Alameda on Camera Award Given

Dennis Evanosky Mike Gifford points out his award-winning photo taken at the Cityview Skatepark.

 

As this year’s Alameda on Camera competition began, photographer Mike Gifford joined 48 other camera buffs at the Frank Bette Center for the Arts (FBCA). They studied a map of Alameda divided into 48 sections, and then drew numbers from a hat. Each amateur paparazzo now had to shoot something — anything — within the section of the city that corresponded to the number he or she drew. Gifford drew number 48: the westernmost section of the city. 

His territory included the area around the now-closed Naval Air Station’s Main Gate and the streets beyond. Gifford decided to photograph not something within his allotted territory, but something you could see from that territory: the San Francisco skyline. He photographed that iconic scene and turned his pictures into a larger-than-life triptych. The result: an entry too large to hang at FBCA and so too large for the competition. 

Gifford would have to photograph something else. He decided to visit Alameda’s Cityview Skatepark on West Red Line Avenue. He found what he wanted: a dramatic shot of a young man with his skateboard suspended in space and a Port of Oakland crane providing the backdrop and the viewer a sense of place. 

He dubbed his photograph “Hot.” The judges agreed with that assessment and awarded Gifford Alameda on Camera’s 2017 Marketing Award. Gifford is no stranger to this annual competition. In the past, he’s taken home the prizes and esteem from winning in the Best Street Photography, Best after Dark, Best in Show and People’s Choice awards.

Gifford acquired his photography skills largely on his own. He began taking pictures of items for marketing purposes and “broadened from there out of necessity.” 

“I spent countless hours on YouTube,” he said. “I learned how to use both Photoshop and Lightroom. I also used my computer to study the art of composition.”

Gifford has now found a way to display for that “oversized” triptych. The Lodge AEC Living at 801 Island Dr. will hang it from May 10 to June 20, he said. 

Alameda will be sure to see another of Gifford’s works at next year’s Alameda on Camera. Whether it will fit into the space provided at FBCA remains to be seen.