2010 Retrospect — Part 1

The year's almost over. Personally and professionally, 2010 was altogether challenging, rewarding, joyful, frustrating — it was another year of living life. I've done a fair amount of reflection over the past two months, but I'm more focused on looking ahead to what the future holds. That said, I wanted to share some of my favorite images from the past 12 months. I'm thankful for everything — every place, every face, every moment — I was able to see and photograph. Hopefully you enjoy some of these as much as I do. Today is a smattering of more photojournalistic images. Tomorrow, Part 2 will pull together some of my favorite images of people.

This first image in many ways encapsulates my approach to life these days: Chasing the light in the darkness.

I kicked off (yes, pun intended) getting to cover the Rose Bowl game between Oregon and Ohio for the newspaper I was with at the time. I'm not really a sports fan, but it's impossible not to feel the adrenaline pumping when you're walking the sidelines of a stadium packed full of cheering fans.

In the 5 1/2 years I spent with The Signal newspaper, the kind of stories I most enjoyed writing were those that cast a spotlight on ordinary people getting recognition. Read the story here of this Vietnam veteran who was awarded the Bronze Star more than 40 years after a battle in the Mekong Delta.

Over the past decade I've spent in California, I've always enjoyed driving through the vast expanses of desert. It's a harsh landscape, peppered with interesting landmarks. One of those is Salvation Mountain. For more than 30 years, Leonard Knight has lived without electricity or running water, east of the Salton Sea, constructing and painting a clay "mountain" adorned with flowers, rivers and Bible verses. This oasis of American folk art stands in stark contrast to the unforgiving terrain surrounding it.

A moment in time along the freeway west of Palm Springs.

Catalina Island sits just about 30 miles off the coast of San Pedro, California, but it feels a world away. It was good medicine to get away from everything for a day and wander the small harbor town of Avalon. At the top of a mountain overlooking the island is the Wrigley Memorial, in honor of William J. Wrigley who did much to develop the island.

In September, I traveled to Washington, D.C. to a help a friend photograph a wedding. It was my first time there in probably more than 15 years, and I fell in love. It's a grand, walkable city with architecture that reminds me of Europe. These were the views as I walked the National Mall one afternoon, ending up at the Washington Monument for a beautiful sunset.

It's been nearly a decade since L.A. County Sheriff's Deputy Hagop "Jake" Kuredjian was shot dead during a shootout, but he was close in memory to his brother on the anniversary of his death. Read the story here.

A few months ago, I dragged myself out of bed in the pre-dawn hours to capture some images of the community's early risers. The Way Station Coffee Shop has been a Santa Clarita Valley fixture for almost 40 years, and is a deliciously textbook example of a "greasy spoon."

That's it! Some of my favorite newsy images from 2010. Come back tomorrow for images of couples in love, bouncing babies, chic ladies and more.