The photo contest was open to amateur photographers -- those who do not regularly receive payment for their photos -- who live, work or attend school in Pleasanton, Dublin, Livermore, San Ramon, Danville or Alamo. Photographers competed in two divisions, adult and youth (16 and younger), and in three categories: People, Tri-Valley Images and Pets & Animals.
First- and second-place winners were selected by a panel of three professional photographers: Sue Evans, Photography by Sue Evans; Christina Gray, Bella Luna Studios; and Gina Reuschel-Coomber, Fireboxgirl Photography. Entries were judged on impact and appeal, creativity and technical accuracy.
Giving "God Beams Over Danville" top honors was a unanimous decision by the judges. Comments from the judges included: "The beams of light, the textures of the clouds, along with just the right exposure of the ground make this image a first-place winner for me," and "This is a case where the sky speaks for itself creating a real 'wow' response from me. I like the field in the foreground with darker exposure so as not to detract from the sky, but it still adds to the feeling of grandeur."
Sponsors for the contest were Richard's Arts and Crafts -- Livermore and Alamo and The Frame Company and Art Gallery in Dublin.
Winners by division and category are:
ADULT: Pets & Animals
First place: Tom Cushing, Alamo: "Genghis Collie"
Comment: "The photo tells a story showing anticipation/excitement of ... 'What's next?' My guess is it was a throw of a ball into the water, but that is an unanswered question which makes the viewer wonder."
Second place: Doina Vlasache, Danville: "Momentary Intrigue"
Honorable mention: Ray Wallace, Pleasanton: "Poindexter III"
First place: Ivan Johnson, San Ramon: "Twilight Love"
Comment: "Capturing true emotion is always a challenge for a photographer. Whether you are set up in a studio or at a casual dinner out, timing is everything. It happens but in an instant, where body posture is perfect, the facial expressions are genuine, and emotion is at its peak. This is such a sweet image and really captures emotion well."
Second place: Scott M. Schroeder, Pleasanton: "Emma"
Honorable mention: Rachel Cilk, Pleasanton: "Silhouette of Love"
ADULT: Tri-Valley Images
First place: Richard Valenti, Danville: "God Beams Over Danville"
Second place: Barbara Reynolds, Livermore: "Pastoral Scene"
YOUTH: Pets & Animals
First place: Paige Susie, Livermore: "Diving"
Comment: "This is an impressive use of light, asymmetry, and motion. Capturing the ducks with the hint of their orange feet showing was essential; otherwise it would simply look like feathers in the water. I love how the ducks are off center and to the left, allowing for those beautiful ripples to carry your eyes across the image and almost sweep back around again."
Second place: Irina Vlasache, Danville: "Late Morning"
First place: Penn Viengxay, Dublin: "Twins"
Comment: "Fabulous! It is so impressive to see this, and in the youth category no less. Subject matter, color, exposure, light, props, styling, expression (I can go on and on) are exceptional. This is well done in so many ways!"
Second place: Matthew Schulze, Pleasanton: "The Artist"
First place: Matthew Schulze, Pleasanton: "Blazing Sky"
Comment: "A great way to use the rule of thirds! Balancing out the amazing color transitions of the sky with a dark silhouette of the tree and landscape is very successful here."
Second place: Matthew Schulze, Pleasanton: "Blush"