There is a proverb that says "The more things change the more they stay the same." I'm not sure if that is true but I have seen so much change this year it seems hard sometimes to keep up.
Change was the theme of most of my year it seems. The Tracy Press went through a sale landing with new owners, a new printing location and a new direction. My role at the paper changed as I became more of a writer including writing a few cover stories.
The town changed with new council members, new business prospects on the horizon and a changing landscape as a long time building in downtown was razed. There were tearful goodbyes and warm welcomes as some lives were changed forever.
I find myself at an odd place this New Year's Eve. In the past I could look to the New Year for a fresh start and clean slate for work. But with all the changes I feel a sense of upheaval and uncertainty. The changes are far from over and I don't know where they will carry me. It's a time of uncertainty as I look to a future shrouded in the changes yet to come.
Personally the changes have been hard, and I feel some changes will be almost too painful to bare. I find myself alone in most things these days but that's ok. I read somewhere those who fly solo have the strongest wings and I will need to be so very strong for the changes to come.
So with some doubt and trepidation I await the changes ahead. 2013 looms a few hours away for me and I am anxious to what it will bring. Good or bad changes come to everything and everyone. Nothing lasts forever and the more they change the more things stay the same.
My photo of the year isn't a sports photo of a collision at home plate, it's not a crime scene from some late night shooting nor is it the twisted remains of car mangled in some horrific wreck. It is something much more personal and quiet than the confusion and chaos I cover on assignment for the Tracy Press. My choice for Photo of the Year was taken on a chilly December morning as I watched the beauty of a simple sunrise at the Isenberg Crane Reserve.
I had wanted this sunrise for a while and I was almost denied this year. Weather and the various hurdles of everyday life conspired to keep this sight from me but I wasn't going to be denied. And with the cackling of cranes I was serenaded to one of the best sunrises I can remember. I don't think I have ever watched the sunrise from the darkness of starlight to hovering above the horizon. With the clouds changing color and the wetlands awakening around me it was just one of the moments to savor and remember. Enduring the cold was well worth the price of such a sight. I know it sounds dumb but it was a just a little bit magical. or maybe it seemed that way because I finally took time to watch one of the simple wonders I take for granted.
Maybe that's why this is my photo of the year. It is a pretty collection of photos but it's more than that. It is a time to reflect on the simple beauty that surrounds us everyday and we often ignore. My photo of the year, a sunrise, my sunrise at the Isenberg Crane Reserve, December 2012
Through the years I have photographed some famous people. George Bush visiting Stockton, Arnold Schwarzenegger visiting West valley Mall and this year to add to my list was country music legend Willie Nelson.
Nelson made a stop in tracy to play two shows at the Grand Theatre, the first one on September 11. When I first heard he was coming I figured we would be shut out of the concert but then I was told I could photograph the first two songs.
I went in with two cameras and shot as fast as I could. I managed to fire off over 700 pictures and narrowed it down to about a 30 image slide show for the website.
It was a little bit of pressure to work so quickly but in the end I think I got some decent pictures. You got to love anybody who starts a concert wearing a "Got Weed?" hat.
I didn't realize how many crashes I covered this year until I started going back through the photo files. I went to quite the collection of crashes and collisions on the roads in and surrounding Tracy.
As a general rule I only go to the injury accident crashes, the ones dispatched as "11-79" across the radio. we try not to go to all the minor property damage only the major crashes, seems too much like being an ambulance chaser the other way.
Unfortunately some of the crashes dis not have a happy ending. That is the job sometimes being a witness to events most people wouldn't to see.
Among the highlights of the year were ahead-on collision at 11th Street at Bird Road, a motorcycle rider suspected of driving under 100 on 11th Street before crashing into a field, a stolen car pursuit chase that ended crashing into a tree and a suspected drunk driver who careened off I-580 rolling a dozen or so times.
The adventures on the road I get to see makes me want to take the bus sometimes.
So a condom dress may be a little jittery on assignment but watching a naked chick getting painted tops the cake of awkward moments for the year.
I was assigned to photograph a woman paint a baseball uniform on a naked woman for a spotlight feature. My parting instructions as I left the office; keep it classy.
So my first problem in the shoot was the girl was naked. The second problem was she had breasts complete with a set of nipples, go figure. Now I had to keep them out of the picture at all costs. Oh and there was a mirror in the room.
With a few suggestion of placing the elbow in a spot just right to block the mirror and a choosing a camera angle that negated most of the view I was confident I had something we could run in a family paper. Well almost.
Hands down the most awkward moment I had on assignment this year was uttering the words "Can you step closer to the condoms" to a woman during a spotlight photo shoot.
I was scheduled to shoot a clothing designer and arriving at her studio in her home she displayed three of her current works. One was a dress made of torn strips of fabric, a second was made entirely of unpopped popcorn and the third was made from red and black condoms.
Now I had heard of dresses made from rubber but this was different. Made of unwrapped condoms the dress sported a corset section where the condoms had been twisted and tied to represent flowers. That took some ingenuity.
Back at the office I tried to describe the dress to co-workers and the only comment I could think of was thank God they weren't used condom.