2010 Pictures of the Year

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Bats and baseballs litter the field as the Walla Walla High School baseball team stretches the lengthening hours of sunlight during a pre-season practice at Murr Sports Park.

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The Coca-Cola bottle hot air balloon, one of the tallest balloons in the country, bubbles to life with a videographer inside from the Jonathan M. Wainwright Memorial VA grounds for the Thursday morning launch on media day to open the 2010 Walla Walla Balloon Stampede.

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Marianne Johnson (8) zeroes in on the ball with perfect concentration during the Warriors game aginst Treasure Valley.

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Framed through the curving edges of a wine glass, Jean Carwile Masteller appears to experience an in and out of body experience during Forgeron Cellars' sensory class Saturday afternoon at the winery. Her husband Richard Masteller sits across the table from her as the two listen to winemaker Marie-Eve Gilla talk about the nuances ofsensing different aromas and tastes.

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Irish coach Tim Duncan and the rest of the DeSales bench jumps for joy as a three-point shot sinks adding to their lead during the second-half of their State 2B tournament game against Orcas Island Wednesday afternoon. The Irish knocked Orcas Island out of the state tournament with their victory.

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Kade Limont, 5, closes his eyes as he picks up speed with a push from his father Paul Limont while sledding down the berm at Pioneer Park in Walla Walla, Wash.

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Old, dry wood from an abandoned house in College Place fuels a raging training fire set to burn the house to the ground after firefighting training exercises inside Saturday morning.

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Running along-side his daughter Kayla Duran, 6, to help with her balance, Ricardo Duran smiles broadly and cheers as she figures out how to ride her bike without training wheels. The two traveled up and down the sidewalk with Ricardo there to catch Kayla when she fell and help her get rolling again.

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Protected from the morning rain, Elizabeth Humphrey walks underneath a blazing sun on the Walla Walla Village Winery sign on South Third Avenue Monday morning while headed to work at Baker Boyer Bank.

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In his Panzl S330 Air National Guard pilot Lt. Colonel John Klatt rolls inverted and flies above friend and pilot Bill Stein in his Edge 540 during a media flight to preview the Tri-City Water Follies Air Show this weekend over the Columbia River.

An annual challenge of my job as a photojournalist comes when asked to compile my year in photos. Every 12 months I'm faced with the same obvious question: Which photos do I choose?

Should I pick photos of events that come annually, but nonetheless provide yearly excitement in Walla Walla, such as the balloon stampede or fair? Or, instead should my selections focus on unique moments from the year, showcasing seminal events or occurances not likely to repeat?

As in past years, none of the above approaches struck me as "right." Instead, I have compiled a collection of photos that could most simply be called my favorites.

Some images are favorites for artistic or creative reasons. An uncommon day of summer rain juxtaposed against a bright sunny sign or a moment of control during the chaos of a college soccer match for example.

Other images make the cut because they offer a glimpse of life's simple pleasures. The smile on a father's face as his daughter rides her bike for the first time or a hill of fresh snow offering father and son toboggan time.

The simple, imperfect beauty of life courses through the detail of each image, causing me to pause, and linger.

With that, I offer a few of my favorites from 2010, hoping that at least one will bring a smile to your face or some joy to your heart. Hopefully both.

Jeff Horner's pictures of the year

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