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Living Images

Don Seabrook | My best from 2021

Looking back over a year's worth of work is a daunting challenge. With thousands of moments I've seen and been able to capture with this thing called photography, it makes me nervous to say, "these are my best." I know there are many more stories and people and interactions I've made that I wish I could include, but our time is valuable, and so here are 36 of those chosen glimpses of life in the Wenatchee Valley. I've written a paragraph after each image for context.

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Soaking in Columbia River water temperatures just above 40 degrees on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, are from front, Cammy Di Loreto, Heather Collins, Kelly Anderson, and Charlene Woodward. The four, members of Wild Wenatchee Swimmers, spend 15 minutes in the water for the health benefits. 

I approached this story at the start of the year ready to get cold and the Columbia River didn't disappoint! I'd been to numerous Polar Bear Plunges in the past, but the women who walked into the Columbia River didn't quickly run out. They stayed for many minutes talking about what they had going for the rest of the week. My teeth were chattering and my legs were numb as I trudged out to my towel.

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Kamryn Fowler, Wenatchee, spends time outside to stay healthy during quarantine, here enjoying a large swing her father made in their back yard on Thursday, Jan. 7, 2021. The high school senior recently presented a survey of her classmates' health to school officials and the health district. 

This large swing had caught my eye before while driving through the Broadview development. It sat in the backyard of a house, sending you out over the side of a hill. I'd hoped to photograph the children in the house using it. I was surprised when I met Kamryn at her home — the same home with the swing. As a documentary photographer, I can only tell people what I'd like them to do in a portrait situation so I had her use the swing while looking back at me.

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Washington State Apple Blossom Festival Administrator Darci Christoferson gathers cutouts of sponsors in the seats at the Numerica Performing Arts Center Friday, Feb. 12, 2021. She had learned earlier that because our region went into Phase 2, there will be public seating available for the Royalty Selection Pageant on Feb. 27. She said she will put the cutouts back in seats but leave room for ticket holders. 

When I learned that the cardboard portraits would be moved to accommodate live spectators, I found a spot from the PAC's balcony to photograph Darci collecting them from the seats.

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As students have returned to high schools in North Central Washington, they have had to adapt to changes to continue their activities. Wenatchee High School sophomore Alison Chamberlain and the rest of the band practice in small enclosures around the school's auditorium to comply with COVID-19 precautions Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021. Only half of the band practices at a time. The bubble tents were the idea of the Paul Atwood, the school's drama instructor. After practice, the students spray the inside of the tents with disinfectant. 

While taking a tour of the high school, photographing what it was like with students back in classes, I noticed the green tents in the auditorium and found out when they would be used next — during a band practice. I returned to find band members getting themselves and instruments inside to play. The resulting photograph received international attention.

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Last year's 2020 Apple Blossom Festival Royal Court watch a slide show of their reign from backstage at the 102nd Washington State Apple Blossom Festival Royalty Selection Pageant held Saturday night, Feb. 27, 2021, at the Performing Arts Center. 

I like to spend some time photographing what happens backstage during performances and found this scene as past royalty prepared to take the stage. The see-through screen used at the theater is about as clear from behind as it is from the seats.

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A Steller's Jay flies up to an evergreen tree with a peanut at a resident's bird feeder in Cashmere Thursday, March 4, 2021.

Driving around residential Cashmere, I spotted a jay eating peanuts from yard art. I shot the photograph from inside my truck, timing the shot as the bird flew away, peanut in beak. Having the simple background helped isolate the bird and statue.

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A crow flies over a pear orchard sprayed white with kaolin clay near Monitor Thursday, March 25, 2021. Orchardist use the natural pest control product in their spring spray program. 

I've wanted to photograph the stark orchards after they've been sprayed with kaolin for some time but needed an element of contrast to show how white the trees look. I noticed a flock of crows near an orchard below my viewpoint along a road and followed one as it flew over.

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Fernando Ramos pulls peach flowers off of a tree as he and a crew blossom thins eight acres along Northwest Cascade Avenue Tuesday, April 6, 2021. The orchard is owned by Bob and Karen Rodgers of First Fruits. Blossom thinning helps the peaches grow in size. 

A ladder provided a higher vantage point as I followed a crew of blossom thinners as they worked through an orchard. The backlighting of the flowers made the colors pop out.

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In the hills west of Wenatchee, Jim Marr looks over an old test site for gold and silver Friday, April 30, 2021. He says the boulder at right was blasted out of the hole with dynamite, exposing ribbons of minerals going deep into the ground.

I went hiking with Jim and a friend of his last April as he used a divining rod to show me where mineral deposits were in the hills overlooking Wenatchee. He stopped to show me this old test site and the rock that was blasted from the ground. After years of investigating mining in the area, he is still interested in exploration.

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Katie Blair, Wenatchee, wrings her hands in anxiety while waiting for a physical therapy appointment to begin Friday, April 30, 2021. Blair contracted COVID-19 over a year ago in New York City and has suffered from numerous health problems since including brain fog, anxiety, and dizziness. 

I've known the Blair family for many years and while talking to Katie's father, found out that she was going through health issues that resulted from COVID-19. Katie allowed me to spend a couple of days with her at home and then at a physical therapy appointment as I documented just a part of what life has become for her.

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Family is an important part of Apple Blossom Queen Brooke Perez's life. Seen in the center, she celebrates her niece Raven's 3rd birthday at a party with friends and family in Rock Island on Saturday, May 1. On a normal year, she would have been riding on the queen's float in the Apple Blossom Grand Parade on this day. 

A closer look at the life of the Apple Blossom Queen has been a feature since I followed Darci (Henke) Christoferson in 1985. This year's queen Brooke Perez told me family was an important part of her life so I joined her at a birthday party in May. It wasn't until I heard someone at the party say in a normal year, they would be watching Brooke in the grand parade that I understood the importance of the day.

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Wenatchee middle school band students hunker down while a gust of wind blows dust from a nearby baseball field through them Thursday, May 6, 2021, at Foothills Middle School. The pep band made up of students from the three schools had gathered to play for over an hour during a soccer jamboree their classmates were playing in. This is their third performance this week during soccer games. Pioneer band director Erin Luebber, holding up the stand at left, came up with the idea to get the middle school children a way to perform in public - the first time in over a year because of COVID-19 restrictions. Thursday ended up being challenging with the wind blowing stands down and sending music flying along the grass. About 30 middle schoolers played during this performance.

This was going to be a photograph to show how the music departments of Wenatchee middle schoolers worked together during COVID, but when a huge gust of wind blew through, I grabbed a camera and shot without looking as the kids braced themselves.

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A boy enjoys his month-old playhouse in his backyard layered among other backyards in a newer development of houses in South Kansas Loop just south of Southeast 4th Street Tuesday, May 11, 2021. 

I had been looking at this scene for months as fences were built separating rows of houses from each other. I anticipated parents buying a trampoline and their children bouncing above the fence line. On one of my drives by to check on it, I saw instead a playhouse had been erected. After photographing the children playing, I went to the house and introduced myself.

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Anthony Garcia Mendoza avoids diving Leo Salgado to score a touchdown in a flag football jamboree tournament at Triangle Park in Wenatchee Wednesday, June 9, 2021. There was plenty of action at the park and the Apple Bowl as the Wenatchee School District's Middle School football teams competed. Because of COVID-19 concerns, teams normally playing contact football - pads and helmets - in the fall moved their competition to the spring and played flag football instead. Wednesday's competitions were their only games of the season against other schools. A total of 16, 20-minute games were held in the afternoon. Two 40-yard fields were mown and lined at Pioneer Park with teams playing seven students.

A multitude of middle school kids playing flag football caught my attention and I stopped to talk to parents about what was going on. This photograph captures the intensity of the games.

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Apple Blossom 2020 princess Kaia St. John looks at her hair that was put in a comb at the Art To Suit You booth during the opening day of the Arts and Crafts Fair at Memorial Park Friday, June 11, 2021. She and the rest of the royalty from last year and this year walked through the fair, judging for the Royalty Choice Award.

I was looking for a feature photograph of the past two years of royalty as they explored the Arts and Crafts Fair. The girls seemed enthralled with this booth that was selling hair combs. I found a spot with a few mirrors in the frame and waited for something happening in each one.

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Brynlee Gapan, 6, and her sister Taylin, 13, splash around in a homemade pool - the back of a pickup lined with a tarp and filled with water - in their East Wenatchee back yard Saturday, June 26, 2021. Their mother, Christina, said they were going to buy a pool but with a newborn in the house she said, "there's no way I' going to keep up with a pool this year."

A post on Facebook made by some friends mentioned the truck and homemade pool that one of them had put together. I arranged to be at their house when they got in for a "swim." The photograph fit well with the heat wave the Wenatchee Valley was experiencing.

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Sam Wagner, 13, Wenatchee, jumps over an obstacle at Hale Park in Wenatchee Friday, July 2, 2021. He and his mother Tina hope to convince the city to turn the lights on the park and let people use the park later in the night. They were heading to a city meeting to discuss their suggestion early the next week and were successful. 

I met Sam and Tina at Hale Park near closing, not really sure what I'd come up with, but I knew I wanted to show darkness in the photograph. Sam's one of the few kids I know who can actually finish a skateboarding move and I followed him as he practiced jumping over one of the skate park features while the sun was setting.

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Miles Harvey, Salida, Colorado, wipes out on the wave Thursday, July 8, 2021, at Slidewaters' newest attraction in Chelan, a river wave that opened in May. Co-owner Robert Bordner says their Citywave U.S.A. is the largest river wave in the world and the only one in the United States. It was built by the Citywave company based in Munich, Germany.

When I went to Chelan to photograph the river wave at Slidewaters, one thing that struck me was that the only way you finish your ride is dumping off the board. Even the best riders would eventually tumble. That's what I concentrated on as people enjoyed the newest water feature at the park.

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Anthony Duffy gets a dog out of his truck for water outside his Two Tails Training and Boarding business on Lure Lane July 13, 2021. The Red Apple Fire was burning just up the road from them. "Thank God it wasn't on the weekend," Duffy said. "We would normally have 30 dogs." He only had to move seven that were in his kennels into the truck to be ready to evacuate.

On the first day of the Red Apple Fire, I found access on Lure Lane near Monitor and photographed firefighters working and people watching from their homes. I also spent some time with Anthony and his friends as they were getting dogs ready to evacuate. I liked the bewildered expression on this dog's face that conveyed what everyone was feeling.

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After a hard morning of work clearing a fire line in the cliffs above Highway 97A, forest service firefighter Cody Amsden with the Chelan District Forest Service watches a water drop while fighting the Red Apple Fire on Wednesday, July 14, 2021. Amsden is a faller on the crew, trained to take down trees in the fire's path with his chainsaw.

On the second day of the Red Apple Fire, I followed a crew up above Ohme Gardens as they cleared fire lines. Working in the dirt and heat of the day, I found Cody watching helicopters dump water on the fire.

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A forest service crew from the Chelan District marches up a steep hill to fight the eastern end of the Red Apple Fire on Wednesday, July 14, 2021.

I was getting near the top of a hill overlooking Highway 97A when a fire crew came beside me and I heard a helicopter about to make a drop. I crouched down in the dirt as smoke billowed up and the helicopter flew by with its bucket.

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Wenatchee AppleSox centerfielder Michael O'Hara has a fly ball pop out of his mitt at the fence in the second inning of the team's baseball game against Cowlitz Friday, Aug. 6, 2021. An error wasn't called on the play. Cowlitz's Wilson Weber made it to second, scoring his team's fifth run. 

I like the composition of this photograph and its title: 'The Shadow Knows.

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Work continues on the Chelan County PUD's new headquarters building Tuesday, Aug. 31, 2021, in Olds Station. The building is expected to be finished at the end of next year. The new PUD complex will replace the Fifth Street headquarters and Hawley Street facilities.

I was struggling coming up with an image of the construction. I'd gone back and forth looking at this scene for weeks. I finally discovered that the viewpoint I was trying to make with a mountain top in the background only added unnecessary detail and the simplified background in this image made it work. It was then a waiting game until workers were on different levels.

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Winning the diving event, Valerie McCray from Eastmont High School enters the water on one of her six dives Tuesday, Sept. 21, 2021. McCray's team easily beat Wenatchee in the competition.

This image is all about timing, a fast shutter speed, and trying to photograph the winning diver. The newly remodeled swimming pool has better light now and for interested photographers, this image was shot at ISO 4000, f/2.8 and 1/3200 second.

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After proning a Covid patient earlier this week, the hospital personnel remove their gloves and disinfect their hands before leaving the room and moving on to the next patient Thursday, Sept. 23, 2021.

We were able to get access to the Intensive Care Unit at Central Washington Hospital and it was important to me to show the safety procedures the staff goes through and the emotions they deal with. I thought this image does both of that. I shot this photograph through a window of a room from the ICU hallway.

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Wenatchee Valley College's Gino Miranda gets in the air to head the soccer ball back to his teammates during their game with Columbia Basin Wednesday, Sept. 29, 2021, in Wenatchee. WVC lost the match 4-2.

Most good sports photographs show the peak moment of action. 

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Medical personnel move the driver of a truck through a window and onto a stretcher Thursday night, Oct. 14, 2021. The driver, James Dean Thompson, was arrested after he first struck six parked cars then crashed into the house under remodel at 515 South Mission St. belonging to Angel Cruz. No one was living at or inside the house at the time.

I was driving to my office when I came across this accident scene just after it happened. The interesting parts of this photograph to me are the partial car in the front doorway and medical personnel helping the victim out of a side window. The lighting is coming from emergency vehicles nearby.

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Tatum Grosdidier with Black Widows runs the football against the defense of Bless Up during the annual Powderpuff football tournament Thursday night, Oct. 14, 2021 in Wenatchee.

These powderpuff football games have gotten more intense year after year. The great thing for me about flag football is the facial expressions that are out there to capture and tell the story.

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Maria Iniguez, left, announces to supporters she has over a 300 vote lead on Matt Van Bogart in the Wenatchee School District Board race at her election party in a Wenatchee restaurant Tuesday night, Nov. 2, 2021. By the end of the night, she was leading Matt Van Bogart 51% to 47%.

It's a crapshoot figuring out where to be on election night and I ended up going to a local restaurant, welcomed by Maria. Then I waited with her group for results that were texted to her by a supporter at the courthouse elections office. I didn't expect the great reactions from her supporters as she took a deep breath of relief.

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David Akpodiete, left, and Rylee Jones, both from Foothills Middle School in Wenatchee, look over a booth run by Hurst Chiropractic Monday, Nov. 15, 2021, at the Wenatchee Convention Center. About 550 8th graders from the Wenatchee School District learned about careers in the medical field in the monthly Career and Technical Education fair. According to CTE director Jake Bucholz, students get to learn about possible jobs in different fields every month. Last month, the focus was on agriculture and next month, family consumer science.

I saw this event on a school calendar but wasn't sure I'd stay to try to get a photograph. I decided to do a walk through and immediately saw the spine and knew what I wanted to try to capture. From there, it just took patience to wait for a student to be in the right position.

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In a gesture of freedom, Hailey Shaw puts her power wheelchair in a perpetual spin at her East Wenatchee apartment while Ginger McLaughlin watches Nov. 16, 2021.

This is the first evening I spent around Hailey. Her grandparents introduced us — I had actually met her when she was much younger — and I photographed her interaction with her caregiver Ginger. At one point she put herself in a spin and I slowed down the shutter speed of my camera to catch the motion. To me, it conveys the freedom that she tries to have even when in a wheelchair.

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Mikah Korfiatis, 8, gets a children's dose of COVID-19 vaccine from Ray Eickmeyer at a drive-through site in East Wenatchee Wednesday, Nov. 17, 2021. Watching are Mikah's siblings Kian, 12, left, and Kai, 11, center. The vaccination site opened earlier this week. The children's mother, Flicka, said she had been waiting for the vaccine, like many of the other parents who arrived to the site on Wednesday.

I asked these children's mother early in the car lineup if I could photograph them getting a COVID vaccine then waited for them at the inoculation site. When the two siblings leaned in to watch their sister receive her shot I knew I had a good image.

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Wenatchee High School's Abby Black gets airborne trying to spike a ball past Mount Rainier in their first game of the 4A state tournament in the Yakima Valley Sundome Friday, Nov. 19, 2021. The Panthers won the first two sets but lost the final three to move into the losers bracket where they are scheduled to play Lake Stevens at 5:45 p.m.

I wanted to show the height Abby gets on the volleyball team so I used a wide angle lens with my camera on the ground, pre-focused and tried to capture her spiking a ball. I was also using another camera with a telephoto lens to capture action around the court. I like how it conveys the importance of the match by being at the Sundome in Yakima.

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Evan Stevens lights up a smoke in the homeless camp south of Sellar Bridge Monday, Nov. 29, 2021, just after 11 p.m. Stevens, just visiting on this night, says he lives in a car nearby.

A reporter and I visited a homeless camp that I had been told about on a different assignment. While there, we struck up a conversation with Evan and I noticed him fidgeting with a cigarette. After the reporter's interview, I hung around, waiting to see if he was going to light it. When he did, I had a fraction of a second to get the moment the flame lit up his face.

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Angels Vanessa Sabatello, 5, left, and Oliviah Seymour, 4, wait under backstage - blue lights for their entrance during Thursday night's rehearsal of The Nutcracker performed by the Fabulous Feet Academy of Ballet and the Wenatchee Valley Symphony Orchestra Dec. 9, 2021. Four performances will be held at the Numerica Performing Arts Center in Wenatchee.

These little angels captured my attention as they were sitting on a bench in a hallway getting a few bites of potato chips. I was backstage when they were led in to wait for their scene. I dropped to my knees and tried to capture their faces as they looked out toward the light of the stage. I shot this at 1/30 second at f/2.8.

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Lorelei Rowe uses an umbrella to protect herself in a snowball fight with her 4-year-old son Emerson in downtown Leavenworth Monday, Dec. 14, 2021. While pushing for holiday celebrations all week, weekday crowds are still light enough for playing. The Rowes are from Milwaukie, visiting for a few days after reading about the town's setting. "It's just so magical," Mrs. Rowe said. "We're having a great time."

For a story on what Leavenworth looks like during a weekday now that the chamber is emphasizing visiting then instead of weekends, I found this mother and son having a snowball fight. Lorelei was very animated as she battled her son with an umbrella as a shield. This was the last of 150 photographs I took of their exchange.

Don Seabrook: (509)661-5225

Photo Editor

I was born in Wenatchee, went to Eastmont High School, graduated from the University of Washington with a communications degree in journalism. I have a wife and three children.

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