Alive! presents some of our favorite winners from ‘John’s Picture Perfect’ contest from 2019.


Photos compiled by John Hawkins, Club CEO

A ‘Picture’ of 2019

Do you like “John’s Picture Perfect” contest? Well, so do we!

For the contest’s 10th anniversary in January 2015, we printed our favorite photos from contest’s entire span. Readers liked it so much that we decided to run an annual recap. In 2019, Club Members submitted hundreds of entries and many dozens of winners. Here are some of them. As we begin 2020, we publish this look back at the images taken by Club Members who in 2019 pushed their shutters at exactly the right moment, along with the original comments by John Hawkins. Enjoy, and keep sending in those images! (Go to the end of this story for information on submitting your photos.)  


“I’m usually capturing the sunsets, but this sunrise was spectacular.”

Jill Weiszmann, Retired

John’s comment: Jill, with your photos, you’re creating some real mythmaking about life in Cheney, Wash. This photo has a great sense of layers – foreground, middle ground and background. My eye started at the sun, then back to the flag, then the house, and then ending on the sun again. Great balance and organization. Thanks!


“When all the right elements came together – clear skies, heavy water flow, time of year, and moon phase – a ‘moonbow’ can be seen at Lower Yosemite Falls in Yosemite. I was able to capture this event in July. It happens only two or three times a year and can be witnessed in only a handful of places on earth!”

– Carlos Aranda, DWP

John’s comment: Carlos, I have to admit this is my first moonbow! It’s an awesome picture, Carlos; thank you as always.


“It has been maybe 10 to 15 years since I have seen bumblebees. Maybe all the rain we had [has brought them out]. Maybe a good environmental sign?”

John Nance, Retired, DWP

John’s comment: John, bees have been having a hard time of it lately. For whatever reason, one has come back for your photograph! Nature close-ups are never easy, but you seem to pull them off with delicacy and clarity. Nice shot!


“Calm Kings Canyon National Park.”

– Shaudi Pishvaie, LAPD

John’s comment: Shaudi, I love how you captured the spring scene in three planes – the foreground, with the rocks and riverbank … the middle, with the pines I can practically smell, and a brook I want to jump into … and then the majestic mountain in the deep background, giving me the distance. I need to get back to the Sequoias soon! Thanks for submitting.


“Garfield showing his inner beast.”

– Victor Ladd, Retired, LAPD

John’s comment: This seems to be the month for double-images, with this cat and its shadow. Victor, I’ve just gotten a cat for my family, so this photo of ‘Garfield’ really connected. It’s clear and rich … and the expression is contemplative and mysterious. In other words, cat-like! (And it’s hard to catch an animal calmly posed like this.) Well done!


“A night in St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City. It’s a prominent landmark in NYC, known for its Neo-Gothic style.”

– Corleto Manuel, Building and Safety

John’s comment: Corleto, I’ve seen St. Patrick’s many times, but I don’t remember seeing it with such an unusual blue tint. How did you capture this? I also like your angle, looking up at what looks like a slight tilt to really emphasize how impressive it is. Nice!

Honorable Mention

“If anybody ever questioned whether I am the life of any party, here’s your proof: At least for a nanosecond I felt very popular when I was these sheep’s center of attention in Northern California recently. Of course they may also have been under the impression that I was bringing food. But I’d rather want to believe that they thought of me as really amazing and cool.”

– Yves Didier, Airport Police

John’s comment: This photo made me laugh the first second I saw it, Yves, and then your description made me laugh again. I love photos with random spacing and order in the composition that seem to settle down perfectly into balance. But it’s the face of the sheep in front looking full of expectation that makes it so dynamic and worthy of a second look … and a third, and so on. Thanks for submitting!

“I visited the Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve in April and was treated to this scene! If you look closely, you can see people up along the ridge. That flower-less patch in the foreground is where someone stepped off the path and damaged the flowers!”

– Carlos Aranda, DWP

John’s comment: Carlos, that is a mind-blowingly colorful photo. I can’t believe those are people up there on the left. It really gives perspective! Thanks for sending in this beautifully colorful photo.

“Here’s a picture is of a boat dock at Lake Mamie at dusk in Mammoth Lakes.”

– Firefighter John Hicks, LAFD

John’s comment: When they say a surface is smooth as glass, they might as well have been talking about this photo, John, and the lake’s surface. It’s just incredible. And your mid-ground (the boat) and the background (the pine trees) set off the reflection perfectly. Beautifully composed, artfully shot. Thanks!

“Portland Head Lighthouse, Cape Elizabeth, Maine.”

– Corleto Manuel, Building and Safety

John’s comment: Hey Corleto, I can feel the ocean breeze on my face, and exhale as I imagine the peaceful end-of-summer atmosphere you captured here. Stoic, humble, simple, evocative … I love it. Thanks for this classic!

“Recently taken during a walk at one of the local parks, this bird was certainly cleared for takeoff!”

– Yves Didier, LAPD

John’s comment: Your angle makes me feel the energy of this bird – the swoop, the power, the danger, the pride. Thanks!

“God’s amazing creation – a phenomenal Aurora Borealis, taken in the Arctic Circle near Fairbanks, Alaska.”

– Corleto Manuel, Building and Safety

John’s comment: Awesome photo! The greenish color is mesmerizing … but there’s more here, too. There are starts peaking through, and the subtle road gently leading my eye into the spectacular light curtain just finishes the drama. Thanks for submitting! (And this is now on my travel list.)

“A sunset on Cabrillo Beach, San Pedro.”

Victor Ladd, Retired, LAPD

John’s comment: Victor, we’ve published many great sunset shots, and this would be among the best. I love the small group of people dwarfed by the bursting colors. Thanks for sending!

“I recently went on our 20th wedding anniversary to Fiji (thanks, Costco). We found what’s at the end of the rainbow!”

Karl Guder, Retired, General Services

John’s comment: I wonder how long you navigated the boat you were riding in, Karl, before you reached the perfect angle to capture this moment! Well done!

“Here’s a peacock at L.A. Zoo and Botanical Gardens.”

– Victor Ladd, Retired, LAPD

John’s comment: Whoa, Victor! What an explosion of color, texture and design! I looked at the intricacy of this bird’s structure for 10 or 15 minutes, and it kept getting more incredible. But credit to the photographer, too – you framed it tight to emphasize the detail and color patterns. I’m as awestruck as the bird itself!

“Grace Episcopal Church in San Francisco.”

– Aaron Harris, Public Works/Sanitation

John’s comment: If I knew the architect and interior designers of this church, Aaron, I’d put you in touch with them – this has to be exactly what they were thinking with the bird-like elements hanging from the top, to cap off an excellent view of a clean, modern design. You’ve captured the spirit of this church well, and just in time for Easter. Thanks for submitting!

“Here’s the lighthouse in Long Beach at sunrise.”

– Victor Ladd, Retired, LAPD

John’s comment: Victor, I’m not sure how you got the beam of light to aim right at the light house – it’s like a one-in-a-million shot – but I’m going to admire it anyway. It’s majestic and incredible!

“This was taken in Antigua, Guatemala. This is a Mayan woman. Many of them walk around Antiqua trying to sell their amazing woven cloths to the tourists. There are 21 Mayan languages spoken there. They wear their traditional skirts and tops, and each town has its own colors and designs.

“It’s a beautiful county with wonderful people. I want to go back.”

– Ondrea Tye, Planning

John’s comment: And I want to go, period, Ondrea. This photo and your description tell me a lot about Guatemala, its traditional culture and its people. The balance on her head and in the framing of the photo complement each other perfectly, and the magnificence of the door works well with her clothing, all set against the blank wall. Thanks for sending!


  • Please submit the full, original digital file (up to 3 megs file size).
  • The contest is open to all Club members in good standing. Non-members are welcome to submit, but only Club members are eligible to win the monthly prize.
  • Photos can be of any subject matter: vacation, portraits, families, landscapes, still lifes, pets, etc. Subject matter must be appropriate for Alive!
  • If your photograph does not win, you are welcome to re-submit.
  • Winners are chosen by Club staff. All decisions will be final.
  • You must certify (if asked) that you indeed took the picture. No ringers!
  • The contest is all in good fun: The Club cannot be responsible for delays in delivering Alive!, or for delays in the transmission of responses.

How to enter:

Do you love to take pictures? Submit your photos to the Picture Perfect contest. Once a month, the best pics are selected for publication. If your photo is published, you’ll receive a $25 Amazon e-Gift Card!  ENTER PICTURE PERFECT CONTEST