One of the many things I love about being a photojournalist is that everyday, I find myself in situations and places I would never be in if I didn't have a camera or two in my hands. From the extreme mundane city council meeting to practically plunging in freezing lake water during a Polar Plunge, this job is teaching me how to walk into nearly any event or person's home and be comfortable shooting whatever is happing there in a documentary way. I meet and interact with countless people every day—some new in my life, some old—and I get to experience them and have the opportunity to attempt to understand who they are and why they are doing what they do.
However, this month I had two opportunities to spend more than the usual hour or two with a group of people for two separate stories. I was allowed into their lives, and had to build trust with them to document their stories effectively and intimately. I feel honored to have the chance to tell their stories through photography, and be allowed into their personal lives. It truly is a blessing of being a photojournalist.
These are some of my favorite moments from the month of January. I'm excited for what February has in store.
I hope you enjoy, and as always, thank you for looking!
The brave race back to the sandy beach after taking a New Year dip in frigid Lake Coeur d'Alene during the annual Polar Bear Plunge on Friday, Jan. 1, 2016 at Sanders Beach in Coeur d'Alene.
Cody Gray, 23, who has autism, shares a moment with Laurie West, a caregiver for the nonprofit Milestone Decisions, on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2016 at Cody's home in Coeur d'Alene. West assists Cody and his two roommates and works with her own son, who is also mentally disabled but lives in another home. The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare recently announced that Medicaid reimbursement rates funding supportive living and residential habilitation provider agencies, such as Milestone Decisions, would be significantly decreased and revert to 2012 rates as of Feb. 1, 2016. (Part of an ongoing series).
Kootenai County Fire and Rescue members inflate a water rescue raft before the start of annual ice rescue training Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2016 at Riverstone Park in Coeur d'Alene.
Jay Lamkin of Coeur d'Alene stands on the corner of Ironwood Drive and Northwest Boulevard while holding a sign reading, "End Federal Tyranny [sic]" on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2016 in Coeur d'Alene. "I want there to be a peaceful ending to the standoff in Oregon," Lamkin says. "No one needs to die or get hurt."
Chad Bennett, the "unofficial" time keeper of the Polar Bear Plunge, waits for the clock to strike noon for the mad dash into the frigid waters of Lake Coeur d'Alene on Friday, Jan. 1, 2016 at the annual Polar Bear Plunge on Sanders Beach in Coeur d'Alene.
The Mariner Moose makes a grand entrance into the student-packed gymnasium of Winton Elementary on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2016 before the start of a Mariners DREAM Team assembly. The DREAM Team, consisting of the Mariner Moose, Mariners team members and broadcasters, travels to elementary schools around the Northwest to deliver the importance of the DREAM Team principles: Drug Free, Respect, Education, Attitude and Motivation.
Amelia, on our anniversary trip in British Columbia. Taken on film.
Bridget Schwenne, left, and Paige Harfield snowshoe between towering snow-laden trees as they finish up the roughly 5-mile jaunt of the 25th Annual Best Hand event, organized by the Panhandle Nordic Club, on Saturday, Jan. 2, 2016 in the Fourth of July Pass Recreation Area. Participants of all ages can either snowshoe or cross-country ski, and collect playing cards at stations along the way in hopes of winning prizes.
Two Kootenai County Fire and Rescue team members walk out on the frozen Riverstone Pond during annual ice rescue training on Jan. 13, 2016 at Riverstone Park in Coeur d'Alene.
Lakeland's Dylan Knight, top, and Andrew Knight leave the Hawks' locker room before the start of the second half of a match-up with Coeur d'Alene on Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2016 at Lakeland High School.
Milestones caregiver Robert Moore helps Cody wash his hands after eating lunch on Thursday, Jan. 7, 2016 at Cody's home in Coeur d'Alene. Moore, who is the house manager at Cody's home, has worked with Cody for more than seven years. (Part of an ongoing series).
Anniversary trip, Vancouver, British Columbia.
Coeur d'Alene's Hunter Hawkins, bottom, and Lake City's Abe Rivera both run into trouble with their headgear during the 195-pound championship bout at the Van Tuinstra Memorial Tournament on Saturday, Jan. 23, 2016 at Lakeland High School. Rivera emerged victorious.
Post Falls' Tyler Wolf, in orange, grapples with Dylan Lockwood of Coeur d'Alene on Saturday, Jan. 30, 2016 at the North Idaho Rumble wrestling tournament at Coeur d'Alene High School. Wolf emerged victorious, making him champion of the 138-pound weight class.
Toby Carrol, 26, stands amongst hundreds of costumes, hats and masks on Thursday, Jan. 21, 2016 in the Special Needs Recreation Costume Rental shop in Post Falls. Carrol, who has developmental disabilities, helps his mother Wendy run the costume rental shop, where he specializes in organizing and indexing costumes.
Teresa Cook Palin is still searching for answers surrounding the death of her daughter, Brianna, who was found dead on Oct. 26, 2013 in Brianna's home in Pinehurst. She is photographed here on Jan. 27, 2016, in her Pinehurst home. Brianna's ashes rest in an urn beside Palin.
North Idaho Rumble wrestling tournament, Saturday, Jan. 30, 2016, at Coeur d'Alene High School.
Pam Moist, top, drills in the third and final panel of a military pin cabinet as she is helped by Vietnam veteran Chuck Schraeder, right, and others on Friday, Jan. 8, 2016 at the American Legion Post 143 in Post Falls. The cabinet, which was recently purchased from Phil's Army and Navy Store in Coeur d'Alene, holds several thousand military pins from all branches of the military. The American Legion Post is selling them to veterans who provide documentation showing they earned them during their service.
North Idaho College vs. Salt Lake Community College men's basketball, Saturday, Jan. 9, 2016 at North Idaho College.
Carl Knight of Coeur d'Alene sports a flowery swim cap as he waits for the start of the annual Polar Bear Plunge on Friday, Jan. 1, 2016 at Sanders Beach in Coeur d'Alene. "This ain't for wussies," Knight says. "Trust me, I'm a pro."
North Idaho Rumble wrestling tournament, Saturday, Jan. 30, 2016 at Coeur d'Alene High School.