22nd Annual Palo Alto Weekly Photo Contest
First Place, Views Beyond the Bay Area
Youth 17 and Under

"Patriot"

By Mihir Juvvadi

When Mihir Juvvadi pressed the shutter-release button on his Canon EOS Rebel T3i while visiting Washington, D.C., in April 2013, he had no idea that his shot would win a photo contest almost a year later.

"Patriot" captures one small portion of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in early evening. Reflected in the polished black granite is the Washington Monument, illuminated by the sinking sun.

"It shows a lot of the nationalism and patriotism presented in Washington, D.C.," the 14-year old freshman at Gunn High School said.

He admitted that he didn't see that particular shot initially. He started by capturing the memorial as a whole, from farther away.

"I noticed that the trees were reflecting onto the stone, and I thought I might try to clarify that effect by coming at a 3/4 angle," he said. "This worked (and) toward the end of the memorial, I found that the Washington Monument was positioned behind me, so I set up to take the shot, with the Washington Monument reflected into the war memorial."

Juvvadi is part of an interesting twist in this year's photo contest: His good friend Zachary Weiss, who went to Washington, D.C., with him and first introduced him to photography about two years ago when they were playing around with his SLR camera, won first place in the Bay Area Images category.

"I look at pictures that other people like Zachary have taken, and seeing what they have done makes me want to try that as well," Juvvadi said. "I don't like to take a photography class to learn it."

Besides playing the piano since he was 6 years old, Juvvadi leads a busy life as the senior patrol leader for his Boy Scout troop and is learning jazz. He also created his own website to showcase his photographs, mjuvvadi.weebly.com.

— Marion Hohlfeld

Judge's Comment:

Mihir Juvvadi's winning image sets the Vietnam Memorial beautifully in the landscape. With a careful composition captured at an ideal time of day, Mihir gives us another view from which to reflect on two of our country's most iconic monuments. Even in the murky areas of the photo, interesting pops of color emerge, bringing those standing alongside Mihir into the frame as well.

— Angela Buenning Filo

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