The Day's photos of the year: 2012 edition

Ed Waido, of East Lyme, feeds potato chip leftovers to gulls at McCook Beach in Niantic on March 9, in East Lyme. Waido, who stops to feed the gulls during his lunch break, says, "Once they know you're not afraid of them, they'll fly right up to you."
Ed Waido, of East Lyme, feeds potato chip leftovers to gulls at McCook Beach in Niantic on March 9, in East Lyme. Waido, who stops to feed the gulls during his lunch break, says, "Once they know you're not afraid of them, they'll fly right up to you." Sean D. Elliot/The Day Buy Photo

The Day's photographers recently assembled their favorite photos of the year 2012. They discuss some of them below. Look for “The Year in the Day,” a magazine that will feature more staff-photographer-selected photos of the year on Dec. 30 inside The Day.

SEAN D. ELLIOT

I'm going to say 2012 really went to the animals.

Which isn't to say that's a bad thing, or even an entirely accurate reflection of the entire year for me visually. But when I look back I can find several striking images of wild, and not so wild, life.

One image, Ed Waido feeding gulls at McCook beach in East Lyme, was a found moment. I'd stopped at the beach between assignments, looking for a spot to park for a few minutes when I spied Waido spurring action from the gulls with bits of potato chip. It would have been unremarkable — I generally ignore the feeding of birds — until I noticed him feeding the birds out of his hand.

It was a happy discovery when I was editing the photos as I found a frame with such a peak action moment of the feeding.

Early summer found me photographing animals pretty far from the gulls: elephants at the Cole Bros. Circus as they were washed before a show; later in the summer I took another swing from giant mammals to small amphibians at the annual frog-jumping contest in Plainfield.

It's a widely known saying in newspapers that you cannot fail with photos of dogs, but I like to think perhaps I expanded that axiom to apply to other animals as well this year.

TIM COOK

I often tell people that one of the best and worst part of being a news photographer is that you get to work outside, and some days you have to work outside. On nice warm summer days, it is a real treat.

During Superstorm Sandy on the other hand, it was much more dicey. High winds and rain, with falling trees and power lines make one question why they are outside in the first place. I am however a New Englander by birth, so when a big storm hits, it is exciting to see Mother Nature at work.

I eventually came across a family daring the waves at McCook Point Park in Niantic. The waves would break on the seawall and generally blow back. The family would get sprayed and laugh it off — that is until the “big one” hit. One of the girls in this photo all but had her poncho blown off by the wave as it broke over the group. Needless to say the family went home right after this photo was taken.

Any good New Englander knows there are only so many times that you can tempt Mother Nature during a storm and walk away laughing.

It is one thing to go to an airshow. It is something entirely different to view an airshow from the deck of the U.S. Coast Guard Barque Eagle in the middle of Boston Harbor.

It was quite a sight to watch large passenger jets all but take the masts off as they lifted off from Logan Airport. Then add fly-bys from multiple military aircraft, including several fly-overs by the U.S. Navy Blue Angels from arguably the best seats in the house, and you have a July 4 to remember.

One of the most dramatic moments in a cross country race is the start. All of the runners start on a wide field and funnel into the much narrower course. It can be organized chaos.

This year’s ECC Championship in Norwich took organized chaos to a new level when a loose dog darted in front of the onslaught of competitors. As I took pictures of the rapidly approaching runners I noticed unusual movement in my viewfinder. It took me a second to see that it was a cocker spaniel. The dog made it through the runners unscathed, and the runners continued into the race without injury. Truly a bizarre moment.

DANA JENSEN

Sometimes I just can’t believe dumb luck. One day I needed to find what we call a “feature,” a photo without a story, and had a little time between assignments, so figured I would stop by Rocky Neck State Park. It was November so I knew it would not be crowded on the beach and you never know what you may find.

I saw nothing of interest and started walking back to my car when I spotted Maya Peerzada of Waterford with her pet Vietnamese pot-bellied pig named Jack walking from the parking lot toward the beach.

That was something I had never seen and I quickly headed back to the beach where I watched Maya and Jack visit with a man and his young son, then continue their walk.

As for other local scenery, you really can’t go wrong with a field of sunflowers, but having covered the Sunflowers For Wishes hayrides at Buttonwood Farm in Griswold before, I always hope to capture something a little different. This time the evening light with Matthew Pierce and Katelyn Pierce reaching for a sunflower and their mother, Kristen Pierce, looking on makes the photo.

When I have an assignment to cover a performance of some kind like a play I often try to arrive early so I can get backstage and photograph the action behind the scenes to show a different view than what people sitting in the audience see.

For the re-enactment of the Abraham Lincoln-Stephen Douglas debates of 1858 I wandered around but didn’t have much luck at first. As the time for the debate to begin approached, I stepped into the room where it was going to take place to check for possible shooting locations.

When I turned around, Abraham Lincoln, portrayed by Lewis Dube, and Sen. Stephen Douglas, portrayed by Luke Boyd, were waiting in the hall to be introduced while Jacqueline Owens was taking tickets at the door. I love the expressions and postures of Lincoln and Douglas; simply put, this photo makes me smile.

TIM MARTIN

As a staff photojournalist for The Day, one can imagine how many photographs we take throughout the year. Annually we are asked to pick our favorite images and then describe why they were selected. This year, a great deal of my personal favorites were sports action and reaction photos.

Many times the experience of being near the situation as it occurs weighs in on the decision-making process. This image of Shelley “Shelitos Way” Vincent of New London, stretching out prior to her fight against Karen Dulin, happens to be a favorite. I followed Shelley during her training and stayed with her right through her entire fight. Just to witness what she went through leading up to the fight was a learning experience.

On March 12, I shot one of the best high school basketball games I have ever covered, capturing Keith Porter of New London as he gets pulled down by Windsor’s Jared Wilson Frame after Porter stole the ball during overtime in a CIAC 2012 Boys Basketball State Tournament Class LL quarterfinal game.

To describe this spot news photograph in a single word it would be “bizarre.” How often do you see a plane’s vertical stabilizer sticking out of a cornfield?

This whole situation just fell into place. First of all, there were no injuries, both the pilot and passenger walked away unscathed. I happened to be in Stonington when the call came over the scanner. At the scene I needed elevation to get anything descriptive so the North Stonington firefighters allowed me to shoot from their firetruck.

Lastly, the sun began to set, providing the soft golden light.

Cole Bros. Circus elephant caretaker Terry Crawely uses a power washer to clean Zola, one of four female Indian elephants that perform in the show on June 28.
Cole Bros. Circus elephant caretaker Terry Crawely uses a power washer to clean Zola, one of four female Indian elephants that perform in the show on June 28. Sean D. Elliot/The Day Buy Photo
Gaige Shaw, 10, gets his frog to leap toward the finish line during the 13th annual Plainfield Congregational Church Frog Jumping Contest on July 28.
Gaige Shaw, 10, gets his frog to leap toward the finish line during the 13th annual Plainfield Congregational Church Frog Jumping Contest on July 28. Sean D. Elliot/The Day Buy Photo
Storm watchers at McCook Point Park get a little too close of a look at the waves being stirred up by the remnants of Hurricane Sandy in Niantic on Oct. 29.
Storm watchers at McCook Point Park get a little too close of a look at the waves being stirred up by the remnants of Hurricane Sandy in Niantic on Oct. 29. Tim Cook/The Day Buy Photo
Above right, The U.S. Navy Blue Angels perform a fly-by over the U.S.S. Constitution and the U.S. Coast Guard Barque Eagle as the Eagle joins the U.S.S. Constitution on the Constitution's annual July 4 turn around cruise in Boston Harbor.
Above right, The U.S. Navy Blue Angels perform a fly-by over the U.S.S. Constitution and the U.S. Coast Guard Barque Eagle as the Eagle joins the U.S.S. Constitution on the Constitution's annual July 4 turn around cruise in Boston Harbor. Tim Cook/The Day Buy Photo
Runners take evasive actions as an excited cocker spaniel cuts straight across the start of the girls varsity race during the ECC Championship meet at the Norwich Golf Course on Oct. 18.
Runners take evasive actions as an excited cocker spaniel cuts straight across the start of the girls varsity race during the ECC Championship meet at the Norwich Golf Course on Oct. 18. Tim Cook/The Day Buy Photo
Maya Peerzada of Waterford walks her pet Vietnamese pot-bellied pig named Jack along the beach at Rocky Neck State Park in Niantic on Nov. 29.
Maya Peerzada of Waterford walks her pet Vietnamese pot-bellied pig named Jack along the beach at Rocky Neck State Park in Niantic on Nov. 29. Dana Jensen/The Day Buy Photo
(Above) Matthew Pierce, 7, left, and Katelyn Pierce, 6, center, reach for a sunflower with their mother, Kristen Pierce, right, and father Michael Pierce, not shown, on a hay ride at Buttonwood Farm in Griswold on July 19.
(Above) Matthew Pierce, 7, left, and Katelyn Pierce, 6, center, reach for a sunflower with their mother, Kristen Pierce, right, and father Michael Pierce, not shown, on a hay ride at Buttonwood Farm in Griswold on July 19. Dana Jensen/The Day Buy Photo
Abraham Lincoln, portrayed by Lewis Dube, left, and Senator Stephen Douglas, portrayed by Luke Boyd, wait in the hall to be introduced while Jacqueline Owens, far right, takes tickets at the door prior to the re-enactment of the Lincoln-Douglas debates of 1858 at Three Rivers Community College on Feb. 10.
Abraham Lincoln, portrayed by Lewis Dube, left, and Senator Stephen Douglas, portrayed by Luke Boyd, wait in the hall to be introduced while Jacqueline Owens, far right, takes tickets at the door prior to the re-enactment of the Lincoln-Douglas debates of 1858 at Three Rivers Community College on Feb. 10. Dana Jensen/The Day Buy Photo
Shelley
Shelley "Shelitos Way" Vincent of New London stretches out prior to her fight against Karen Dulin of Providence, R.I., originally from the Mystic area at the MGM Grand Theater at Foxwoods Resort Casino in Mashantucket, Conn., Friday, March 30, 2012. A boxing official keeps Vincent in view.(Tim Martin/The Day) Shelley "Shelitos Way" Vincent of New London stretches out prior to her fight against Karen Dulin of Providence, R.I., at the MGM Grand Theater at Foxwoods Resort Casino in Mashantucket. Tim Martin/The Day Buy Photo
Keith Porter, left, of New London gets pulled down by Windsor's Jared Wilson Frame after Porter stole the ball during overtime in a CIAC 2012 Boys Basketball State Tournament Class LL quarterfinal game at Central Connecticut State University in New Britain on March 12.
Keith Porter, left, of New London gets pulled down by Windsor's Jared Wilson Frame after Porter stole the ball during overtime in a CIAC 2012 Boys Basketball State Tournament Class LL quarterfinal game at Central Connecticut State University in New Britain on March 12. Tim Martin/The Day Buy Photo
Rescue personnel stand in a cornfield on Clarks Falls Road in North Stonington after a single-engine plane crashed there on July 11. Two men aboard the plane escaped without life-threatening injuries.
Rescue personnel stand in a cornfield on Clarks Falls Road in North Stonington after a single-engine plane crashed there on July 11. Two men aboard the plane escaped without life-threatening injuries. Tim Martin/The Day Buy Photo
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