country Curling Club wears her sentiments about curling on her shirt while waiting to competing in the Stockton-based Granite Curling Club of California’s curling tournament at the Stockton Arena in downtown Stockton.

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1/27/18:

Raksmey Roeum Castleman meditates with her 7-year-old twin daughters Rhaiya, left, and Raiyah at Oak Grove Regional Park in Stockton.

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1/28/18:

Glenn Glissman, scout master of Lodi Troop 295, cuts a stripe off of a 25-foot by 15-foot flag which flew over the Bank of Stockton Quail Lakes Drive location, during Boy Scout Troop 10′s flag retirement ceremony in the parking lot of the Lincoln Center shopping mall in Stockton. Each stripe was cut off of the flag an burned individually as well as the filed of stars on blue.

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1/29/18:

Resident Floyd Wilson asks Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs a question during a town hall meeting concerning Swenson Park Golf Course at Sierra Middle School in Stockton.

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1/31/18:

Siblings Angela and Samuel Tsubera of Elk Grove watch a “super blue blood” moon from the Cosumnes River Preserve near Thornton in the early morning hours of Wednesday, January 30. The moon is a “supermoon” because it is closer the Earth than a normal full moon. It is also a “blue” moon because it is the second full moon in the same month (the first occurring on January 1). The blood moon references a lunar eclipse which at it’s peak colors the moon orange/red.

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Readers Photo Challenge: Rockin’ the house

Readers who sent in photos for the latest Photo Challenge assignment had rocks on their brains, but that was a good thing.

Some sent in rocks where they lay, others strategically placed them in their compositions. There were painted and/or decorated rocks while others shot rocks in their natural, undecorated state. There were photos of small stones while there were some that were literally mountain sides (one reader sent in the biggest rock of them all: the moon). Fifteen readers sent in 62 photos. Here are some that really rocked the house.

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This challenge was the perfect opportunity for Mitch Bazzarre of Stockton to try out a new Christmas present. He took a drive out to Pacifica in San Mateo County. He put his present, a 10-stop neutral density filter, on the end of the 16-35mm lens attached to his Canon EOS 6D DSLR camera. The filter, basically a very dark piece of glass, cuts out a lot of light and allowed Bazzarre to use a very long 10-second exposure. That long exposure made the constantly moving waves to appear mist-like around the stationary costal rock formations giving an eerie, ethereal look to his photo.

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After a recent rain Carolyn Silva of Jackson photographed water filling grinding holes at Indian Grinding Rock Historic State Park outside of Pine Grove in Amador County. With her Nikon D7500 DSLR camera she captured the surrounding bare tree limbs and the sun breaking through the clouds reflected in the water filling some of the more than 1,100 bedrock mortar holes created by Native Americans hundreds of years ago.

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Teresa Mahnken of Morada did some out-of-the-box thinking for her rock picture. In her dining room, she set up a string of lights on a curtain rod in the background and then a small lamp to illuminate her subject, a drink with large cubes or ice, or “on the rocks.” The background lights create a pleasing out-of-focus “bokeh” effect which are also reflected in the shiny surface of the table.

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Ward Downs of Stockton also did a little unorthodox thinking for his rock picture. He used a Nikon D7100 DSLR camera to photograph a seagull on a light pole from Pier 39 in San Francisco with Alcatraz Island and prision, also known as the “Rock,” in the background.

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Donn Sperry of Stockton went big with his rock photo. From the floor of Yosemite Valley he used a Sony Alpha NEX-7 digital mirrorless camera to photograph the Merced River with Cathedral Rocks and Bridalveil Falls in the background at Yosemite National Park.

All the images sent in can be seen in a photo gallery at recordnet.com. A new challenge assignment will be issued on February 8.

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What it takes

When I was a photo student some of my classmates were extremely talented. Some of them, like me, went on to careers in photography, others never picked up a camera again. For me I can’t think of a better job. Its challenging, yet fun and creative . It’s been over 30 years since those days and I often wonder why those who didn’t go into photography made that choice. You may think that being a photographer is an easy job, but it’s more than just pressing a button and you’re done.

In organizing the monthly Record’s Readers Photo Challenge, I see a lot of great photos, some of professional quality in creativity and execution. There are a lot of amateur photographers out there who are very gifted. Sure, it helps to have talent, but it takes more than just talent to be a professional photographer.

My former photo teacher used to say: “the difference between an amateur photographer and a professional, is that when you’re a pro you have to be creative next Tuesday at 3:00 p.m.” What he meant by that was as a working shooter you can’t wait for inspiration to hit you to make a good picture, you have to be ready when the job demands it. Some of that comes from practice and experience. It’s the thing that will your clients or bosses know that you’re reliable and dependable and able to get the job done.

A career in photography can entail long or odd workings hours. Wedding photographers give up many if not most other weekends for their work. Sports photographers usually have to work nights. All shooters have to often carry heavy equipment, sometimes waiting hours just for the right light or moment. Hard work can make up a lot for any shortcomings in talent or bolster the talent that one has.

For photographers who self-employed, they have all the preceding considerations plus they have to be able to run their own businesses. They have to think about things like business licenses, rent for storefronts and insurance for their equipment. They have to try and get their name out there through advertising, social media or even business cards. If they have employees, they have to worry about making payroll and maybe even health insurance.

Like anything else photography can be a career or just a job. The best photographers that I’ve seen are able to weather the trials and hardships that the job can bring and still keep the joy of photography alive within themselves.

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    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 ... Read Full
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