I’m Outta Here (Again)

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I came to Silver City last October with a plan and some goals. The goals were pretty simple:

  1. Bring the Daily Press firmly into the digital age with a user-friendly website and a better social media strategy.
  2. Raise the quality of the news we report.

It seems like we’ve made progress on those two fronts. The site gives readers access to the latest stories in a way that makes sense, and they can share them on Facebook and other platforms easily. It seems like a low bar to clear in 2015, but you’d be surprised. We didn’t want to stop here, either — there’s a bigger vision for the paper’s online presence on the horizon.

Similarly, though it’s perhaps harder to measure, the quality of the stories we’re publishing now is much improved. The hyperlocal focus keeps us working on news that you can’t find elsewhere, and I know the pieces we produce are stronger than ever. We’ve also been telling more of those stories, and gone are the days when the Daily Press wasn’t worth picking up.

The plan, however, is another story. I’d hoped this job would work for me personally and professionally, and that’s just not the case. Mostly, this is my fault — Nick threw me a lifeline when he offered me the editor’s gig, and I didn’t really consider some of the particulars when I accepted. The biggest problem is that running an afternoon daily requires quite a bit of work in the wee hours of the night, something I wasn’t prepared for and am still unwilling to accept.

And while I’ve loved being back in New Mexico since I’ve returned, I haven’t  been able to really enjoy it: the last hike I went on was for work; while that  sounds awesome, it was also my first hike in about a month.

This all leads me to the rest of the plan: I’m getting married in October. Asking your friend and partner to uproot her life and move back to New Mexico is hard enough when you love your job and everything is awesome. I simply can’t ask her to do it now.

So, I’ve told Nick I’m leaving, and now I’m telling you. May 15 is my last day as editor of the Daily Press, and my last day in Silver City. This is the second time I’ve said goodbye to this newspaper, and, like the first, I want to thank everyone who has helped make this experience memorable.

I won't be here when the Daily Press moves back into its old building on Market St.

I won’t be here when the Daily Press moves back into its old building on Market St.

More specifically, I want to thank Nick Seibel for a) saving the Daily Press and b) entrusting me with it. I’m sorry I let ya down, buddy.

Everyone at the Daily Press and the Independent deserves a huge note of thanks — and not just from me, but from this community. I am surprised and amazed that this small staff is publishing a daily newspaper in 2015 in town like Silver City, and now they’re doing a weekly too. I have never been part of a harder-working team than during the past 7 months: everyone has more than one job, nobody has the weekend off, and they just keep going, day in, day out.

I couldn’t have done this without the support of my dad, whom I’m going to miss terribly.

And I really shouldn’t have done this to Meredith — I know it hasn’t been easy on you, and I’m eager to get back to Baltimore so I can make it up to ya sweetie.

2014 — In Review

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In 2013, I reflected on the year by posting my favorite photos. This year, we’re going to mix it up a little bit by adding a few thoughts and links. I hope you’ll stick around for the whole thing — I promise it won’t take long (and there will still be lots of photos).

Life Events

My nephew Bowen, the cutest kid in New Mexico.

My nephew Bowen, the cutest kid in New Mexico.

This year was a big one for your humble blogger. I became an uncle, was laid off, moved across the country and then got engaged!

Thanksgiving 2014

Thanksgiving 2014

I was sad to be among 40+ people laid off by the National Wildlife Federation this year, but I’m also excited to help lead the Silver City Daily Press as it enters its 80th year of serving Grant County.

Unfortunately, with that opportunity came the difficult decision to temporarily live apart from Meredith, who remains in Baltimore with Nutmeg and Squishy. But we’re close to settling on a fall 2015 date for our wedding, and I think I’ve convinced her to come visit in February before we come up with a more permanent plan next summer.

On the Canadian side of the Horseshoe Falls at Niagara.

On the Canadian side of the Horseshoe Falls at Niagara.

A Big Year

It was also a year of firsts. This summer, I opened my first solo photography exhibit at Paula Geisler’s Common Ground Gallery. I also traveled to Canada for the first time, visiting Niagara Falls.  And I finally attended the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta.

The 2014 International Balloon Fiesta in Albuquerque.

The 2014 International Balloon Fiesta in Albuquerque.

Back in New Mexico

Golden Hour in New Mexico

Golden Hour in New Mexico.

Of course, being home in the Land of Enchantment this autumn was amazing. For the first time in 20+ years I visited the Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge (three times), and was able to photograph the cranes, ducks, geese and other waterfowl there (see the photo at the top of this post). It was an amazing experience, and one I hope to replicate this winter.

I’ve also reconnected with friends and family, including some high-school buddies I hadn’t seen since the 1990s.

Finally, I’ve fallen in love all over again with the trails, parks and wilderness around Silver City.

One of the many sunsets I've been privileged to see since I moved back in October.

One of the many sunsets I’ve been privileged to see since I moved back in October.

Fun Photography

It was a good year for my camera: we photographed a president, went to a few weddings, and saw America from the beach to the mountains, the desert to the city, and a lot in between. I also opened a print shop. But there were two events in particular that stood out.

The Star-Spangled Spectacular

The Diamond

Commemorating the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Baltimore — which Francis Scott Key witnessed before penning his famous poem — the Spectacular featured naval vessels and tall ships from around the world, and some aerial performances by the U.S. Navy Blue Angels.

I spent a few days in downtown Baltimore looking at the ships and awaiting the Angels’ performances, and on the final day of the Spectacular I boarded the Pride of Baltimore II, a replica clipper ship, for a cruise off of Fort McHenry. It was pretty awesome.

Waterfowl at the Bosque

I mentioned this earlier, but it deserves some additional attention — the spectacle was just too incredible. As much as I enjoyed the Blue Angels, they had nothing on the aerial display at the Bosque. I thought I knew what I was doing as I setup my camera one afternoon in early November, but when I saw a few thousand snow geese take flight I realized I was totally unprepared.

Flight of the Snow Geese.

Flight of the Snow Geese.

Of course, the real delight was the sandhill cranes, with their graceful silhouette and distinctive call. They’re quite a treasure for New Mexico, and something everyone here should see.

Some other favorites

Here are some other images that had some special meaning to me this year.

 Looking ahead

The Road Ahead.

The Road Ahead.

Of course, this isn’t just a time to reflect, but also to plan for the future. And knowing what I do, but realizing so much is up to fate, I think this photo might sum up my feelings on 2015: I can’t see what’s immediately around the bend in the road, but the horizon certainly looks promising.