What a truly stunning year 2018 has been! For all the heartache and stress there was equivalent beauty and joy. It’s a year to remember, to be certain.

For this year’s photo contest, along with the unique, creative perspectives that make some images truly eye catching, we made special consideration for moments that would induce a smile, a feeling of warmth and happiness, and we were not left wanting.

Congratulations to this year’s winners and honorable mentions and thank you to all who entered for sharing your special moments.

For the winners, contact Tori@vcreporter.com to claim your prize. — Michael Sullivan

FIRST PLACE | Justin Kaplan
Recently hiked Pipiwai Trail in South Maui and came across a giant bamboo forest. Wanting to get a different perspective I gently laid my camera down facing up and set my camera to a 10 second timer while I attempted to climb the bamboo.
SECOND PLACE | Nancy Kettner
Oxnard Shores at noon on Nov. 9 as smoke from the Carr Fire spread through the south east sky above Point Mugu obscuring the sun. Shafts of light through the smoke turned the waves to a shimmering opalescent light show contrasted with the smoky sky. It was serendipity that a stop to check the surf gave us this brief but spectacular nature show.
THIRD PLACE | Sherri Farland Children in good spirits after fires — Ventura HS freshmen.
HONORABLE MENTIONS | Michael Rhodes, Photographer Rosie, my one and half year old granddaughter, climbed into my arms and fell asleep.
HONORABLE MENTION | William Horstick
Food Trucks at Hueneme Beach
HONORABLE MENTION | Justin Kaplan “Till death do us part” A random couple I shot in Yosemite National Park. I hiked to Taft point the evening before hiking Half Dome and ran into this couple celebrating their engagement thousands of feet above the valley floor.
HONORABLE MENTION | Christopher Dunmire
Rescued from SPARC — Darren rescues us every day!
HONORABLE MENTION | Michelle Stevens
Always Bring a Noodle to the Lake Party
HONORABLE MENTION | Vicki Means
Three ladies having a blast at Ojai Day 2018.
HONORABLE MENTION | Sherri Barker
Sunrise on Silver Strand Beach in Oxnard on Dec. 3.
HONORABLE MENTION | Ron Wean
“Serendipity”
On a recent hike to Horn Canyon in Ojai I spied some Monkey flowers in bloom, a pleasant surprise in mid-October. There were a few bees at work and my hope was to catch one on a flower. As I was framing the photo I realized that the frog was sitting on the leaf! It wasn’t until the photo was enlarged on the computer that the spider could be seen! So I call this Serendipity!
HONORABLE MENTION | Michelle Stevens
After the Rain
HONORABLE MENTION | Amy Hall
Ducks in Amsterdam
HONORABLE MENTION | Damon Wing
Walking through the jungle with the elephants as they feasted on bamboo at Mandalao, an elephant conservation sanctuary in Laos.
HONORABLE MENTION | Kendra Lannom
Taken at the Turtle Grill on the island at Lake Havasu City. Just having some juvenile fun that day