2020 Monthly Theme Winners

2020 Winners of the LBNL Photo Club's Monthly Theme Contest

Each month, the Lab’s Photo Club selects a theme for its members to capture in images. Members are then invited to submit two photos, and all members can vote in the selection of the top four photographs that best embody the theme. Below are the winning photographs from 2020 organized by month (See previous years: 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013). For more information on the Photo Club, contact John N. Christensen (EESA) jnchristensen@lbl.gov.

October 2020 "Contre-jour"

1st place- John Christensen (EESA); tied for 2nd place- John Clark (FE) and Deb Agarwal (CRD); 3rd place- AJ Ireland () ; tied for 4th place- Alicia Clum and Aris Polyzos.

Sun Halo

I silhouetted the east tower of the Bay bridge to block the sun and bring out the ring around the sun (produced by ice crystals in the high cirrus clouds). The tower provided a nice abstract element to the composition.

John Christensen

Sunrise on the Savannah

Beautiful sunrise shot I captured in the Maasai Mara Reserve.

John Clark, Facilities Engineering

The Sun as the Pigeon Point Light

In 2014 we were headed for Monterey and stopped at the Pigeon Point Lighthouse. The sun was just at the right angle to shine through the fresnel lens of the lighthouse. I have other pictures when the sun was not directly behind the lighthouse that make it clear the light was not on.

Deb Agarwal

Short-eared owl among the Koniks

A short-eared owl flies amongst grazing Konik ponies at sunset. Wicken Fen, Cambridgeshire, UK.

-- AJ Ireland

Martis Creek Cabin

Fall colors in Tahoe. I like seeing the light come through the cabin.

Alicia Clum

SF Ocean Beach Sept 19, 2020

Getting to be a weekly thing for us. Didn't know it was so beautiful here at Sunset (probably why they call it that!?) -

Aris Polyzos

September 2020 "Animals (wildlife, birds, pets, etc.)"

1st place- Claude Lyneis (NSD); tied for 2nd- Kelly J. Owen (SC) and Stephen Czarnecki (BTUS); 3rd- John N. Christensen (EESA); and tied for 4th- Kelly J. Owen (SC), Deb Agarwal(CRD) and Stephen Czarnecki (BTUS).

Anna's Hummingbird in Berkeley Hills

My wife's garden attracts Anna's Hummingbirds almost year around. They are quite territorial and chase the other Hummingbirds away.

The challenge is use a fast enough shutter to freeze their motion without needing to high an ISO.

Claude Lyneis

A Buck Lingers Close to Newborn Fawn on Red Wednesday

during Wildfire Smoke Event at the Lab

© Kelly J. Owen | @CalypsosPoet

Snowy Flying Into Sunset

A snowy owl flying into the light of the setting sun. After a long, cold day of waiting I eventually managed to get an in-focus shot with enough light to bring out the yellow of the eye.

- Stephen Czarnecki

Zen of Newt

A macro shot of a California Newt (oak leaf for scale) from a jaunt out at Briones Park in February, 2019. I'm still deciding if it was worth my first ever case of poison oak. Maybe so.

John Christensen

Night Heron at Sunset

© Kelly J. Owen | @CalypsosPoet

Egret with nice hairdo

There is an egret rookerie near this lagoon and the young egrets learn to fish here. At this stage they have some really great plumage. It happened to be a windy day so the plumage was really flying everywhere.

Deb Agarwal


A sandpiper feeding in the surf. I like the sea foam glittering in the sun and the reflection in the thin layer of water left by the receding wave.

Stephen Czarnecki

August 2020 "Fantastic/Surreal"

1st place- Deb Agarwal (CRD); tied for 2nd- Albert Sheng (Eng.), Stephen Czarnecki (BUBT), and Haris Mahic (ALS); tied for 3rd- Deb Agarwal and Albert Sheng; and tied for 4th- John Christensen (EESA) and Michael Wehner (CRD).

Early Morning Lightning in the North Bay

The lightning woke us up yesterday morning and we grabbed our cameras and went out on the deck to see what we could get. This is the most surreal of the ones I got. The only alterations to this photo were standard adjustments in camera raw (no photoshopping.

Deb Agarwal

Start to work

In the Chinese countryside, two farmers came across a stone road, while morning rays of light filtered through the tree leaves, as the fog was just flying by.

Albert Cheng


The original picture was a sunset at the Campanile. Transformed into this by the following:

  • Polar to rectangular transform (despite being rectangular to begin with)

  • Rotate 180 degress

  • Rectangular to polar transform

  • Crop

Stephen Czarnecki

I saw in Louisiana a live-oak growing by W. Whitman

I saw in Louisiana a live-oak growing,

All alone stood it and the moss hung down from the branches,

Without any companion it grew there uttering joyous leaves of dark green,

And its look, rude, unbending, lusty, made me think of myself,

But I wonder’d how it could utter joyous leaves standing alone there without its friend near, for I knew I could not,

And I broke off a twig with a certain number of leaves upon it, and twined around it a little moss,

And brought it away, and I have placed it in sight in my room,

It is not needed to remind me as of my own dear friends,

(For I believe lately I think of little else than of them,)

Yet it remains to me a curious token, it makes me think of manly love;

For all that, and though the live-oak glistens there in Louisiana solitary in a wide flat space,

Uttering joyous leaves all its life without a friend a lover near,

I know very well I could not.

Photo by:

Haris Mahic

July 2020 "Water" Theme Contest

1st place- Albert Sheng (Eng.), tied for 2nd- John Christensen (EESA) and Haris Mahic (ALS); tied for 3rd- Heather Pinto (CFPOR) and John Christensen; and in 4th- Albert Sheng.

7 Layers Waterfall

This is a hidden water fall in the north of Taiwan. It is so remote that I had to walk along 2 miles railroad and pass through two dark tunnels to get there.

Albert Sheng


Just a macro shot of the upright end of a hose capturing the wonderful fluid essence of water. (It looks to me like the profile of a lion)

John Christensen

Kayaking on Paradise Lake

244 acres surrounded by beautiful wooded land.

Haris Mahic

A Watched Pot Never Boils

Bubbles starting to form at the bottom of a pot of water.

Heather Pinto

Two Phases

Beautiful dendritic ice crystals suspended over the edge of a small creek in Tahoe. Overnight the surface of the stream began to freeze outward from the bank. By the morning the water level had dropped a bit leaving the sheet of ice hanging over the water.

John Christensen

Water Ladder Rice Field

I was traveling in Yunnan province, China, where relatively few people live (it ranks 12th in population among the provinces). Because of the shortage of flat ground, the people cultivate rice in the mountain foothills in terraced fields. You cannot imagine that it is women who do the field work, not men.

Albert Sheng

June 2020 "Macro Photography"

1st place- Thomas Rüegg (EBME), in 2nd John Christensen (EESA); tied for 3rd- Haris Mahic (ALS) and Michael Wehner (CRCLU); and tied for 4th- Doug Lockhart, and Stephan Czarnecki (BTUS).

Spiderweb in morning fog

Thomas Rüegg


Part of a flowering plum leaf, backlit by the morning sun against a blue sky. The translucent leaf shows off the network of fine veins that transport water within the leaf that has been transported from the roots. Taken with a 60mm macro lens on a Nikon D7000.

John Christensen

Just a Daisy

Haris Mahic

Lincoln Memorial

Reverse of a 1963 cent. Shot through a microscope.

Michael Wehner

A Bun in the Oven

This time of year the Gulf Fritillary Butterflies swarm our passaflora vines and lay a bazillion eggs on the leaves & tendrils. Increasing the size of the egg from a macro shot provides color & texture detail that is not visible to a naked eye.

Doug Lockhart

Small Fly

A small but colorful fly suns itself on the leaf of a wild daisy.

Stephen Czarnecki

May 2020 "Leading Lines"

1st place- Tim Kneafsey (EESA), in 2nd Albert Sheng (Eng.); in a 3-way tie for 3rd- John Christensen (EESA), Thomas Rüegg (EBME), Albert Sheng; and in 4th- Randy Roig.

Kennecott Copper

Aerial shot of the Kennencott open pit mine in Utah.

Tim Kneafsey

Sunrise over the LanYan River

I was standing on a small dam on the exit of LanYan river, east of Taiwan. A fisherman was about to row his bamboo boat. Series of ripples were formed on the tips of his paddles, Whereas The reflection of the golden dawn reveals the beauty of the Mother nature.

Albert Sheng

Barcelona Lanes

John Christensen


Encountered during one of the many strolls through my Berkeley neighborhood

Thomas Rüegg

Sunrise of the Mountain

This is one of the famous photo spots in Taiwan for the sunrise. You ain't always that lucky to have mist cloud just below the trees and hills so that light rays will pass all the way through.

Albert Sheng

Plaza Lines

The plaza tiles provide an optical illusion of dipping leading lines in Cascais, Portugal. Would not want to walk through this plaza under the influence!

Randy Roig

Sony RX-10 IV

April 2020 "Smartphone (Signs of the Times)"

1st place- Haris Mahic (ALS); tied for 2nd- Janie Page (BUBS) and Deb Agarwal (CRD); in 3rd- Karen Lingua (CFPOS); and in 4th- Doug Lockhart.

Stay Home

Stay home order extended.

photo by

Haris Mahic


Six foot spacing on the sidewalk outside a local bank.

Janie Page

Sunrise Paddleboarding from a Safe Distance

A friend came over for a sunrise paddleboard session last week. I launched first to keep a nice social distance. I caught this picture from my paddleboard right after my friend took off. It was a beautiful Covid morning. We paddled for about an hour.

Deb Agarwal

Battle Turkeys

This photo was taken on March 11, which you may recall was when the Lab was planning curtailment. Between the fast emerging news of this new virus, and wondering how it would impact my job, I came to work in a worried mood early that morning.

Just arriving at my desk in the 71 trailers, I heard quite a ruckus outside and opened the blinds and found these gents all fluffed up and in battle mode. They bashed into each other a bit, made a lot of noise, then wandered off. It was loud, and up on that rock they were well above me.

I grabbed my iPhone as fast as I could and shot through the window. Not ideal conditions but I'm glad I got the shot.

Given the news of the day and the turbulent morning sky, it all felt very ominous, but the turkeys weren't concerned about COVID, they just knew Spring was on the way.

by Karen Lingua

Calla Lily

I've been trying photo techniques new to me while sheltering in place. In this case it was the use of phone camera flash outdoors after dark to isolate a subject with brightness. Here it hides an otherwise blah background. Key lesson: the Lightroom app on iPhone allows modifying the flash brightness to achieve the result being sought whereas the Camera app does not.

Doug Lockhart

March 2020 "City Life (or on the Street)"

1st and 2nd place- Albert Sheng (EESA); in 3rd- Chris Samuel (NERSC); and in 4th- Michael Wehner (CRD).

Morning Tea Time

It is in a small but old town in central China, people get together on a street having breakfast and tea in the morning. Everybody seems to be very happy laughing and chatting, except the one sitting close to my camera, he kept smoking and seems his mind had drifting away to the past without realizing the cigarette ash was almost falling off.

Albert Sheng


I saw a school girl waiting for someone at the corridor while it was heavy raining. I think she is awaiting someone because she had umbrella on hand. She put her right hand on her chest trying to prevent raindrop from spraying on her clothes.

Albert Sheng

Rags and Riches

This street photo was taken quickly at a sculpture called The Public Purse at the junction of Elizabeth St and Bourke St Mall in the heart of Melbourne. My late wife and I were on a photo walk on New Years Day 2011 when we walked past this and I noticed this homeless gentleman walking past this symbol of money and the contrast struck me. I snapped a quick shot and then he was gone into the crowd of New Years Day shoppers.

For this I've taken the original colour image and processed it with Digikam as if it's on an Ilford B&W IR film to bring the foreground subjects out and mask the background a little.

Photo by Chris Samuel, taken 2011-01-01

NYC Lego Scene

At the Lego store in Rockefellor plaza.

Michael Wehner

February 2020 "The Color Red"

1st place- John Christensen (EESA); in 2nd- Karen Lingua (CFPOS); in a three-way tie for 3rd- Maxim Koriabine (JGTC), Tim Kneafsey (EESA), and Manuel Sanchez del Rio (ALS); and in 4th- Shruti Deorah (EAIE5).

Red Skies at Night......

I took this photo from Z lot on Jan 23, 2020. It was well after sunset, but there was still this eerie red glow on the horizon, but dark enough for the city lights. I shot it at 70mm (DSL APS) at f7.1 at 1 sec, and then cropped down the image a fair bit.

John Christensen


Join me in a toast to the color red.

(Capturing refraction turned out to be a lot harder than I expected)

Karen Lingua

Black Cat-Red Curtains

Maxim Koriabine

Leaves In Fire Lane

Tim Kneafsey

The Red Hug

A girl hugs her mummy at the end of a busy journey.

Photo taken in the Saturday’s art market in Plaza San Jacinto, Mexico City.

Manuel Sanchez del Rio

The Red Burden

The red cooking gas cylinders are a ubiquitous sight in Indian cities- many a times being transported on hand-pulled rickshaws, and always lifted manually and delivered to the customer, weighing ~65 pounds on average.

Shruti Deorah

January 2020 "Symmetry/Reflections"

1st place Albert Sheng (Eng.); in 2nd Karen Lingua (CFPOS); in 3rd- Tom Ruegg (EBME) ;and tied for 4th- John Christensen (EESA) and Albert Sheng.

Reflection of GuanYin Temple

Just right after heavy rain, I stopped by this beautiful GuanYin temple and tried to take a reflection shot of the temple. I was squatting at the center of the parking lot. Luckily there were no cars parking in front of this small puddle and I was not run over by any cars that drove by at night.

Albert Sheng


A reflection on my new book of poetry.

by Karen Lingua

Somewhere in Space

Star reflection in a high Sierra lake during an extremely calm night. When standing on a rock in the water, stars were above and below - just everywhere. It felt like floating through the universe on a tiny asteroid.

Tom Ruegg

Symmetry Overhead

A chandelier in St. Nicholas' church, Prague

Ignoring pesky details, this image has 4-fold rotational symmetry, and then there are 4 mirror planes. I took the shot with a fish eye lens, holding my camera straight up over my head and directly under the center of the dome.

John Christensen

Reflection of Pao Palace

The reflection is off a transparent acrylic plate that seals an abandoned well. I used a fisheye lens trying to include the entire palace into the reflection.

Albert Sheng