Lucy Riding, 5, peers up at her father, David, as he reads a scripture from the Book of Mormon as her mother, Becca, looks on while the family readies their kids for school at their home in American Fork on Wednesday, December 13, 2017.
For me, December was a pretty colorful end to 2017.
I spent the majority of the past month photographing two main things: holiday events and features, and Brigham Young University men's basketball. That was a pretty enjoyable mix for me, though. I enjoy photographing holiday-related events, and upping the quality and quantity of pictures I pump out during sporting events is something I'm constantly trying to improve upon (I may make learning remotes for sporting events a New Year's resolution if I can get the gear).
December was another month of flux. I was excited to welcome my new boss, Evan Cobb, to the Daily Herald as our photo editor. It's a relief that I'm no longer be a one-man band photo staff, and I'm excited to see some new blood pump into the Herald's veins. In terms of work flow, the start of the month was much busier than the end. Omitting the fact that I was alone for the first part of December, there were simply more assignments at the start of the month. December post-Christmas feels as if things have almost stopped (seeing as the majority of people/events we cover are on vacation, out of town, etc), and now begins the slowest time of the year. Though, the slowdown has come at a decent time. My parents flew out from Ohio to be with me for the holidays, and I'm happy I'm not swamped with assignments during their entire visit.
As I assume many of the coming years of my life will be, 2017 was a year of change. By hitting the one-year mark at the Herald I've become extremely comfortable with covering the ins and outs of Utah County and my duties as a daily newspaper photographer. It's been tough seeing my two friends and photo co-workers move on from the paper and adjusting to work without them, but that's also taught me the importance of being flexible to change. I think I've improved my photography gradually from month-to-month throughout the year. Though, I'll stay hungry for personal improvement in 2018. I hope to achieve that by surrounding myself with creative people, checking out more photojournalism work to think of ways to improve my own shooting, going to a photo conference or two, and not forgetting to better myself personally.
Erik Pearson, of Pleasant Grove, portrays a shepherd during a scene from the biblical Christmas story where an angel of the lord appears to shepherds during the Night in Bethlehem live Nativity Friday, Dec. 1, 2017, at Stone Gate Weddings and Events in Pleasant Grove.
Mike Downey poses for a portrait in the yard of his home among his holiday light display Friday, Dec. 1, 2017, in Lehi.
Men of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir sing during the 2017 Christmas Concert on Thursday, Dec. 14, 2017, at the LDS Conference Center in Salt Lake City.
Audience members make their way to their seats before the 2017 Christmas Concert on Thursday, Dec. 14, 2017, at the LDS Conference Center in Salt Lake City.
Weber State Wildcats head coach Randy Rahe talks with center Jordan Dallas (3) during a game between Brigham Young University and Weber State University on Saturday, Dec. 9, 2017, at Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City.
Brigham Young Cougars forward Payton Dastrup (15) lays the ball up during a game between Brigham Young University and University of Utah on Saturday, Dec. 16, 2017, at the Marriott Center in Provo.
Brigham Young Cougars guard Jahshire Hardnett (0) looks to an official after fouling Utah Utes guard Justin Bibbins, background, during a game between Brigham Young University and University of Utah on Saturday, Dec. 16, 2017, at the Marriott Center in Provo.
A BYU fan points to the boundary line of the court as Idaho State Bengals guard Geno Luzcando (1) throws the ball back in bounds during a game between Brigham Young University and Idaho State University on Thursday, Dec. 21, 2017, at the Marriott Center in Provo.
Brigham Young Cougars guard McKay Cannon (24) points toward the Cougars' offensive side of the court after the ball went out of bounds during a game between Brigham Young University and University of Utah on Saturday, Dec. 16, 2017, at the Marriott Center in Provo.
Illinois State Redbirds guard Keyshawn Evans (3) retrieves the ball after losing control of it as he's chased by Brigham Young Cougars guard Jahshire Hardnett (0) during a game between Brigham Young University and Illinois State University on Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2017, at the Marriott Center in Provo.
Brigham Young Cougars guard Elijah Bryant (3) goes up for a heavily contested layup against Texas Southern Tigers center Trayvon Reed (5) during a game between Brigham Young University and Texas Southern University on Saturday, Dec. 23, 2017, at the Marriott Center in Provo.
From left, Estelle Stevens, 13, Brea Norton, 12, and Havyn Watterson, 7, portray as craftspeople in a street scene depicting old-time Jerusalem on Monday, Dec. 4, 2017, at the Living Nativity in Alpine. “When you’re up here during the day it just seems like a typical old farm, but when the sun goes down the lanterns turn on, it feels like you’re in some old village and really back in time,” said Nativity co-founder, Alison Larsen. See more about this Monday Close-Up here: provodh.com/xitww.
Visitors walk about viewing the ice structures at the Midway Ice Castles on Thursday, Dec. 28, 2017, at Homestead Resort in Midway.
Caleb Oborn, 5, looks up at his mother as he and his sister, Reagan, 2, play in the dirt after a groundbreaking for the new Pleasant Grove Public Safety Building on Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2017, in Pleasant Grove.
Clockwise, Timpview juniors Sarah Chamberlain, Lizzie Hall and Katie Austin compare shoe sizes as they and other students shop for Sub for Santa families Wednesday, Dec. 13, 2017, at Walmart in Orem.
Traffic flows along Interstate 15 as an inversion, created from a top layer of warm air that keeps pollutants trapped in the cold air beneath, hangs over Utah County on Saturday, Dec. 9, 2017, as seen from Point of the Mountain in Lehi.
Abby Heywood, who will play Jack's mother, secures a hair cap before putting on a wig as she and other cast members ready themselves backstage before a sensory-friendly production of Jack and the Beanstalk on Saturday, Dec. 2, 2017, at Utah Valley University's Noorda Theatre in Orem.
Steve Nelson, director and "mayor" of the village, watches as a small fire in one of the buildings is quickly extinguished during the Pioneer Christmas Celebration on Friday, Dec. 15, 2017, at the Provo Pioneer Village.
Camille Leishman, 5, of Pleasant Grove, weaves fabric at one of the interactive stations during the Night in Bethlehem live Nativity on Friday, Dec. 1, 2017, at Stone Gate Weddings and Events in Pleasant Grove.
The Dowland brothers including, from left, Sam, 5, Logan, 3, Brody, 8, and Mason, 6, work to create a "secret spot" while playing in a vacant lot that will eventually be the site of a home in a neighborhood east of Interstate 15 on Wednesday, Nov. 22, 2017 in Santaquin. Santaquin is a sleepy town in the rural southern part of Utah County. Cities in the northern part of the county, such as Lehi, are booming. Since the 50’s, Lehi has gained roughly 57,503 citizens whereas Santaquin has gained about 9,848 in the same time. Santaquin has been described as “Lehi 25 years ago” and though it is currently growing slowly but steadily, the city is preparing itself for a population boom of its own.
November was a busy month.
Though sometimes stressful, being busy is fulfilling. This past month offered a wonderfully-balanced assortment of assignments. I shot a good deal of sports, but I also had loads of news, feature and portrait assignments to balance the equation. I often tell people that one of the reasons that I love newspapers is the wide variety of assignments that I get to shoot. Variety is the spice of life. And in November that spice was quite balanced and sweet, but thick.
The Herald's photo staff once again underwent changes in November. My boss, Sammy Jo Hester, recently accepted a job as a photo editor at the L.A. Times and clocked in her last day at the newspaper this month. I'll be sad to see Sammy go (and miss her puns and ability to surprise me with my favorite sweets after long weeks), but she has a wealth of talent that I'm glad she'll be able to continue to grow at a place as respected as the L.A. Times. We've been accepting applications for her position, and I think we will fill the position within the next week. Though I thought about applying to the position myself, I decided that I would remain happiest keeping busy with assignments as the chief photographer since my long-term goal is being a daily photographer at a large metropolitan newspaper.
So, for the last half of the month I've been wearing a few more hats. Since Sammy left I've filled the managing roles of the photo editor (going to budget meetings, coordinating assignments with writers, setting up and/or creating our photo options for front-page centerpieces everyday, etc.). Filling extra roles while also being the newspaper's chief resource for photos has been a lot at once, but it feels good to push myself in new ways.
Brigham Young Cougars defensive back Zayne Anderson (23) claps along with his teammates as the band plays the school's fight song after BYU lost their last home game of the season to University of Massachusetts on Saturday, Nov. 18, 2017 at LaVell Edwards Stadium in Provo.
Massachusetts Minutemen wide receiver Andy Isabella (23) briefly loses the ball as he is hit by Brigham Young Cougars linebacker Butch Pau'u (38), but the Minutemen quickly recovered the ball, during BYU football's last home game of the season against University of Massachusetts on Saturday, Nov. 18, 2017 at LaVell Edwards Stadium in Provo.
Sterling Hansen, 17, holds Dippie Hansen, 9, both of Bluffdale, upside down after the Cougars scored their first and only touchdown during BYU football's last home game of the season against University of Massachusetts on Saturday, Nov. 18, 2017 at LaVell Edwards Stadium in Provo.
Massachusetts Minutemen cornerback Lee Moses (3) breaks up a pass near the end zone intended for Brigham Young Cougars wide receiver Talon Shumway (21) during BYU football's last home game of the season against University of Massachusetts on Saturday, Nov. 18, 2017 at LaVell Edwards Stadium in Provo.
Aaron Becraft, of Saratoga Springs, rides his motorcycle with other members of the Patriot Guard Riders of Utah during the Veterans Day parade Saturday, Nov. 11, 2017 in Layton. “You get all walks of life that come together," said Becraft. "We ride, that’s where the common bond is.” To see more from this Monday Close-Up, click here: .
Doug Wooly, of West Valley City, sports a Patriot Guard Riders patch as he adjusts his sunglasses while setting his watch after the Veterans Day parade Saturday, Nov. 11, 2017 in Layton.
Stephen Booth, center, of Salt Lake City, talks with Chris Smith, right, also of Salt Lake City, and other Patriot Guard Riders of Utah as they make their way through a terminal before a homecoming event Thursday, Nov. 9, 2017 at the Salt Lake City International Airport.
Cadets from the Utah Military Academy hold up letters spelling out "welcome home" during a homecoming event for Edgar Harrell, a retired corporal in the U.S. Marine Corps and a survivor from the sinking of the USS Indianapolis in 1945, on Thursday, Nov. 9, 2017 at the Salt Lake City International Airport.
Patriot Guard Riders of Utah greet Edgar Harrell, a retired corporal in the U.S. Marine Corps and a survivor from the sinking of the USS Indianapolis in 1945, during a homecoming event Thursday, Nov. 9, 2017 at the Salt Lake City International Airport.
A woman waiting for a ride watches as the Patriot Guard Riders of Utah make their way away from a terminal after a homecoming event Thursday, Nov. 9, 2017 at the Salt Lake City International Airport.
Kory Harris and his son, Corwin, 5, pose for a portrait outside of their home Wednesday, Nov. 29, 2017 at Francis K Mobile Home Park in Orem. During campaigning for the Orem mayoral race, supporters of Hans V. Andersen left flyers at residences in several local neighborhoods stating that they would possibly lose their homes due to the actions of city council. The Harris' home was one of the residences that received such a flyer. The statement was false, and the flyer also stated that Andersen was the only candidate willing to stop their actions.
Pheasants make their way out of a holding crate during a release of pheasants into the wild Wednesday, Nov. 22, 2017 in Goshen Canyon.
Taylor Karlsson, left, and her husband, Emmanuel, right, both of Orem, listen with other attendees to Rebecca Clarke, of Orem, speak during a public hearing held by the Alpine School District Board of Education concerning the consolidation of Hillcrest and Scera Park Elementary Schools on Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2017 at the Alpine District Office in American Fork.
Eric Thorkelson, playing Santa Claus, watches as Tre Galbraith, 5, of Provo, plays with bubbles shot out of a bubble gun by Tre's mother, Megan, during a playtime session with Santa on Tuesday, Nov. 21, 2017 at University Place in Orem. The sessions with Santa, called Quiet Santa, are for children with sensory sensitivities and developmental disorders, like autism.
Edgar Harrell, a retired corporal in the United States Marine Corps and a survivor from the sinking of the USS Indianapolis in 1945, poses for a portrait Saturday, Nov. 11, 2017 at the Utah Valley Convention Center in Provo.
Pat Schow hands a movie ticket to a customer as other customers wait in line at the box office before a movie Friday, Nov. 24, 2017 at the SCERA Center for the Arts in Orem. Schow, a Highland resident, has been volunteering at the theatre for over 30 years.
Lehi tackle Hayden Erickson (78) and other players high-five Lehi fans after the Lehi Pioneers defeated the Springville Red Devils in a 5A state semifinal game Thursday, Nov. 9, 2017 at Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City.
Skyridge wide receiver Nathan Upham (21) makes a deep catch while guarded by Corner Canyon defensive back John Scheffner (23) during a 5A state semifinal game between the Skyridge Falcons and the Corner Canyon Chargers on Thursday, Nov. 9, 2017 at Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City.
Brigham Young Cougars outside hitter Veronica Jones-Perry (12) spikes the ball past San Francisco Dons right-side hitter Emily Zinger (9) during a game between Brigham Young University and University of San Francisco on Thursday, Nov. 16, 2017 at Smith Fieldhouse in Provo.
The Lone Peak Knights celebrate their victory over the Pleasant Grove Vikings in five sets in the 6A girls volleyball state championship match Saturday, Nov. 4, 2017 at the UCCU Center on the campus of Utah Valley University in Orem.
Lone Peak outside hitter Madelyn Robinson poses for a portrait Thursday, Nov. 16, 2017 at Lone Peak High School in Highland. A senior, Robinson has been selected as the Daily Herald's Utah Valley Volleyball Player of the Year for the second consecutive year.
Utah Valley Wolverines guard Gabrielle Leos (21) looks to an official after she fouled Brigham Young Cougars center Sara Hamson (22) during a game between Brigham Young University and Utah Valley University on Tuesday, Nov. 21, 2017 at the Marriott Center in Provo.
Brigham Young Cougars head coach Dave Rose reacts to an official's call during a game between Utah Valley University and Brigham Young University on Wednesday, Nov. 29, 2017 at the UCCU Center in Orem.
Salem Hills guard David Jones (14) pokes the ball away from Lone Peak guard Chantry Ross (0) during a game between the Lone Peak Knights and the Salem Hills Skyhawks in the Utah Valley Tipoff Classic on Wednesday, Nov. 22, 2017 at the UCCU Center in Orem.
A play unfolds during a playoff game between the Salem Hills Skyhawks and the Payson Lions on Tuesday, Oct. 24, 2017 at Salem Hills High School.
October was a month of sports.
Seasons that seem as if they began yesterday are coming to a close. High school football, girl's soccer, cross country, volleyball, tennis and Brigham Young University football have all either come to their last few games or ended entirely. It'll be nice to have one more BYU football game and also the state finals in volleyball and football, but otherwise the start of winter sports seasons are right around the corner. It's been a pretty crazy time photographing all of the paper's sporting events, covering other general assignments and working on Monday Close-Ups, but it's good to be shooting often.
This month's Monday Close-Up (which includes pictures 8-12) focused on fruit farms that were once in rural areas, but now find themselves among cities due to Utah County's population boom in recent decades. Since 1950, more than half a million people have settled in the county, and family fruit farms are slowly vanishing as owners die and families sell the once cheap farmland for a pretty penny. Those images make up the center of this blog post, and the full story can be read here: .
Besides being busy, I've felt a shift in the expanse of our coverage since becoming a photo staff of two. Time management is now even more crucial. For many of the sporting events shown here, I either got to the game late or had to leave early to cover other assignments (often to ensure we have a front-page photo for our news and sports sections). Sometimes we have to simply choose what it is that is most crucial to the next day's paper, but maximizing the use of time is helping improve on getting what I need at assignments as quickly as possible and then moving on to the next thing.
October is my favorite month of the year. Shooting so many sporting events kept me from attending as many fall-themed assignments, but Utah is incredibly beautiful no matter what I'm covering. The leaves changed quite early in Utah this year (early September in the mountains and later in the month in the valley), and it feels like we're already about to dive into winter. The days are growing shorter, and more and more assignments are moving inside, but I'll relish the last days of fall (and look forward to the fun that winter brings - like skiing!)
Brigham Young Cougars linebacker Va'a Niumatalolo (35) knocks the ball loose from San Jose State Spartans wide receiver Rahshead Johnson (8) for a fumble, which was soon after recovered by the Cougars, during a game between Brigham Young University and San Jose State University on Saturday, Oct. 28, 2017 at LaVell Edwards Stadium in Provo.
Brigham Young Cougars wide receiver Neil Pau'u (84) reacts after not being able to complete a touchdown reception during a game between Brigham Young University and Boise State University on Friday, Oct. 6, 2017 at LaVell Edwards Stadium in Provo.
Brigham Young Cougars tight end Matt Bushman (89) celebrates with quarterback Tanner Mangum (12) after Bushman scored a touchdown on a pass from Mangum during a game between Brigham Young University and San Jose State University on Saturday, Oct. 28, 2017 at LaVell Edwards Stadium in Provo.
Brooklyn Cook, 6, center, of Springville, creates her own lightsaber from a pool noodle along with other children during Star Wars Reads Day on Friday, Oct. 13, 2017 at the Springville Public Library.
From right, Pleasant Grove police officers Domonic Adamson, Rick Henderson and Lehi police officer Scott LeFevre carry volunteers role-playing as victims towards a medical station during a mass-casualty exercise Saturday, Oct. 7, 2017 at the Lehi Round-Up Rodeo Grounds.
Andy Winder, a senior at BYU studying English who is also a trans man, poses for a portrait Wednesday, Oct. 18, 2017 in Provo.
Missael Castro, right, and Moises Alfaro Rios check the condition of a tomato as they and other workers harvest tomatoes Tuesday, Oct. 3, 2017 at one of Carlos Chavez's produce farms in Orem. “Every year has been a challenge," explained Chavez. "More houses around us, less land. I don’t know what percentage of land is left right now, but it’s bare minimum - especially here in Orem.”
A worker picks a tomato Tuesday, Oct. 3, 2017 at one of Carlos Chavez's produce farms in Orem.
From left, Tim Crandall, Fanny Fogamoni, and two of Tim's daughters, Emily Crandall Cullimore and Jenny Crandall Carlson, sort apples Thursday, Oct. 12, 2017 at Crandall's Fruit Farm and Greenhouse in Orem. Tim explained that when he has to sort produce at his farm, often times many of his children and their spouses come to help out. “As long as we enjoy it, we’ll keep doing it," said Tim. "If the day comes we don’t enjoy it or it doesn’t work, we won’t do it anymore. But for now, we very much enjoy doing it and business keeps getting better and better. There’s fewer and fewer farms every year.”
Francisco Contreas assembles boxes that he and other workers will fill with tomatoes Tuesday, Oct. 3, 2017 at one of Carlos Chavez's produce farms in Orem.
Tim Crandall makes his way into his fruit stand while he's reflected in a display case showing pictures from the farm's past Thursday, Oct. 12, 2017 at Crandall's Fruit Farm and Greenhouse in Orem.
Attendees gather with signs before a rally Wednesday, Oct. 25, 2017 at the East Bay Golf Course in Provo.
Lindsay Anderson, 5, of Provo, dances along with her mother, Phoebe, right, among dancers and drummers from Ngoma y’Africa during Meal for Mtulu on Friday, Oct. 27, 2017 at Merit College Preparatory Academy in Springville.
Maple Mountain midfielder Ciena Woods (25) makes a save during the 5A Girl's Soccer State Championship match between the Timpanogos Timberwolves and the Maple Mountain Golden Eagles on Friday, Oct. 20, 2017 at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy.
Maple Mountain's Gracie Knutzen (27) hugs Brynlie Ivie (19) after defeating East in a shootout in the semifinals of the 5A state tournament on Tuesday, Oct. 17, 2017 at Juan Diego Catholic High School in Draper.
Orem cheerleader Sadie Wimmer celebrates with quarterback Cooper Legas (5) after the Orem Golden Tigers defeated the Spanish Fork Dons on Thursday, Oct. 19, 2017 at Orem High School.
Brigham Young Cougars forward Yoeli Childs (23) dunks the ball past forward Dalton Nixon (33) during the Cougar Tipoff intra-team scrimmage on Wednesday, Oct. 25, 2017 at the Marriott Center in Provo.
Salem Hills defensive tackle Jackson O'hara (50) listens to coaches speak in their locker room before a playoff game between the Salem Hills Skyhawks and the Payson Lions on Tuesday, Oct. 24, 2017 at Salem Hills High School.
American Fork players celebrate just after time ran out with American Fork ahead 3-1 to make them the 6A Girl's Soccer State Champions over the Syracuse Titans on Friday, Oct. 20, 2017 at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy.