For Tyler Morning Telegraph photographers, documenting East Texas life in 2016 was a roller coaster of emotions and physical intensity. 

My favorite photos of the year are a mix of shots capturing eclectic events, peak sports moments, human emotions and lesser seen details.

Some assignments were physically difficult. On the public search for Kayla Gomez-Orozco, I did everything the searchers did, including walking over downed trees and through thorny shrubs in the rain. The same was true during the severe weather that hit Lindale in April, damaging many homes along Farm-to-Market Road 16. The adrenaline that kicks in covering these important and sometime stressful news stories as they unfold keeps me focused on my goal of documenting the facts for my community.

Mud Nationals and the 1836 Chuckwagon Race are two East Texas events that tested my skills with high speed action and plenty of flying dirt. As a photojournalist originally from Michigan, I enjoy any opportunity to photograph culturally Southern and Texas events. 

 

Others photos made my list of favorites from the year because they are quiet moments I was able to share with the community. One includes an emotional officer attending the memorial for Smith County K-9 officer Ogar. Another is a subdued scene of retired international pianist Ann Saslav playing her piano at her home in Overton. 

The photos that took some considerable time and planning were the long exposure painting with light football portraits I created for the ETFinalscore.com Pigskin Preview. Using a dark room with a black background and lots of colored LED lights I painted school colors around high school football players in different poses.

 

One photo that was a pleasant surprise for me was my shot of the coronation for Miss Texas College. The image, rich in color and content, was featured on the photography website The Image, Deconstructed, with a behind the scenes interview on how the photo was taken.

Photography is subjective, and it's hard to compile a comprehensive list of what's best and why. Out of the thousands of photographs I take each month for the newspaper, I'm sure many good ones get overlooked or forgotten. I often say that a good photo is hard to describe, but I know it when I see it. 

Here are a few of my favorites from 2016. 

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Chief Photographer

I've worked as a photojournalist at the Tyler Morning Telegraph since 2011. I'm a graduate of Central Michigan University.