Photo contest celebrates Irvine

Some photographers use stands, tripods, giant lenses and backpacks full of equipment to capture the perfect photo.

But Irvine Police Lt. Julia Engen used her slender Droid X smartphone to snap a shot of the rolling hills and wooden bridge at Strawberry Farms golf course.

Engen was one of five finalists among 30 people who submitted entries into a city employee photo contest as part of the celebration for Irvine's 40th anniversary of incorporation, according to city spokesman Craig Reem.

Although Engen said she loves photography, it became apparent decades ago that her talents in life lied elsewhere after a photography professor gave her unfavorable marks in his course.

"I remember quite clearly a conversation I had with my portrait instructor in 1984 asking me how my grades were in my other classes," she said. "When I told him they were good, he seemed relieved and then told me I was getting a D in his class."

The grade didn't discourage her from taking photos, and she has since invested in sophisticated cameras and has a Canon EOS 20D. Her Canon wasn't needed that January day when she was familiarizing herself with her cell phone's camera while golfing at Strawberry Farms.

Engen's photo is one of six that will be framed and hung in the employee area of city hall. Other employee finalists include Peter Hong, Jim Lizzi and Chris Young, with Cliff Wallace winning the grand prize for his shot of Palm Court.

A communitywide photo contest was also held, according to Reem, and had categories that included Irvine outdoors, community in Irvine, historical Irvine, and Irvine Innovation and Vision

Twitter: @lawilliams30

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