By Alice Meyering, Program Coordinator of Community & Contract Education

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Victoria Bleeden’s “Golden Flight” is the winner of the 2017 Student Photo Contest

As our third Annual Community Education Student Photo Contest comes to a conclusion, as always, I am filled with wonder of how this little contest of my imagination has grown to be the annual anticipated event that it is now. Our community once again demonstrated its enthusiasm for photography: altogether, the contest drew 167 photo submissions from 39 current and former students, almost double the 90 images from 22 participants in 2016.

Congratulations are in order to Community Ed student Victoria Bleeden for winning our 2017 Student Photo Contest with her stunning image of a hummingbird that she calls “Golden Flight.”

Victoria captured the photo with a Canon EOS Rebel T3, a regular telephoto lens and a fast shutter speed (sports mode). Victoria came to us through quite a different route than the contest winners we have had in the past: the Calabasas equestrienne and mother of 18-year-old twin boys has taken just one class at SMC Community Ed, the popular Memoir Writing with instructor Monona Wali.

victoria bleeden horse jumping

Victoria Bleeden is an equestrienne who has never taken a photography class

“I am truly honored and thrilled to win this award,” she said. “I began taking photos seriously only about two or three years ago, so this is a particularly meaningful award.”

In many ways, Victoria represented a change from the contests of the past two years. Not only is Victoria our first female winner of the contest, she has also never taken a photography class with us or elsewhere, and this is the first year that our winning cover moves from landscape to still life. Victoria’s interest in photographing the hummingbirds in her backyard eventually translated to the beautiful cover that captured the hearts of many of our voters. We can only imagine that as this annual contest grows in popularity that it will attract even more talented photographers in our community to participate, amateurs and professionals alike.

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Chad Suggs was first runner-up for his image “Barker Dam”

Kudos also to the other two finalists in the Photo Contest – first runner-up Chad Suggs with his stunning image of Barker Dam, which is located in Joshua Tree National Park, and Diana Clevenger-Stephens for her close-up of a dandelion, using a macroclip on her iPhone. Last but not least, a big thank-you to all the contestants who participated and all the voters who helped us choose our fall 2017 cover. Until next year!

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Diana Clevenger-Stephens was 2nd runner-up for her close-up of a dandelion

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