Raymond Fujii of Torrance took home first place honors with this silhouette shot of the Redondo Beach Pier, titled “Beautiful Sunset and Birds.” 

And the Winner is…

SOUTH BAY CITIES COUNCIL OF GOVERNMENTS SELECTS RAYMOND FUJII OF TORRANCE AS WINNER OF ITS INAUGURAL PHOTO CONTEST   

Winner is Selected from More than 150 Submissions  

The South Bay Cities Council of Governments (SBCCOG) is pleased to announce Raymond Fujii of Torrance as the winner of its inaugural “Why I Love the South Bay” Photo Contest, which invited the community to submit images that showcase what is unique and beautiful about the South Bay. The first-place photo, titled “Beautiful Sunset and Birds” depicting the Redondo Beach Pier, was announced at the SBCCOG’s March 24, 22nd annual General Assembly, an event that serves as an opportunity for the region’s thought leaders to gather, share ideas and discuss important issues.  

The contest launched January 1, 2022, on southbaycities.org and generated more than 150 entries. The SBCCOG collaborated with Daily Breeze photo editor Dean Musgrove to select the top-10 finalists. It invited General Assembly attendees to vote live at the event via a QR code to select the winner. During the finalist judging, Musgrove described the winning photo as one he would “definitely want to include in a book about the South Bay.”  

“I was so surprised when I saw my photo flash up on the screen [at the General Assembly],” Fujii said. Fuji and the finalists were invited to attend the General Assembly at the Juanita Millender-McDonald Community Center. He continued, “All of the photos were really good, so I was happy just to be included with that group of photographers. It was a really nice surprise.”  

Fujii is a South Bay native and real estate lawyer who recently took up photography as a hobby. Following an instinct that he would see a good sunset that evening, he waited 45 minutes, while his family waited in the car, to capture the winning moment. “I told them all I needed was a bird,” he said. He got his wish. He credits Photo Boot Camp classes offered through Paul’s Photo Creative Academy, located in Torrance, for helping him to cultivate his skill.  

The contest invited the community to submit photos that reflected the following locations in the South Bay: Cities of Carson, El Segundo, Gardena, Hawthorne, Hermosa Beach, Inglewood, Lawndale, Lomita, Manhattan Beach, Palos Verdes Estates, Rancho Palos Verdes, Redondo Beach, Rolling Hills, Rolling Hills Estates, Torrance, along with Harbor City/San Pedro/Wilmington communities of the City of Los Angeles, and unincorporated areas of the County Los Angeles Districts 2 and 4. 

“We were very impressed by the quality of the entrees. We received many coastal shots, so it’s very apparent that the coastline is a major attraction and why people love the South Bay,” Jacki Bacharach, executive director of the SBCCOG said. “It was fun to review all the entries, which really captured the beauty of our community.”  

Images were judged on criteria that included, but were not limited to, scenic beauty, originality, technical excellence, composition, overall impact and artistic merit. 

The SBCCOG plans to host future photo contests. It is currently reviewing incorporation of different themes to generate various types of photos of the South Bay. It will announce its plans soon on southbaycities.org. 

Here are the additional top-nine finalists in no particular order.

European Visitors (Hermosa Beach) By Nancy Perong

Balancing Act (Hermosa Beach) by Pamela Ashe

Torrance Beach and Mountains (Torrance) by Gary Stuart

Pelican and Friend (Redondo Beach Pier) by Robert Feldman

Bike Rider (Alondra Skate Park, Torrance) by Claudia Passos

Sunset Reflections (Redondo Beach) by Kevin Morgan

So Cal Beach Life (Hermosa Beach) by Chris Turchyn

Tony’s Redondo Beach (Redondo Beach Pier) by Patti Arpaia

Stand-Up Paddler at Sunset (Hermosa Beach) by Kathy Kramer