Denver Post Photos of the Year

A Wild Ride, July 13: photo by John Leyba – This was taken around 9:30 p.m. as lightning ignited the sky over the Mountain Vista Carnival in Highlands Ranch. I was out there for about a half-hour waiting for the right moment. The shutter was held open for 4 seconds, and when the lightning struck, I closed the shutter.

Waiting for Tebow, June 4: photo by Craig F. Walker – My photojournalism instructor always said, “Go early, and stay late.” Those words have stayed with me, and occasionally, they pay off. As a photographer, going early means getting the lay of the land and usually meeting someone interesting — someone who often ends up being key to the story. When I was assigned to cover the Tim Tebow book signing of his new memoir, “Through My Eyes,” at the Tattered Cover Book Store in Denver, CO LoDo, that is exactly what happened. I met some of the most enthusiastic people at the front of the line. Larisa Martin was full of energy. She said she was drawn to Tebow because of his work with orphans. “Tim Tebow — he’s a nice dude. He helps orphan kids, and I was adopted from Romania,” Martin said.

A Protest Turns Violent, Oct. 29: photo by Craig F. Walker – I had just returned from covering the introduction of Denver’s new police chief, Robert C. White, when I heard chatter in the newsroom that police and Occupy protesters were facing off on the steps of the Capitol. I grabbed my gear and headed across the street. The situation was not as intense as I expected, and as I was making pictures, I realized the protesters were thinning out. As they moved across the street to Civic Center, I saw police donning riot gear. Upon crossing the street, Denver police officers and protesters were in a tug-of-war over a tent the protesters had pitched just moments earlier. A police officer went to the ground, and the situation escalated further. The angriest demonstrators didn’t back down when ordered to and screamed profanities. This led to the most violent Saturday in more than a month of demonstrations. Police fired pepper spray and pepper balls at protesters and arrested 20 people.

A Colorado homecoming, July 30: photo by Karl Gehring – I had noticed Jamal shortly after I arrived at the Fort Carson Events Center for a homecoming celebration. He was out on the gymnasium floor holding two small American flags, poking the thin poles into his puffed up cheeks. The reunion had been scheduled hours earlier but was delayed. I’m sure most of the kids were up well past their bedtimes. Jamal and his family had arrived early to get front-row seats and were waiting for soldiers from the 43rd Sustainment Brigade’s 183rd Maintenance Company following a year-long deployment. In Jamal’s case he hadn’t seen his father, Army Specialist Quenten Moore, in what I imagine must have felt like a lifetime for a 3-year-old. When the soldiers finally arrived, there was a mixture of crying and screaming and waving of hands. Jamal’s mother caught sight of her husband and was calling to him loudly. Jamal reacted to the noise and the confusion, and I wasn’t sure if he could actually see his dad as the tears fell down his cheeks. I certainly wasn’t helping as I stood between them.

Human Flight, Jan. 30: photo by RJ Sangosti – After getting some safe shots of Shawn White at the Winter X Games in Aspen, I decided to step back for his third run. My aim was to get behind the crowd with a wide lens so I could frame him in the air with the reaction of the fans. This is a hard angle to shoot from because I could not see where he was coming out of the pipe. I set up a pre-focus from the previous riders and and hoped for the best.

Shot Of The Century, July 7: photo by Cyrus McCrimmon – This is my portrait of 100-year-old Lawrence Cowan. He was one of our subjects for the series “Lessons from 100.” Cowan had ridden bareback horses in the rodeo and driven trucks for a living. I photographed Cowan with two lights on him seated near a wall. I knew that I wanted the photo to be converted into black and white to expose a face that has seen a century.

A Child Heals, May 10: photo by Kathryn Scott Osler – This photo was taken of 21-month old Doborah Kisakye while recovering from heart surgery at the Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children. She had a hole in her heart and traveled from Uganda with her mother, Miriam. Doctors told us without surgery, Deborah could live only about two years. I remember she was just so tiny, more like the size of a 1-year-old. She was very timid and frightened and so I thought it was important that I move slowly, keep some distance, and stay low to the ground, often shooting with a telephoto lens. I can’t imagine what this tiny person must be thinking, surrounded by all these strange people and hooked up to loud and scary machines.

Local Legend, June 9: photo by Cyrus McCrimmon – I got to spend the morning with 90-year-old Charlie Burrell at his Denver home as he played his upright bass. Burrell has had a legendary career playing jazz and classical bass. He was the first African-American bass player in the San Francisco Orchestra. Burrell smoked his favorite cigar, a Dominican Robusto, as we listened to his stories. I used a flash fired through a grid to isolate Burrell’s face as he played in his home studio. I just waited for the puff of smoke as he played. Afterward, I realized how fortunate I had been to spend time with him at his home. And I knew that if we had been at a club or stage, he would not have had that signature cigar.

A Daughter Says Her Own Good Goodbye, March 15: photo by AAron Ontiveroz – This photo was taken at the funeral for police officer Jay Sheridan. After the service, I hung out with fellow photographers Andy Cross and Mahala Gaylord. When I saw Sheridan’s daughter approach the flowers near the casket, I knelt down. I have covered a few funerals, but until this frame, I had never taken a photo like this.

A Face, A Story, July 23: photo by Joe Amon – Soft-spoken Amina Barkhadel, 27, gently hides the fear and horrors from her life in Somalia behind a quiet beauty. Sharing time with the new arrival opened my eyes to her struggle, but also to her drive to realize her dreams in this country.

Solace, June 6: photo by Joe Amon – Martin Omafray’s emotion almost seemed out of place at “The Moving Wall” Vietnam veterans memorial at Fort Carson. There were quiet tears from some, distant stares from others. For Omafray, more than 40 years were swept away as he came across the name of his best friend.

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