A month in pictures: February

Taylee Smith talks with a friend during a class field trip to the Brigham Young University Museum of Paleontology on Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2017 in Provo.


February started off with lots of things to photograph, and now that the month's over, I don't think that pace is going to slow down at all.

It's tournament season for several high school sports. This month I shot a whole lot of high school sports with some feature, news, and portrait assignments sprinkled in-between fun nights of watching a ball bounce around (for most of the sports). Those daily assignments are book-ended in this blog post by two projects I particularly enjoyed working on this month. 

The first project was given to me by my boss. She noted when I first started at the Herald that I wanted to work on some feature-y sports stories, so when our sports reporter was going to do a story on a girl who has Down Syndrome and serves as a team manager for a local high school girls basketball team, she called me up. 

The story originally came to the paper's attention when our sports editor heard that Taylee Smith, the young lady with Down Syndrome, would be scoring the first basket of the Springville High School girls basketball team's last home game. I was assigned to photograph the girls and boys games and work on features of Taylee on her special night taking the court with her friends. The next day my boss graciously cleared my schedule (which is pretty special for newspaper photographers) and I was able to spend the majority of the day hanging out with Taylee to photograph her day-to-day life to round out the feature story. I tagged along with Taylee to a school field trip, time at school, a quick basketball practice, physical therapy, and at her home. It was an absolutely wonderful feeling to have the freedom and access to spend the whole day working on a story. It reminded me of how much I enjoy being a newspaper photographer, and how lucky I am to work at a newspaper that allows me to do work like this from time to time. Taylee's story begins with the image above, and continues with the 12 pictures below (I know, it's a pretty loose edit - I'll be working on it for future use).

The second project was my monthly edition of the Herald's Monday Close-Ups. I've been interested in goalball (a Paralympic sport for the blind) for some time now, and I finally got an opportunity to delve into it for this story. For the story I shadowed Elizabeth Chantry, a legally-blind goalball player who's a sophomore at a local high school who evens plays in the school band and takes piano lessons. Elizabeth has 20/400 vision, meaning she does have sight, but 20/400 vision means that she can see at 20 feet what perfectly-sighted people can see at 400 feet. She has Dominant Optic Nerve Atrophy, which is a hereditary condition she and her younger sister inherited from her mother, who also has the condition. Elizabeth's story wraps up this blog post with the last five pictures. The written story can be read here: http://provodh.com/o61iz. 

Taylee Smith checks out a dinosaur skull in the Brigham Young University Museum of Paleontology during a field trip Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2017 in Provo. Taylee has Down Syndrome, and is currently a senior at Springville High School.

Taylee Smith steps off the bus after her class's field trip to the Brigham Young University Museum of Paleontology as she heads back to class Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2017 at Springville High School.

Taylor Ehlert hugs Taylee Smith in the hallway between classes Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2017 at Springville High School. Taylee is near and dear to many students at school. She frequently greets her many friends in the hallways between classes.

Greg Thorpe fist-bumps Taylee Smith during her physical therapy appointment for arthritis in her knee Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2017 at the Springville Orthopedic and Sports Medicine Center. Taylee is active and is an avid fan of sports, especially basketball.

Taylee Smith picks up her basketball during the girls basketball team's practice Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2017 at Springville High School. The ball was given to her on her 18th birthday by Sarah Radford, one of her friends with Down Syndrome, and signed by her friends and family at her basketball-themed party.

Springville forward Cheyanne Brown, center, talks with senior team manager Taylee Smith, right, in the locker room before a game between the Springville Red Devils and the Maple Mountain Golden Eagles on Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2017 at Springville High School. Taylee has served as the team's manager throughout school, and the Red Devils thought it would be fitting to have her start the game with all of them on senior night.

Springville senior team manager Taylee Smith high-fives teammates and cheerleaders as she's announced with the Red Devils' starting line up before a game between the Springville Red Devils and the Maple Mountain Golden Eagles on Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2017 at Springville High School. The two teams agreed to allow Taylee to start the game and also score the first basket for Springville.

Springville senior team manager Taylee Smith takes and makes the first shot of the game between the Springville Red Devils and the Maple Mountain Golden Eagles on Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2017 at Springville High School. Maple Mountain then was allowed to score two points uncontested to even the score.

Springville senior team managers Taylee Smith, right, and Brittany Simpson hug after a game between the Springville Red Devils and the Maple Mountain Golden Eagles on Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2017 at Springville High School. Both are seniors at their last regular-season basketball game together, and the duo have been close friends since the 7th grade.

Video of Taylee was picked up by ESPN after the game and went viral, accumulating over a million views by the next afternoon. While the Springville high school girls basketball team practices in the gym Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2017, Tammy Smith checks out several videos for the first time that the media posted of her daughter Taylee's opening shot from the previous day's game.

Taylee Smith and her siblings shoot basketballs around in the driveway of their family's home Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2017 in Springville.

Taylee Smith prepares to shoot a basketball in the driveway of her family's home Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2017 in Springville.


Carolene Cook, who teaches Family and Consumer Science, waits along with the youths in her class for lunch time during a class Thursday, Feb. 2, 2017 at Slate Canyon Youth Center in Provo.

Members of Maple Mountain High School's military drill team perform during the 4A/5A State Drill Team Finals on Saturday, Feb. 4, 2017 at the UCCU Center in Orem.

Members of Corner Canyon High School's military drill team get ready before taking the stage during the 4A/5A State Drill Team Finals on Saturday, Feb. 4, 2017 at the UCCU Center in Orem.

Members of Pleasant Grove High School's military drill team prepare to perform during the 4A/5A State Drill Team Finals on Saturday, Feb. 4, 2017 at the UCCU Center in Orem.

Members of Pleasant Grove High School's military drill team perform during the 4A/5A State Drill Team Finals on Saturday, Feb. 4, 2017 at the UCCU Center in Orem.

Members of Skyridge High School's military drill team peek out from behind the curtains as another drill team performs during the 4A/5A State Drill Team Finals on Saturday, Feb. 4, 2017 at the UCCU Center in Orem.

Skyridge's Cameron Schenk sustains a hold on Cyprus' Nick Korhonen during the 5A and 4A Utah State Wrestling Tournaments on Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2017 at the UCCU Center on the campus of Utah Valley University in Orem.

Uintah's Gavin Ayotte stands backstage before the 5A and 4A Utah State Wrestling Finals on Thursday, Feb. 9, 2017 at the UCCU Center on the campus of Utah Valley University in Orem.

Tod Spencer, owner Leon Larsen's son, searches for a movie disc in the back of the store for a customer at Larsen Video on Saturday, Feb. 18, 2017 in Springville. Leon originally opened his video store in 1987 and it employed all of his children at one point in their lives. Now, only Tod stops by to help from time to time.

A side of mashed potatoes with cheese and bacon is pictured Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2017 at Chubby's Neighborhood Cafe, located at 91 Commerce Dr. in Saratoga Springs.

Q Sciences CEO Marc Wilson poses for a portrait Thursday, Feb. 23, 2017 at the Q Sciences offices in Pleasant Grove.

Pleasant Grove guard Casey Brown (3) looks to pass while guarded by Lone Peak defenders during a game between the Lone Peak Knights and the Pleasant Grove Vikings on Friday, Feb. 17, 2017 at Lone Peak High School in Highland.

Brigham Young Cougars forward Eric Mika (12) lays the ball up while guarded by St. Mary's Gaels center Jock Landale (34) during a game between the Brigham Young Cougars and the Saint Mary's Gaels on Saturday, Feb. 18, 2017 at the Marriott Center in Provo.

Lone Peak's Emma Clark (35) reacts just after the Lone Peak Knights were defeated by the Copper Hills Grizzlies 56-48 in the 5A state girls basketball quarterfinals Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2017 at Salt Lake Community College in Taylorsville.

Pleasant Grove guard Sadie Nixon (33) is fouled on her shot by Sky View center Hunter Krebs (42) during a game between the Pleasant Grove Vikings and the Sky View Bobcats in the 5A state girls basketball quarterfinals Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2017 at Salt Lake Community College in Taylorsville.

American Fork guard Savana Stephenson (3) looks towards her teammates on the bench as a timeout is called while American Fork leads Coppers Hills 48-45 with 1.1 seconds to go during a game between the American Fork Cavemen and the Copper Hills Grizzlies in the 5A state girls basketball semifinals Friday, Feb. 24, 2017 at Salt Lake Community College in Taylorsville. The Cavemen defeated the Grizzlies to advance to the 5A state finals.

Jennifer Boulton hugs her daughter Madelyn Boulton after Timpview fell to Skyline 52-45 in the 4A state girls basketball semifinals Friday, Feb. 24, 2017 at Salt Lake Community College in Taylorsville.


Elizabeth Chantry feels the goal to get into the right position as she prepares for a shootout during a community goalball tournament Saturday, Feb. 4, 2017 at the Openshaw Education Center in Salt Lake City. Goalball is a Paralympic sport for the blind that relies heavily on players' sense of hearing. Elizabeth has Dominant Optic Nerve Atrophy, which leaves her legally blind.

Elizabeth Chantry reads a book after finishing a math worksheet during class Friday, Jan. 27, 2017 at Timpanogos High School in Orem. Elizabeth has approximately 20/400 vision (anything less than 20/200 is considered legally blind), but she can read if the words are big enough and close enough.

Elizabeth also spends some of her free time teaching younger and less experienced players how to play goalball. Elizabeth Chantry helps Thacia Bingham get into the proper blocking position during a youth goalball practice Tuesday, Jan. 27, 2017 at Bonneville Elementary School in Orem.

Elizabeth Chantry blocks the ball as her mother and sister look on during goalball practice Saturday, Jan. 21, 2017 at the Northwest Community Center in Salt Lake City. 

Elizabeth Chantry hugs Madelyn Stafford after their team won a match during a community goalball tournament Saturday, Feb. 4, 2017 at the Openshaw Education Center in Salt Lake City.

A month in pictures: January

Annette Roug, left, a Wildlife Veterinarian for the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, prepares to take a blood sample from a bighorn sheep Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2017 in Cedar Hills. The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources captured bighorn sheep and mountain goats, brought them to the staging area to record information about them, then released them back into the wild.


The new year started off sort of slow, but January held a few neat-o gems.

Most notably, I got to cover a little bit of the Sundance Film Festival in Park City. Sundance isn't really the most photogenic event to cover (lots of people walking along Main Street, a few red-carpet events), but it was exciting to be there. Celebrities mix in with the locals (who also incidentally look famous because they're from Park City - i.e. wealthy and stylish). I also think I saw Jason Segel, who shouted, "It's that guy!" (referring to me as some media guy jokingly), but I can't be entirely sure because we were both packed in crowds moving in opposite directions. Loads of movies premiered throughout the 10-day festival, and I was lucky and got to photograph the premiere of "The Little Hours", which allowed me to be feet away from Dave Franco, Nick Offerman, Aubrey Plaza and other famous folks from the movie (although John C. Reilly didn't show, which made me pretty sad). It was thrilling to be around the buzz of Hollywood for a few evenings and get a peek into the environment that surrounds motion-picture celebrities.

I also spent some time working on a story about Amberley Snyder, a professional barrel racer who is paralyzed from the waist down from a car accident when she was 18. I found Amberley through the Utah State office of Rehabilitation, but she's no newcomer to media stories. She was thoughtful and allowed me to photograph her while she practiced, competed, and chilled at home. The last six images in this blog post are from that story, and the full written story I wrote can be seen here: http://www.heraldextra.com/news/local/south/elk-ridge/barrel-racer-amberley-snyder-overcomes-paralysis-to-earn-pro-card/article_7d52beed-f749-57fb-9f0f-f34e8b6513be.html?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=social_isaac_hale.

Otherwise January was a pretty normal month in Utah County. Though many assignments are moving inside due to the cold, it's nice to see how the community transitions through the seasons. 

Ada Bates, 11, of Provo, keeps herself warm with her candle as she makes her way towards the Wilkinson Student Center during the Martin Luther King Jr. Walk of Life on Monday, Jan. 16, 2017 on the campus of Brigham Young University in Provo.

Riders warm up their horses in the large arena as the dirt is tilled at the other end of the arena between heats during the Dash for Cash on Saturday, Jan. 7, 2017 at the Spanish Fork Fairgrounds.

Carter Papke, 10, of Orem, narrowly misses hitting an inflateable ball as he and his sister Anya, 8, play pass in the lazy river during the Polar Plunge on Friday, Jan. 7, 2017 hosted by Special Olympics Utah at Seven Peaks Waterpark in Provo.

A photo illustration that ran with a story about fake news (starring Dominic Valente as my wonderful model).

Hayden Webb poses for a portrait Thursday, Jan. 5, 2017 at Karl Maeser Preparatory Academy in Lindon. A junior at Maeser Prep, Webb created a Twitter account that posts positive anonymous Tweets that complement students.

Calvin Thomas, 8, of Park City, plays through a level of Rez Infinite at Embodied Media's virtual reality demonstration during the Sundance Film Festival on Friday, Jan. 20, 2017 in Park City.

Daniella Nogura, 5, stays away from the action during a game of dodgeball Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2017 at the Provo Clubhouse of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Utah County.

Alia Herrod, of Provo, helps hand out yard signs during the ground-breaking ceremony for the Utah Military Academy's Valdez-Peterson Campus on Friday, Jan. 27, 2017 in the parking lot of the American Fork UTA train station. The campus will be located at the intersection of Pioneer Crossing and South Center Street in Lehi.

Timpanogos cheerleaders look on as Timpanogos' Brett Dawson grapples with Bountiful's Austin Hayes-Carter during the semifinals of the UHSAA 4A State Dual Wresting Tournament on Thursday, Jan. 26, 2017 at Alta High School in Sandy.

Payson's Brock Loveless walks off the mat as Wasatch's Stockton O'Brien is declared the winner during the finals of the UHSAA 4A State Dual Wresting Tournament on Thursday, Jan. 26, 2017 at Alta High School in Sandy.

Brigham Young Cougars guard Nick Emery (4) lays the ball up while guarded by Pacific Tigers forward Ilias Theodorou (33)during a game between the University of the Pacific Tigers and the Brigham Young University Cougars on Saturday, Jan. 7, 2017 at the Marriott Center in Provo.

Pacific Tigers guard K.J. Smith (30) holds his hands on his head as the Tigers trail the Cougars by more than 20 points late in the fourth quarter during a game between the University of the Pacific Tigers and the Brigham Young University Cougars on Saturday, Jan. 7, 2017 at the Marriott Center in Provo.

Lone Peak forward Braden Bromley, right, celebrates with guard Garrett Frampton, left, after Bromley hit a 3-pointer during a game between the Lone Peak Knights and the American Fork Cavemen on Friday, Jan. 13, 2017 at Lone Peak High School in Highland. Lone Peak defeated American Fork 74-61.

Amberley Snyder rounds a barrel atop her horse named Legacy, also known as French Open, during the Dash for Cash barrel races Saturday, Jan. 7, 2017 at the Spanish Fork fairgrounds.

Amberley Snyder uses her standing frame to utilize her leg muscles and pump blood through them as she talks with her family at her home Thursday, Jan. 5, 2017 in Elk Ridge. On Jan. 10, 2010, Snyder was driving on her way to the Denver Stock and Rodeo show when she looked down to check her map and drifted out of her lane. She then looked up, overcorrected and slid off the road: ejecting her from the vehicle and into a metal pole. The crash fractured her spine and left her without feeling in her legs.

Amberley Snyder gets into her rugged and motorized wheelchair as her friend Emmy Peterson readies a snow blower on a snowy afternoon at Snyder's home Thursday, Jan. 5, 2017 in Elk Ridge.

Amberley Snyder pets her dog Ellie Mae as she and her sister Autumn prepare horses to ride for practice Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2017 at the Spanish Fork Fairgrounds.

Cory Snyder lifts his daughter Amberley up onto the saddle of her horse named Legacy, also known as French Open, before competing in the Dash for Cash barrel races Friday, Jan. 7, 2017 at the Spanish Fork Fairgrounds.

Amberley Snyder practices her barrel-racing routine on her horse named Legacy, also known as French Open, on Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2017 at the Spanish Fork Fairgrounds.

A month in pictures: December

Arson, the Pleasant Grove Fire Department's dog, poses for a portrait in the arms of firefighter Shawn Sandberg on Wednesday, Dec. 28, 2016 at the Pleasant Grove Fire Station. Arson is a 1-year-old goldendoodle, and he occasionally tags along with firefighters on calls.


December was a pretty neat month for me. I had my first work trip and celebrated both Christmas and New Years far away from home for the first time. Spending major holidays like Christmas in my new Utah home is pretty different for me - it signals that my life has fully entered uncharted waters. Which, is a good thing. 

To begin with, the Daily Herald was amazingly generous and sent me to San Diego to photograph Brigham Young University's bowl game in San Diego. I showed up at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego a few hours before kickoff to photograph fans having a good time before the Poinsettia Bowl matchup against the Wyoming Cowboys. At first the weather was beautiful, but once kick off came, it changed to a downpour. I thought "sunny San Diego's" weather would be kind to me for the game, but fortunately I brought along rain gear and my cameras and I survived and I walked away with in-focus pictures. Success. Despite the rain, my first work trip rocked, and I hope I get the chance to travel on assignment again. The six pictures following all this text are a few of my favorite from the bowl game.

I also had the opportunity to work on a Monday Close Up with a man who is a third-generation Santa. The men of his family (beginning with his grandfather in 1936) have dressed up to play Santa for local families and events. David Carter (the man I followed) is the latest generation in this "Santa" family tree and he also serves as the assistant principal at a local high school. Those photos are at the end of this blog (after both the BYU bowl game and my daily assignments). If you'd like to read the full story I wrote, check it out here: http://provodh.com/caded.

Other than a trip to California and a quick photo story, the holidays weren't too busy. That breathing room has allowed me to step back and think a bit. This past year has given me so much change. Graduating from college and saying goodbye to the groups and friends I loved there (for now), working in Minneapolis for a summer internship, and finally landing a full-time gig here in Provo at the Daily Herald. I won't be running from semester to semester or internship or internship this year: I'll be here, in Utah. I think that's good for me. I've been seeking a constant place in my life ever since I left for college, and now I have it. Though I won't be here forever, I'm glad to wade into the still mysterious lands of Utah and learn what I can while the Beehive state will have me.

Brigham Young University fans mill about in the parking lot of the stadium during pregame festivities before the Poinsettia Bowl on Wednesday, Dec. 21, 2016 outside of Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, California.

A Brigham Young University drummer performs with the band for fans during pregame festivities before the Poinsettia Bowl on Wednesday, Dec. 21, 2016 outside of Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, California.

Brigham Young Cougars quarterback Tanner Mangum (12) dives into the end zone for a touchdown during the matchup between the Brigham Young Cougars and the Wyoming Cowboys in the Poinsettia Bowl on Wednesday, Dec. 21, 2016 at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, California.

A member of the Brigham Young University Color Guard helps another member pick wet eyelashes out of her eye during the matchup between the Brigham Young Cougars and the Wyoming Cowboys in the Poinsettia Bowl on Wednesday, Dec. 21, 2016 at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, California.

Brigham Young Cougars defensive back Kai Nacua (12) celebrates his interception late in the fourth quarter with defensive back Troy Warner (11) to seal BYU's victory during the matchup between the Brigham Young Cougars and the Wyoming Cowboys in the Poinsettia Bowl on Wednesday, Dec. 21, 2016 at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, California.

Brigham Young Cougars linebacker Harvey Langi (16) accepts the Defensive Player of the Gtame award from Ted Tollner, a member of the Board of Directors for the San Diego Bowl Game Association, after defeating the Wyoming Cowboys in the Poinsettia Bowl on Wednesday, Dec. 21, 2016 at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, California.

Fire fighters and community members work together to create a dam to block water from flooding a resident's yard after a water line burst along Caveman Boulevard near the intersection of E 300 N on Friday, Dec. 16, 2016 in American Fork.

Kathryn Kenney, of Springville, browses through the selection of poinsettias in a greenhouse Thursday, Dec. 1, 2016 at McCoard's Garden Center in Provo. A repeat customer, Kenney was picking out poinsettias for her family and herself.

Kane Davenport, 6, from Eagle Crest Elementary School, covers Alex Palmer's eyes as they shop for gifts during the Bear Hugs for Kids event Saturday, Dec. 17, 2016 at Walmart in Saratoga Springs.

Springville senior running back Payton Kelepolo poses for a portrait Monday, Dec. 5, 2016 at Springville High School's football field. Kelepolo was chosen as the Daily Herald's football player of the year.

Members of the altar party make their way onto the altar as Timothy Yanni lays prostrate on the floor during a priest ordination ceremony Saturday, Dec. 17, 2016 at St. Mary's Episcopal Church in Provo.

From left, triplets Navy, Indi, and Livia, all 4, try to pose for a friend's picture with their mother Celeste Erickson and family friend Ryder Hill, 13, during Cocoa, Candy Canes and Conversation on Wednesday, Dec. 14, 2016 at the Pleasant Grove Fire Department. The event brought in community members to meet with fire fighters and police officers to chat over hot chocolate and treats and also learn more about the roles of public safety departments.

Brent Taylor wheels a cabinet fitted with sliding mechanisms for drawers towards other unfinished pieces Tuesday, Dec. 27, 2016 at Taylor Cabinet Inc. near Lake Shore. Taylor's father started the cabinetry business in 1971, and Brent began taking up his father's craft in 1979.

Hadley, 6, and her sister Ada, 4, peek out their family's front door as Timpview students sing Christmas carols for them Wednesday, Dec. 14, 2016 in Provo. Timpview students went from door to door singing carols to raise money for Sub for Santa.

American Fork guard Rob Crowther (30) grimaces as guard Bronson Barron (10) misses a foul shot late in the fourth quarter with the Cavemen ahead 56-52 during a game between the Provo Bulldogs and the American Fork Cavemen on Friday, Dec. 2, 2016 at American Fork High School.

Brigham Young Cougars guard TJ Haws (30) dribbles the ball behind his back while guarded by Santa Clara Broncos guard Jared Brownridge (23) during a game between the Brigham Young Cougars and the Santa Clara Broncos on Thursday, Dec. 29, 2016 at the Marriott Center in Provo.

Maple Mountain center Dawson Beutler (13) pumps up his teammates before a game between the Maple Mountain Golden Eagles and the Corner Canyon Chargers on Friday, Dec. 30, 2016 at Corner Canyon High School in Draper.

American Fork forward Zach McWhorter (44) looks up after falling to the floor on a play as Provo's Steffan Briggs (23) steps over him during a game between the Provo Bulldogs and the American Fork Cavemen on Friday, Dec. 2, 2016 at American Fork High School.

David Carter, dressed as Santa Claus, exits a Christmas party Friday, Dec. 9, 2016 at the Quarnberg's home in Lindon. Carter has been dressing up as Santa for holiday parties the past 21 years.

David Carter holds Breckon Wood, 3, of Spanish Fork, during a holiday party Friday, Dec. 9, 2016 at the LDS Church located at 114 S 400 W in Orem.

David Carter dresses up as Santa Claus on Friday, Dec. 9, 2016 in a camping trailer outside of his home in American Fork. He dresses in the trailer so that his six young step children don't see him.

David Carter, center in blue, talks with a student Friday, Dec. 9, 2016 at Pleasant Grove High School. Carter has worked at Pleasant Grove High School for 13 years and spent the last three years as assistant principal.

Tom Carter, David's father, puts pictures of himself dressed as Santa Claus back on a shelf Friday, Dec. 9, 2016 at his home in Orem. Tom is a part of the second generation of the three generations of Santa Clauses in the Carter family.