A picture showing a dramtically blue sky behind a weathered barn won first place in The Modesto Bee's "Picture Valley Life" reader photo contest.
"Approaching Storm" by Jeff Marshall of Waterford edged out a lotus blossom close-up in voting by Bee readers.
Marshall, 56, plant manager for a packaging company in Modesto, took the photo of the barn while driving on Warnerville Road near Oakdale as a rainstorm was approaching.
Marshall used a Canon Rebel XTi digital camera. The recent birth of a grandchild spurred his interest to pick up a camera again.
"I'm just getting back into it after about 30 years of not doing it," he said.
Marshall wins an assortment of items displaying the Bee's logo. The photograph will be published prominently in the newspaper within the next few days.
Second place went to Crystal Klingelsmith of Modesto, who snapped a close-up of a lotus blossom at Lotus Gardens in Modesto.
The third-place photo, by Nicholas Lopez, showed a crowd in motion inside the Gallo Center for the Arts.
The Bee will soon announce a new reader photo contest. Meanwhile, a "1-Minute Biography" video contest is under way this month. Details are at www.modbee.com/topshot.