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Picture This

Seattle Times photographers offer a glimpse into what inspires their best visual reporting.

December 30, 2010 at 5:00 AM

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2010 Reader photo of the year and honorable mentions

Posted by Kevin Fujii


This is the winning photo in the Best of 2010 judging for Pix From My Weekend. Ballard High School teacher Ryan Hyde shot this photo of a slackline walker in February 2010 at Seattle's Golden Gardens Park. Hyde's original caption: "It was an unseasonably warm and sunny February afternoon in Seattle. There was a group of beach goers who had secured a nylon strap in between two volleyball poles. They were attempting to walk from one end to the other. The photo was taken with a Canon 50D."

About the winning photo: Comment by Kevin Fujii, Seattle Times picture editor (who regularly selects and comments on "Pix From My Weekend"):

Our Reader Photo of the Year underscores the basics of photography, with perfect execution.

First, the composition fits the "Rule of Thirds," in which you divide a scene by thirds horizontally and vertically to determine where the eye will be drawn. Second, exposure is spot on. Third, this is a fun image, with a good "Wow!" factor.

Other pluses:

-Cropping. With the anchor points of the slackline hidden, the subject appears to hover in the clear, blue sky.

-Lighting. The sun is on the subject's face.

-Capturing movement. The slackline walker's body language gives the still image a feeling of action.

-Composition. The two dominant sailboats heading in the opposite direction juxtapose the subject.

Lastly, the layers of sea, mountains and sky intersecting the dominant human figure elevates this image to the best of 2010.

2010 was a strong year for photography by Seattle Times readers who sent in hundreds of entries for our "Pix From My Weekend" feature. At year's end, we've chosen 10 favorites. The selection is never easy.

The grand prize - a $250 gift card from Glazer's Camera - goes to Ryan Hyde, of Ballard. His winning photo is on today's NWWeekend cover.

Among criteria for our top choice: We looked for a photo of a person having fun in the Northwest.

We also chose a strong group of Honorable Mentions in three categories, displayed on coming pages. For the first time, one photographer has two photos in our winning year-end lineup - Yoshiki Nakamura, of Seattle. Judging was by Barry Fitzsimmons, Seattle Times director of photography; Kevin Fujii, Seattle Times picture editor who critiques the weekly choices; and Brian Cantwell, NWWeekend editor.

Thanks to all who sent in so many images reflecting the choices we have for enjoyable weekends in the Northwest. Please keep submitting your best recent weekend photos of the Northwest. You can find the link here and maybe you'll be our winner next year.


Ryan Hyde, 37, a physical-education teacher at Ballard High School, shot the 2010 Reader Photo of the Year at Golden Gardens Park in Seattle.


Honorable mention for Northwest fun and adventure; Photographer: Lisa Lombardo, Kent; Photo taken: May 2, 2010, at Copalis Beach, Grays Harbor County

Photographer’s description: “Taken during the last morning of the razor-clam dig. I loved all of the people milling around, and that one woman who was sitting. It really captured what was going on at the beach at that moment. Taken with a Sony A300, at 1/500, f7.1, ISO 100.”

Judges’ comment: “The unique cropping of this image, shooting at a low angle and using a telephoto or longer setting on a zoom lens to create depth, contribute to make this photo stand out. Overall, a nicely executed image that artistically puts the viewers on the beach.”


Honorable mention for Northwest fun and adventure; Photographer: Lynda Adams, Spanaway, Pierce County; Photo taken: Sept. 10, 2010, on the Deschutes River at Maupin, Ore.

Photographer’s description: “On our annual after-Labor Day trip to the Deschutes River, I captured our good friend Paul trying to ride out the waves cowboy style. We usually have 40-50 friends that spend the week camping and rafting and just plain having fun!”

Judges’ comment: “This photo captures the peak moment the raft pulls an ender in the current. The photographer’s timing is impeccable. The light coming from upriver creates depth and gives the image layers and texture.”


Honorable mention for Northwest fun and adventure; Photographer: Susan Bates, Bellevue; Photo taken: Aug. 1, 2010, Vancouver Island, B.C.

Photographer’s description: “People aren’t the only ones cooling off on a hot day! Here is my dog Sabre’s rendition of walking on water at a beautiful lake on Vancouver Island. Taken using a Canon PowerShot G10, and purposefully taken looking directly into the sun so as to catch his silhouette.”

Judges’ comment: “The comical body language of Sabre reminds me of a young girl’s music box with the ballerina pirouetting when opened. The purposeful use of backlighting cleans up the image with only black-and-white tones with blue sky and water.”


Honorable mention for Northwest flora and fauna; Photographer: Gary Marshall, Bellevue; Photo taken: April 10, 2010, off Best Road, Skagit Valley

Photographer’s description: “I drove up to the Skagit Valley on a clear Saturday evening and set up for this photo as the sun dipped and the crowds cleared. Tripod-mounted Pentax K10d, 20 mm focal length, ISO 100, f/22 at half-second exposure. Slight adjustments with Adobe Lightroom.”

Judges’ comment: “In this inspiring photograph the photographer used a wide-angle lens to capture as much as he could of the tulip field. Using the long exposure, giving him maximum depth of field, lets the tulips stay in focus and seem to go on forever into the evening’s setting sun.”


Honorable mention for Northwest flora and fauna; Photographer: Yoshiki Nakamura, Seattle; Photo taken: March 7, Liberal Arts Quadrangle, University of Washington campus, Seattle

Photographer’s description: “A group was standing still while their camera timer was engaged. I used a ND (neutral density) filter and slowed the shutter speed to 2.5 seconds to capture the motion of surrounding people.”

Judges’ comments: “With the use of a filter and long exposure the photographer was able to capture more than just a group portrait and early spring blossoms. The long exposure produced ghost images as people moved through the frame, making for not only an interesting idea but an unusual and captivating image.”


Honorable mention for Northwest flora and fauna; Photographer: Heidi Morter, Newberg, Ore.; Photo taken: July, San Juan Islands

Photographer’s description: “I told the [whale-watching] captain that all I asked was to get a picture of a whale breaching in front of Mount Baker. He said he’d set it up. I thought, ‘God is the only one who could set that up!’ I prayed and look what happened! I’m titling this ‘Breaching for Heaven.’”

Judges’ comment: “The ‘Wow!’ factor makes this photo. Not every day is a breaching orca caught on camera with a nicely composed image of Mount Baker.”


Honorable mention for Northwest scenics; Photographer: Torri Howard, Sultan; Photo taken: Dec. 5, Sultan

Photographer’s description: “The rain was coming down and then the sun came out. This picture was taken at the park where the Sultan River and the Skykomish River intersect. It was amazing!”

Judges' comment: “This is a beautiful scene. The nicely composed photo captures an amazing quality of light. The tall tree on the left counters the weight created by the double rainbow. The eyes have a gentle edge on the right to fall away from the scene with the darker clouds and shadows.”


Honorable mention for Northwest scenics; Photographer: Yoshiki Nakamura, Seattle; Photo taken: July 4, Gas Works Park, Seattle

Photographer’s description: “Fireworks by the people, for the people. I wanted to capture the fireworks with people this year. I positioned behind the hill and composed to include silhouettes of spectators and Statue of Liberty. Used a Nikon D3, 70-200mm lens, F2.8 on a tripod.”

Judges’ comment: “The photographer’s gamble pays off with fireworks beautifully painting the sky. But it starts with good planning to know where the fireworks will be flying and employing a tripod. The use of a long zoom lens tightens the image. This compresses the elements instead of spreading them as a wide-angle lens would. The silhouette of Lady Liberty gives a point of reference, and the crowd rising from left to right creates a sense of place atop Kite Hill.”


Honorable mention for Northwest scenics; Photographer: Dené Miles, Seattle; Photo taken: July 23, Mount St. Helens

Photographer’s description: “What a treat to see the wildflowers in full bloom at the mountain. Such a lovely contrast and perfect Northwest summer scene. Used my Nikon D90, with polarizer.”

Judges’ comment: “This photo wins hands down with its nice composition and beautiful light on Mount St. Helens. The wildflowers anchoring the image fill the frame with life 30 years after the volcano’s eruption.”

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