top of page
081323 LR Perseids Milky Way006.JPG

2023 in Photos

The best pictures taken during my first year as a full-time photojournalist, with work spanning two jobs and two vastly different regions in the United States, from the Lincoln Journal Star in east Nebraska to the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel in western Colorado. Most compelling images as well as most visually interesting. Big appreciation to everyone who let me document your memories and stories, it's all about you.

2023 Mesa County Fair001_edited.jpg

Braelynn Sirk, 2, face covered in marker, smiles while freely drawing on a giant color board as her mother laughs in the background during a day at the Mesa County Fair on July 12, 2023. A face on the coloring board smiles alongside Braelynn.

Kouassi Occansey, from Nebraska, races toward the finish line of the full Lincoln Marathon as an American flag waves in the spring wind in Lincoln, Nebraska, on Sunday, May 7, 2023.


A morning crew worker from Talbott Farms hand picks grapes while sporting a local Grand Junction High School hoodie during a grape harvest in Palisade on Oct. 10, 2023. His hands are a testament to his hard work.

Sen. Megan Hunt (from left), Sen. Jen Day and Sen. Machaela Cavanaugh embrace while being cheered on by supporters after a six-week abortion ban failed at the Nebraska State Capitol on Thursday, April 27, 2023.

080523 LR Wild Delta County Rodeo Re - Edit004.JPG

Easton Zeldenthuis ropes a calf as rays from a setting Colorado sun gleam through the fairgrounds during a breakaway roping competition at the Delta County Fair on Aug. 5, 2023.

Jeffrey Mages uses a magnifying glass to inspect a large marijuana nug grown hydroponically in New Jersey at his home in Grand Junction on Dec. 11, 2023. Mages gets sent smokeable bud, edibles and other THC-infused items from all around the country to test for quality, taste, feel and other variables, as part as his job as a certified ganjier, or sometimes known as cannabis sommelier. He is one of two ganjiers in the Grand Valley.

121123 LR Cannabis Sommelier or Ganjier005.JPG

A herd of 8-10 bighorn sheep take in the view of a frosty Grand Valley from the Colorado National Monument after Grand Junction saw its first snow storm of the 2023-2024 fall and winter seasons, with central Grand Junction seeing around 1.5 inches of snow while Orchard Mesa and the GJT saw an upwards of three inches overnight, on Nov. 25, 2023.

A model peaks out from behind rainbow-colored curtains before walking in a Colorado West Pride fashion show at the Colorado Mesa University Plaza as part of 2023 PrideFest festivities on Sep. 7, 2023.

090723 LR Colorado West Pride Fashion Show003.JPG

Cedar Catholic's Lauren Bernecker, from left, Samantha Rick and Kathlyne Jones hold back emotions after being knocked out of the Nebraska state class D basketball tournament by Centura in a semifinal game at the Bob Devaney Sports Center on Friday, March 3, 2023.

A Wildland Firefighter helicopter flies above the flames of the Spring Creek Fire nearby Battlement Mesa, Colorado, on June 27, 2023. The blaze lasted for two months before 100% containment, with 3,200 acres burned in its wake.

2023 Battlement Mesa Fire007.JPG

Waylon Wilson, 2, plays a game of Connect 4 while suited up in a T-Rex costume during a Halloween event at Whitman Park on Oct. 17, 2023.

Wahoo celebrates after defeating Waverly as a Waverly player exits the field in the Nebraska B-2 District Final at Sam Crawford Field on Friday, May 5, 2023.

071823 LR Police Ride Along010.JPG

Grand Junction Police Officer Tim Long checks on a woman in distress on July 18, 2023, during a media ride along with the GJPD. The woman tried to enter the back of a parked police cruiser while leaving a house known to police for drugs and prostitution. She was eventually arrested for multiple open warrants and was booked without incident.

A Native American boy waits for his turn to perform a traditional Native American dance during the Downtown Arts Festival in Grand Junction on Oct. 6, 2023. The regalia and shoe-wear worn is handmade at reservations in Utah, preserving a tradition of hand-sewn animal skin and cloth. This group included dancers from the Southern Ute tribe, the Ute Tribe and the Ute Mountain tribe.

072823 LR Para Ice Hockey001.JPG

Eric Luebke, middle, smiles at his dad while learning how to control an ice sled during the first meeting for a new para sled hockey program at the River City Sportplex in Grand Junction on July 28, 2023.

Colorado Mesa University theatre arts major Emma Gregory signs her handprint on one of the final beams added to the university's new theatre arts building, which is set to open in fall of 2024, during a topping off ceremony on Nov. 17, 2023.


A car fire at 620 S 17th St. blazes on through a mild snow storm as Lincoln Fire and Rescue circle the vehicle to assess the best way to put out the flames on Thursday, March 16, 2023.

Murphy Riley puffs on a cigar after reeling in a fish for his third catch of the day at Holmes Lake during a spring afternoon that reached the mid 60s on Monday, April 17, 2023.


Rapper Wiz Khalifa stands in front of a giant astronaut while performing at Pinnacle Bank Arena as the main headline of the Goodtrip Tour on Friday, April 21, 2023. Smoke filled the arena for the day-after 4/20 celebration.

Aspen trees account for much of the vibrant fall colors seen atop the Grand Mesa as the seasons change, taken in-camera with a short shutter speed and a motion blur technique on Oct. 3, 2023.


Nebraska's Keisei Tominaga (30) celebrates with the crowd after sinking a three-point shot against Michigan State at Pinnacle Bank Arena on Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2023.

Two children and two adults were rescued from the Plateau River by Palisade EMS and concerned community members after the vehicle hit a patch of slick icy road on Highway 65 and crashed into the river on Dec. 9, 2023. EMS personnel used a rope system to safely rescue the family from the dangerously cold and fast moving river.

122923 LR Highline Lake Partial Drain007.JPG

Echo Bartels, left, and Lauren Speadt take a careful look at the underside of a ewe’s belly while trimming hairs before a 4-H sheep showmanship competition at the Mesa County Fair on July 12, 2023. As per annual tradition at the Mesa County Fair, Bartles took home multiple first place awards, including the heaviest steer weighing in over 2,000 pounds.

120923 LR Wild_ EMS Rescue from Plateau Creek001.JPG

A duck flaps its wings while trying to balance on a thin sheet of ice atop Highline Lake while the sun shines on a golden rock which reflects onto the water. Come late January this duck and the rest of its flock will have to find another water source to rest in, as the lake will be completely drained next month to try to cure a years-long zebra mussel issue.

2023 Echo Bartels Livestock Showing002.JPG
bottom of page