John’s Picture Perfect Contest: Best of 2021


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


Photos compiled by John Hawkins, Club CEO

A ‘Picture’ of 2021

During 2021, when the pandemic eased but still held, our impressive Club Member photographers and their photographic eyes found beauty in the challenging times.

For the John’s Picture Perfect 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 2021, Club Members submitted hundreds of entries and many dozens of winners. Here are some of them.

So, as we look forward to continued recovery, we republish John Hawkins’ favorites from among the winners, along with his original comments.

Keep submitting your great photos, and keep looking up with hope and a grand sense of wonder.

“Building a takeoff ramp on a descending driveway with stale snow leads to one certain result: Hard landing on ice. Her expression says it all before touchdown. Ouch. Get up. Repeat.”

– Dominique Daito, LAPD/Communications

John’s comment: They say it’s all in the timing. I’m not sure about that, Dominique – you had to set it up right. But just a moment either before or after this exposure just wouldn’t have been the same. I’m still holding my breath for her! Excellent.

  “Part of our family – four of five grandkids. Shows each of their personalities! This is what it’s all about: them! We’ve had our turn. Trying to get them all in one picture, as we’re still missing one.”

– Lynne Wright, Retired, Airports

John’s comment: Whoa! Yep, those are real kids for sure!

 With family in Ventura.

– Yves Didier, Airport Police

John’s comment: Ahhhhh, so nice to be with family, and the sounds and breeze of the beach. The backlighting – turning the subjects into silhouettes – emphasizes the power of the outdoors. Well done, Yves.

  “Just a photo for the Club’s red, white and blue Picture Perfect contest.”

– Capt. Michael Barnes, Retired, Harbor

John’s comment: Capt. Michael, what a stunner. The lighting is perfect, as if the home has decided to humble itself to enjoy the fireworks … and it’s also very crisp. That’s hard to get in a nighttime shot of fireworks. Believe me, I’ve tried! Well done.


“Mom and daughter Sophie enjoying a Pismo Beach sunset.”

– Mike Aubin, LADWP

John’s comment: Without getting too maudlin, Mike, there’s a lot going on in this photo. Of course the silhouetting and the colors are spectacular. But it’s the literal setting of the sun to end a day, and an older generation looking at a younger generation that’s ready to begin, that give it emotion and meaning. A thoughtful, amazing shot. Thanks for submitting!

  “Even our fall sunsets are spectacular!”

– Jill Weiszmann, Club Member

John’s comment: You’re not kidding, Jill. Wow, what a beautiful sunset up there in Cheney, Wash. Could there be any better landscape photo to remind us to be thankful for all that we have been given? Simple, powerful, excellent. Thanks!


Honorable Mention

“My daughter was fascinated by this colorful light display on our walk around the neighborhood. This particular bush was illuminated in dazzling colors, and I had to bring down the saturation just to make the photo seem realistic.”

– Ike Dodson, State of California/Corrections

John’s comment: It’s amazing that you had to bring the saturation down, Ike! In the middle of this pandemic, your daughter and these intense colors are just the images I need to see. Thanks for submitting!

“Orange sky. Waiting for the sunset at Cachuma Lake Recreation Area.”

– Christine Isidro, LAFD

John’s comment: I’m not sure what kind of lens you used here, William, but it really makes the poppies, well, pop in the middle of this three-section composition. And it reminds me we need to get back to covering DWP stories in Owens Valley, when the pandemic is over!

“I just love it when they pose for me like this. Oh wait I want to take a photo of the mountains, the trees and the walking wood path. Photobombers! @Yosemite National Park.”

– Christine Isidro, LAFD

John’s comment:  Isn’t that always the way … and exactly why it’s so good.

“This was taken while my stepmom was teaching the grandchildren how to make corn tortillas. My home was always a place where family gathered to celebrate birthdays and holidays. On this occasion I believe it was my father’s birthday.”

– Rose Serrato, Retired, LAPD

John’s comment:  Awesome traditions being passed down, right in front of our eyes.

“Our dog, Cali, always liked to crawl into the ferns out front and discretely watch people come and go.”

– Andrew Redfield, Animal Services

John’s comment: I’m not sure what Cali was hiding from back there, or what the shenanigans were. She’s up to something! But it feels like she’s really part of nature. And I love the burst of color.

“A day exploring the Dolomites in Italy. Watching the clouds appear and disappear like magic.”

– Kirsten Aceves, Rec and Parks

John’s comment: Whoa, Kirsten! (That was my actual first word when I saw your entry!) Your amazing photo really emphasizes the word “great” in our monthly theme – also majestic, humbling and beautiful. Thanks for submitting!

The panorama trail at Yosemite, which Carlos’ daughter has been hiking since she was six. “She has now traveled to and visited more National Parks and National Monuments than I can keep track of!”

– Carlos Aranda, DWP

John’s comment: Carlos, in the many photos you submitted this month, you’ve chronicled your daughter’s awesome journey. I’ve chosen this one, because you can see the joy on her face in being in the great outdoors. This is a strong shot, of course, but sometimes photography is also about telling a story and picking the right moment. You did exactly that here. Fantastic, and thanks for letting us share it with your family.

“I spent this pandemic exploring and learning this new hobby of mine, riding the Electric Unicycle, EUC for short. This is one mean machine, compact and powerful. It operates like a Segway but has more power, speed and range. I always look forward to riding my EUC up in the mountains and hills of Lakeview Terrace. The feeling and excitement is incredible.”

– Glenn Abellanosa, Retired, LAPD

John’s comment: I love your approach, Glenn. Stay inside and quiet, or attack the pandemic with passion and adventure (and social distancing). I like how your photo uses vignetting in the corners, to add sort of a classical feel to a very non-classical activity. And the long lens adds to the classical feel … and makes me want to give it a shot, too. Thanks for the inspiration!

“My favorite friend on the Fourth of July.”

– Dennis Eigel, Public Works/Sanitation

John’s comment: Hey Dennis, it looks like your dog is a little overwhelmed with the weight of the bowtie and hat … but I have to say it’s the hat that won me over. (And how long did your dog actually keep the hat on? Ha!) Anyway, with your favorite friend you found a good model. Thanks for submitting!

“This is my best friend Angela, her mother Jeanette, son Scott, granddaughter Staci, and great-grandson Cameron. Five generations!”

– Nancy E. Wills, Retired, LADWP

John’s comment: Wow, Nancy, five generations in one shot. Pretty amazing. I you’re your family continued good fortune. Thanks for submitting!

“My interpretation of LA is a bit different than most. We have large ships calling the Port of LA, fishing boats, Pilot Boats and beautiful sunrises over the container cranes. It makes for a beautiful sight some days.”

– Cherie Ivers, Harbor

John’s comment: I love the stillness of this photo, Cherie. I also love that you’ve mixed palm trees and the unloading cranes into the background. They are both integral to the mixture of what LA is – a working City, a beautiful City. Thanks for submitting!

“From the Huntington Library Garden. Enjoy!”

– Virginia Wai Ching Lit, Retired, Public Works/Engineering

John’s comment: These days we use bright LED lights to bring us holiday colors. But back before electricity, they used what they found in nature, just like you did. To the traditional holly and ivy we can now add the colorful flowers from the Huntington, thanks to your photographic eye. Thanks, Virginia! Happy holidays.


  • 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