2016 FAVORITES

A construction worker finishes a concrete floor at the new Knapp Elementary School building. Sometimes during the endless hunt for an interesting photograph you get lucky. This photograph has great light and cool color. It also reminds me of the joy my two boys would get watching the progress of the school building as we would drive by it in the morning on the way to preschool.

Sanae Brown, 10, smiles as she plays piano on a keyboard while taking piano lessons at the Dr. John Bryant Community Center. Between 30 to 40 children take part in the music lessons the center offers. I can feel the music in her smile. She was having so much fun as she played, she kind of made me wish I would have spent more time trying to learn to play the piano when I was her age.

Garrett Burton, 30, and Brian Herrick, 45, take a selfie of themselves after they finished surfing in Lake Michigan. I am not a huge fan of photographs of people taking selfies, even though I have shot and published more this year than I would like (thanks to covering several political rope lines). But, I have to give this one a pass due to the wonderful smiles and epic ice beards. You have to love Great Lakes surfing -- the waves are always at the best when the weather is at its worst.

Cows take shelter from the snow in Wind Point. My wife said to me “that’s a quintessential Wisconsin photograph.” Cows in the snow -- I would have to agree with her (always a good idea!). I have loved this photograph from the time I clicked the shutter.

U.S. Sen. Cory Booker speaks in Racine as he campaigns on behalf of Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. After shooting many campaign events this season, including Donald Trump’s visit to Racine, and Bernie Sanders’ visit to Carthage College, this picture emerged as one of my favorite political photos. I like the old-school feel I get from seeing Booker standing on the chair, passionately addressing a group of voters, and I wonder if this is how Alexander Hamilton would campaign.

David Sullivan and his son, Donivin, walk home in the rain along 12th Street.They were returning home from Donivin's school. This might be one of my top two or three favorite photos from this year. I just love the color, raindrops, and a little secret that I will share…it was made with an iPhone.

A couple kisses at the 2016 Rotary Post Prom at Festival Hall. I love the framing and layers of this photograph. Most people don’t realize it, but making a great photograph at prom has many challenges, from the shear amount of students at the event to the ever-changing low lighting. I think this image works and successfully captures the celebratory, dreamy, starry-eyed mood of prom.

Horlick's Tanesha Davis races to the finish line as she competes in the 100 meter dash during the WIAA Division 1 Union Grove Track and Field Regional at Union Grove High School. I just love the intensity in Davis’s face and hands and the way the natural sunlight outlines her as she pushes with all her might toward the finish line.

T Rex walks across Wisconsin Avenue as he heads east on Sixth Street during Racine's annual Trolloween Halloween pub crawl and costume party. What can I say? A dinosaur in Downtown Racine? I think that might bring a smile to almost everyone (except my five-year-old son, who saw the picture, got a bit scared, and asked if it was a real dinosaur).

Aleighsya Howard, 7, smiles as she tries on firefighting gear while second-grade students from Giese Elementary School visit the Kansasville Fire and Rescue Department. Many children, including my two boys, find firefighters to be extraordinarily exciting. I just love the smile from this girl. I can see in her eyes how much fun she was having. In turn, I had a blast hanging out with the children as they learned about fire safety and firefighting.

People watch as colorful hot air balloons take flight during the sixth annual Waterford Balloonfest in the soccer field behind Evergreen Elementary School. Up to 25 hot air balloons were featured during this year’s festival. I like how the spectators seemed to line up, creating an interesting line of body language as they watched the balloons lift off.

Sturtevant police officers Amanda Hansen, and Tonia Purtee dance on the roof of the Dunkin' Donuts in Sturtevant, as Hansen, Purtee, and other police officers heighten awareness and raise funds for Special Olympics Wisconsin. They were dancing for a fantastic cause and having so much fun. This is the second year in a row that one of my favorite photographs of the year has come from this bright-spirited, whimsical annual event. I can’t wait see what 2017 brings!

Mike Towery reacts to missing a putt on the 9th green of the blue course during the first day of the Racine County Senior Men’s Golf Tournament at Ives Grove Golf Links. I just love the unbridled emotion that Towery -- jumping in the air, his face crimped in frustration -- is showing in this photograph.

Park players, coaches and fans might have thought that there were more than one No. 4 on the field during a football game at Horlick Field, as Horlick's Joe Garcia, No.4, left to right, Sawyer Schick, No. 14, and Antonio Gonzales, No 34, wait for their coach to call a play. In the several Horlick games I covered last season, I only saw this happen one time. For me, it was a great storytelling photograph that I feel told the story of the game. I know…I saw a lot of No. 4, that game.

Rob Smage of Caledonia, kayaks in the rapids on the Root River just east of Quarry Lake Park in Racine. I had ventured to this area of the Root River in search of a great fall color photograph, but had found I was a few days late. To my surprise, I discovered Smage playing in the river in a wonderful pool of light.

Meredith Prostko poses for a photograph in her Halloween costume during the Social Dance for Seniors at the Hiawatha Ballroom, 9809 Durand Ave., in Sturtevant. Sometimes you see a great, pure smile that radiates so strongly that for some hard-to-explain reason it genuinely touches your heart. For me, this was one of those times. It was a joy photographing this exuberant senior and the rest of the dancers.