EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

December 30, 2012

2012 Pictures of the Year

Staff photographers choose their best shots and tell readers how they got them

The Eagle-Tribune

---- — Every day all year long, Eagle-Tribune photographers take dozens of photos of people and places in the Merrimack Valley of Massachusetts and Southern New Hampshire.

Each photo assignment brings its own challenges and opportunities. Today, staff photographers present their favorite photos of 2012 and explain how they were able to capture them.

Mary Schwalm

Mary grew up in Arizona, but came east to attend Colby College and hasn’t left. Before settling in North Andover and joining the staff at The Eagle-Tribune, she lived in New York City and worked for the Associated Press as a sports photo editor and freelance photographer. Mary was NFL photographer of the year in 2011.

Known previously in the Merrimack Valley as “the girl who goes to zoos,” watch for Schwalm in scenic, windy spots around the region and beyond as she pursues her new passion for Kite Aerial Photography.

POY_ET_MSC (121218_ET_MSC_POY_2) by Mary Schwalm (recropped version of original)

Whittier Tech’s Jesus Sanchez is upended in the end zone by Georgetown’s Jackson Fritz after scoring a touchdown in the first half of their game in Haverhill. Whittier Tech won 52-48 in the Sept. 22 game.

Photographers Take

I don’t get many opportunities to shoot sports, but I do very much love doing so. I enjoy the challenge of trying to anticipate where the next photo might unfold. It’s not like a news assignment: If you have a great photo, you have a great photo. Good action is good action!

This photo is a tribute to the focus of the talented Jesus Sanchez, but it could also have been a storyteller of an upending had they lost the game. I knew I captured the catch. It wasn’t until after the game when I edited the photos that I realized that regardless of the outcome, I had a story-telling image.


Three Golden Retrievers look out from an SUV awaiting their owner at Smolak Farms in North Andover.

Photographers Take: As photographers, we often are sent out to find feature picturesto help fill space in the paper. These can be the most daunting of assignments, given our large coverage area. You try to stockpile ideas so you have a hit when you need one, but there is nothing better than coming across a feature while on another assignment. That’s gold.

Enter this car-load of fun at Smolak Farms. How can you not smile at these three snouts waiting for their owner? The guy in front? It’s like he sniffs something good coming. The other two seem to be keeping a vigilant watch. The photo makes me smile. I hope it makes you smile, too.

Carl Russo

Carl started his career at Eagle-Tribune’s sister paper The Andover Townsman. He has been a photographer with The Eagle-Tribune for more than 25 years. Long before he was a photographer, he was a paper boy for The Eagle-Tribune. His delivery days behind him, Carl specialties are breaking news and sports events.

POY ET CRU 1 and 2

North Andover firefighters battled a house fire at 78-80 Union St. in North Andover in June. Firefighters rescued a black cat ‘‘Mittens” and gave it to the owner, Phil Long, seen here taking the pet away. The cat was hardly breathing and going into cardiac arrest when the Lawrence General Hospital Advance Life Support team took over and gave ‘Mittens’’ oxygen. The cat’s breathing was restored to normal. Here, North Andover firefighter Matt Davis checks on the condition of the cat while Lovett treats it with oxygen.

Photographers Take: After taking some pictures of this smoky, 2-alarm fire in North Andover, I stood back across the street to get a wider view of the situation. I watched North Andover firefighters go in and out of the two front doors of the house as they battled the fire from inside to keep the flames from destroying the structure.

I then noticed a man in a white T-shirt approaching the fire scene. He looked anxious as he stood on the sidewalk staring at the front of the house. Suddenly, a firefighter emerged from the front entrance holding a cat in one hand and his tool in the other. Since I was viewing this from across the street, I was not sure what he was holding (a black cat against a black fire coat). Then I saw the white paws and belly. I started to run across the street and take pictures as the firefighter handed the cat to Phil Long, the man in the T-shirt. With the cat’s health in jeopardy, the man did not have to look far for help.

A team from the Lawrence General Hospital Advance Life Support unit was stationed right in front of the house. The team put an oxygen mask on the cat called ‘“Mittens”’ and restored its breathing to normal. This heroic act by the firefighters and ALS team gave me good reason to make this moment my Photo of the Year.