The Day's 2016 Favorite Photos
I do not find it easy to list a photo of someone else's tragedy as a "favorite" photo. I was struck by the early morning sunlight filtering through the smoke and trees. It was a challenging exposure to catch the light just right and not lose the context of the house fire. -- Tim Cook CAPTION: Firefighters exit the roof after cutting ventilation holes as firefighters from Montville and surrounding fire departments battle a house fire at 486 Norwich Salem Turnpike (Route 82) in Montville Thursday, Jan. 21, 2016.
There are simply only so many photos I can take of a small group of people marching down the street singing so I was quite pleased when I caught, out of the corner of my eye, the movement of Ramel Greco stepping out of his car to show his solidarity with the marchers. -- Sean D. Elliot CAPTION: Ramel Greco, of Norwich, steps out of his car to show a black power salute as marchers head down Franklin Street bound for Evans Memorial AME Zion Church for the Norwich branch NAACP Martin Luther King, Jr. service Monday, January 18, 2016.
In 20 years as a newspaper photographer (and four years as a photo student in Rochester, N.Y., where it snows nine months of the year, so more like 24-plus years) I have probably covered over 60 winter storms. This was a first. I was within minutes of giving up and heading back to the office when what appeared to be the strangest looking snowsuit caught my eye. I surprisingly did not crash my car and could not believe my eyes when I found Gumby shoveling the sidewalk. This does not just go down as one of my favorite news photos of the year, but perhaps of all time. -- Tim Cook CAPTION: Kevin Doyle of New London shovels the sidewalk along Hempstead Street wearing a Gumby after he and his girlfriend thought it would be funny as a large winter storm moves through the region Saturday, Jan. 23, 2016. Doyle commented that "Why bothering having a Gumby costume if you do not wear it occasionally".
To make a photo like this on what is a quiet news day is what makes the photo special to me. After driving around for hours, I threw a dart and headed for the Treasure Hill Farm hoping to get anything. A photo like this does not tell you the difficulties the photographer experienced in finding it. You just see a fun moment that is part of one person's daily life. I find that many of my favorite photos are the ones that make me smile, and this one certainly fits into that category. -- Tim Cook CAPTION: Esci, a Leopard Appaloosa horse nuzzles Treasure Hill Farm staff member Amanda Stazick as Stazick and farm student Kailie McCann, 14 of Salem, right, perform afternoon rounds with the horses, bringing the horses food and changing the blankets at the Treasure Hill Farm in Salem Tuesday, March 1, 2016.
This image is a great example of being in the right place at the right time. I was leaving Washington Park in Groton after looking for a photo and had decided my next stop would be Eastern Point Beach. I was not on the road long when I heard the call over the scanner that a car was in the water and possibly occupied at Eastern Point Beach. The adrenaline kicked in and I had to control myself not to floor the gas pedal. When I arrived at the park all I could see was a group of people looking towards the water no emergency personnel. As I jumped out of my car the emergency vehicles started to pull into the parking lot. When I reached the the water's edge I could see a lone good Samaritan in the water trying to break the windshield of the partially submerged car. The police and firefighters quickly joined in to try and keep the car from drifting with a rope with the aid of the Samaritan. It was a scary sight for awhile seeing an elderly woman sitting calmly in the car as water was rising inside and at one point no longer being able to see her. I was afraid that I might witness a tragic ending to this accident. My heart sank every time a police officer jumped in the water and tried unsuccessfully with several blows to break the passenger window. Thankfully he finally succeeded in time to allow him to open the door and pull the woman to safety unharmed. It was a great relief. The next day I was told The Day newsroom was receiving phone calls from television wanting the image. I didn't think anything of it because that happens occasionally with local news outlets wanting use of a photo that appears with a story in The Day. The shock came later in the evening when a friend sent me a text that he just saw the photograph I had taken on ABC World News With David Muir. -- Dana Jensen CAPTION: Groton police officers use a rope to keep a vehicle from drifting after John Sidlinger of Mystic, in the water, who was in the water trying to rescue the woman trapped in the car.
Capturing peak celebration at UConn women's basketball games is a special kind of challenge. In a season where the team won every game by an average of 30-points and the outcome was often decided in the opening minutes even the national championship game lacked much drama. With that in mind I was looking for a moment that would capture the joy of the Huskies winning the program's 11th title (and fourth in a row). While the bench reaction to former walk-on Briana Pulido's lone basket in the final minute may not have been celebration of the actual outcome, it nonetheless perfectly illustrated the players' joy at a moment that could only be as perfect as it was because of the overarching significance of the game. Pulido spent her years at UConn playing almost exclusively in "garbage time" and scored very rarely, so for her to hit a basket from the left corner of the title game, the last game of her career, clearly meant a lot to her teammates and I'm just glad I was ready to capture it. -- Sean D. Elliot CAPTION: The UConn bench erupts in celebration after senior reserve (and former walk-on) Briana Pulido, left, hit a shot (her only two points of the game) in the closing seconds against Syracuse in NCAA women's basketball championship game action Tuesday, April 5, 2016 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. The Huskies rolled to an 82-51 win to take the program's fourth straight title and 11th overall.
It seems that even though the presidential election is over, the negativity and chaos seems to have continued unabated. Outside of the context of the 2016 presidential campaign, this would normally be just a fun election day feature. The celebration of a citizen's first official vote for a presidential candidate. Putting it back in that context is why it made my "photos of the year" list. It celebrates the importance of active and positive participation in our democracy, a message that I feel got clouded over by the negativity of the campaign. -- Tim Cook CAPTION: Connecticut College student Molly Rosen, right, celebrates her first ever presidential vote as she casts her ballot in the Connecticut primary at New London High School while getting her photo taken by her friend Shelly Rodriguez, left, as polling machine tender Phyllis Wiggins, center, applauds, Tuesday, April 26, 2016.
Whenever I visit the Thames River Apartments complex in New London, the first person I always think of is Clytie Wells, left, 92, of New London, a tenant since 1967. Generations of children have had the pleasure of interacting with her throughout the years. I think everyone considers her as "their grandmother." Despite her strong personality, I am sure that the thought of change must be frightening to her. -- Tim Martin CAPTION: Clytie Wells, left, 92, of New London, a tenant at Thames River Apartments since 1967, listens to Mayble Nixon, a friend and fellow tenant, as tenants meet with Elizabeth Collins, vice-president of development with Peabody Properties, Inc., Michael Mattos, executive director for Affordable Housing and Services Collaborative, Inc., and attorney Robert Reardon, Jr., of the Reardon Law Firm, P.C. at Thames River Apartment in New London, Wednesday, April 20, 2016. The meeting was to discuss the possible move to the former Edgerton School.
Most of my images for The Day are made with a video camera, but this one required that I bring a still camera along on the video shoot. I remember trying to make a similar photo, 10-15 years ago, back when digital cameras were incapable of shooting clean photos at long exposures and high ISOs. Instead, I used a film camera, and with no LCD screen to preview the images, I was pretty disappointed in the results. It almost feels like cheating to use today's modern cameras. This image was made at an ISO of 12,800 with the shutter open for one second. I laid the camera on the ground in order to keep it steady and get the stars lined up in the background. It was pure luck that the big dipper happened to be in the right spot in the sky, since I couldn't see through the camera with it laying on the ground. -- Peter Huoppi CAPTION: Bob Crelin of Guilford looks through a telescope during a stargazing event at Three Rivers Community College in Norwich on Wednesday, June 1, 2016.
I can't say this is my best sports action picture I've taken this past year, but I like it because I had never seen anything like this before. I love how at the same time you can see a player protesting an umpire's call while the other player is still in motion after the two players collided at home plate on the play. -- Dana Jensen CAPTION: Waterford's Justin Keating (10) thinks he is safe as the umpire calls him out and Montville pitcher Terry Bowens (24) rolls over backwards after he and Keating collided at home plate on the play during the baseball game at Montville High School Tuesday, May 10, 2016.
A great source for planning outdoor shooting, especially when calculating the location of the moon at a specific time and location is the Photographer's Ephemeris. I traveled to Pequot Avenue in New London, with a shot I envisioned of the full moon rising directly over Ledge Light. As the scheduled time arrived I saw nothing, and the the light was dropping off quickly. Finally I began to see the orange moon but a good portion was covered in haze and was not visible. By the time the moon was completely in sight, it was well above the light house and moving quickly. The orange color of the moon was spectacular, cars were actually stopping just to check it out. I kept shooting until it was pitch black out, and the color of the moon changed to a bright yellow. The unusual orange glow of the full moon against the bluish early evening skyline and picturesque Ledge Light makes this one a keeper. -- Tim Martin CAPTION: The full moon rises over Ledge Light Monday, June 20, 2016.
Spang did everything he could to win, but it just was not his day. It is my job as a photojournalist to document the good and the bad in order to convey the outcome. The majority of athletes understand and respect this, such as Spang and his teammates did with grace after East Lyme was defeated 5-2 in 8 innings, at Palmer Field in Middletown, Sunday, June 12, 2016. It's difficult to look at this image and not feel how completely devastated Spang, his teammates and coaches felt after the last out was made. -- Tim Martin CAPTION: Matt Spang, right, of East Lyme, is consoled by teammate Trevor Delesdermier after East Lyme was defeated 5-2 in 8 innings, in the CIAC Class L baseball final at Palmer Field in Middletown, Sunday, June 12, 2016.
It is a rare thing when a photo I take during a sporting event is cited as influential upon the subjects. With the Sun mired in a season-opening slump all-star guard Alex Bentley took to the bench in what can only be described as a pout. When Sports Editor Chuck Banning opted to run this photo in the paper I heard in the days that followed that Bentley herself cited seeing herself in the photo as motivation to change her attitude. I may not get credit for the revival of Bentley's season and the Sun nearly making the playoffs, but it's nice to know someone noticed the photo. -- Sean D. Elliot CAPTION: Connecticut Sun head coach Curt Miller, right, talks to benched guard Alex Bentley during play against Indiana in WNBA Eastern Conference action Sunday, June 5, 2016 at Mohegan Sun Arena. The visiting Fever rolled to a 88-77 win over the hapless Sun.
Under normal circumstances, taking a few shots of the keynote speaker is routine, but there is always a first time for everything. Cory Harris, the keynote speaker at the Williams School 125th Commencement, simply stole the show when delivering his commencement address on Wednesday, June 8, 2016. He had everyone in stitches, and received a standing ovation afterward. This image depicts a kind of role reversal where the faculty member is up to something yet the students are maintaing order. -- Tim Martin CAPTION: Cory Harris, the keynote speaker at the Williams School 125th Commencement, delivers his commencement address on Wednesday, June 8, 2016. The ceremony was held in Connecticut College's Palmer Auditorium in New London.
It was just a pleasure to hang back and photograph Richard Potvin while interacting with his fellow band members. They appeared to be getting bored waiting for the parade to start during the 62nd annual Blessing of the Fleet at the Stonington Town Dock. A few frames prior to this image, he is resting his forehead on the bass drum, which I thought was my favorite, due to his body language. The other band members began getting up and preparing to line up for the start of the parade, and I think it caught Potvin off guard. I like how he is attempting to grab his mallets, but gets tangled up with the support strap. This was my favorite image from the event amidst all the pomp and circumstance of the Blessing of the Fleet. -- Tim Martin CAPTION: Richard Potvin, 11, of Westbrook, a bass drum player with the Westbrook Jr. Colonial Fife & Drum Corps., attempts to grab his drum mallets, after relaxing for a few minutes, prior to the beginning of a parade during the 62nd annual Blessing of the Fleet at the Stonington Town Dock in Stonington Borough, Sunday, July 31, 2016.
I love photos of joy, and the joy of being a child. On this brutally hot day, I all but put my cameras down and ran through the fountain myself. -- Tim Cook CAPTION: Nyomi Hatchett, 3, of Groton finds a quick and easy way to cool off by running through the Whale Tail fountain on Parade Plaza during a visit to downtown New London Saturday, July 23, 2016.
Many people ask if I am always on call as a news photographer. That answer can be a little complicated, but the short answer is that, as a photographer, my mind and eyes are always on and working. I had gone home for the night and my shift was over when this storm came through, but I did not let a little detail like that stop me. -- Tim Cook CAPTION: Lightning is seen as it arcs out of a thunderstorm over New London Harbor Lighthouse Friday night, July 22, 2016. The thunderstorm was centered over Warwick, Rhode Island at the time.
For the past several years I have been following the plans for the offshore wind farm in the waters off Block Island. For the most part the only thing for me to photograph have been press events held at the staging site in Providence, which can be frustrating for a visual journalist who prefers to see events as they unfold. Once construction started though it was only a question of how to get out there and when. -- Sean D. Elliot CAPTION: Workers on the jack-up construction vessels Brave Tern and L/B Caitlin prepare to install the final blade on the fourth of the five power-generating wind turbines as part of the Deepwater Wind project three miles south of Block Island Monday, August 15, 2016. At bottom the L/B Paul stages sections of the fifth tower. The $300 million, 30-megawatt, five-turbine project will be online generating power by the end of this year.
This photo reminds me of the farm life or industrial worker images that were taken in the 1930s. It wasn't what I had in mind to photograph the day I went to B.F. Clyde's Cider Mill, and I think it's actually better than I what I had in mind originally. I was short on time and thought I could get a quick photo of a cider-making demonstration but I just missed it. I looked for a photo of people in the crowd enjoying their cider doughnuts, but wasn't happy with what I had and wandered over to the cider mill. I found John Miner cleaning up and watched for a few minutes and still wasn't too excited. As I was walking out the door I turned to see John walk into the engine room. I paused because the light in the room was beautiful and I just waited until John was in the right spot and snapped the picture. Sometimes I have to remind myself not to give up just because what I had in mind isn't working. That day was a good example because that day I almost left when I discovered I had missed the demonstration. -- Dana Jensen CAPTION: John Miner, right, and his father, Harold Miner, owner of B.F. Clyde's Cider Mill, take a short break in the cider mill engine room from cleaning the cider press area between cider-making demonstrations in Old Mystic Saturday, Oct. 15, 2016. The mill, established in 1881, is the oldest steam-operated cider mill in the country.
This image just make me smile. I love the expressions on the kids' faces while they have fun playing a game. I came across the school children as I was walking through the park to cover a farmers market. An unexpected bonus. -- Dana Jensen CAPTION: Fifth-grade students in Mike Rege's class at Regional Muliticultural Magnet School laugh as somebody makes a mistake while playing the Ha Ha game during team-building exercises at Williams Park in New London Friday, Sept. 2, 2016. The object of the game is for the players for the number they are in line to say ha that many times and for everybody to say it correctly all the way down the line.
Firefighters from Pawcatuck and Westerly battled a stubborn structure fire, caused by the home being struck by lightning. This was the first fire I have ever photographed that I literally opened my front door and ran to. It felt a bit strange standing in the rain photographing a neighbor's house burning, but there were a ton of first responders there already assisting family members, so there was nothing I could do for anyone except document the event. When I came home late that night the home looked eerie, all boarded up and in total darkness. -- Tim Martin CAPTION: A firefighter is surrounded by smoke while on the roof of a house at 6 Soundview Drive in Pawcatuck, on Thursday, Aug. 11, 2016. The house was struck by lightning.
Whether it's Navy families on a pier at the sub base or National Guard families in Windsor Locks, there is not much I enjoy more than capturing the joy of a reunion after a long deployment. -- Sean D. Elliot CAPTION: Connecticut Army National Guard Sgt. Jamie Lamphere, left, kisses his fiancé Melissa Sowa as 65 soldiers assigned to the Connecticut Army National Guard's 1109th Theatre Aviation Sustainment Maintenance Group (TASMG) are reunited with their families Friday, Aug. 26, 2016, at the guard's Windsor Locks Readiness Center after a nearly yearlong deployment to the Middle East. The 1109th TASMG, based in Groton and commanded by Col. Vincent Vannoorbeeck of Prospect, departed Connecticut in October 2015 and conducted rotary-wing maintenance in support of NATO's Resolute Support Mission. Much like the unit's last deployment in 2012, this mission required a split of forces that saw deployed soldiers work in both Kuwait and Afghanistan. The return of TASMG is significant. It marks only the second time since the 2003 start of Operation Iraqi Freedom that all Connecticut Army National Guard units find themselves on United States soil. Only four TASMG's exist nationwide, and Connecticut's is responsible for providing technical and mechanical support to the rotary-wing assets of 14 states.
I wouldn't usually think of a sunset photo as something that I would pick to include in a year-end roundup, but as I was going through my images from the past year I kept coming back to this image. I think it's because of the way the rings in the water mark the journey of the fish through the water to the shore and how its fins are backlit by the setting sun. -- Dana Jensen CAPTION: Bryan Fillion reels in a striped bass while fishing with his father, Thom Fillion both of Mystic while fishing during the sunset at Bluff Point State Park in Groton at sunset Friday, Nov. 18, 2016.
For much of my career high school night football was an assignment to be loathed, dreaded and/or avoided. Lights at the fields tend to be rather dim, from a photographic standpoint, and the image quality possible both in the film era as well as for many years after digital took over was just painful to look at. But this image pretty much demonstrates why only weather can make me dread the night football assignment. Thanks to improved technology the lights are better and the digital cameras can do things that were simply not possible with film or the early digital technology: capture peak action in perfect focus with bright color. -- Sean D. Elliot CAPTION: New London's Elijah Parker (4) hurdles Waterford's Chris Cantres (4) in ECC football action Friday, November 18, 2016. The Whalers rolled to a 34-6 win to run their record to 9-0 and dashed the Lancers' playoff hopes.
I had arranged the day before to meet baker Adam Young when he arrived to start baking a few hours before sunrise. I asked which door he would be entering through, and got into position around 3:45 a.m. to wait for him. He had told me he would go in the front door, but ended up going through the back door to the kitchen, so the opening scene of the video ended up being much different than I had imagined. Since sunrise was still a good hour away, I had plenty of time to shoot from outside to make it clear what time he was arriving at work. -- Peter Huoppi CAPTION: Adam Young, owner of Sift Bake Shop in Mystic, arrives at his bakery around 4 a.m. to start preparing the day's breads and pastries on Thursday, May 26, 2016.
With all the interest in the so-called "super moon," as well as the clear skies, several of us went out to try to capture images of the moon. I had tried to make a time lapse of the moon rising from Waterford Town Beach but wasn't able to line the moon up with anything visually interesting. Using an app on my phone, I saw that if I stood along Thames Street in Groton, I would see the moon set right over New London. Because this was a day after the actual full moon, it was a little darker than I had envisioned, but I was still able to line up the moon with the New London skyline. -- Peter Huoppi CAPTION: The full moon is seen setting over New London on Monday morning, Nov. 14, 2016. This month's full moon is known as a super moon because it coincides with the moon's closest point to the earth in its orbit.