The Bay Area Images category brings together a group of diverse photographs that have each captured a moment in which the formal elements — composition, light, color, form, pattern, texture, viewpoint and timing — come perfectly together. Dan West's figure, in an almost-fetal position surrounded by womblike architectural elements, is the striking first-place winner. Aaron Meyers' bee, happily immersed in pollen, gives us a unique close-up of the natural world. All the judges were moved by the serenity of the boat, adrift in a Winslow Homer setting, shot by Josh Newby. And Brant Wenegrat's photographers and photographed is both amusing and layered in nuance. How could anyone resist Greg Gatwood's fearless flying canine, or Dorothy Cichon's mysterious perspective, or the intensity of the texture and colors in Mark Kay's leaves? Frances Freyberg and Libor Kovarcik have captured two different but equally idyllic moments, while Tara Laidlaw's affectionate cows exemplify Cartier Bresson's "decisive moment." Kudos to all.
Lily Above the Coast
"It's a trippy place for a photo," Dan West said of the location for his prize-winning picture. "But it was pretty hard to get to. You have to follow a narrow trail along the cliff side and, well, let's just say it was an adrenaline rush getting there."
But that's just the way he works, said West, who does both nude and landscape photography under different names.
"Typically, I'll just go out 'into the wild' and find locations that I find interesting."
Shot above Rodeo Beach in the Marin Highlands north of the Golden Gate Bridge, the black-and-white image captures a model named Lily in a battered bunker.
"There was a small, formerly windowed area near the back that was a bit difficult to get to, and it looked like there had once been some sort of gun or turret placed there," West said. He imagines it might have once been used to target ships during the war.
"There was such a great view; you can see the whole ocean from up there."
"I've worked with Lily on about eight or nine other shoots. I'm so bad at titles, which is why this one is 'Lily Above the Coast' — pretty self explanatory," he said. "When I found out I'd won, I just hoped the title I'd sent in with it was something I'd be happy with."
Though he has been photographing for more than 30 years, he keeps the activity strictly as a hobby.
"I thought at one point I wanted to be a photojournalist, but that never happened," he laughed. Instead, he went to engineering school and currently works for Stanford University.
"I think that if I had to do photography for a living, it would probably take some of the fun out of it."
Serene Lake Lagunita
Wedding High Jinks
In Her Master's Wake