California Rice in Focus: Community

By Brian Baer

Like most people, I’m an explorer. The Sacramento valley has so many communities and back roads for me to explore during my job as a photographer. The difference for me is to see and then photograph these areas with a camera and share them with the world.

american flag flying outside old storefront

One of my favorite photo assignments is to drive and explore these areas, and capture the feel of a community. This can be the people, the businesses or the community itself. These assignments never get old because the scenery changes constantly. Even the same house or neighborhood can look different weeks or months apart from each other. Seasons change, lighting changes, yards change, all provide me more story telling opportunities.

man cooking barbecue

These can be easy because they are real situations and people’s property. Whatever the scene I capture, I hope to share it with others. People are proud of their communities and often look at others for inspiration.

small town main street

My constant challenge is to capture it in good light. This usually means photographing late in the day when the light from the sun is better. If the light is not right I file the location away for future dates when the light may be better or the season is better. A successful photograph is one that tells an effective story and gets many shares or comments.

Brian Baer is an award-winning photojournalist with more than 30-years experience photographing news and human events around the globe. Find out more at:

Brian Baer