I have the best job in the world. Here are some of the people and moments that left their mark on me over the past year…
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Stephanie Cook’s mother, Bobbi Campbell, went missing 19 years ago. Balloons were released on the anniversary of her disappearance in a quick and quiet ceremony. Attached to the balloons- an ultrasound picture of the child Stephanie was expecting.
The Marriott Center was crazy loud until Matthew Dellavedova hit the game-winning shot to beat BYU at the buzzer. It was one of the greatest endings to a game I’ve ever seen. What a moment. Even Cosmo couldn’t believe it.
I met Andrew Brown at a night out for children with autism. We made an awesome team, my motor-drive and his endless supply of cool poses. What a fun kid.
To my knowledge, no one had ever photographed a fundamentalist religious service before we were invited into a humble church in Short Creek. To the people who invited us in, thanks for trusting us with your story. We did our best to be respectful and quiet. I hope you feel we treated you fairly.
Being watched and tracked by this security camera in the FLDS-controlled town of Hildale while a swarm of passing cars blared their horns would have freaked me out several years ago. These days? I’m kind of used to it.
I was lucky to photograph the national champion Lone Peak High School basketball team three times this season. Congratulations to the Knights.
Model Deena Marie Manzanares and I were told that we could use “the green scooter in the parking garage” as a prop for our fashion shoot. Only after we pushed it out of the garage and around the block for an hour or so did we realize we had the wrong one. Grand Theft Scooter. Hopefully the owner never noticed.
Canon was kind enough to loan us some of their latest equipment for a week or so. I shot this comparison of our old gear and the new. See if you can guess which half of the frame is which.
And while we’re talking about old cameras, this frame came out of one just before I was able to retire it for a pair of Nikon D4s. Thing was freaking out! But you know, it’s actually a pretty cool effect.
Siyani Chambers put on a show, leading Harvard to their first NCAA basketball tournament win ever (left frame). The second game, at right, was a little tougher. He chipped a tooth in the loss but stayed in the game, trying to will his team to victory. They lost, but what a show of heart.
I don’t know who you are, but girl, you made my day when you made this hilarious face when I was photographing young Mormon women at the LDS Conference Center. Thanks for that look!
Bryce Longaker, a veteran of two deployments to Iraq and a Unified Fire Authority firefighter and medic, is no longer with us. His brother Erik and mother Paula Garner received a standing ovation as they were presented with a posthumous award their loved one had earned through his heroic actions. This was a tough night for his family members, one of many I’m sure. I want to thank them for allowing me to be there. I was honored.
A lighter moment from a family birthday party, where my young niece encouraged the piñata bashers to strike harder. I laughed out loud when she yelled out, “Hit it like it’s a person!”
I continue to be amazed by the FLDS story and the many moments where we’re able to photograph something that previously seemed impossible. This time we were able to tour a home that had been built for Warren Jeffs. I never thought I’d see inside those 10-12 foot high walls.
Sometimes you can’t believe your good fortune. Like when there’s a flood on Lazy River Drive.
Nikki Breedlove is one of the toughest people I met this year. Hit by a car and suffering a major head injury, she was facing another surgery when we talked. Only later did I find out she used to do my wife’s hair. I hope you’re doing well, Nikki.
The family of LDS church leader Thomas Monson was grieving their matriarch, Monson’s wife Frances, who passed away earlier this day. Ann Monson Dibb put on a brave face and spent an afternoon talking to various media outlets about the life of her mother. Sadly, we had the last interview of the day and by the time our turn came she seemed drained. Who wouldn’t be? Thanks for taking the time to talk to us on this tough day.
Snow Canyon players honored their fallen teammate Kreg “K.J.” Harrison, who drowned last year, by holding his jersey aloft following their championship win. He must be proud of you guys.
These girls eating candy at the state softball championships made my day. I remember all the time I spent at sporting events as a child. My heart is always with the kids hovering around the snack shack.
Being honored at Westminster College’s graduation, commencement speaker Robert Redford cracked me up with a quick bit of physical comedy, tugging on his collar.
The tension between the supporters of Matthew Stewart and the supporters of the Odgen Police Department was the most I’ve felt in a long time. There was so much emotion in the air that I felt frustrated as a photojournalist. There seemed to be no way to possibly capture the intensity of the moment. Not in pictures, words, or video. It was a something you could feel more than you could see.
We were lucky to get some time to photograph in the LDS Church’s Missionary Training Center (MTC). It was a quick ninety minutes so I shot everything I could. Everyone kept staring at me. I stood out from everyone with my camera and beard. But also, everyone was so friendly. I was trying to make a candid shot in this hallway as missionaries walked past portraits of former church leaders when this fresh faced kid went by smiling at the camera. Normally I’d discard such a photo but in this case his reaction says a lot about the MTC, where everyone I saw was very happy and very friendly.
It was really cool covering the stocking of nearly 5,000 golden trout into a remote mountain lake. But sometimes I think I should have been a reporter. While I was running around with a bunch of heavy equipment shooting video and stills, the reporter seemed very relaxed with only a small notebook, a GoPro and a fly rod. Someone has their job figured out better than I do.
The Stadium of Fire. So over the top, year after year. It’s a photographer’s dream assignment.
The Tour of Utah was my highlight of the year. Riding on the back of a motorcycle from Panguitch to Torrey, going in and out of the peloton, was the most thrilling thing ever. These riders are superhuman. We were so close I could have reached out and touched these guys.
And as the motorcycle raced along in the Tour of Utah, there were so many amazing scenes as fans lined the route. This is one of my favorite photographs ever. Just look at these cool kids out to cheer on the cyclists with their pots and spoons. You guys are amazing.
Before the government shutdown, Senator Mike Lee held a town hall meeting in Spanish Fork. I couldn’t believe my ears when he opened with a joke from Emo Phillips’ 1985 record E=MO2, one of my favorite comedy recordings. The rest of Lee’s material? Whether it was funny or not is up to you to decide.
Joshua Petersen was seated alone in the jury box, waiting to plead guilty to killing his infant son. What a tragedy. I took one shot. He heard the camera go off, looked at me, and tears started to pour out of his eyes. He covered his face and put his head in his hands. So sad, and so alone…
This is the view from my desk on Paul Fraughton’s last day at the Tribune. We lost a lot of good journalists this year. I’ve been horrible about keeping in touch – dreadful really – but I miss all those we lost and wish you the best in the future.
The Milky Way over Torrey, Utah. Thanks to the great friends who gave us a place to relax for one weekend, out in the dark, away from the city. It was a wonderful break, at just the right time. Little did I know the government shutdown would keep me working out of town driving hundreds of miles and staying in multiple hotels, for a full week right after this pleasant break.
This scene, FLDS boys playing on an old tractor, reminded me of a similar one I photographed on my first real trip to Short Creek in 2005. I have a dozen or so frames in both cases that come close to a masterpiece. But it’s hard to capture the magic of a scene from a block or more away. The excitement and frustration from watching scenes like this bring me back to Short Creek time after time. Imagine the photographs I could make if the people didn’t run away when they spotted me.
Utah Attorney General John Swallow spent much of the year under investigation. I shot this one during his historic resignation speech.
I was lucky enough to photograph Real Salt Lake in the Western Conference Finals (Portland) and the MLS Cup (Kansas City). I came away with tons of great action and celebration shots. But the this one meant the most: RSL coach Jason Kreis with a tear in his eye after the win in Portland.
We got new cameras in November. They are amazing. I got out before the sun rose one snowy morning and shot this dark scene hand-held. The shot was very popular online, where some readers claimed it had been photoshopped or shot as an HDR image. Actually, this is pretty much how it looked straight out of the Nikon D4. I made only a few minor adjustments to tone, white balance and saturation in Lightroom. Within hours this photo had nearly 600 likes on Facebook but it was never published in the paper.
I drove out to the Christiansen Family Farm in Vernon to photograph kids and turkeys. The bacon they gave me was so good I’ll never be able to eat grocery store bacon ever again. Thank you! What a beautiful place. I could have posted a photo of the family or the turkeys, or even the bacon. It was a great assignment with all the right ingredients: good subject, wonderful people, and also my favorite thing… on the way there, lots of open road. There it is…
Let’s see what the open road brings to all of us in 2014. Best to you all.
Erik Lunsford: Man, what a great year Trent. Nice work. I love the snowy pictorial scene. Cheers, Erik
Kurt Kragthorpe: Wow, unbelievable photos and I love learning about what you were thinking at the time.
John Keahey: Beautiful work, Trent. And thank you for the commentary.
Becky Hutchison: Your talent always amazes me. Thanks.
Trent Nelson: Thanks friends!
Virgilia Ann Shearer-Rudolph: Fantastic and inspiring Trent. Looking forward to your work of 2014. Thanks for sharing.
Madeline Sue Quayle Scott: Wonderful! I can’t really pick a favorite!
Alex Gallivan: Excellent photos and stories, thanks for sharing.
Kyle Green: Really wonderful reflection on the year Trent.
Byron Hetzler: Great stuff as always Trent.
Edie Zambrano: Amazing photos Trent! Loved reading what you wrote too. Seeing those Harleys in the piñata pick brought back a lot of memories. So happy you got that pic!
Edie Zambrano: Pic not pic
Madeline Quayle: Thank you for your beautiful work, Trent. I could comment on each one. Loved the cathedral comparison, the winter house, the fish, the sad father, the kids with spoons and pans, the proud Longaker family, Nikki, all the emotion that you got in these pictures.
Tom Szalay: You amaze me. Your timing is impeccable and your eye for a good composition is so finely tuned. I need to have you back to share your experiences to my students in my classroom. Available?
Trent Nelson: Any time !
John Keahey: Wonderful work, Trent. But I gotta admit, the one that got me in my gut was the shot of Trib shooters on Fraughton’s last day. What an incredible bunch of professionals, and Fraughton, who I worked side-by-side with on numerous occasions over two decades … Well, just hell of a guy and photographer.
Roberto E. Rosales: I don’t want blow smoke up your you know what, but the fact is that you’re probably the smartest photographer I know, besides being so talented that is.
Tita Rifkin: Trent, these are wonderful photos. They show how much you love your work.