News Columns & Blogs

Year in Review

What a year.

A historic election; actual open-water piracy causing more fear than the online copyright-infringing variety; an exciting Olympics; worldwide economic panic; The Juice unable to get loose; people coast to coast not only knowing who the Illinois governor is, but also how to pronounce his name; devastating disasters — both natural and man-made; $4 gas; and, of course, Britney's back.

2008 really seems deserving of a less-clichéd opening sentence, but I only started writing regularly again in August, so cut me some slack. Writing my weekly blog item has been great for not only sharing more photos, but also the stories behind them. I've been able to brush up on my writing skills and find a home for some outtakes and personal favorites that didn't make the cut for publication.

And in a year that saw an already struggling newspaper industry get chopped at the knees by the financial crisis, I feel lucky to be able to enter year two of my professional career (assuming I don't get fired or laid off before Jan. 21).

Here are some of my favorite and most memorable photos of 2008, starting with my first day back on the job after my summer 2007 internship at the Herald.

Wanda Gilmore of Pasco sings while Elouise Sparks of Kennewick plays tambourine and sings along with "Glory Glory Hallelujah" during Morning Star Baptist Church's third annual celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. Day in Pasco on Jan. 21.

I've cropped this one tighter from how it was originally published and like it better in black in white, and as my first professionally published image, I'm still pretty happy with it.

Sonia Ayala of Pasco rescued Chocolate, an abandoned dog that had been hit by a car in Franklin County. Because she found him out near Country Mercantile, she can't take him to municipal animal control. Ayala says Chocolate was found with a yellow chew toy that he rarely lets out of his mouth.

This accompanied the first of many stories about the plucky Chesapeake Bay retriever. Nobody could have anticipated how much this story would take off. I had the opportunity to photograph the four-legged celeb twice more, when he made his triumphant return from WSU Pullman, and during a follow-up by the adoption committee.

Carter Poland, 3, of Kennewick braces for impact during mutton bustin' at the 2008 Horse Heaven Round-Up Rodeo.

This photo, along with some others from this gallery, won me my first NPPA clip contest win. I don't believe that more contest wins means you're a better photographer, but winning is always nice, isn't it?

Kamiakin gymnastics standout, sophomore Mac Niles, plays with a rose during the opening introductions at the Columbia Basin League district gymnastics championships at Garland's Gymnastics Academy in Kennewick on Feb. 1. Niles says she has had a lot more fun with gymnastics this year compared to the past.

This is one of those quirky moments I’m always looking for during boring situations, and though there are some compositional and technical shortfalls (the other gymnast blob and high noise), I still like the frame.

Vintage residents Helen Nostrant celebrates while Ed Slezak bemoans a Giants third down conversion in the second quarter of Super Bowl XLII.

There wasn't any drunken yelling, shirts stayed on and there was never a threat of physical violence, but it was still pretty fun to cover the Super Bowl party at the Vintage at Richland.

Pat Fluit tells his daughter Makayla, 3, to keep a little more distance between her and the tractor she's trailing during the Pasco Grand Old Fourth Parade.

One of the perks of this gig is being able to go places that other people can’t, such as the middle of the street during a parade. One of the downsides? Having to work on the Fourth.

Blayk Johnson, 20, of West Richland, in purple, flips through the air as the TC Rockers finish their set on July 21 during the 2008 Tri-Cities Talent show. Also pictured are Ryan Lavarias, 21, of Richland, in orange, Daniel King Reds Rojas, 26, of Pasco, in Pink, and Jeff Kim, 22, of Kennewick, in white.

Oh, to have a face. I still love the color and moment of this photo, though, and was surprised to hear that they didn't win best in show.

Kennewick's Osvaldo Uvay (20) shoots a three while teammate Kor Ter (5) hopes for the best from the bench during the Lions' overtime win over Sunnyside on Feb. 20.

This is another re-crop from how it was published. Originally, I had cropped out the Sunnyside player to push Uvay compositionally off-center. When I was preparing the images for this posting, though, I decided to include him. As I write this, however, I’m wishing I hadn’t. Clearly, this internal debate will never be settled.

U.S. Department of the Interior Deputy Secretary Lynn Scarlett, left, and U.S. Department of Energy Acting Deputy Secretary Jeffrey F. Kupfer watch an informational video in the control room during their tour of B Reactor prior to the announcement of the site as a National Historic Landmark.

This is one of the times where I actually got the shot I wanted. It was tough during the cramped tour, including three TV stations, NPR correspondent Anna King, a couple other photographers and miscellaneous people, to get shots of just the dignitaries. It's definitely a different Hanford photo, and even a little weird, but apparently too weird because we ended up publishing a very straightforward photo from the press conference portion of the program. This one is still my favorite from the tour by far.

Nicole Austin, director of the Benton-Franklin County Medical Society, left, examines her hands under a black light along with her children Matthew, 5, and Megan, 3 near the Apple Health Bus Aug. 12 at the Benton-Franklin Health District building in Kennewick. Their hands had been treated with a product that glows under black lights to simulate germs. After washing their hands, they re-entered the tent to see what spots they missed.

I didn't expect to be shooting at 1/25 sec. at f/2.8 and ISO 1600 during an outdoor event in broad daylight, but that's how it goes sometimes.

Ann Philip is a Kennewick widow who is raising her 10-year-old grandson Nathan.

I was a little disheartened when Philip rejected my suggestion to head home with her and Nathan to shoot some candid moments, but I had nice light and Nathan was just the right amount of goofy for this portrait session to work.

Angel Dahlke, 2, of Pasco, hugs her grandmother Masako Jackson's arm while her mother, Patricia Dahlke, both of Pasco, and uncle, John Jackson of Tacoma, visit Donald Jackson's grave at City View Cemetery in Pasco on Veteran’s Day. Donald Jackson, a First Class Petty Officer in the Navy, who served in Korea and Vietnam, passed away in March. His wife, Masako, and daughter, Patricia, have been visiting the site every five days since then.

On Veteran's Day I decided to swing by City View, a cemetery I have wandered by numerous times after a wrong turn on a feature hunt. I saw Jackson's grave and grabbed some shots. The fresh-looking flowers made me think that I had missed his family, so I was surprised when a family showed up, was gracious enough to let me photograph their visit and went to the very grave that I had already photographed.

Tito Gonzales of Kennewick helps shield his 2-year-old son Ethan Hathaway's ears, left, while Don Snyder of Benton City gets a closer look with his binoculars Sept. 24 during the U.S. Air Force's F-15E Strike Eagle demonstration at the Wings over Washington Air Show in Pasco.

I hadn't been to an air show since I was a kid and had a blast photographing W.O.W. (that’s Wings Over Washington, not World of Warcraft, you nerd!). To me, shots of the airplanes from the ground don’t properly convey the sense of wonder and amazement that air shows create.

Pasco's Bryson Newell calls his mom after breaking his finger in his first cross country race at the Connell Invitational.

I was leaving the

Connell Invitational

when an urgent call came over the P.A. for a Pasco coach. I jogged after a couple people in purple and found a very calm Newell with a very wrecked pinkie.

Latanya Thomas, left, and Jessenia Cardenas bow their heads during a candlelight vigil for their friend, Tiairra Garcia, Aug. 24 at Volunteer Park in Pasco. Around 100 attended the vigil for Garcia, who has been missing since June 22.

It's never easy photographing grief-filled situations on an emotional level, but the windy night added technical challenges too.

Dave Trader is a background actor who plays a fisherman walking down the street in the upcoming film Twilight.

Oldschool lead singer Erik Lundquist is featured in an homage to artwork associated with the film version of The Wall (1982) by British illustrator Gerard Scarfe, who worked with Pink Floyd on the film.

It was fun working on these two for Atomictown, our Arts and Entertainment section. Trader was easy to work with in the studio and I’m glad Lundquist not only agreed to my idea, but was willing to make a special trip to the office for a reshoot after my initial image of him didn't work out. I also learned that my artistic Photoshop skills could definitely use some work and enjoyed shooting the rest of Oldschool in both portraits and practice.

Well that's it for my special New Year's Eve edition of Behind the Fold. There are some other favorites of mine from 2008, but I’ve either already blogged about them or I’m planning to, so if wading through 17 of my images and their associated nostalgic ramblings wasn’t enough for you, poke around through the archives at

Also be sure to check out our Photo Staff Best of 2008 gallery.

Happy New Year!


(509) 585-7205

Click here to subscribe to the RSS Feed.