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Visit Oakland kicks off annual photo competition

on February 3, 2011

Photographers who find their muse in Oakland can now submit their work to compete in the 2011 Visit Oakland Photo Contest, which began Tuesday.

Visit Oakland, formerly the Oakland Convention & Visitors Bureau, is dedicated to promoting Oakland as a destination for meetings and travel. This is its fifth photo contest, and so far it has recognized more than 100 photos.

“It highlights beautiful images of Oakland all around town,” said Elisa Williams, the communications director for Visit Oakland. “It’s a great way to showcase a very broad selection.”

Williams says about 30-35 images out of the hundreds of submissions are selected each year, and the first-prize winner will receive $1,000.

Besides being listed on the organization’s website, winning photos will also be used in Visit Oakland’s marketing materials and shared with the media. Any commercial benefits of the photos, Williams said, will be split between Visit Oakland and the photographers.

Steven Dos Remedios won the first prize last year. The 62-year-old technology manager at the Chabot Space & Science Center was walking his dog at the serpentine prairie in Redwood Regional Park when he saw some acorns on an oak sapling.

“I took a picture and submitted it not thinking that they would take it seriously—but they did,” said Dos Remedios, who said he thinks he won because of acorns’ symbolism in Oakland.

Dos Remedios hasn’t missed any of the contests since 2007 and has won multiple prizes since then. Another frequent contributor is James Knox, a freelance photographer who said he’s passionate about concert photography. Knox has entered the contest every year since 2008, but hadn’t won anything until 2010, when his black-and-white portrait of a trumpeter at Yoshi’s was selected as a second-prize winner. “The jazz scene here is very vibrant, ”said Knox. “There are a lot of places around town to go.”

Non-Oakland residents are also welcome to participate, since visitors “have a different eye and different perspective,” Williams said.

Jerry Ting, a programmer from Fremont, was the first-prize winner in 2009. Originally from Taiwan, Ting moved to the Bay Area from Cleveland, Ohio six years ago. His photo of Lake Merritt was actually taken in 2002 when he was visiting friends in Oakland. Ting said he now he comes to Oakland every week to take pictures because the city is so rich in resources for photography. He’s also completing a photo project to document all 65 parks in the East Bay Regional Park District.

“Urban views, bay views and forest views, there are all kinds of landscapes in Oakland, ” Ting said.

For entry forms for the contest or to see prize-winning pictures from previous years, please visit

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