An artist’s vision
With her nose inches from the paper, Allison Keagy, 16, draws a cartoon hamburger while at her Lodi home on March 21. Keagy suffers from optic nerve coloboma, a defect that severely restricts her vision. (Camera: Nikon D3s. Lens: Nikkor 17-35mm at 35mm. Exposure: 1/15th sec. at f/2.8. ISO: 800)
Photographer’s note: This was one of my favorite stories and photo series of the year. Watching Allison create works of art while only being able to see a few inches beyond her nose was incredible. I like this photo because it demonstrates how she goes about drawing while so close to the paper, and her concentration.
Right on target
Mohamed Alkubaisi, 25, raises his legs to land in a sitting position while training at the Lodi Skydiving Center on March 30. Alkubaisi is a member of a Qatar skydiving team training in Acampo for a skydiving accuracy competition. (Camera: Nikon D3s. Lens: Nikkor 17-35mm at 17mm. Exposure: 1/2500th sec. at f/3.5. ISO: 400)
Photographer’s note: Being a photojournalist can be a risky business. Standing on sidelines of football games. Sitting under the hoop during a basketball game. It is easy to be in harm’s way while covering sporting events. In this case, I was lying on an air-filled target as skydivers from Qatar attempted to touch down in the center of it. There were a few close calls, but luckily I escaped without being kicked in the face or landed on.
Who left the sprinklers on?
Dry grasses and the lower limbs of trees were coated in icicles in an orchard on Lower Sacramento and Mettler roads late on Jan. 17. Motorists stopped and photographed the orchard with cameras and phones. (Camera: Canon 40D. Lens: Canon 16-35L at 16mm. Exposure: 1/8000th sec. at f/2.8. ISO: 100)
Photographer’s note: While cruising around looking for standalone art, I found myself on Lower Sacramento Road near Eight Mile Road making a usual loop back to West Lane. I noticed people were pulling over and that they had cameras. As I looped back, I was greeted by this winter wonderland created by a freezing night and sprinklers left on. I took a low stance, dodging the sprinklers, which were still on. I played with all angles and lined the sun behind the icicles.
Nikki Kalra lights candles while leading a prayer during a candlelight vigil at Deshmesh Darbar Temple in Lodi on Aug. 6. Members of the Sikh temple joined with members of other religious communities to express solidarity with families affected by a mass shooting on Aug. 5 that killed six people at a Sikh temple outside Milwaukee, Wis. (Camera: Nikon D3s. Lens: Sigma 70-200 at 185mm. Exposure: 1/50th sec. at f/2.8. ISO: 12800)
Photographer’s note: Candlelight vigils can often be difficult to shoot. They are generally dark, and people can be emotional. They also provide moving photos. In this case, the tragic event happened in Wisconsin and the vigil was at the local Sikh temple, so they were very welcoming. I composed this photo so the candle was centered (take that, rule of thirds!) and the woman was just on the edge of the frame. Enough to show the character in her face.
Cowboy in the window
A man looks out from the Office bar in Lockeford on Jan. 17. (Camera: Nikon D3s. Lens: Nikkor 50mm @ 50mm. Exposure: 1/800th sec. @ f/1.4. ISO: 640)
Photographer’s note: Sometimes our favorite photos are never printed in the paper. While photographing an interview with John Vanderheiden at the Office bar in Lockeford, I noticed this guy in the background. He eventually wandered over to the window and I snapped two quick photos.
Chelsea Gonzalez lays with her son, Joshua, on Jan. 20. Chelsea is a member of the New Horizons program at Plaza Robles High School. Programs like New Horizons and groups like the Pregnancy Resource Center of Lodi help pregnant teens learn how to take better care of their babies and themselves. (Camera: Canon 40D. Lens: Canon 16-35 at 16mm. Exposure: 1/50th sec. at f/2.8. ISO: 400)
Photographer’s note: While at New Horizons, Lauren Nelson was interviewing the teen mothers, but I was making goo-goo faces at the babies. I find when you get on a child’s level, you definitely get a different perspective.
A tiny meal
A minuscule dragonfly devours an aphid at the Neighbor’s Community Garden in Galt on Aug. 6. (Camera: Nikon D3s. Lens: Sigma 105 mm at 105mm. Exposure: 1/320th sec. at f/11. ISO: 800).
Photographer’s note: I am not a nature or macro photographer. So when I get a good photo of both in shot I get excited. The photo alone doesn’t demonstrate the size of this tiny dragonfly. I didn’t notice the aphid in its mouth until I started editing.
Meera Solanki and Sravani Sagireddy hold their final pose during Diwali Night at Hutchins Street Square on Oct. 27. (Camera: Nikon D700. Lens: Nikkor 70-200mm @ 102mm. Exposure: 1/250th sec. @ f/2.8. ISO: 4000)
Photographer’s note: This was the second annual Diwali Night I had photographed. This year’s event started with a performance by little children. Following the children, the emcees came out and made a few jokes. Two younger girls then came onto stage to perform a Bharatnatyam dance. I took a couple pictures during their dance and snapped one of their final pose. I jotted down some information from the program before I hurried back to the office to make deadline, not sure if my final picture was up to par yet. Back at the office, I quickly edited my pictures from earlier in the day, saving the dance for last. When I got to it, I knew that it would make the page editors happy. I submitted it and went home, eager to see if it made it into print the next day.
All wearing Halloween clothes and costumes, Sarah Annotti, left, reads “Skeleton Bones & Goblin Groans” to her daughter, Fiona Alexander, center, and Gabriel Soulstice at the Lodi Public Library on Oct. 31. (Camera: Nikon D800. Lens: Sigma 70-200mm at 70mm. Exposure: 1/100th sec. at f/3.5. ISO: 1250)
Photographer’s note: One thing immediately stands out in this photo, the boy picking his nose. But a keener eye might pick up on another oddity. Why is the book upside down?
A duckling steps out of the shade and into falling water from a sprinkler in the front years of Larry Cooper’s Lockeford home on May 9. Cooper discovered the 26 ducklings in his front yard at 8 a.m. when he pulled into his driveway. (Camera: Nikon D3s. Lens: Sigma 70-200 at 200mm. Exposure: 1/1000th sec. at f/4. ISO: 400)
Photographer’s note: It’s a bunch of baby ducks. What more needs to be said? It was a fun, light-hearted assignment that had Maggie Creamer and me in a good mood all day.