Take a look through these amazing images that reveal how SF Peninsula photographers see the world

Best in Show and Travel Winner: “Beautiful Chaos” by Dan Fenstermacher

It is often said these days that “everyone is a photographer.”

Abstract Winner: “The Shaman’s Horse” by Ken Fowkes

And yes, cameras have indeed become a ubiquitous presence in our lives, but surely there is a difference between merely taking a picture and crafting a quality photograph? Composition, lighting, angle, exposure, “the decisive moment,” vision, intention. These concepts can be easily lost in the shuffle amid the millions (billions?) of photographs that are now taken and seen each day.

With all of that in mind, we here at The Six Fifty had been steadily impressed—and often amazed—by the quality of the submissions we received for our annual Peninsula Photo Contest. It was an eclectic range of entries for a diverse set of categories, which ultimately left us thinking that Peninsula photographers not only have a serious skill set, but a sense for the depth and nuance of the craft.

Of course, these photographs speak for themselves, so we’ll wind down our “worth a thousand word” theories and just let the images shine. Enjoy!!

Moments Winner: “Reunited” by Paige Parsons

“When I photograph, I am always searching for moments of vulnerability and authenticity. I’m really happy with my image, “Reunited” because it’s both authentic and vulnerable, and it’s also filled with so many emotions and personal connections.” —Paige Parsons

Life in the 650 Winner: “The Wednesday Morning Love Affair” by Kay Luo

“What I love about the photo is it’s a reminder that everyone has the power to make someone’s day.”—Kay Luo

The Natural World Winner: “Desert Bighorns, Papago Butte, Arizona” by Robert Eugene Johnson

“My wife (Graceann) pulled at my sleeve. “Look! Up there! Animals!” Neither she nor I realized right then that it was a herd of desert bighorn sheep. I scrambled for my camera, propped it on a fence post, hurriedly focused, and reeled off a dozen or more shots, hoping one or two animals would stop moving long enough to permit a sharp image in front of the beautiful moon. It was only later, reviewing the images back at the hotel room, that I realized I had succeeded in getting what (for me, an amateur) was the shot of a lifetime. And something I just learned makes the photo even more special for me: the desert bighorn is an endangered species, with an Arizona population of only 6,000 in the most recent US Fish and Wildlife survey. Sometimes you get lucky. . . .”—Robert Eugene Johnson

Portraits Winner: “Futbol Shadows” by Dan Fenstermacher

“I worked the scene from many angles but noticed the interesting lines and shapes of the goal net so I positioned myself behind the net and waited for the goalie to look at me. When he did the shadow of the net beautifully framed his eye, and the light was perfect. The lines of the net add an interesting layer of separation as an outsider between the viewer and the subject of the photograph, and play on the complicated USA-Cuba relationship, and create an interesting composition of lines and shapes.”

—Dan Fenstermacher

Youth Category Winners

Travel Youth Winner: “The Silent Pairing” by Kiley O’Brien

“I took this picture on an island in Ha Long Bay, Vietnam. It was a long hike through a forest and a cave to get to this small lake. When we got there it looked as if it had never been touched, as if the two boats had been there together since the beginning of time and as if all the elements of this scene had a silent agreement of harmony and balance. I attempted to capture this stillness and balance in my photo through the symmetry.”—Kiley O’Brien

Portraits Youth Winner: “See Me” by Rebecca Mak

“The goal of my portrait is to increase the visibility of Asian-Americans in the US. The media often stereotypes Asians, portraying them as a single archetype, a single story, or casts white actors in roles written for Asians, making it increasingly difficult for prominent Asian voices to be heard through media. Without many Asian-American celebrities, Asian-American children do not have role models who look like them in entertainment, easily accessible voices they can relate to.”

“The Chinese character on my hand, kàn, means to see. As I shield my face with my hand, leaving kàn as the most visible part of the photo, I am telling the world to see Asian-Americans for who we truly are because we are not our race or our stereotypes…”—Rebecca Mak

The Natural World Youth Winner: “Baby Clown” by Natasha Thompson

“I like shooting both above and below water, but shooting underwater is a lot more technically challenging, because of the availability of light, the variable clarity of the water, and the extra equipment needed. One thing I like about photography is overcoming the technical challenges (especially underwater), and sharing what I see with others. For example, in my “Baby Clown” photo, I was trying to capture both the contrast in colors of the anemone and the baby clownfish, while also trying to show some of the personality of the fish as it moves in and out of the anemone’s tentacles.”—Natasha Thompson

Moments Youth Winner:”Mexico” by Stella Berliocchi

“When I travel I play with my brother and my dad, we have a challenge for the best photo done during the trip. My piece “Mexico” was done while I was visiting Valladolid in Mexico looking for a restaurant for dinner.”

—Stella Berliocchi (age 10)

Life In The 650 Youth Winner:”Young Women” by Sofie Kamangar

“I love photography because in art, there is never one “right” answer. Any person can use their own inspirations and imagination to capture and create a photo that gives off its own unique message or emotion. I am extremely grateful that Los Altos High gives its students the opportunity to have access to so many different art classes.”—Sofie Kamangar

Honorable Mentions

Moments — Adult, Honorable Mention: “Falling Foals” by Paige Parsons
Portraits — Adult, Honorable Mentions: (top) ”Mellow Yellow” by Allessandra Cacchione; (bottom left) “An Artist and his Hair” by Laurie Naiman; Moments — Adult, Honorable Mention: “If You Jump in Muddy Puddles, You Must Wear Your Boots” by Sharon Kenney
Natural World — Adult, Honorable Mentions: (top) “Crepe Poppy” by Mark Gerow; (bottom) “Fog Dew” by Melissa Brookmire
(Clockwise from top) Life In The 650 — Adult, Honorable Mention: “Zoom!” by Sharon Kenney; Moments — Adult, Honorable Mention: “The Fundamentals of Baseball” by Jennifer Fraser; Life In The 650 — Adult, Honorable Mentions: “Water Bearers of the Bamboo Village” by Kyle Adler; “Mountain View Civic Center Plaza, Early Afternoon, 3-Jan-2016” by Ken Fowkes
Travel — Youth, Honorable Mention: “Rapa Nui Cow” by Natasha Thompson

More Photography Articles and Content from The Six Fifty:

Feral Photography: amazing animal imagery from Silicon Valley trail cams

Remastering the darkroom: slow photography pioneer unveils world’s largest ambrotype

Remarkable (and rare) images of Martin Luther King Jr. and other Civil Rights leaders

Wading into the reality of climate change — one portrait at a time

Our favorite costumes (and wacky scenes) from Silicon Valley Comic Con

Fungus Photography: Mushroom hunting in Northern California (through a macro lens)

Awesome aerial imagery from a (20-year-old) Silicon Valley stunt pilot

Charles Russo

Award-winning writer and photographer with extensive experience across mediums, including videography, investigative reporting, editing, advanced research, and a wide range of photography.

Author of Striking Distance: Bruce Lee and the Dawn of Martial Arts in America; represented by Levine Greenberg Rostan Agency.

Freelance clients include Google, VICE and Stanford University.

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