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This past Saturday Feb. 4, 2017, I was named the National Press Photographers Association’s West Region Photographer of the Year.

First off, I do toot my own horn from time to time. It’s a great accomplishment to win this contest. News images are judged once a month against other photographers from California, Nevada, Hawaii and Arizona.  Judges are other photographers and editors from newspapers around the country outside our West Region.  It’s truly a judge of peers.  You are awarded 50 points for first, 40 for second and 30 for third and five points for entering (sorta like adding your name to homework).  At the end of the year, the points are tallied and first through third is given out to those photographers.  There’s a catch.  The photos have to be published online (I’m not talking Twitter or Instagram either) or in the newspaper.  The categories are Spot News, General News, Feature, Sports Action, Sports Feature, Picture Story/Photo Essay, Illustration/ Portrait.

Wise Acre Farm Great Pyrenees Buddy, watches over the flock off Arata Lane in Windsor, Friday March 3, 2016. The egg stand is open again after a dispute with a winery about a right-of-way was solved after owner Bryan Boyd put in his own entrance to the farm. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2016

Wise Acre Farm Great Pyrenees Buddy, watches over the flock off Arata Lane in Windsor, Friday March 3, 2016. The egg stand is open again after a dispute with a winery about a right-of-way was solved after owner Bryan Boyd put in his own entrance to the farm. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2016

It just so happens I had the most points at the end of 2016, so I won.  The last person on our photo staff to do this was John Burgess, back in the 90’s.

Over the years I’ve hit and missed, having never placed above third. It really is arbitrary, photos you might think will place sometimes don’t.  Consistency is the key, keeping yourself from getting wrapped up and shooting for contests sake will destroy your shooting ability.

Since covering Lake County’s devastating fires in 2015 (and the 2016 Clayton fire) and my brush with life and career changing near calamity, I decided to double down on how I relate with people I photograph.  I’m out to tell your story, not mine.  Sometimes the images are hard to look at and upset.  My job is to simply bring home what happens in our community, good or bad.  As for the ‘Clip Winner’ header, in the pre-digital days we use to clip out the picture from the paper and send it by snail mail to be judged. Thus the term.  Here are a variety photos that placed including multiple images from picture stories

Protesters from the SEIU 1021 rush their way past security guards during the State of the County report at the Double Tree Hotel in Rohnert Park Wednesday, January 27, 2016. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2016

Protesters from the SEIU 1021 rush their way past security guards during the State of the County report at the Double Tree Hotel in Rohnert Park Wednesday, January 27, 2016. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2016

 

Nick Kent a forest manager with Cal Fire, looks for greenery on fir trees burned by the Valley Fire in Boggs State Forest in Cobb, Monday Jan. 11, 2016. These trees will all be felled because of the fire. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2016

Nick Kent a forest manager with Cal Fire, looks for greenery on fir trees burned by the Valley Fire in Boggs State Forest in Cobb, Monday Jan. 11, 2016. These trees will all be felled because of the fire. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2016

Santa Rosa firefighters, Teddy Day, middle, and Mike Johnson call for more oxygen as they attempt to resuscitate a family pet that was rescued from a house fire on East Foothill Drive in Santa Rosa. At left, firefighter Mike Nealon attempts the same. Both animals died despite the firefighters efforts. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2016

Santa Rosa firefighters, Teddy Day, middle, and Mike Johnson call for more oxygen as they attempt to resuscitate a family pet that was rescued from a house fire on East Foothill Drive in Santa Rosa. At left, firefighter Mike Nealon attempts the same. Both animals died despite the firefighters efforts. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2016

63 year-old Eddie Scanlon of Petaluma heads out to the Doran Park surf, Tuesday Jan. 12, 2016 in Bodega Bay. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2016

63 year-old Eddie Scanlon of Petaluma heads out to the Doran Park surf, Tuesday Jan. 12, 2016 in Bodega Bay. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2016

With persuasion from Kelseyville High School Coach and Lake County Supervisor, Rob Brown, Upper Lake High School sophomore wrestler Christina Wilson shows her form after making weight Wednesday Feb. 24, 2016 after an all county workout at Kelseyville High School. Wilson is headed to state after winning the NCS title in the 121 pound class. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2016

With persuasion from Kelseyville High School Coach and Lake County Supervisor, Rob Brown, Upper Lake High School sophomore wrestler Christina Wilson shows her form after making weight Wednesday Feb. 24, 2016 after an all county workout at Kelseyville High School. Wilson is headed to state after winning the NCS title in the 121 pound class. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2016

A home burns in Lower Lake due to the Clayton fire in Lake County, Sunday August 14, 2016. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2016

A home burns in Lower Lake due to the Clayton fire in Lake County, Sunday August 14, 2016. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2016

 

A home off Winchester Street in Lower Lake is in ruins due to the Clayton fire Sunday August 14, 2016 in Lake County. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2016

A home off Winchester Street in Lower Lake is in ruins due to the Clayton fire Sunday August 14, 2016 in Lake County. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2016

 

Bennett Leda of Healdsburg's Cal Fire station monitors the Clayton fire as it approaches Morgan Valley Road near Lower Lake, Sunday August 14, 2016 in Lake County. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2016

Bennett Leda of Healdsburg’s Cal Fire station monitors the Clayton fire as it approaches Morgan Valley Road near Lower Lake, Sunday August 14, 2016 in Lake County. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2016

 

Ruben Ybarra of Lower Lake watches as Joe Garza, Terrance Manley and Riaz Ali with an OES crew from Sacramento Metro Fire Department, cover the grave of his three dogs that died during the Clayton Fire, Monday August 15, 2016 in Lake County. Ybarra spent the night at what's left of his home, background having walked in to check on his property after the fire swept through. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2016

Ruben Ybarra of Lower Lake watches as Joe Garza, Terrance Manley and Riaz Ali with an OES crew from Sacramento Metro Fire Department, cover the grave of his three dogs that died during the Clayton Fire, Monday August 15, 2016 in Lake County. Ybarra spent the night at what’s left of his home, background having walked in to check on his property after the fire swept through. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2016

 

Off Morgan Valley Road in Lower Lake, the first night of the Rocky fire threatened several homes in July 2015. The same view in April 2016. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2016

Off Morgan Valley Road in Lower Lake, the first night of the Rocky fire threatened several homes in July 2015. The same view in April 2016. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2016

 

The Rocky fire burned in to August 2015, jumping Highway 20 at one point, sending firefighters scrambling. On April 15, wildflowers and green grass dominate the same hillside. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2016

The Rocky fire burned in to August 2015, jumping Highway 20 at one point, sending firefighters scrambling. On April 15, wildflowers and green grass dominate the same hillside. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2016

 

A destroyed home in Middletown because of the Valley fire on Wardlaw Street, Sunday Sept. 13, 2015. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2015

A destroyed home in Middletown because of the Valley fire on Wardlaw Street, Sunday Sept. 13, 2015. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2015

 

Marcus Semien of the Athletics breaks his bat on a pop-up against the White Sox during the A's home opener, Monday April 4, 2016. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat ) 2016

Marcus Semien of the Athletics breaks his bat on a pop-up against the White Sox during the A’s home opener, Monday April 4, 2016. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat ) 2016

 

Giants third baseman Matt Duffy dives for a hot liner off the bat of Dodger Yasiel Puig in the third inning-he later scored- during opening day at AT&T Park in San Francisco, Thursday April April 7, 2016. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat ) 2016

Giants third baseman Matt Duffy dives for a hot liner off the bat of Dodger Yasiel Puig in the third inning-he later scored- during opening day at AT&T Park in San Francisco, Thursday April April 7, 2016. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat ) 2016

 

Tauren Nixon of the Broncos interferes with Johnny Holton on a series of plays where Denver was called for three pass interference calls that led to an Oakland TD, Sunday Nov. 6, 2016 in Oakland.

Tauren Nixon of the Broncos interferes with Johnny Holton on a series of plays where Denver was called for three pass interference calls that led to an Oakland TD, Sunday Nov. 6, 2016 in Oakland.

 

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A law enforcement officer cuts down a marijuana grow in the hills above Kelseyville, Friday June 17, 2016. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2016

 

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Giants starting pitcher Madison Bumgarner gives up a three run home run to Cubs pitcher Jake Arrieta in the second inning, Monday Oct. 10, 2016 at AT$T Park in San Francisco. (Kent Porter / The Press Democrat) 2016

 

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After helping to evacuate a home next door, Cal Fire officer Kyle Steis moves quickly from a trailer on fire in Fulton, Tuesday June 21, 2016 that caught fire as the result of a house fire. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2016

 

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Overcome with heat, Rincon Valley firefighter Nate DeJung rests after battling the interior of a house fire in Fulton, Tuesday June 21, 2016. DeJung was taken to the hospital to be checked out. The fire sent billowing black clouds of smoke over Fulton and River Roads, burning a structure and contents in and around the yard and next door to the home. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2016

 

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Tanker 910, a DC10, makes a drop on the head of the Sawmill fire in the Geysers, Sunday Sept. 25, 2016 near Cloverdale. (Kent Porter / The Press Democrat) 2016

 

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Lifeguards in training test out their surfboard skills during a Sonoma County Regional Park lifeguard summer camp at Spring Lake Lagoon in Santa Rosa, Monday June 27, 2016. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2016

 

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On the Regina Marie in Bodega Bay, from left clockwise, Darrio Bracamonte of Santa Rosa, Wolfgang Kurz of Sonoma and Eddie Cheever of Petaluma unload 14,000 pounds of dungeness crab. Crab and salmon season are overlapping, and many owners including the Regina Marie are opting to crab, while others are fishing for both, Thursday May 5, 2016. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2016

 

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Michael Haworth of Sebastopol is reflected in a Little Caesar camper trailer that he owns, Friday May 6, 2016 in Sebastopol. The trailers were built after WWII by the Sokolis Brothers of Sebastopol. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat ) 2016

 

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Ted McIssac, 65, feeds barely from a local brewery to his Angus cattle on a cold wet day near Olema, Monday March 7, 2016. In the Background is Black Mountain. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2016

 

The Historic C Ranch on the Pt. Reyes Peninsula basks under moonlight, Wednesday March 16, 2016. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2016

The Historic C Ranch on the Pt. Reyes Peninsula basks under moonlight, Wednesday March 16, 2016. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2016

 

Rich Grossi and his great granddaughter Emma Ferrero take a break from feeding sheep and other livestock at the historic M Ranch in the Pt. Reyes National Seashore, Monday March 14, 2016. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2016

Rich Grossi and his great granddaughter Emma Ferrero take a break from feeding sheep and other livestock at the historic M Ranch in the Pt. Reyes National Seashore, Monday March 14, 2016. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2016

 

At the historic A Ranch at the Pt. Reyes National Seashore, holstein head to the milking bran, Tuesday March 8, 2016, creating a temporary cow blockade on the road to the lighthouse. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2016

At the historic A Ranch at the Pt. Reyes National Seashore, holstein head to the milking bran, Tuesday March 8, 2016, creating a temporary cow blockade on the road to the lighthouse. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2016

 

The FBI rolls back to the Calistoga command post after a second suspect was taken in to custody, involving the Windsor armored car robbery, Tuesday July 12, 2016. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2016

The FBI rolls back to the Calistoga command post after a second suspect was taken in to custody, involving the Windsor armored car robbery, Tuesday July 12, 2016. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2016

 

Windsor teens T.J. Keith, left, and Alex Tancreto greet friends Jonathan Kelley, far left and driver Austin Hensel after the latter two became stuck in Mark West Station flood waters. Keith and Tancreto helped to push the truck to higher ground, Thursday March 10, 2016. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat ) 2016

Windsor teens T.J. Keith, left, and Alex Tancreto greet friends Jonathan Kelley, far left and driver Austin Hensel after the latter two became stuck in Mark West Station flood waters. Keith and Tancreto helped to push the truck to higher ground, Thursday March 10, 2016. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat ) 2016

 

Teslights Sales Director Marc Kelley with LED tubes, Wednesday March 2, 2016. Teslights a year-old Santa Rosa LED lighting company has a manufacturing plant in China and has recently received approval for a PG&E rebate program for business customers.(Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2016

Teslights Sales Director Marc Kelley with LED tubes, Wednesday March 2, 2016. Teslights a year-old Santa Rosa LED lighting company has a manufacturing plant in China and has recently received approval for a PG&E rebate program for business customers.(Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2016

 

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Julian Thorn of Permanent Land Solutions of Sebastopol holds family friend McCoy Grail, 2, as he surveys that damage, to a friends home Sunday March 6, 2016, after a large redwood tree crashed through a home in Camp Meeker during the wind and rainstorm Saturday night. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat ) 2016

 

Fire Chief Steve Baxman, 46-year volunteer with Monte Rio Fire, drives the narrow slot canyon roads in the Russian River District. Baxman is worried about wildland fires in the area, many of the roads are narrow, and homes dot the terraces in thick forested and brush covered hillsides. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2016

Fire Chief Steve Baxman, 46-year volunteer with Monte Rio Fire, drives the narrow slot canyon roads in the Russian River District. Baxman is worried about wildland fires in the area, many of the roads are narrow, and homes dot the terraces in thick forested and brush covered hillsides. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2016

 

Fire Chief Steve Baxman, 46-year volunteer with Monte Rio Fire, talks with Cal Fire Battalion Chief Mark Gradek, left, and Cal Fire captain Chris Rickert as they discuss which engines to release from a vegetation fire along Highway 116 in Monte Rio, Friday July 15, 2016. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2016

Fire Chief Steve Baxman, 46-year volunteer with Monte Rio Fire, talks with Cal Fire Battalion Chief Mark Gradek, left, and Cal Fire captain Chris Rickert as they discuss which engines to release from a vegetation fire along Highway 116 in Monte Rio, Friday July 15, 2016. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2016

 

The Perseid meteor shower above Geysers Road in Geyserville, Friday morning August 12, 2016. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2016

The Perseid meteor shower above Geysers Road in Geyserville, Friday morning August 12, 2016. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2016

 

Serving on death row at San Quentin State Prison, Tuesday August 16, 2016, Michael Schultz passes the day by reading in his cell. According to newspaper reports, Schultz raped and strangled Cynthia Burger, 44, in 1993 in her Port Hueneme, Ca. condo. Schultz was convicted in 2003 for her murder. (Kent Porter / The Press Democrat) 2016

Serving on death row at San Quentin State Prison, Tuesday August 16, 2016, Michael Schultz passes the day by reading in his cell. According to newspaper reports, Schultz raped and strangled Cynthia Burger, 44, in 1993 in her Port Hueneme, Ca. condo. Schultz was convicted in 2003 for her murder. (Kent Porter / The Press Democrat) 2016

 

A guard with rifle, watches over San Quentin's Death Row, Tuesday August 16, 2016. (Kent Porter / The Press Democrat) 2016

A guard with rifle, watches over San Quentin’s Death Row, Tuesday August 16, 2016. (Kent Porter / The Press Democrat) 2016

 

Petaluma firefighters enter a home off Stewart Drive in Petaluma to knock down an attic fire stemming from a brush fire that damaged eight homes, Tuesday Sept. 27, 2016 parallel to Highway 101. (Kent Porter / The Press Democrat) 2016

Petaluma firefighters enter a home off Stewart Drive in Petaluma to knock down an attic fire stemming from a brush fire that damaged eight homes, Tuesday Sept. 27, 2016 parallel to Highway 101. (Kent Porter / The Press Democrat) 2016

 

Nichole McCarty and her son Jeremiah Bishop ,6, give a heartfelt and tearful embrace to Bishop's Thomas Page Elementary school teacher Teresa Peterson, after McCarty's children were put on a list to receive new bikes from Innovative Screen Printing and Embroidery in Rohnert Park, Friday Dec. 16, 2016. (Kent Porter / The Press Democrat) 2016

Nichole McCarty and her son Jeremiah Bishop ,6, give a heartfelt and tearful embrace to Bishop’s Thomas Page Elementary school teacher Teresa Peterson, after McCarty’s children were put on a list to receive new bikes from Innovative Screen Printing and Embroidery in Rohnert Park, Friday Dec. 16, 2016. (Kent Porter / The Press Democrat) 2016

 

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Saint Teresa of Avila Roman Catholic Church in Bodega is illuminated by a single strand of lights around the doorway under the winter hue of a cold clear night, Tuesday Dec. 20, 2016. (Kent Porter / The Press Democrat) 2016

 

The pulled pork sandwich with beans as a side with a glass of HopMonk Tavern Ale, Thursday Dec. 8, 2016 at the Twin Oaks Road House in Penngrove.

The pulled pork sandwich with beans as a side with a glass of HopMonk Tavern Ale, Thursday Dec. 8, 2016 at the Twin Oaks Road House in Penngrove. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2016

 

As the temperatures plunge to near freezing, good samaritan Natasha Suka gives the shirt off her back to a freezing Missy Nitisha at the Ninth Street over crossing in Santa Rosa, Wednesday Sept. 7, 2016. Nitisha's jackets were stolen earlier in the day. Suka and her family were rolling to different locations to drop food and clothing to Santa Rosa's homeless.

As the temperatures plunge to near freezing, good samaritan Natasha Suka gives the shirt off her back to a freezing Missy Nitisha at the Ninth Street over crossing in Santa Rosa, Wednesday Sept. 7, 2016. Nitisha’s jackets were stolen earlier in the day. Suka and her family were rolling to different locations to drop food and clothing to Santa Rosa’s homeless. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2016

 

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A kite surfer glides across Bodega Harbor, Monday May 16, 2016. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2016

 

Chicago's Albert Almora Jr. fails to catch a triple by Conor Gillaspie which scored two runs in the eighth inning of Game 3 during the NLDS at AT&T Park in San Francisco, Monday, Oct. 10, 2016.

Chicago’s Albert Almora Jr. fails to catch a triple by Conor Gillaspie which scored two runs in the eighth inning of Game 3 during the NLDS at AT&T Park in San Francisco, Monday, Oct. 10, 2016.

-Kent Porter