Readers Photo Challenge: Upon reflection

“Reflections” is the topic of the latest Readers Photo Challenge assignment. Using a reflection in a photo gives one the unique opportunity to double the subject matter or compositional elements in the image. Like clouds in the skies? Then you an double them by having them reflected in a mirror or window. A landscape can be mirrored in a still lake or large puddle.

Fourteen readers sent in a total of 50 photos that used reflections to great effect. Here are some of the top picks.

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Mike Ratekin of French Camp used a Canon EOS 5D Mk III to photograph Sinta Jones and greg Martin of San Diego at Cathedral Lakes in Yosemite National Park.

Mike Ratekin and his wife Josephine recently took an 8-mile hike from Tioga Road to Cathedral Lakes in Yosemite National Park. At the lake they met another couple, Greg Martin and Sinta Jones from San Diego. Ratekin asked if he could take their photo to which they gladly agreed. With his Canon EOS 5D Mark III DSLR camera he got a photo them kissing lakeside, reflected in its still waters along with the surrounding majestic scenery.

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Oran Schwinn of Stockton used a Canon EOS Rebel T6 DSLR camera to photograph the 4th of July fireworks over McLeod Lake in downtown Stockton.

When one thinks of a reflection photo they often think of a perfect mirror image, but it doesn’t always have to be. Oran Schwinn of Stockton photographed the annual 4th of July fireworks over McLeod Lake in downtown Stockton. Using a Canon EOS Rebel T6 DSLR camera he not only captured the colorful fireworks in the sky but reflected in the waters of the lake as well. The moving water created and interesting squiggly pattern to the reflection making them as picturesque as the fireworks themselves.

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Matt Baker of Stockton used a Nikon D7500 DSLR camera to photograph his own reflection in the motorcycle helmet of Ziad Wakeel of Oakland after he’d stopped for break at the Lick Observatory at Mount Hamilton east of San Jose.

Matt Baker of Stockton found his refection and used it to make a selfie of sorts. He met Ziad Wakeel of Oakland who had stopped on a motorcycle ride to the Lick Observatory at Mount Hamilton east of San Jose. Baker got in close with his Nikon D7500 DSLRS camera to get a shot of Wakeel and himself reflected in the shiny surface of Wakeel’s visor.

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Steven Rapaport of Stockton used a Canon EOS 5D Mark IV DSLR camera to photograph Ryan Ellis fishing form a kayak at Cosumnes River Preserve near Thornton.

Steven Rapaport of Stockton used a Canon EOS 5D Mark IV DSLR camera to photograph Ryan Ellis of Sacramento fishing from a kayak at Cosumnes River Preserve near Thornton. Ellis is silhouetted by the waning light of the evening as he holds up his catch of a striped bass. I like the high angle from which the photo is shot (Rapaport was standing on a bridge over looking Ellis), subtle variations of the single blue color and the reflection of Ellis’ silhouette in the water.

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Donn Sperry of Stockton used a Sony Alpha NEX-7 mirrorless digital camera with to photograph a duck and its reflection in the waters of Brookside Lake in Stockton.

Getting a perfect reflection in a body of water can be difficult at times. Any disturbance in the surface can disrupt the reflected image. Donn Sperry of Stockton photographed a duck with a Sony Alpha NEX-7 mirrorless digital camera as it swam on the waters of Lake Brookside in Stockton. He managed to get its reflection ahead of the bow wave and the distortions in the surface that it created as swam along.

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Dave Skinner of Stockton used a Nikon 5600 DSLR camera to photograph the reflections of the water in the goggles of a water polo player during the Golden State Invitational Water Polo Competition at the St. Mary’s High School in Stockton.

Dave Skinner of Stockton used a Nikon 5600 DSLR camera to photograph the reflections of the water in the goggles of a water polo player during the Golden State Invitational Water Polo Competition at the St. Mary’s High School in Stockton.

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Dennis Buettner of Stockton used a Nikon D7500 DSLR camera to photograph the color of the setting sun reflected in the water in a retaining basin along Eight Mile Road near Golfview Road in Stockton.

Retaining basins are basically just big holes in the ground dug out to catch rain runoff. Dennis Buettner of Stockton used a Nikon D7500 DSLR camera to photograph the color of the setting sun reflected in the water in a basin along Eight Mile Road near Golfview Road in Stockton and transformed that big hole into a thing of beauty.

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Sydney Spurgeon of Stockton used a Nikon D750 DSLR camera to photograph a duck and it’s ducklings in her backyard pool.

A family of ducks took up residence in the backyard pool of Sydney Spurgeon of Stockton. She used a Nikon D750 DSLR camera to photograph the mama duck and it’s ducklings reflection in the water as they happily swam in the pool.

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All of the photos sent in can be seen at Recordnet.com. A new challenge assignment will be issued July 30.

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Of photographs and memories

On July 7, I volunteered to be one of the cashier/runners for Bingo at the Walnut Grove Buddhist Church’s annual bazaar. Even though I haven’t lived in the small Delta town for decades, I’ve gone back to help out at the church, as have many Walnut Grove expatriates, for most of my adult life.

(7/7/19) People play bingo at the Walnut Grove Buddhist Church bazaar in the Delta town of Walnut Grove. [CLIFFORD OTO/THE RECORD]

The bazaar is the main fundraiser for the church and bingo is a big draw, as is the delicious teriyaki chicken. The game is played for prizes not cash. As a cashier/runner I collect the the money from the players and make change. This year, between games I looked up at the prizes and saw things like toys, travel mugs, and sets of frying pans. There was one item whose picture on it’s box sent me back to when I was a kid.

(7/7/19) Randy Yen calls out the numbers during a bingo game at the Walnut Grove Buddhist Church bazaar in the Delta town of Walnut Grove. [CLIFFORD OTO/THE RECORD] [CLIFFORD OTO/THE RECORD]

I was somewhere around 7 or 8 years old when I could keep track of the numbers and letters without the help of an adult. For a couple of summers I played but never won. The summer when I was about 9 or 10 the bazaar roll around again. My bachan, or grandmother, would give me money to play the kids games like fishing or scoop the duck, but that year I used it to play bingo. Once again it seemed I would go winless but finally the numbers lined up and at the top of my lungs I shouted “Bingo!” I scurried to the front where the prizes were and scanned them over. I could have gotten a toy but I decided to get something the whole family could use. I spotted a boxed set of colorful 6 glass cups and took them for my winnings.

(7/7/19) Ted Oda plays bingo at the Walnut Grove Buddhist Church bazaar in the Delta town of Walnut Grove. [CLIFFORD OTO/THE RECORD]

We lived only three houses down from the church, so I excitedly ran home to show my mom what I had won. In front of the neighbors house there was a patch of sidewalk that ramped up about 6 inches or so. I tripped on it and went tumbling. The box flew from my hands and landed on the cement a few feet away. I opened it and saw that all but one were shattered.

(7/7/19) An 8-piece glassware set was one of the bingo prizes at the Buddhist Church bazaar in the Delta town of Walnut Grove. [CLIFFORD OTO/THE RECORD]

I slowly trudged home told my mom what happened. She gave me some words of solace and welcomed the new glass to the household.

Such is the power of photographs. They have the ability to bring back memories and feelings from long ago, whether good or bad, happy or sad.

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June’s swoon: Outtakes

June featured flags, the county fair and Philippines Independence Day. Here is the month in review.

(6/6/19)
Leo De Los Reyes plays the congas as he takes advantage of the mild weather to practice with friends on various percussion instruments at Victory Park in Stockton. The group regularly gets together to practice and share rhythms with each other. (Camera: Nikon D5. Lens: Nikkor 24-120mm @ 24mm. Exposure: 1/250th sec. @ f/5 w/ fill-flash. ISO: 200)

(6/7/19)
Rapper Common headlines at the Imagine Justice concert at the Stockton Memorial Civic Auditorium in downtown Stockton. (Camera: Nikon D5. Lens: Nikkor 24-120mm @ 24mm. Exposure: 1/250th sec. @ f/4. ISO: 6400)

(6/9/19)
Eighteen-year-old Kaitlyn Avila with the Ripon FFA relaxes in a pen with her pig Zuri at the annual AgFest at the San Joaquin County Fairgrounds in Stockton. (Camera: Nikon D5. Lens: Nikkor 24-120mm @ 24mm. Exposure: 1/250th sec. @ f/4. ISO: 1600)

(6/9/19)
Carol Burns of Stockton makes a floral mural with flower petals while doing an Italian Infiorata art demonstration at the annual Festa Italiana at the Lodi Grape Festival grounds in Lodi. (Camera: Nikon D5. Lens: Nikkor 24-120mm @ 24mm. Exposure: 1/250th sec. @ f/2. ISO: 3200)

(6/13/19)
Thirteen-year-old Jenna Schmidt with the Alpine Victor 4H dressed herself and her lamb Cyclone in 1980s attire for the AgFest’s annual costume contest at the San Joaquin County Fairgrounds in Stockton. (Camera: Nikon D5. Lens: Nikkor 24-120mm @ 120mm. Exposure: 1/250th sec. @ f/4. ISO: 800)

(6/14/19)
Mary Alt takes refuge from the sun under a star-spangled umbrella as she waits for the Flag Day observance to start at the Sherwood Mall in Stockton. (Camera: Nikon D5. Lens: Nikkor 24-120mm @ 24mm. Exposure: 1/500th sec. @ f/11. ISO: 200)

(6/14/19)
Dusts flies from the glove of the North’s Anthony Hernandez from St. Mary’s during the All-Star Classic baseball game at San Joaquin Delta College’s Cecchetti Field in Stockton. (Camera: Nikon D5. Lens: Nikkor 200-400mm @ 400mm. Exposure: 1/1000th sec. @ f/5.6. ISO: 400)

(6/15/19)
Leo Juanitas, left, battles Gregory Balubar in the Bahala Na escrima tournament during the Philippines Independence Day celebration at the Weber Point Events Center in downtown Stockton. (Camera: Nikon D5. Lens: Nikkor 24-120mm @ 24mm. Exposure: 1/500th sec. @ f/8. ISO: 200)

(6/15/19)
The North’s Rashard Stallworth from Chavez, right, evades the tackles of the South’s Jaquile Ingram from Modesto, left, and Kameron Myers from Enochs in the 46th annual Central California Lions All-Star Football Game at Lincoln High’s Spanos Stadium in Stockton. (Camera: Nikon D5. Lens: Nikkor 200-400mm @ 400mm. Exposure: 1/1000th sec. @ f/5.6. ISO: 400)

(6/16/19
Miss Sparkles Delight creates soap bubbles on the last day of the annual San Joaquin County Fair in Stockton. (Camera: Nikon D5. Lens: Nikkor 70-200mm @ 200mm. Exposure: 1/500th sec. @ f/8. ISO: 200)

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May outtakes

May had Gabe Flores, Jr., a farm-to-fork feast, and a big fire.
Here’s May for your perusal.

(5/3/19)
St Mary’s Jamar Marshall, left, and West’s Warren Williams lunge at the finish line in the boys varsity 100 meter hurdles at the TCAL track and field championships at Tokay High School in Lodi. Marshall and Williams tied for first place.(Camera: Nikon D5. Lens: Nikkor 200-400mm @ 400mm. Exposure: 1/500th sec. @ f/8. ISO: 400)

(5/4/19)
The referee declares a knock out of Eduardo Pereira, left, by Stockton’s Gabe Flores, Jr., right, in a lightweight bout at the Stockton Arena in downtown Stockton. (Camera: Nikon D5. Lens: Nikkor 24-120mm @ 24mm. Exposure: 1/500th sec. @ f/5.6. ISO: 6400)

(5/9/19)
San Joaquin Delta College’s Vinny Bologna climbs the right field was in an unsuccessful attempt to catch a long fall ball during the opening game against Cosumnes River College in the CCCAA Super Regional baseball tournament at Delta’s Cecchetti Field in Stockton. (Camera: Nikon D5. Lens: Nikkor 200-400mm @ 400mm. Exposure: 1/1000th sec. @ f/5.6. ISO: 400)

(2/10/19)
Diners raise their glasses for an opening toast at the Feast at the Fox farm-to-table dining event in front of the historic Bob Hope Theater in downtown Stockton. 224 diners were treated to a five-course meal created by local chefs with ingredients from area farms within 30 minutes of Stockton. The event, highlighting local food and winds, is a fundraiser for the San Joaquin Delta College Culinary Arts Program. (Camera: Nikon D5. Lens: Nikkor 24-120mm @ 120mm. Exposure: 1/60th sec. @ f/9. ISO: 400)

(5/14/19)
Firefighters battle a 5-alarm blaze at Central Pallets at 1805 Market Street in Stockton. (Camera: Nikon D5. Lens: Nikkor 24-120mm @ 24mm. Exposure: 1/500th sec. @ f/7.1. ISO: 200)

(5/14/19)
Cyclists turn the corner from Center Street onto Weber Avenue during stage 3 of the Amgen Tour of California bicycle race in downtown Stockton. (Camera: Nikon D5. Lens: Nikkor 24-120mm @ 24mm. Exposure: 1/250th sec. @ f/9. ISO: 200)

(5/23/19)
Volunteers Zack Vera, left, and Eric Elliott, with the Stockton Marine Club, place flags in the ground for the “field of flags” for the Cherokee Memorial Park’s annual Memorial Day Program on Monday. About 2,500 flags comprise the field of flags, additionally, each of the 7,800 veterans graves in the cemetery will bear a flag. Also 1,026 larger flags that were used to cover deceased veterans caskets will be flying at the cemetery’s the “Avenue of flags” for a total of more than 11,000 flags. The program will start at 10:30 a.m. on Monday. The color guard from the U.S. Marine Corps- Transportation Service CLB23, a dove release and a missing man formation fly-by by the Patriotic Flyers group. (Camera: Nikon D5. Lens: Nikkor 24-120mm @ 24mm. Exposure: 1/250th sec. @ f/10 w/ fill-flash. ISO: 200)

(5/23/19)
Tracy coach Paulette Keeney argues a call with the umpire during a softball game against Folsom at the Arnaiz softball complex in Stockton. (Camera: Nikon D5. Lens: Nikkor 200-400mm @ 400mm. Exposure: 1/1000th sec. @ f/6.3. ISO: 800)

(5/24/19)
Tracy’s Kaelani Ratliff, left, and teammate Isabel Cargill reach for a fly ball during a Sac-Joaquin Section Division I softball playoff game against Whitney at the Arnaiz softball complex in Stockton. (Camera: Nikon D5. Lens: Nikkor 200-400mm @ 330mm. Exposure: 1/1000th sec. @ f/8. ISO: 400)

(5/24/19)
Ripon’s Lilly Mejia, left, Sydney Thomason and Caitlynn Campbell, celebrate their championship win during a Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV softball playoff game against Calaveras at the Arnaiz softball complex in Stockton. (Camera: Nikon D5. Lens: Nikkor 200-400mm @ 290mm. Exposure: 1/1000th sec. @ f/5.6. ISO: 400)

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April outtakes

The annual Sikh parade, a marathon bible reading and teeter-tottering are high lights from April.

(4/3/19)
San Joaquin County Sheriff Pat Withrow, left, and sheriff’s rangemaster Chris Ford demonstrate how the department’s new ballistic shields, called Helus shields, can be deployed. (Camera: Nikon D5. Lens: Nikkor 24-120mm @ 24mm: Exposure: 1/250th sec. @ f/4. ISO: 6400).

(4/5/19)
Delta College’s Clarissa Menil competes in the long jump in the Raydell Barkley Field Events Festival at the Merv Smith Track Complex at Delta’s DeRicco Field in Stockton. (Camera: Nikon D5. Lens: Nikkor 24-120mm @ 24mm: Exposure: 1/1000th sec. @ f/8. ISO: 200).

(4/6/19)
Delta College’s Dario Gomez, right, is tagged out by Folsom Lake College catcher Garrett Kellogg-Clarke art home plate during a baseball game at Delta’s Cecchetti Field in Stockton. (Camera: Nikon D5. Lens: Nikkor 200-400mm @ 400mm: Exposure: 1/1000th sec. @ f/5. ISO: 200).

(4/13/19)
Colby Johnson drifts into turn 3 during the Asparagus Cup at the Stockton Dirt track at the San Joaquin County fairgrounds in Stockton. (Camera: Nikon D5. Lens: Nikkor 70-200mm @ 125mm: Exposure: 1/500th sec. @ f/8. ISO: 400).

(4/14/19)
Sharan Hira of Sacramento has a reflective moment while resting at about the halfway point of the Stockton Gurdwara’s annual Nagar Kirtan parade on San Joaquin Street at Washington Street in downtown Stockton. (Camera: Nikon D5. Lens: Nikkor 70-200mm @ 200mm: Exposure: 1/250th sec. @ f/4. ISO: 1600).

(4/14/19)
Stockton Heat’s Brett Pollock, right, gets the puck around Bakersfield Condors’ Logan Day during an AHL hockey game at the Stockton Arena in downtown Stockton. (Camera: Nikon D5. Lens: Nikkor 70-200mm @ 120mm: Exposure: 1/500th sec. @ f/8. ISO: 6400).

(4/16/19) A woman walks down a path through a field of blue bonnet lupine, goldfields and johnnytuck wildflowers at the North Table Mountain Ecological Reserve near Oroville. (Camera: Canon EOS 1Dx Mk IV. Lens: Canon 70-200mm @ 200m: Exposure: 1/500th sec. @ f/6.3. ISO: 200).

(4/18/19)
University of the Pacific students Ollie Avila, left, and Darek Choi ride a homemade seesaw on the University Center lawn on the UOP campus in Stockton. The two are participating in the Sigma Chi fraternity’s Teeter Totter fundraiser benefiting the frat’s national organizations support of the Huntsman Cancer Foundation. 40 fraternity brothers took turns for 28 hours of continuous teeter-tottering to raise an anticipated $3,000 for the charity. (Camera: Nikon D5. Lens: Nikkor 24-120mm @ 24mm: Exposure: 1/250th sec. @ f/5.6. ISO: 200).

(4/19/19)
Erica Standifer reads aloud a passage from the Bible as a parts of a Good Friday observance at the First Baptist Church in Stockton. About 90 congregation members read different passages from the Bible around and in front of the church’s campus from 5:30 p.m to 6:30 p.m. and finished in about an hour ahead of the church’s 7:00 p.m. Good Friday service. (Camera: Nikon D5. Lens: Nikkor 24-120mm @ 24mm: Exposure: 1/250th sec. @ f/16 w/fill-flash. ISO: 6400).

(4/28/19)
Martina Gulli, left, Savannah Southern and her sister Brianna Southern pull on a old tarp while collecting trash during the Trashtag 209 cleanup event under the Pershing Avenue bridge over the Calaveras River in Stockton. Brianna Southern was the organizer of the event. (Camera: Nikon D5. Lens: Nikkor 24-120mm @ 24mm: Exposure: 1/250th sec. @ f/4. ISO: 400).

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March of time: Outtakes

Basketball and birds, birds, birds were standouts from March.

(3/1/19)
The surrounding trees are reflected the bell of University of the Pacific music student Joshua Lopez’s euphonium as he takes advantage of a break between storms to put in some practice outdoors on the lawn near Buck Memorial Hall on the UOP campus in Stockton.(Camera: Nikon D5. Lens: Nikon 24-120mm @ 100mm: Exposure: 1/125th sec. @ f/14. ISO: 100).

(3/1/19)
Delta College’s Trena Rathjen, right, fights for a loose ball with Reedley College’s Chloe Welch during a game of the CCCAA’s Norcal women’s basketball tournament at Blanchard Gym on the Delta campus in Stockton. (Camera: Nikon D5. Lens: Nikon 24-120mm @ 78mm: Exposure: 1/500th sec. @ f5.6. ISO: 6400).

(3/2/19)
4-year-old Mixing Tonthat marches with the Eastern Ways Martial Arts lion dancers performing in the annual Chinese New Year Parade in downtown Stockton. (Camera: Nikon D5. Lens: Nikon 70-200mm @ 200mm: Exposure: 1/500th sec. @ f/5.6. ISO: 200).

(3/2/19)
Four-year-old Lillyana Fears rides a flying pink elephant ride at the California Carnival Company’s temporary midway set up in a parking lot on Hammer Lane and Tam O’Shanter Drive in Stockton . (Camera: Nikon D5. Lens: Nikon 70-200mm @ 200mm: Exposure: 1/500th sec. @ f/4. ISO: 200).

(3/2/19)
Stockton Kings’ Cody Demps, center, goes to the hoop against Memphis Hustle’s Markel Crawford, left, and Julian Washburn during an NBA G League basketball game at the Stockton Arena in downtown Stockton. (Camera: Nikon D5. Lens: Nikon 70-200mm @ 180mm: Exposure: 1/500th sec. @ f/5.6. ISO: 6400).

(3/5/19)
Delta College track shot putter James McClain winds up for a throw under ominously cloudy skies during a team practice at the Raydell Barkley Track Throwing Area on the Delta campus in Stockton. (Camera: Nikon D5. Lens: Nikon 24-120mm @ 24mm: Exposure: 1/250th sec. @ f/10 w/fill-flash. ISO: 200).

20190307
A large flock of snow geese takes flight at the Stone Lake Wildlife Preserve in Elk Grove. (Camera: Canon EOS 1Dx Mk IV. Lens: Canon 300mm w/1.4 extender @ 420mm. Exposure: 1/500th sec. @ f/11. ISO: 200).

(3/7/19)
A Canada goose flies over the Stone Lake Wildlife Preserve in Elk Grove. (Camera: Canon EOS 1Dx Mk IV. Lens: Canon 300mm. Exposure: 1/500th sec. @ f/16. ISO: 400).

(3/8/19)
Mild weather was a welcome change to recent storms as party cloudy skies rise above downtown Stockton. (Camera: Nikon D5. Lens: Nikon 24-120mm @ 24mm: Exposure: 1/500th sec. @ f/11. ISO: 200).

(3/8/19)
Pacific’s Samantha Young, left, bobbles the ball as Boise State’s Karlee Johnson slides safely at second during a softball game at UOP’s Simoni Field in Stockton. (Camera: Nikon D5. Lens: Nikkor 200-400mm @ 300mm: Exposure: 1/1000th sec. @ f/4. ISO: 1600).

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Belated outtakes: February

I’ve been remiss (OK, very remiss) in posting my month-in-review photos. It’s been several months since the last one. I’ve been busy in both my work and personal life. So here are, without further ado, pictures from February (I told you it’s been a while), with subsequent months to follow.

(2/1/19)
Rain drops cling to the window of a car near the Regal Stockton City Centre Stadium 16 movie theaters at Janet Leigh Plaza in downtown Stockton. (Camera: Nikon D5. Lens: Nikon 24-120mm @ 58mm: Exposure: 1/30th sec. @ f/16. ISO: 12,800).

(2/7/19)
A suspect is taken into custody by a San Joaquin County Sheriff’s SWAT team during a standoff situation along the Highway 99 frontage road near Acampo Road in Acampo. (Camera: Nikon D5. Lens: Nikon 70-200mm w/1.7 extender @ 340mm: Exposure: 1/1000th sec. @ f/5.6. ISO: 400).

(2/10/19)
A horse stands in a snow-covered pasture along Highway 4 on Sunday after storms left several inches of snow in the Mother Lode town of Douglas Flat, elevation 1965′. (Camera: Nikon D5. Lens: Nikon 24-120mm @ 120mm: Exposure: 1/500th sec. @ f/11. ISO: 200).

(2/14/19) A pair of Canada geese swims around the Weber Point Events Center after high water from McLeod Lake, raised by recent storms, flooded the park’s concourse in downtown Stockton. (Camera: Nikon D5. Lens: Nikon 24-120mm @ 40mm: Exposure: 1/400th sec. @ f/5.4. ISO: 200).

(2/16/19) Calaveras’ Donovan Giangregori, bottom, grapples with Franklin-Elk Grove’s Malik Lewis during the championship match in the 182-lb. division of the San Joaquin Section boys masters wrestling tournament at Delta College’s Blanchard Gym in Stockton.(Camera: Nikon D5. Lens: Nikon 70-200mm @ 175mm: Exposure: 1/500th sec. @ f/4. ISO: 6400).

(2/17/19)
Self-proclaimed “Spam King” Paul Steele takes a test of Spam fired rice at the 21st annual Spam Festival at Peter’s Steakhouse in the Delta town of Isleton. In addition to a cookoff, there were Spam throwing and Spam eating contests. The contest began in 1997 when the tiny Delta town flooded, leaving only cans of Spam to cook. (Camera: Nikon D5. Lens: Nikon 24-120mm @ 24mm: Exposure: 1/250th sec. @ f/5.6. ISO: 1600).

(2/24/19)
Bruce Gaines eats a bowl of chili at a food giveaway organized by Stockton 209 Cares volunteer organization on Washington and Madison streets in downtown Stockton. Along with the chili, snacks and bottle water were also handed out as well as donated clothing and hygiene products to more than 100 people. Stockton 209 Care’s next event is free haircuts and pet grooming planned for March 24 at 2:00 p.m. at Columbus Park in Stockton. (Camera: Nikon D5. Lens: Nikon 24-120mm @ 24mm: Exposure: 1/250th sec. @ f/10. ISO: 200).

(2/24/19)
Soua Vang is overcome with emotion at a street side memorial near the scene of a shooting that left 2 teenaged boys, including his son, dead in the 7000 Block of Montauban Avenue in Stockton. (Camera: Nikon D5. Lens: Nikon 24-120mm @ 120mm: Exposure: 1/250th sec. @ f/4. ISO: 1600).

(2/24/19)
Stockton Heat’s Dillon Dube, right, shoots past San Jose Barracuda’s Cavan Fitzgerald during an AHL hockey game at the Stockton Arena in downtown Stockton. (Camera: Nikon D5. Lens: Nikon 70-200mm @ 125mm: Exposure: 1/500th sec. @ f/6.3. ISO: 6400).

(2/28/19)
Stockton Police officer Philip Copp, right, returns fire on a “suspect” who shot at him during a de-escalation training scenario at Morelli Park in downtown Stockton. (Camera: Nikon D5. Lens: Nikon 24-120mm @ 120mm: Exposure: 1/500th sec. @ f/5.6. ISO: 1600).

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A cure for photographer’s block

(5/4/19) Stockton’s Gabe Flores, Jr., left, fights Eduardo Pereira in lightweight bout at the Stockton Arena in downtown Stockton. (This was the first boxing match that the photographer had shot in a several years). [CLIFFORD OTO/THE RECORD]

There are times when I’m on an assignment, usually a sporing event, where I just can’t get into the rhythm of the game. My timing is off or non-existent. Consider it a photographer’s version of writer’s block. This is usually as the beginning of the season when I’m a bit rusty as shooting that particular sport. Sometimes I’m a “day late and a dollar short” when following the action, so much so that I don’t even press the shutter button. What I sometimes do to get over my hesitation is to just start shooting, regardless of what I’m getting. After a little while I’ll get back into the swing of things.

(5/4/19) Stockton’s Gabe Flores, Jr., right, fights Eduardo Pereira in lightweight bout at the Stockton Arena in downtown Stockton. (This was the first boxing match that the photographer had shot in a several years). [CLIFFORD OTO/THE RECORD]

It was a bit more problematic in the old days of film. Shooting more would mean that it burn through rolls of film with very little to show for it or if something good did happen, you’d be at the end of a roll and have to change it out for a new one. But, still, I found it was a great way of cleaning out the cobwebs at getting back into the groove. Now days you can delete the photos that you don’t want with just a press of a button.

(5/4/19) The referee declares a knock out of Eduardo Pereira, left, by Stockton’s Gabe Flores, Jr., right, in a lightweight bout at the Stockton Arena in downtown Stockton. (This was the first boxing match that the photographer had shot in a several years). [CLIFFORD OTO/THE RECORD]

There are also occasions where photographers can come up empty when it comes to thinking up ideas for photos. One can draw a blank when encountering a situation or trying to think of an idea for a photo.

(6/16/19) The North’s Rashard Stallworth from Chavez, center, is tackled by the South’s Jordan Wilson of Downey, left, and Zaire Eugene from Modesto in the 46th annual Central California Lions All-Star Football Game at Lincoln High’s Spanos Stadium in Stockton. (The All-Star game is played several months after the end of the football season) [CLIFFORD OTO/THE RECORD]

Quite often the block will come from not know where to start. Even the most skilled photographer may need a kickstart from time to time. It could because of brain freeze, like knowing the facts from lessons at school but when it comes to a test, one’s mind just locks up and can’t think of the answers.

(6/16/19) The North’s Vladik Sutherland of Mountain House,right, makes a move on the South’s Kameron Myers of Enochs in the 46th annual Central California Lions All-Star Football Game at Lincoln High’s Spanos Stadium in Stockton. (The All-Star game is played several months after the end of the football season) [CLIFFORD OTO/THE RECORD]

It may be a situation where you think I don’t know what to take pictures of or you don’t know where to start. Again, if you just start shooting, even if you’re making bad pictures, often just the act of looking through the camera and pressing the button can loosen up the rusty gears of the creative part of you mind to get things rolling.

(6/16/19) The North’s Vladik Sutherland of Mountain House, right, is chased by the South’s Jordan Wilson of Downey in the 46th annual Central California Lions All-Star Football Game at Lincoln High’s Spanos Stadium in Stockton. (The All-Star game is played several months after the end of the football season) [CLIFFORD OTO/THE RECORD]

In addition to just shooting more, you should also try shooting from different vantage points. From down low or up high. If photographing up close isn’t working, try taking a few steps back.

Whenever I get into a rut, I modify the words of Dory from the movie Finding Nemo and repeat them in my head: “just keep shooting, just keep shooting…” The process of shooting, can help you get into the rhythm of things or have new ideas pop up.

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Readers Photo Challenge assignment: Done with mirrors (and more)

The next Readers Photo Challenge assignment will be a time to reflect because “reflections” is the subject. Using reflections as a compositional element can add a little extra visual spice and interest to your photo.

(10/1/17) A mirror for sale reflects the bargain hunters at the Lodi Street Faire on Church School Street in downtown Lodi. (Camera: Nikon D5. Lens: Nikkor 24-120mm @ 24mm. Exposure: 1/250th sec. @ f/6.3. ISO: 200)

You can find reflections just about anywhere. The most obvious choice to create one is a mirror. You don’t have to just rely on the mirror in your bathroom. They can be found everywhere. There are mirrors on cars run living rooms. Restaurants and other business place the on walls to make a small space look bigger. Exercise studios/gyms put them up so that their clients can check out their form as they workout. Mirrors are great for environmental portraits. You can show an overall of a scene or room and then have a person reflected in a mirror. Mirrors are great for selfies. There’s no having to stretch ones arm out to take a self-portrait, just turn the camera towards the mirror.

(11/26/18) An egret is reflected in the water as it dives off of a dock in an attempt to catch a fish from Smith Canal in Stockton. (Camera: Nikon D5. Lens: Nikkor 70-200mm w/1.7 extender @ 340mm. Exposure: 1/500th sec. @ f/9. ISO: 800)

Mirrors aren’t the only source of reflections, any shiny surface will do. Standing water will do. It can be any size, from a puddle to a lake, as long as it’s still. Any disturbance of the surface, from the wind or a thrown rock, will cause it to ripple. You might get away with small distortions but larger ones will completely obliterate any reflections you might want.

(9/27/17) Fourteen-year-old Connor Guzman, right, is reflected in the drumhead of 16-year-old Angel Lopez’s bass drum during a practice of the Franklin High School Marching Yellow Jackets at the school in Stockton. An off-camera flash was used to illuminate the second drummer reflected in the drumhead of the first. (Camera: Nikon D5. Lens: Nikkor 24-70mm @70mm. Exposure: 1/250th sec. @ f/5.6 w/fill-flash. ISO: 200)

Shiny glass or metal can also be good sources of reflections. Darker colors, such as tinted glass or a black or dark blue car door will transmit the refections the best. A few years ago I photographed the Franklin High School marching band practicing. The large bass drums had shiny black heads. I was able to get one drummer reflected in the head of another’s drum.

(8/16/17) Clouds hover over the desert near Carlin, Nevada are reflected in the side mirror of a moving van. (Camera: Apple iPhone 6s. Lens: 4.2mm. Exposure: 1/2481 sec. @ f/2.2. ISO: 25)

Reflections can double the content of your photo, just make sure that’s worth repeating. A bland featureless sky in a landscape will be just as bland when shown in a reflection. Wait for some pretty clouds and you will have twice the beauty.

(5/4/18) Edison High cheerleader Alexis Rieta, 16, is reflected in the window of a minivan while scrubbing it down at the Edison Cheerleader Car Wash held in the parking lot of the school’s Taggart Gym in Stockton. Proceeds from the car wash go to funding summer cheer camp for the cheerleaders. (Camera: Nikon D5. Lens: Nikkor 24-120mm @ 24mm. Exposure: 1/250th sec. @ f/8. ISO: 200)


With any reflection on any surface there is a slight loss of sharpness and light so the replica will be a little darker and less sharp than the original. Don’t worry, that’s just the nature of reflections.

(7/13/16) A white duck is reflected as it floats lazily on the waters of one of the ponds at Victory Park in Stockton. (Camera: Nikon D3s. Lens: Nikkor 70-200mm w/1.7 extender @ 340mm. Exposure: 1/500th sec. @ f/11. ISO: 200)

You can photograph a found situation or you can set one up, it’s up to you. Either way take some time to reflect on whatever situation you choose to come up with a great photo.

(4/23/10) The Court Tower building is reflected in the walls of the Chase Bank building in downtown Stockton. (Camera: Nikon D300. Lens: Nikkor 80-200mm @ 98mm. Exposure: 1/125th sec. @ f/8. ISO: 200)

How to enter:

1. Entries can be emailed to coto@recordnet.com. Type in “Reflections” in the subject line

2. Photos have to be shot between July 2 and July 16.

3. The number of photos is limited to no more than 12 per person.

4. Include your name (first and last), hometown, and the kind of device you used and where it was taken (eg.: “John Doe of Stockton. Micke Grove Park, Lodi. iPhone6s”).

5. If there is a recognizable person in the photo, please identify them (name, age, hometown) and what they are doing in the photos (eg.: Jane Doe, 15, is reflected in the still waters of Lodi Lake).

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

7. The deadline for submission is July 16. The top examples will be published on Tuesday, July 23 with an online gallery of all the photos on the same day.

(1/29/19) The sun is reflected in the sunglasses of David Lopez of Stockton as he enjoys the warm temperatures in the mid 60s at the Weber Point Events Center in downtown Stockton. (Camera: Nikon D5. Lens: Nikkor 24-120mm @ 120mm. Exposure: 1/500th sec. @ f/16. ISO: 200)

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Readers Photo Challenge: Animal planet

Animals were the subjects of this month’s readers Photo Challenge assignment. Some people sent in pictures of pets while others chose to find their animals in the wild. From mammals, birds, reptiles, fish and insects, most types of living things are represented here. Some were found close to home while others were photographed far and away. Sixteen readers sent in 95 photos. Here are some of the top picks.

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Don Sperry of Stockton used a Sony Alpha NEX-7 digital mirrorless camera to photograph a flock of ducks on Brookside Lake near his home.

Don Sperry of Stockton found a small flock of ducks floating on the waters of Brookside Lake, seen out the backyard of his home. The water was still enough to capture their reflections The water was still enough to capture the ducks’ reflections as he used a Sony Alpha NEX-7 digital mirrorless camera to photograph them bathed in the warm light of an early morning sunrise.

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Matt Baker of Stockton used a Nikon D7500 DSLR camera to photograph a bison and its calf in Yellowstone National Park near Mammoth, Wyoming.

Matt Baker of Stockton was on a trip through the natural beauty of Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming, but it was a big city problem that led to his photo: Traffic. Cars had come to a stop on a road due to a herd of bison crossing it. Out his car window Baker spied a bison and it’s calf standing in a field of bright yellow wildflowers. With his Nikon S7500 DSLR camera he captured the epitome of springtime.

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Dave Skinner of Stockton used a Nikon D7100 DSLR camera to photograph a bird at the Charles Paddock Zoo in Atascadero.

Dave Skinner was on a trip along California’s Central Coast area to attend his 55th high school reunion in Paso Robles. He stopped at the Charles Paddock Zoo in Atascadero and photographed some of the exotic birds on display with a Nikon D7100 DSLR camera. With a blue and gold macaw he got in tight with a telephoto lens cropping in close around its eye, making the surrounding colors and patterns of the feathers look like an abstract painting.

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Teresa Mahknen of Morada used a Nikon D7200 DSLR camera to photograph a quail atop a roof of a building at a vineyard in Clements.

Teresa Mahknen of Morada went to a vineyard to get a shot of the sun rising over a gently rolling hill near Clements. The she got of the car she saw a quail sitting atop a sign. Without checking her camera’s settings she quickly got off a few shots before the bird flew away. She looked at her Nikon D7200 DSLR camera’s monitor and saw that, although she didn’t capture the bird’s colorful plumage, she managed to get a nice silhouette of the bird with it’s iconic plume clearly seen in profile.

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Steven Rapaport of Stockton used a Canon EOS 5D Mk IV DSLr camera to photograph a dog walking another dog along the Gran Via in Madrid, Spain.

Self-driving cars are the next technological breakthrough, but what about self-walking dogs? While on vacation in Spain, Steven Rapaport saw an unusual sight: one dog walking another. While sightseeing on the Gran Via in Madrid, Rapaport saw two white dogs walking side-by-side down the boulevard. Both had head halters on but only one had a leash attached. The other dog had the other end of the leash in its mouth. Rapaport said that although the both the dogs were well- trained and well-behaved, the owners follows along about 10 feet behind. He used a Canon EOS 5D Mark IV DSLR camera to photograph the dogs taking care of each other.

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Linda Rapaport of Stockton used an Apple iPhone 7 to photograph pigs in a sty on an eco farm near Sintra, Portugal.

Linda Rapaport of Stockton went with her husband Steven on their trip to Europe. She used an Apple iPhone 7 to get a shot of pigs in a sty on an eco farm near Sintra, Portugal. I like the triangular composition of the pigs and the subtle backlighting of them.

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Ronald Dundatscheck of Stockton, used an Apple iPhone 6 to photograph his cats Boots, left, and Little One, at his home.

Ronald Dundatscheck of Stockton used his iPhone to take a picture of his cats Boots and Little One as they looked out a window of his house. I liked how you can see the yard reflected in the glass giving the photo an anticipatory quality of the cats wanting to go outside to explore.

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Ward Downs of Stockton used a Nikon D7100 DSLR camera to photograph a ferruginous pygmy owl in a paraiso tree in Playa Chacala, Nayarit, Mexico.

Ward Downs of Stockton was on vacation in Playa Chacala, Nayarit, Mexico who he played a little peek-a-boo with an owl in a tree. Downs used a Nikon D7100 DSLR camera with a 18-140mm lens, which isn’t too terribly long, but it got him close enough to to the trick. He captured a tiny ferruginous pygmy owl (only about 5 inches in height) as it peeked out from behind some leaves of a tree it was perched in.

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Blair Hake of Stockton used a Nikon Coolpix S7000 digital point-and-shoot camera to photograph his dog Luna dancing with Samantha Xenos at the Windmill Cove 60th Anniversary in Stockton.

Blair Hake of Stockton used a Nikon Coolpix S7000 digital point-and-shoot camera to photograph his dog Luna dancing with Samantha Xenos to the sounds of Fleetwood Mac tribute band Mystic Moon during Windmill Cove’s 60th Anniversary celebration in Stockton.

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Carrie Walker used a Nikon D50 DSLR camera to photograph neighborhood cat Panda near her home.

Carrie Walker used a Nikon D50 DSLR camera to photograph neighborhood cat Panda near her home. She captured the cat as it lay on a lay making it look like it was on the savannas of Africa.

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All of the photos can be seen in an online gallery at recordnet.com. A new challenge will be issued on July 2.

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