What a year. Protesters made it known they didn’t want oil trains coming to the Port of Vancouver, Democrat Bernie Sanders paid us a visit and so did former President Bill Clinton. Even rap icon Snoop Dogg made an appearance.
A recent winter storm left motorists on the roads for hours, some of them even abandoning their cars. Camas High School’s football team captured its first state title.
But while the year provided lots of drama, many of our favorite photos captured small, quiet moments. Above you can see some of our favorite pictures and then we have added more in the photo gallery. Staff photographers Amanda Cowan and Ariane Kunze also provided some insights into the photos shown at the top of this story as well as some in the attached gallery. These insights are shown below. – Web and photo editor John Hill
Photographer Amanda Cowan
Football colors: My assignment this night was to find a shot that included the sunset and the Battle Ground High School varsity football team playing in their pre-season scrimmage for the high school football pre-season tab. My main problem was trying to get the sun to set while the varsity players were on the field because the freshman and junior varsity teams were also playing. Much to my dismay, I saw the sun set while the junior varsity team was still on the field, which was much earlier than I wanted. However, I lucked out that there was just enough afterglow from the sunset to work with and I had to shoot fast to create this image of the varsity players just as the light was fading.
Hospital: In July, we had heard that a local man, Scott Jensen of Amboy, was pulled from his car that was engulfed in flames after a car accident by complete strangers, who quite literally saved his life. My assignment was to take photos as two of the saviors, Hiedi Poulson and Kim Detter, dropped by the hospital to visit Jensen and see how he was doing. I took a number of shots as the group chatted before Jensen’s mom, Therese Jensen, crossed the room to embrace Poulson and Detter. It was a brief but powerful moment of relief, thankfulness and love that came from a situation that had been life or death.
Virtual reality: In January, we visited Chief Umtuch Middle School as eighth-graders got a hands-on experience using virtual reality cardboard viewers that gave them the feeling of taking 360-degree virtual trips all over the world. It was fun to watch the reaction of the kids as they were completely captivated by the technology. I was shooting for awhile, trying out different angles and compositions, when a sliver of sunlight shone through the window and illuminated the kids, giving an otherworldly feel to the scene. The light stayed for about four or five frames before it was gone.
Dad and daughter Valentine’s Day: In February, reporter Jessica Prokop and I had the chance to visit Larch Corrections Center to attend an inmate father and daughter Valentine’s Day dance. This father and daughter caught my eye early on because they were so sweet together and their red and black clothes seemed appropriate for the holiday. I kept an eye on them throughout the dance while photographing other fathers and daughters and stayed patient as I waited for a moment that showed the connection between them within the context of the event.
Skyview football: Photographers know when the weather gets bad, the chance for dramatic photos increases. This game between Skyview and Battle Ground pretty much poured from beginning to end so getting good shots while protecting my camera gear was a balancing act. I remember seeing Skyview’s Jeremiah Wright leap sky high for a pass and swinging my lens around but it happened so fast, I really didn’t think I had anything in focus of the play. However, I looked back at my screen during the next break in the action and was surprised to see this on the back of my camera.
Snow ducks: I spent some time roaming around Vancouver during our recent snow day in mid-December while trying to find some interesting photos for the paper. I had been driving around for a while and had some shots in the bag when I decided to stop by the Vancouver Waterfront before heading into the office. This sweet couple caught my eye as they were taking photos of each other in the snow. Out of nowhere, a spirited group of ducks photo-bombed both my shot and their shot to create a fun image.
Dancer portrait: I teamed up with reporter Tom Vogt in October for a feature story of dancer Spenser Theberge, a 2005 graduate of Vancouver School of Arts and Academics, who has been performing internationally. I noticed some interesting light pouring through the window of Columbia Dance Company where he was practicing and he was wonderful to work with as I tried to create an introspective environmental portrait.
Photographer Ariane Kunze
Flag Day at Fort Vancouver: Local Girl Scout and Boy Scout troops gathered at Fort Vancouver on Flag Day this year to hold a giant flag for the annual ceremony. During the ceremony, several kids decided to peek under the flag at one another. I wasn’t sure I had captured the moment until after I left the ceremony and filed the photos back at the office.
Cystic Fibrosis: This was a quiet moment I captured of Matthew Pozsgai and his sister, McKenna Pozsgai in their home. Matthew is taking his daily dose of medication for his cystic fibrosis, while his sister, who has been an advocate for improving research and funding for cystic fibrosis, sits nearby telling him jokes and stories. The only light in the room was coming from the window, but the subtle dramatic feel it provided to the photo is what makes it one of my favorites.
Rower Anthony Davis: For this story about rower Anthony Davis, who at the time was preparing for the 2016 Paralympics, I rode in a boat with his trainer. At this particular moment, our boat was completely in sync with Davis. I captured this same shot from other parts of the lake with varying landscapes, but waited until we passed Mount Hood to take this particular image. I am fond of the lines and symmetry. As well, it was a bluebird day, which was a pleasant surprise given it was the month of January and we had recently experiences copious amounts of rain.
Aviation Camp at Pearson Field Education Center: I shot many frames of Cora Philippson attempting to fly her paper whirligig at aviation camp at the Pearson Field Education Center over winter break. What I loved about this image was the pure joy and astonishment on Cora’s face. After many tries, Cora’s whirligig took flight over a vertical wind table, along with her hair, which made the shot extra special.
Camas Football: This photo was a moment of complete luck. I noticed the Camas cheerleaders stunting and decided to hold my shutter down as Camas High School football players ran onto the field. Michael Matthews (12) and Cooper McNatt (15) happened to leap up in the air at the exact moment a cheerleader was in the air, between the goal posts.