2010’s top 12

“Ring out the old, ring in the new,
Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.”
–   Alfred Lord Tennyson, Ring Out, Wild Bells

The end of the end and the beginning of the beginning is here. This is the time of reflection upon the past year before we step across the threshold into a new one.
Every year is a little different, photographically speaking, there are some years where I have a lot of memorable sports pictures, others where it’s spot news, and still others are full of portraits.

In the National Press Photographers Association (NPPA) Best of Photography contest, there is a category called the Natural Environment. According to the NPPA website they’re photos “that capture the aesthetic and graphic qualities of nature and wildlife with an emphasis on dramatic composition.”  In other words, pretty pictures. Not that there’s anything wrong with a pretty picture, that’s what first drew me into photography. But I think many photojournalists over look the category because it’s not newsy or people-oriented enough. I think a beautiful landscape can have enough power and substance to stand on its own merits.

If my year in photos for 2010 had a theme it was the natural environment. In the mix of my favorite 12 photos of the year (one from each month) are a variety of sports, news and feature (slice-of-life) photos. But of those 12, five were are landscapes of one kind or another. Here they all are in chronological order.

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1/18/10:

I started off the year with a rainbow shot in the rural north part of Stockton, just south of eight Mile Road. One end of a rainbow fell gracefully behind a valley oak as a hawk
flew into the frame. Little did I know it was a harbinger for the rest of the year.

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2/26/10:

Weather photos are always a big part of the job. These two parking attendants wrapped up in plastic to keep dry made for a lighthearted photo on a wet and windy day.

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3/2/10:

Mike Stallings said that he cut two holes into his family’s backyard fence so that their dogs Rio and Duke can get a look at the outside world. It’s his wife, Trisha, who decorates the holes for holidays (this was for St. Patrick’s Day) to make for a humorous scene.

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4/27/10:

Another landscape, this time using a slow shutter speed. I tried to show the wind through the movement of poppies growing on the banks of the deep water channel in Stockton.

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5/5/10:

The most dramatic sports photos are about competition and conflict. The way baseball is set up, the offense at bat and the defense in the field, the conflict part can be hard to capture at times. No problem with this photo. Lincoln’s Josh Rodriguez threw a wild pitch that got away from the catcher who chased after the ball. Lodi’s Ken Ruffin barreled home and collided with Rodriguez, who had left the pitcher’s mound to cover home plate.

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6/25/10:

During the day Pixie Woods is a fun place for little kids. On the amusement park’s annual Wine and Music fundraiser, its a fun place for adults at night.

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7/17/10:

The beauty of the night can be seen in a photo I took on a Boy Scout summer camping trip with my son to Gerle Creek in the Eldorado National Forest.

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8/2/10:

A sunflower, a waning sun and a houseboat on Little Connection Slough in Stockton make for a great end-of-summer photo.

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9/10/10:

When I took photography classes in college, my instructors taught me to try to look at the world in a different way from different angles. That sometimes means you get to look at things from an upside down perspective.

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10/6/10:

There’s nothing more humbling than a lightning storm. The power and majesty of nature in this photo is captured in a lighting strike near the Port of Stockton’s turning basin.

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11/19/10:

If nature was the theme of my year, then rain was the refrain for the sports that I shot in 2010. The downpour in this Brookside Christian High School football game was the heaviest all season.

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12/8/10:

Christmas time is the season of goodwill toward all, but for cops it must be tough seeing that they often have to deal with those with very little goodwill. I followed some on a parole violation check one night, and in every house we went to, all the parolees were in compliance. How’s that for a merry Christmas?

Have a happy new year and we’ll see what pictures 2011 will hold.

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