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A year in the life of a newspaper photographer


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Every day is different. That’s what I enjoy most about my job, the diversity of each day.

The fact that I have no idea what’s going to happen, where I’m going to get sent, or who I’m going to meet next keeps me interested.

I feel humbled when I’m invited into homes, schools or businesses to tell people’s stories.

That was my feeling when I took what was my favorite photo of the year, two boys who showed sheer excitement and wonderment as their science experiment expanded a bag.

Here’s a list of my other favorites.

2 — I had been driving around Calaveras and Tuolumne counties looking for what we call “weather art.” Nothing. I was feeling defeated as stopped at the Lime Kiln traffic light when this dog stuck its head out the window to feel the rain, allowing me to capture this photo and head back to the office.

3 — Photographing the rodeo is pure excitement. This photo is in my favorites because it captures the rider as close to danger as he could have possibly been.

4 — I began this day at the Moccasin Trout Farm and photographed the workers netting these gargantuan trout. The photo, with giant trout flopping about and onlookers staring wide-eyed, always makes me smile.

5 — Addie. This pup wears her happiness as a smile on her face. And that’s why I like this photo.

6 — Oh, man. It’s tradition. Coyote Sam foils the Round-Up year after year. This event is one of my favorite to photograph for a couple of reasons. I adore Coyote Sam and I love the confusion and chaos it brings to the drivers and onlookers on Washington Street. This year some people at a nearby bank called police to report a disturbance. Only in Sonora.

7 — I’ve photographed the Sonora Elementary School annual Turkey Trot for several years. This was my first year in this location on the campus. I enjoyed being around all the cheering children. The blue skies, wet ground and lighting were all in my favor, too, so that helps.

8 — The mist, fresh-fallen snow and the blue skies are all reasons why I chose this landscape photo.

9 — The excitement, fear and amazement of the rodeo combined with the sheer power of this horse is how I decided to submit this photo for my top photos of 2017.

10 — Out of Hand has been an inviting and warm place for our community’s youth (and adults) to go and create pieces of art. I hold a special place in my heart for the subject of this photo and I like the composition.

11 — Turtles sunbathing on a log. What’s not to like about this photo? My assignment was to photograph spring.

12 — Fires are exhilarating and scary. Firefighters training is always interesting. Photographing training with live-fire is fun and exciting.

13 — Levi Lowe is a humble Sonora High School student with incredible talent. This photo of him smiling with the Golden Regiment Band reflected in his glasses is a favorite because he is a pleasure to be around.

14 — I can’t really put into words what it is I like most about this photo. Is it Al’s acceptance to having the photo taken in the first place? The “regulars” at the bar? The wadded dollar bills stuck to the ceiling? Maybe it's the overall composition of the photo… I can’t put my finger on it.

15 — Being a photographer for The Union Democrat for more than 10 years, I photograph many of the same events year after year so when I figure out a different way to photograph a child playing a sport they love, it’s exciting to me.

16 — Gavin Egger’s grimacing face and white knuckles and the excitement of being in the arena during the Mutton Busting event are all reasons why I chose this photo.

17 — One of my favorite things about working for the Union Democrat is meeting incredible people who inspire.