Sometimes when I’m out on assignment I know I’ve captured a photo I’ll end up putting in my year-end review. Sometimes it is the quality of the photo, the composition and lighting, sometimes it’s the subjects and other times I choose photos because the story has resonated with me.
My favorite photo of 2018 is of two sisters, Aleaya, 9, and Destiny, 4. When I first met them they were living in their grandmother's truck behind a Sonora business. Then, through the kindness of our small community, they found a home and I was able to photograph them from the window of that home.
I knew this was a winner when I saw it: a black and white dog with one brown and one blue eye riding in the back of a red truck as snow piles on his head. The colors pop and the dog is adorable.
The story of Alan Leeman resonated with me. I photographed him holding his humanitarian service medal. Leeman served his country and his government refused to acknowledge his service until 2018, 40 years after he and about 4,000 serviceman cleaned up Enewetak Atoll, part of the Marshall Islands, where the U.S. tested more than 40 nuclear bombs from 1948 to 1958.
I enjoyed spending time with Sierra Conservation Camp inmates, who lovingly cared for and trained dogs at the Jamestown prison. Fourteen inmates were selected for a new program called Prisoners Uniting People and Puppies, or PUPP for short, a partnership between the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation and Friends of the Animal Community in Sonora.
One inmate serving a life sentence told reporter Alex MacLean, “I divided a whole town, destroyed lives and destroyed families. This has given me a chance to give back.”
I chose the photo of a man carrying a cat away from a fire because the man appears calm, the firefighters appear calm and doing their jobs, but there is obvious destruction in the background and intense fear on the cat’s face.
The baseball photo was a shoe-in because it’s a crazy sports photo. The Sonora player tried to escape an out by jumping over the Bret Harte catcher but he was tagged out.
There’s a lot I like about the kids moving the arm of the hand-pump fire truck while on a fieldtrip of downtown Sonora. I like William Taylor’s slight smile, the composition and the vivid colors.
I chose the photo of Marianne Wright looking up at the ancient ceiling of Servente’s and the old dollar bills stuck to it mainly because I like the composition but also because its a photo that makes me want to know more and read the article. It described the break-in and theft of money that had been thrown up onto the ceiling many years before.
Composition, subject matter and popping color is why I chose the photo of a Tuolumne County Code Compliance officer walking through hundreds of maturing marijuana plants in Jupiter.
My final favorite of 2018 is the photo in the wake of a great rain storm that flooded a thrift store in Groveland in May. I like the photo for its “what is happening here” feel.