Thursday, December 29, 2011

2011 Top Photos by Elias Funez

Well folks, here they are, my selection of the top 40 images of the West Side over the year 2011, in my order 1-40, from top to bottom. Unfortunately my usual story couldn't accompany these photos, so you'll have to make up your own!

After browsing through the images you may get a sense of some of the hardships and struggles I may have had to go through to capture these images, but it was nothing like you would imagine, and without my story, I guess you'll never know.

#1 Police chief Tori Hughes and tow truck operators pull one of the many vehicles from the depths of the Delta Mendota Canal in January as they search for the vehicle of Jose Esteban Rodriguez during the Juliani Cardenas investigation.
#2 A hit and run suspect is pulled from the San Joaquin River after jumping from the bridge in an attempt to evade authorities.

#3 Tabitha Cardenas is consolled by a family member of Esteban Rodriguez' at Cardenas' home after news of the tradgedy spread.

#4 Councilwoman Annette Smith listens for calls for her to step down as a councilmember following a Stanislaus County Civil Grand Jury report stating her misconduct as councilmember.

#5 Hundreds of Patterson residents, including Ida Pena Perez (bottom right), who was recently killed in a vehicle accident on Hwy 33 at Marshall, mourn the death of City Councilman Sam Cuellar.

#6 A high speed chase is photographed through the Patterson Gardens subdivision before the suspect is tazered and subdued.

#7 Not #9 as published in the paper, is this photo of 5 horses looking for high ground as water levels at Patterson's River Oak Arena rise during March of this year.

#8 S.W.A.T. team members serve an arrest warrant on Washburn Avenue.

#9 Friends, and relatives of Ernesto Ordonez lined along the Delta Mendota Canal, turn their heads to the acknowledgement of the local Sheriff's, as the tractor he had been driving is pulled from the water. Ordonez's body was attached to the tractor.

#10 not #8 as published in the paper, is this aerial view of the live stations of the cross I captured by climbing a tree. This alternate vantage point was initially overlooked and never published earlier in the year.

#11, not #7 as published in the paper is this image of one of the only persons I witnessed wearing the usual shorts and sandals during an unusually wet and cold Apricot Fiesta.

#12 Candles begin to gather in the driveway of the Cardenas' on Barros avenue as folks hope for the best during the investigation of the Juliani Cardenas kidnapping.

#13 Firefighters work to cut holes in the roof of a home on fire on North 3rd Street.

#14 Multitudes of media trucks and personnel descend on Patterson for the Juliani Cardenas kidnapping story.

#15 A vigil for the cities' residents is held in front of city hall during the Cardenas event.

#16 Pallbearers don the familiar newsboy hats in honor of Sam Cuellar during his funeral.

#17 The grand opening of the skate park.

#18 A fire victim on Shasta Creek ct. sits surrounded by items of her belongings rescued from the home by firefighters.

#19 A sikorsky sky crane is utilized to lift the many air-conditioning units needed during the construction of the 800,000 square foot + distribution facility.

#20 Reyes and Eddie Cuellar accept the flag used during the funeral of Sam Cuellar by the American Legion.

#21 A passing storm brings a rainbow to the palm tree city of Patterson.

#22 Art on stage as the Glass Menagerie comes to the PHS auditorium earlier in the year.

#23 Residents of the oleanders along Hwy 33.

#24 Hikers with the hikes and bikes program work on the most strenuous of three hikes in the Minnear Day Use Area in Del Puerto Canyon.

#25 The first council meeting after Sam's death.

#26 Bloodless bullfights in Gustine for the festa de Espiritu Santo.

#27 The blighted conditions that squatters take upon as living quarters were observed in the North 1st street area.

#28 The tractor of Ernesto Ordonez is kept in the water for over an hour before pulling Ordonez' body out.

#29 The skate park was closed after grand opening due to the lack of ordinance put in place by the council. Said repairs that were brought up, were never repaired, considering the park didn't really need repair.

#30 Fog in Patterson in February.

#31 One of my favorite places, a cave in remote Stanislaus County.

#32 Councilwoman Annette Smith retains the audience of police officers for nearly an hour at the skate park after a sting targeting skaters not wearing helmets.

#33 Skaters are ticketed for not wearing helmets. During a Parks and Recreation meeting, following the sting, Sargeant John Walker apologized to the commissioners for the harsh treatment of the skaters, lifting their ban on usage of the park.

#34 Tabitha Cardenas is consolled during one of the many candle vigils held during the search for Juliani, this one in Graceada Park in Modesto.

#35 A typical scene of the Patterson Colony.

#36 Umbrellas are donned by the Miss Patterson pageant contestants during the 2011 Apricot Fiesta Parade.

#37 The Circo Osorio acrobatic circus tent went up in Patterson again this year.

#38 Laird Park in Grayson.

#39 A crop duster crash landed near an airport off of Hwy 33 in Newman.

#40 Rain drops gather on the skin of apricots during the unusually rainy 2011 Apricot Fiesta.

NO 2011 YEAR IN PHOTOS story.

To all of the faithful followers of this blog and the year end photo review story, it is my sad, sad, response to inform you all that my 2,000 word story, normally slated to run in today's final newspaper of the year, was deemed unfit for publication by the newspaper's editor Jonathan Partridge.

His quick response to me was that it was "too political".

Apparently it "detracted" from the photos. I find that to be a completely false claim considering the text provided insight as to the inner-workings of a real, day to day photojournalist.

I felt that it included completely personal, behind the scenes accounts of what went into making the images of 2011, including the troubles experienced along the way. Unfortunately this world we live in isn't all puppy dogs and flowers, and my story definitely showed the REAL side of things that I've had to go through to bring the photos to you here in West Stanislaus.

So to those that wonder... you'll have to keep wondering, or just find me on the street if you really want to know.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Photo Day week 15 at the Oakland Raider's vs. Detroit Lions

When Patterson High School was offered the opportunity to attend an Oakland Raider game, meet the team's photographer Tony Gonzales, and photograph the pre-game warm ups from the sideline, the high school jumped at the idea and picked up 50 tickets. So a group of photo instructors, including myself, hopped on a charter bus for the week 15 game against the Detroit Lions along with 40 or so students, 9 from my photography after school program. After a lot of waiting and checkpoints, we were on the field of the Oakland Coliseum waiting to talk to the team's photographer. Getting to know the background and photographic interests of the Raider photographer Tony Gonzales was really interesting and helpful for the aspiring young photogrpher.

Everyone had the opportunity to ask questions, and afterwards got to take photos of the pre-game excitement.

Raiders' quarterback #3 Carson Palmer pulls back to throw a pass during the pre game warm ups.

Khalif Barnes gets the crowd going before the game.

Some interesting looking tail-gaters gathered in the parking lot of the Oakland Coliseum after the game.

One of my after school program photography students Austin Luckert, getting the pre-game war paint applied on the drive to Oakland.

Raiders' Wide Receiver Denarius Moore pulls in a pass during the pre-game warm ups.

Back in our seats, during the nailbiting 28-27 loss to the Lions. The Raiders were ahead the entire game, but had to lose it in the fourth quarter in typical Raiders' fashion.

Talking photography and showing students camera operation on the bus ride there.

Oakland Raiders' #21 Lito Sheppard runs down the sideline to high five fans and photographers alike, photo taken by student photographer Reily McNamara