Moments in time by Chief photographer Drew Nash

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TWIN FALLS — It's time to reflect on another terrific year in the Magic Valley. It’s been my honor and privilege to help create the first draft of history for the tight-knit communities here. Families that have lived in the valley for generations have opened their hearts and homes to me, along with some community members who have only recently arrived here from distant lands.

While it was photography that got me into the newspaper business, journalism is what has kept me here. A prerequisite for photojournalists is curiosity. We want to know more about the world in which we live and what better way to do that than by taking pictures?

I enjoy spending time with professionals in their specific fields while recording history and telling their stories. My career has always been an educational one and learning firsthand from professionals in the field is the best way to learn — in my humble opinion.

Unlike reporters who delve into specific beats, photographers learn about all the beats in the newsroom. One day, for example, I'm assigned to cover politics and protests; the next day, I’m assigned to photograph education and health care. Getting to know so many people in the community has been a blessing, and I always enjoy receiving captivating news tips from a wide array of sources. Being greeted by familiar faces every time I’m out and about on assignment compels me to stay here in the Magic Valley.

I love sharing my passion for sports photography and this year was no different. Shooting Boise State on the "Smurf Turf" is always intense, and while I love Division I play, I get just as much satisfaction covering the myriad of competitive high school sports in the area. Photographing quiet moments such as a young girl offering a cookie to her role model who just finished a cross-country race or the fraction of time that a basketball player charges in for a shot are critical moments. These are your stories, your moments.

This year, the photography department implemented a multi-part series featuring our refugee populations. We hoped to show — by stripping away the refugee label — that those who sometimes look or sound different are actually just like the rest of us. They are mothers and fathers, neighbors and coworkers, teachers and truck drivers, filled with compassion and love for their families and their communities.

With thousands of stories to tell throughout the valley, I was blessed to cover events such as the Special Needs Halloween Party. I couldn’t help but walk around with a grin from ear to ear. Those with special needs are indeed special. They open their hearts more easily. They judge less and, by all means, they dance better than I do any day.

In general, I covered some beautiful assignments. Witnessing a veteran receiving military honors as he is carried out of his home for the last time will stay with me forever. Wrapping my cameras in rain gear and firing off frames at the fire hose competition during Sagebrush Days was another bright spot amid a very interesting year. Other moments I won’t soon forget were seeing a Citizens Police Academy cadet take on a taser, and the always weird and interesting Trashion Show put on by the Aveda Institute.

I’ve long enjoyed getting to know the subcultures we have around here. Getting to know the BASE community better, the rodeo folk a bit more deeply, our law enforcement officers and even our very own Times-News press operators has truly been a pleasure.

As a photojournalist, my job requires me to blend in and get along with all of my subjects. I feel as if I have developed more empathy than I may have otherwise because of the opportunities my career has allowed me.

By the end of 2019, I will have worked on hundreds of assignments across dozens of Magic Valley towns. I will have created nearly 3,000 images for our print and online products. In today's pages, I’m sharing with you some of my favorite moments through photos. I hope you enjoy viewing them as much as I enjoyed capturing them. I couldn’t do the work if it wasn’t for you.

The newsroom came up with a new hashtag this year and I think it sums up what we do here perfectly — #localmatters.

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