Monthly Archives: January 2017

Top 100 of 2016

Darth Vader and over a dozen other balloons take to the sky during Friday morning's launch as seen from the balloon of Bill Whidden in Great Balls of Fire after taking off from Simard Payne Memorial Park at the Great Falls Balloon Festival.

Darth Vader and over a dozen other balloons take to the sky during Friday morning’s launch as seen from the balloon of Bill Whidden in Great Balls of Fire after taking off from Simard Payne Memorial Park at the Great Falls Balloon Festival.

It was a year of new highs and lows in my career as a photojournalist, or as some call us now, “visual journalists”.   Somebody will figure a way to insert the word audio into it as that aspect of storytelling is uber important.  I digress.

With the focus on the web using video, drones, 360-degree cameras and live streaming, I have been exposed to a new set of demands and decisions.  With that comes responsibilities that often call for split-second decision making.  “Back in the day” when we published once a day, our images were scrutinized and discussed with many voices having the luxury of time to decide what to publish and what not to publish.  Even with that, we made judgment errors.  I have certainly experienced hard lessons and growing pains.

I have always tried to be on the cutting edge of technology and pushed the envelope.  The push to be first with breaking news can come with a price.  I learned a sad and humble lesson recently when I decided to stream live from the scene of a fatal accident involving a young boy who lived around the corner from me.  I chose to push the button to go live.  While I tried to be discrete and respectful, the subject matter was just too traumatic and without compassion for not only the family of the victim but many of our loyal viewers who tuned in and saw and heard the drama unfold.  To this day I am haunted by it as well as many others who have told me the same.  Fortunately, I have many colleagues, family, and friends who empathize with me and know how I am struggling with it.  I will take great care the next time I am confronted with such a decision,.

Although the focus of our industry is developing into web-based journalism, our bread and butter is still the print product.  So while I embrace and lead the way down this avenue, I still have a passion for the still image.  A moment captured in time. I think the decades of putting myself into position to be in the right place at the right time has helped me with shooting video.  But I have so much more to learn, and still have the fire to learn and work hard.

While many journalists single out a half dozen or so of their favorite images from the past year to talk about, I, as usual, couldn’t make up my mind and decided to go hog wild.  Each image will have their original caption, and I will comment on a few.

I look forward to what 2017 has in store.  Please come along with me for a fun ride, but for now, enjoy some of my favorite still images from 2016.

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