Powers of observation, a passion for photography, childhood memories and drone piloting skills all worked together to earn James Singleterry the Downtown Long Beach Unfiltered Fan Favorite award.

Singleterry’s stunning sunset shot of the Downtown Marina is now front and center on the wall at DLBA.

“I spent tons of time in Downtown as a kid,” said Singleterry. “I was a member of the Navy Sea Cadets in high school, I sold Grand Prix programs here in the ’70s, I even watched the TV show ‘C.H.I.P.S.’ being filmed down here. This is my childhood.”

Singleterry captured the winning shot after receiving a tip from a sunset forecast website. When he arrived Downtown with his digital camera-equipped drone, “the sunset was on fire,” he said. He sat down under a palm tree, piloted the drone over the water and took several shots, controlling the shutter with his iPhone. At the bottom of the photo, ripples from the drone’s propeller wash can be seen.

Born and raised in Long Beach, Singleterry is a well-rounded fellow. A Navy veteran of the first Iraq war, James has been a motorcycle officer for the El Monte Police Department for 20 years. He is an avid bicyclist who has completed many “centuries”—the insider term for a 100-mile ride. Art has been an important component of his life since childhood when he caught the photography bug after watching his brother pursuing his own photography hobby.

Singleterry got a major boost of inspiration the hard way: Last year, while walking through El Monte, he was struck by a car, flying 22 feet and severely damaging his arm. Needing an outlet during a painful, three-surgery recovery, he turned to photography. He especially enjoyed the camaraderie and education gained from shooting photos with others.

“There’s so much cool stuff in life,” said Singleterry. “To capture moments in time and share them with other people is very rewarding. There is so much beauty in the world.”

To see James’ Fan Favorite sunset picture or any of the other twenty inspired Downtown Long Beach Unfiltered Photo Contest finalists, drop by DLBA’s office at 100 West Broadway, Suite 120, where they are proudly exhibited.