Sheldon Breiner

"MacDonald's Barn, La Honda"
Second place Peninsula Images

Sheldon Breiner's wife has an usual photo collection. It's full of pictures that show her husband taking pictures. The collection is really not that strange when you think about it; Sheldon Breiner contorts himself into bizarre positions to take shots from interesting angles and viewpoints.

"I like to get in doorways and windows," says the 62-year-old Portola Valley resident. "All my pictures do something with frame or perspective."

Breiner's winning photo, "MacDonald's Barn, La Honda," taken four years ago, illustrates his love of making an ordinary picture interesting through use of an unusual perspective. Using a Minolta Maxim with a great depth of field, he was able to snap the shot while keeping both the fence slats and the barn in focus.

A well-traveled, adventurous businessman with a doctorate from Stanford, Breiner is known by his colleagues as the Indiana Jones of geophysics. In the past, he has made furniture, worked for oil companies to unearth resources, gone on archaeological digs and formed an oil company his own called Geometrics.

"Believe it or not," he says of his archaeological exploits, "I've found a few lost cities."

At the moment, Breiner is the president of a biotechnology firm that studies infectious diseases. He's also the CEO and sole employee of a software start-up and serves on the board of another software company.

Married with two grown children, he likes to spend his spare time taking pictures, downhill skiing, running marathons, hiking and traveling.

Although he has taken no formal classes in photography and never before won an award for his work, Breiner has had a serious interest in the art for 25 years.

"I take hundreds of pictures," he says. "My wife makes fun of me."

With all the projects Breiner has in progress at any given moment, it's amazing he finds the time to take as many photos as he does. When asked, he says simply, "I'm a very high-energy person."


--Kate Manning