2017 in Review

2017 has been quite a year, starting off in Costa Rica, graduating from Mizzou, road tripping across the southwest with Isabella and showing her my side of California, trying to find myself in Reno, moving to Colorado Springs to work for the wonderful staff at The Gazette and then finishing everything off with a move to Idaho Falls to be with Isabella as she starts her first job at the Post Register.

It was a very introspective year as I tried to navigate the post-college world, tried to find my place both in the photojournalism world as both an employee (still working on that part) and as a photographer with something to say (still working on this part too).

I had opportunities to do slower, simmering projects like living with the wonderful monks at Assumption Abbey outside of Ava, Missouri and following Hunter and Wyatt through their training with the Boone County Fire Protection District.

I also boiled on through faster assignments like everything I did at Fort Carson. I got to live the fast photojournalist life at the Gazette, covering breaking news and features, NFL games and prep sport portraits, and touching on national events like the shooting in Las Vegas.

I made a lot of friends, and met a lot of incredible and amazing photographers (Hey there everyone at TID). I hope 2018 brings me as much inspiration as 2017, and maybe a bit of clarity to go with it.

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A soldier pushes open the doors at a homecoming at Fort Carson.
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David Ivey, right, hugs his guide Roger Stewart after lunch the Veterans Stand Down in the Colorado Springs City Auditorium. All the veterans attending the Stand Down were given an active serviceman or a volunteering veteran as a guide through the process; once they were done Stewart gave Ivey a few dollars to help out.
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Alex Cox, center, leaps into the arms of her boyfriend, Specialist Devon Bailey, in the William “Bill” Reed Special Events Center in Fort Carson, Colorado. Bailey, a member of the 3rd Armored Brigade, returned from a deployment in eastern Europe that was part of Atlantic Resolve, an international training exercise with other NATO nations.
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A member of a training opposition force waits for other Stryker armored vehicles to pull in at the Warhorse Strike exercise at Camp Red Devil in Fort Carson, Colorado. The opposition used the strikers to assault the 2nd Brigade’s position during part of the exercise.
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A soldier watches a Stryker Armored Personnel Carrier load onto a train before allowing the next truck to follow at the Fort Carson rail yard. The 1st Brigade Combat Team loaded up equipment for its second trip in six months to the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, California.

Fort Carson was a fun place to spend time while in Colorado Springs. The small little world perched on the south end of the city was so strange that I was happy to make even the earliest of Gate Calls just to get in and take pictures.

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Larry Glass photographs Kyle Franklin in Dracula at the Pikes Peak Regional Airshow. Large cameras dotted the crowd as spectators snapped photos of the planes.
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Nicole Cichon, 12, covers her ears with her mother’s help as one of the Thunderbird’s F-16s passes by at the High Flight day at the Pikes Peak Regional Airshow. High Flight was held during the practice day before the airshow started and allowed children with special needs to come when the area wouldn’t be crowded.
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Corporal Matt Sanchez points high on a locker for Amp to search at Fountain Middle School in Fountain, Colorado. Sanchez and Amp search the gym locker room frequently because it is one of the least disruptive places to students.
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Terry Poe, catapult constructor and Nature Center volunteer, helps Devin Derosier, 10, launch a pumpkin at the El Paso County Fountain Creek Nature Center’s Punkin’ Chunkin’ event.
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Firefighters watch as water jets out of a window of a burned apartment at the Centerpointe Apartments. The fire started in a second-story apartment and spread to the third-story apartment above, four other units in the building suffered minor smoke damage.
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Steve Denney, in the car, steers his lexus while a tow truck driver and police officer push it out from under the Hummer that drove over it in the intersection of Colorado Ave. and Weber St.
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A field officer watches the sidelines as the sun sets over the crowd at Mile High Stadium. The Bengals defeated the Broncos 20-17.
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Pueblo South running back Steve Brock (2) has the ball torn out of his hands by Vista Ridge player Jeffrey Crittendon (13) for a fumble recovered by Pueblo South at Vista Ridge High School. Despite getting points on the board in the latter half of the game, Vista Ridge couldn’t prevent Pueblo South from running away with the win 35-14.
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A girl watches a performance artist deep in the bowels of the Meow Wolf interactive art exhibition in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
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Maree Elmore, Chris Roybal’s girlfriend, cries in her friend’s arms at Roybal’s memorial in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Roybal was general manager at a Crunch Fitness in Colorado Springs, and was a victim of the Las Vegas shooting.
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Tessa Thomas and Naval Petty Officer 3rd class Colin Thomas kiss before crossed sabres at the end of the ceremony where they renewed their wedding vows at the New Life Church. Colin suffers from stage 4 pancreatic cancer which forced him from the Navy, and prompted the couple to renew their vows with more people in attendance.
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Rhea Shrestha, 13, stretches out a hand with unlit LED lights during rehearsal dances for the “Pyaar… Expressions of Love” performance, at the Fellowship Bible Church. The performance is part of the local Indian communities annual Diwali celebrations and also a fundraiser, this year for the Court Appointed Special Advocates.
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Father Michael Monos holds the Vigil of Pascha at St Luke Orthodox Church in Columbia, Missouri, at midnight on Saturday, April 15, 2017.
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Brother Alphonse, a Cistercian Monk, prays during a meditative period while his Superior, Trappist monk Father Alberic, sits on a prayer mat behind him. Alphonse is part of a new wave of Vietnamese Cistercian monks coming to Assumption Abbey to take over as their Trappist brothers get older.

Religion ended up being a focal point for the end of my time in Columbia. I may not be religious but the idea of belief and dedication is fascinating and irresistible. Living at the Assumption Abbey for the five days I was able to spend with the monks was one of the most transcendent experiences I have had in photography.

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Two students at the University of Colorado – Colorado Springs walk the runway in Dia de los Muertos-themed condom fashion at the third annual Condom Fashion Show to promote safe sexual practices in Berger Hall on Friday, December 1, 2017. The students, from the Latino Student Union, created the outfits to promote a positive remembrance of those who have passed from HIV/AIDS.
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Isabella Alves holds a bouquet at the wedding of her friends Myles Tucker and Echo Roberson in Bella Vista, Arkansas.
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Erik Gillespie, left, shows off different lights to Ayla Kenoyer, 6, at the Festival of Lights before the parade starts. Vendors sold lights up and down the parade route for kids to join in.
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Karalea Evenson, 7, chats with Colorado College goalie Alec Calvaruso (30) on the side boards of the ice rink in Acacia Park in Colorado Springs. Colorado College players joined the public for several hours to give out autographs and tips for young skaters.
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Pfc. Amoy Robinson’s knife carves through a turkey as Pfcs. John Hewston and Shane Collier work with her to carve the last of 350 turkeys at Fort Carson. The soldiers were part of a rotating group of cooking teams that prepared turkeys 24-hours a day for the Salvation Army to give out on Thanksgiving Day.
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Brother Luck plates a dish in his restaurant, Four by Brother Luck. Luck is a contestant on the new season of Top Chef, airing December 7.
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Brother Ambrose stands up from the dinner table to help a guest as Father Peter and Father Thaddeus prepare to dig into bowls of Pho. While Trappist monks, also called Cistercians of the Strict Observance, are cloistered from their guests, the incoming Vietnamese monks are common Cistercians and are mildly more lenient in their practice.
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Brother Luck holds a fork near an artfully plated dish similar to what he created on the 2017 season of Top Chef.
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Rhys Sitz braces as a water balloon breaks over him during a Memorial Day water fight outside his apartment in Columbia, Missouri.
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Erik Ramirez lines up a shot as Isabella Alves watches at The Corner Spot in San Francisco, California.
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Visitors to Golden Gate Park enjoy the sun outside of the de Young Museum in San Francisco, California.
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A chaplain leaves the Ellicott School District administrative offices during the first day back to school after Ellicott Middle School principal Diane Garduno was killed in a head-on collision. Ellicott School District Superintendent Christopher Smith said that 25 counselors where available that day to help students.

Few assignments are harder for me than small press conferences, and this extra-small town conference about a recently killed principal was especially difficult. When I found out that a test shot I had taken waiting for the district superintendent was actually one of the Police Chaplains on hand to help counsel students I couldn’t believe my luck.

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A boy in a cowboy hat walks across the Hoover Dam framed by the high water lines of the Colorado River.
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Picnic benches wait for visitors to the shores of Pyramid Lake near Reno, Nevada.
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Waves of hills shine with pigment in the Petrified Forest and Painted Desert National Park, near Holbrook, Arizona.
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A visitor stands under one of the tower lights in the Desert View Watchtower at the Grand Canyon National Park.
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Derby, top, Django, left, and Molly fish for hot dogs in a pool full of water at Pawtoberfest 2017 in Bear Creek Regional Park in Colorado Springs. Molly is a veteran hot dog retriever and has been to three Pawtoberfests, while Derby and Django moved to Colorado Springs one year ago.
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Two wild mustangs have a short fight just outside of the eastern suburbs of Reno, Nevada. The horses range through the hills, and sometimes snack on outlying lawns during the winter.
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Glenn Ryan talks to members of Colorado Parks and Wildlife who sold him hay for his mules at AG Ranch in Bailey, Colorado.
A red semi-truck cross the salt flats near Wendover, Utah.
A red semi-truck cross the salt flats near Wendover, Utah.
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Isabella Alves casts a line into her aunt’s pond to catch bass for dinner, outside of Fayetteville, Arkansas.
Two deer graze in a stream underneath the Yosemite Falls in Yosemite valley.
Two deer graze in a stream underneath the Yosemite Falls in Yosemite valley.

I also took the time to try out some other techniques and practice my photoshop. Stitching this vertical panorama was an interesting endeavor and one day I will find a way to print it out in all its weirdly elongated glory.

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Isabella Alves walks through the towering trees of the Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve near Guerneville, California.
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Swimmers brace for the water falling from the lower Yosemite Falls into the Yosemite Valley.
A smoky red sun lights up waves off the shore of Mendocino California.
A smoky red sun lights up waves off the shore of Mendocino California.
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A wild horse grazes on some grass behind ongoing construction at the Damonte Ranch subdivision in southern Reno, Nevada.
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A lightning storm rolls along south of the Grand Canyon, near Flagstaff, Arizona.
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The Trillium Cafe and Inn lights up in the evening fog, just off Main Street in Mendocino, California.
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An American flag waves over the Sawtooth Ridge in the evening light on the outskirts of Bridgeport, California.

 

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Best of November

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A chaplain leaves the Ellicott School District administrative offices during the first day back to school after Ellicott Middle School principal Diane Garduno was killed in a head-on collision, on Monday, November 27, 2017. Ellicott School District Superintendent Christopher Smith said that 25 counselors where available that day to help students.
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Colorado Springs Patrol Officers examine the outside of the Portal apartments while trying to contact a resident that had called for assistance in November, 2017. The resident reported a person outside the apartment harassing and threatening them.
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Terry Poe, catapult constructor and Nature Center volunteer, helps Devin Derosier, 10, launch a pumpkin at the El Paso County Fountain Creek Nature Center’s Punkin’ Chunkin’ event on Saturday, November 25, 2017. About ten kids and their families came out to the nature center for the event.
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Air Force Falcons wide receiver Marcus Bennett (8) heads to the cadet section of the stands to sing the Alma Mater with his team after losing to the Army West Point Black Knights 21-0 at Falcon Stadium on Saturday, Nov. 4, 2017.
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Ann Judge reaches for her hat as she rides Thunder onto the field after the Broncos’ second touchdown at Mile High Stadium on Sunday, November 19, 2017. The Broncos fell short of a successful comeback, losing to the Bengals 20-17.
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Trevor Halverson, quarterback for Liberty High School, is the Peak Performer of the Week after throwing four touchdown passes in the teams final game against Cheyenne Mountain. Photographed on Monday, November 6, 2017.
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Mike Greene built a cigar-box guitar and plays blues music. Photographed in the Gazette studio on Tuesday, November 21, 2017.
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Pfc. Amoy Robinson’s knife carves through a turkey as Pfcs. John Hewston and Shane Collier work with her to carve the last of 350 turkeys at Fort Carson, on Wednesday, November 22, 2017. The soldiers were part of a rotating group of cooking teams that prepared turkeys 24-hours a day for the Salvation Army to give out on Thanksgiving Day.
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A field officer watches the sidelines as the sun sets over the crowd at Mile High Stadium on Sunday, November 19, 2017. The Bengals defeated the Broncos 20-17.
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Rhea Shrestha, 13, stretches out a hand with unlit LED lights during rehearsal dances for the “Pyaar… Expressions of Love” performance, at the Fellowship Bible Church on Sunday, November 12, 2017. The performance is part of the local Indian communities annual Diwali celebrations and also a fundraiser, this year for the Court Appointed Special Advocates.
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A Denver Broncos cheerleader looks at Miles the mascot as the sun sets over Mile High Stadium on Sunday, November 19, 2017. The Bengals defeated the Broncos 20-17.
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Army Black Knights running back Darnell Woolfolk (33) slams Air Force Falcons defensive back James Jones (4) into the ground before being shoved out of bounds at Falcon Stadium on Saturday, Nov. 4, 2017. The Black Knights shut out the Falcons 21-0.
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Brother Luck plates a dish in his restaurant, Four by Brother Luck, on Tuesday, November 21, 2017. Luck is a contestant on the new season of Top Chef, airing December 7.
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Air Academy Kadets midfielder Ryan Self (15), center, kisses the state championship trophy after defeating the Centaurus Warriors 1-0 in overtime at Dick’s Sporting Goods Field in Denver, Colo. on Saturday, Nov. 11, 2017. Self scored an overtime header to make the Kadets the Colorado 4A state champions.
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Brother Luck is a contestant on the new season of Top Chef, airing December 7. Photographed at his restaurant Four by Brother Luck on Tuesday, November 21, 2017.
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Rucha Katdhare, 10, holds her arms outstretched in the ending moments of a dance during rehearsals for “Pyaar… Expressions of Love” at the Fellowship Bible Church on Sunday, November 12, 2017. The performance is part of the local Indian communities annual Diwali celebrations and also a fundraiser, this year for the Court Appointed Special Advocates.
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Pueblo South running back Steve Brock (2) has the ball torn out of his hands by Vista Ridge player Jeffrey Crittendon (13) for a fumble recovered by Pueblo South at Vista Ridge High School on Saturday, November 18, 2017. Despite getting points on the board in the latter half of the game, Vista Ridge couldn’t prevent Pueblo South from running away with the win 35-14.

Best of October

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Chicken Croquets cook on an old stove in the Orchard House during the Harvest Festival at Rock Ledge Ranch on Saturday, Oct. 7, 2017.
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Becca Sickbert, eyeball, and Holly Dempsey, panda, raise their arms during yoga before the Waldo Waldo 5k through downtown Colorado Springs to raise money for the Waldo Canyon restoration on Saturday, Oct. 21, 2017. Sickbert and Dempsey work for Elope, the presenting sponsor of the race.
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David Moon and Jessica Mancini dance along the main floor at Stargazers Theater during the Swinging’ with the Stars on Sunday, Oct. 8, 2017. After the final song the main floor was opened for social dancing.
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Steve Denney, in the car, steers his lexus while a tow truck driver and police officer push it out from under the Hummer that drove over it in the intersection of Colorado Ave. and Weber St. on Tuesday, Oct. 10, 2017. No one was hurt in the accident.
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Corporal Matt Sanchez gives Amp her toy after completing a search of a locker room in Fountain Middle School in Fountain, Colo. Photographed on Tuesday, Oct. 10, 2017. Amp is trained using her toy as positive reinforcement.
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Maree Elmore watches as members of the American Legion and Colorado Patriot Guard Riders file past American flags during a memorial for her boyfriend, Chris Roybal, in Colorado Springs, Colo. on Sunday, Oct. 15, 2017. Roybal, a general manager of Crunch Fitness in Colorado Springs, was a victim of the Las Vegas massacre.
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David Ivey, right, hugs his guide Roger Stewart after lunch the Veterans Stand Down in the Colorado Springs City Auditorium on Tuesday, Oct. 17, 2017. All the veterans attending the Stand Down were given an active serviceman or a volunteering veteran as a guide through the process; once they were done Stewart gave Ivey a few dollars to help out.
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Officers stand to raise and arch of sabers as Tessa Thomas, center, and Naval Petty Officer 3rd class Colin Thomas, seated, prepare to leave the altar at the New Life Church on Friday, Oct. 20, 2017. Colin suffers from stage 4 pancreatic cancer which forced him from the Navy, and prompted a renewal of the couple’s vows.
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A soldier opens the doors to the William “Bill” Reed Special Events Center to admit members of the 3rd Armored Brigade for their homecoming in Fort Carson, Colo. on Sunday, Oct. 22, 2017.
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Glenn Ryan unplugs the tractor to unload a delivery of hay at AG Ranch in Bailey, Colo. on Tuesday, Oct. 24, 2017.

Gone Fishin’

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Isabella Alves leaves her families property with her three fishing poles after an afternoon catching bass for dinner.
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Isabella Alves wades through bushes on the side of the small lake to move to a new fishing spot.
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Isabella Alves casts her line into a small lake on her family’s property trying to hook a greedy fish that had been eating bait all day.
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Isabella Alves holds her line out in the pond as the sun sets and the fish start biting more.
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A bass flops on the ground next to a bait bucket before being unhooked.

When in Arkansas, do as the Arkansans do. In this case it means going out fishing with my girlfriend on her family’s property in the Ozarks. I was a newbie fisherman and managed to tangle most of the lines, but she was patient and we still made off with a decent catch to cook up.

Unfortunately, about halfway through the fishing, the lens on my camera got greased up with something (maybe fish slime?) and took on an 80s glamour glow. When I got back I made sure to clean it off real nice, but in the meantime a lot of the photos came out a little hazy.

Current Inspiration: Daro Sulakauri’s photo story on a Georgian mining town in the Caucasus Mountains. The weighty feeling of toil and the harsh conditions juxtaposes against the vibrant life of the children playing and being young, all wrapped up in an environment in decay as the mines became less profitable. The project is incredible and moving and very humanizing to the human aspect of what a damaged industry looks like.

Covering the special abortion legislative session

The Missouri Legislature was pulled back into its second Special Legislative Session by Gov. Eric Greitens to grapple with issues related to abortion. This was partly because of a recent court case that ruled against the state, and partly because of a St. Louis City ordinance that prevented discrimination on the basis of a woman’s reproductive choices.

After the call went out to legislators a call, an email really, came to me asking if I would be available to head down to Jefferson City to cover the session. I was just waking up when the email came in, fired off a quick response in the affirmative and hopped in the shower.

As I woke up more, I realized that I had just agreed to go cover a special session that, honestly, I didn’t have the full perspective to be able to cover adequately. I realized that if I was going to cover abortion I would need a woman to cover it with me, or instead of me. I came to this decision based on the fact that I work in a predominantly female newsroom and, despite my (very) slight edge of experience in covering the state capitol, it would be inappropriate for me to cover a women’s health issue while excluding them.

I resolved to call my editor back as soon as I got out of the shower and tell him that I wouldn’t feel comfortable doing this until he offered it to other women in the newsroom, or unless one of them was at least coming with me. I got out, grabbed my phone and he had responded to my previous email saying I would be going down with a female reporter so that ended up not being a problem after all, but it still stuck in my mind while I was reporting. I would always try and ask myself what one of my female coworkers would be asking or thinking while reporting.

Here are the articles that I worked on while down there:

Missouri Senate abandons several of Greiten’s anti-abortion proposals

Opposing abortion-related rallies fill the Capitol during special session

Missouri House committee passes abortion bill with stricter regulations

Holding Government Accountable

I had the privilege last Friday to attend a youth town hall at the Columbia Public Library where teenagers grilled their elected representatives. I honestly found it very impressive what these young citizens were interested in and where asking about. Their concern about issues that I wasn’t even beginning to think about at their age was inspiring.

Honestly, I wish I had my life a together as they seem to. I barely managed to make it through the meeting juggling all the jobs I had taking photos, video, notes, audio recordings and paying attention to who said what that I needed to catch afterwards to talk to.

Check out the article I wrote for the Columbia Missourian about the meeting.

Current Inspiration: I am digging the work of Elizabeth Brumley at the Las Vegas Review-Journal. Maybe its the sunny city she is in, or maybe its her style but her work has a bright, lively feel that I really dig right now.

Summer Reporting Midway Point

I have now been at the Missourian as a reporter for about three weeks. It has been a wild ride, swinging from busy days spent churning out updates on the Edward Scissorhands-esque trimming of the UM/MU budget to slow days of slogging through river data. While at the Missourian I have written a few articles:

And contributed to other articles as part of a team, or written part of a multi-angle story.

Its been a wild ride, and Im not even halfway through.