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If you’re driving down the two-lane highway that’s the only paved road in New Zealand’s Fiordland National Park, you can have only one destination — after all, the highway ends at Milford Sound.

© 2016. The Milford Sound / Piopiotahi in Fiordland National Park in the Southland region of New Zealand. Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2016. Portra 400, Pentax 6×7.

Milford Sound, or Piopiotahi in Maori, is one of several fiords in Fiordland. It’s by far the most accessible, and is by some measures New Zealand’s most famous tourist attraction.

We booked a late-afternoon two-hour cruise to allow us plenty of time to make stops along the way to Milford Sound, plus explore the area on foot before embarking on the boat.

© 2016. The Milford Sound / Piopiotahi in Fiordland National Park in the Southland region of New Zealand. Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2016. Portra 400, Pentax 6×7.

© 2016. The Milford Sound / Piopiotahi in Fiordland National Park in the Southland region of New Zealand. Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2016. Portra 160+1, Pentax 6×7.

© 2016. The Milford Sound / Piopiotahi in Fiordland National Park in the Southland region of New Zealand. Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2016. Portra 160+1, Pentax 6×7.

© 2016. The Milford Sound / Piopiotahi in Fiordland National Park in the Southland region of New Zealand. Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2016. Portra 160+1, Pentax 6×7.

Because our boat was so small, the cruise operators were able to steer us fairly close to waterfalls and other features. They also took us out into the open Tasman Sea for maybe 15 minutes, which was enough to churn my stomach. Other cruise companies do offer longer or overnight durations in larger boats, which wouldn’t be as affected by the water currents.

© 2016. The Milford Sound / Piopiotahi in Fiordland National Park in the Southland region of New Zealand. Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2016. Portra 160+1, Pentax 6×7.

© 2016. The Milford Sound / Piopiotahi in Fiordland National Park in the Southland region of New Zealand. Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2016. Portra 160+1, Pentax 6×7.

© 2016. The Milford Sound / Piopiotahi in Fiordland National Park in the Southland region of New Zealand. Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2016. Portra 160+1, Pentax 6×7.

© 2016. The Milford Sound / Piopiotahi in Fiordland National Park in the Southland region of New Zealand. Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2016. Portra 160+1, Pentax 6×7.

I was nursing my second cup of tea inside the boat lounge to try to soothe my roiling stomach when, very unexpectedly, the sun broke through the clouds for the first time that entire day. I immediately jumped from my seat and ran to the stern, where I captured these last two frames before the clouds obscured the sun once again.

© 2016. The Milford Sound / Piopiotahi in Fiordland National Park in the Southland region of New Zealand. Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2016. Portra 160+1, Pentax 6×7.

And, just a moment later:

© 2016. The Milford Sound / Piopiotahi in Fiordland National Park in the Southland region of New Zealand. Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2016. Portra 160+1, Pentax 6×7.

Thank goodness I had several frames left at the end of that roll of film — these final two photos are among my very favorites from the entire trip.

 


A selection of these photos can be purchased as prints at prints.christhedunn.com.

Of New Zealand’s 14 national parks, Fiordland National Park is the largest, arguably the most isolated and perhaps the least touched by humans.

It’s stunning.

© 2016. Te Anau-Milford Highway in Fiordland National Park in the Southland region of New Zealand. Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2016. Portra 400, Pentax 6×7.

© 2016. Lake Marian waterfalls track in Fiordland National Park in the Southland region of New Zealand. Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2016. Portra 400, Pentax 6×7.

A single, two-lane highway runs through the park, with only a few unpaved roads branching off. There are a couple established tracks for multi-day trampers, but otherwise, much of the park is inaccessible to visitors. Even before the development of the modern tourism industry, Fiordland has remained largely unmodified by humans because of the steep, glacier-carved terrain as well as moody weather (an annual average of 200 rainy days!) and the resulting thick vegetation.

We drove from Te Anau north to Milford Sound, where we had an afternoon cruise scheduled. On the way, we made a couple stops, including a brief detour down Hollyford Road to hike a bit on the Lake Marian track, from which several falls are visible.

© 2016. Lake Marian waterfalls track in Fiordland National Park in the Southland region of New Zealand. Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2016. Portra 400, Pentax 6×7.

© 2016. Lake Marian waterfalls track in Fiordland National Park in the Southland region of New Zealand. Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2016. Portra 400, Pentax 6×7.

© 2016. Lake Marian waterfalls track in Fiordland National Park in the Southland region of New Zealand. Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2016. Portra 400, Pentax 6×7.

© 2016. Lake Marian waterfalls track in Fiordland National Park in the Southland region of New Zealand. Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2016. Portra 400, Pentax 6×7.

© 2016. Lake Marian waterfalls track in Fiordland National Park in the Southland region of New Zealand. Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2016. Portra 400, Pentax 6×7.

Unfortunately, we didn’t get anywhere near Lake Marian itself — roundtrip, the entire track would have taken at least a few hours.

We did stop at “the Chasm” before arriving at Milford Sound. The Cleddau River’s thundering waters have, over time, carved out steep channels and falls in the rock that are visible from a couple foot bridges.

© 2016. The “Chasm” track over the Cleddau River in Fiordland National Park in the Southland region of New Zealand. Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2016. Portra 400, Pentax 6×7.

© 2016. The “Chasm” track over the Cleddau River in Fiordland National Park in the Southland region of New Zealand. Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2016. Portra 400, Pentax 6×7.

© 2016. The “Chasm” track over the Cleddau River in Fiordland National Park in the Southland region of New Zealand. Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2016. Portra 400, Pentax 6×7.

Next up: Milford Sound.

 


A selection of these photos can be purchased as prints at prints.christhedunn.com.

There’s a lot of water in New Zealand, and it’s all beautiful.

Our next stop after Fox Glacier was Queenstown, so we took Highway 6 south. It’s a gorgeous route that follows the Haast River, first skirting around the edges of Mount Aspiring National Park and then delving through the park’s eastern sides. We stopped along the way to walk a quick track, cross a couple suspension bridges and see the Blue Pools:

© 2016. Blue Pools in Mount Aspiring National Park in the Wanaka region of New Zealand. Sunday, Dec. 4, 2016. Ektar +2, Pentax 6×7.

© 2016. Blue Pools in Mount Aspiring National Park in the Wanaka region of New Zealand. Sunday, Dec. 4, 2016. Ektar +2, Pentax 6×7.

Fun fact about this southwestern part of the South Island: If you stand still for longer than a moment, you will get swarmed by sandflies, which are gnat-sized flying insects that bite. The sandfly hordes were particularly bad when we were on the Blue Pools track, especially near the water, to the point that I worried I’d trapped a couple sandflies in my camera body after I changed lenses.

Onwards down Highway 6, there’s Lake Wanaka and its stunning views.

© 2016. View over Lake Wanaka in the Otago region of New Zealand. Sunday, Dec. 4, 2016. Ektar +2, Pentax 6×7.

© 2016. “That Wanaka Tree,” a willow tree in Lake Wanaka in the Otago region of New Zealand. Sunday, Dec. 4, 2016. Ektar +2, Pentax 6×7.

That’s an Instagram-famous tree, by the way.

We checked into our Queenstown hotel pretty late, so we explored the historic gold-mining town Arrowton and Queenstown the next morning. Queenstown was by far the single most touristy place we visited, as it’s basically a huge resort town with seasonal adventure activities like bungee-jumping, paragliding, kayaking, skiing, mountain biking and more. It was nice to walk around the shops, but it felt good to depart for a quick northbound detour to Glenorchy before going to Te Anau for the night.

The Glenorchy-Queenstown Road is more of a “journey, not the destination” experience, and we lucked out with some gorgeous weather on our scenic drive.

© 2016. Glenorchy-Queenstown Road in the Otago region of New Zealand. Monday, Dec. 5, 2016. Ektar +2, Pentax 6×7.

For the first half of this trip, I was obsessed with ferns. For the second half, I was obsessed with lupins.

© 2016. Glenorchy-Queenstown Road in the Otago region of New Zealand. Monday, Dec. 5, 2016. Ektar +2, Pentax 6×7.

© 2016. Glenorchy-Queenstown Road in the Otago region of New Zealand. Monday, Dec. 5, 2016. Ektar +2, Pentax 6×7.

© 2016. Glenorchy-Queenstown Road in the Otago region of New Zealand. Monday, Dec. 5, 2016. Ektar +2, Pentax 6×7.

© 2016. Glenorchy-Queenstown Road in the Otago region of New Zealand. Monday, Dec. 5, 2016. Ektar +2, Pentax 6×7.

© 2016. Glenorchy-Queenstown Road in the Otago region of New Zealand. Monday, Dec. 5, 2016. Ektar +2, Pentax 6×7.

Glenorchy is a super teeny town, and we fortunately found the one gas station before it closed at 5 p.m. After filling up our tank, we returned down the same road and then on to Te Anau, where we’d spend the next two nights.

 


A selection of these photos can be purchased as prints at prints.christhedunn.com.

The day after we relished golden sunshine and gallivanted on West Coast beaches, we were supposed to be ice-hiking on one of New Zealand’s two major temperate maritime glaciers.

But iffy weather made for less-than-ideal conditions for the helicopter flights necessary for taking us to and from Fox Glacier. Fortunately, we’d anticipated that weather could be an issue for the helicopters and so had already budgeted in an extra day in the area. So we spent the day hiking to see the glacier and then exploring the village.

© 2016. Pedestrian track to view Fox Glacier / Te Moeka o Tuawe in Westland Tai Poutini National Park on the West Coast, New Zealand. Saturday, Dec. 3, 2016. Portra 400, Pentax 6×7.

The pedestrian track to view the glacier’s terminal face is initially pretty level, following a stream that flows from the glacier.

© 2016. Pedestrian track to view Fox Glacier / Te Moeka o Tuawe in Westland Tai Poutini National Park on the West Coast, New Zealand. Saturday, Dec. 3, 2016. Portra 400, Pentax 6×7.

© 2016. View from the pedestrian track to view Fox Glacier / Te Moeka o Tuawe in Westland Tai Poutini National Park on the West Coast, New Zealand. Saturday, Dec. 3, 2016. Portra 400, Pentax 6×7.

Then, the path becomes quite steep as it goes straight up the side of the valley, with no switchbacks. The worst part is, plenty of signage warns visitors to keep walking and not to stop, because the risk of rockfalls is so high. We arrived panting heavily at the path’s terminal, where we could finally get a good view of the glacier.

© 2016. Pedestrian track to view Fox Glacier / Te Moeka o Tuawe in Westland Tai Poutini National Park on the West Coast, New Zealand. Saturday, Dec. 3, 2016. Portra 400, Pentax 6×7.

© 2016. Pedestrian track to view Fox Glacier / Te Moeka o Tuawe in Westland Tai Poutini National Park on the West Coast, New Zealand. Saturday, Dec. 3, 2016. Portra 400, Pentax 6×7.

© 2016. Pedestrian track to view Fox Glacier / Te Moeka o Tuawe in Westland Tai Poutini National Park on the West Coast, New Zealand. Saturday, Dec. 3, 2016. Portra 400, Pentax 6×7.

The next day, we returned to the Fox Glacier Guiding building and were delighted/relieved that the weather had cleared sufficiently for us to go on our ice hike. After getting a rundown on glacier and helicopter safety, we walked to the pad with the rest of our tour group: a couple with a young daughter, a brother and sister on holiday and three young women.

© 2016. Fox Glacier / Te Moeka o Tuawe in Westland Tai Poutini National Park on the West Coast, New Zealand. Sunday, Dec. 4, 2016. Portra 160+1, Pentax 6×7.

© 2016. Fox Glacier / Te Moeka o Tuawe in Westland Tai Poutini National Park on the West Coast, New Zealand. Sunday, Dec. 4, 2016. Portra 160+1, Pentax 6×7.

Once on the ice, we met our guide, strapped crampons to our boots and began our three-hour hike.

© 2016. Fox Glacier / Te Moeka o Tuawe in Westland Tai Poutini National Park on the West Coast, New Zealand. Sunday, Dec. 4, 2016. Portra 160+1, Pentax 6×7.

© 2016. Fox Glacier / Te Moeka o Tuawe in Westland Tai Poutini National Park on the West Coast, New Zealand. Sunday, Dec. 4, 2016. Portra 160+1, Pentax 6×7.

© 2016. Fox Glacier / Te Moeka o Tuawe in Westland Tai Poutini National Park on the West Coast, New Zealand. Sunday, Dec. 4, 2016. Portra 160+1, Pentax 6×7.

Our guide took us down the glacier from the helicopter landing area, where he knew there would be more interesting formations. He’d go on ahead of us, carve out steps in the ice if there was a slippery area and find features like crevices and ice caves that we could explore, once he’d inspected them for safety.

I’d heard that glaciers are constantly changing and moving, but there’s also the phrase “glacial pace,” so I asked him how dramatically the glacier changes. After a pause, he compared the glacier to a baby — day by day, it doesn’t seem to change much, but if you looked at it week by week or month by month, the differences are much more obvious.

© 2016. Fox Glacier / Te Moeka o Tuawe in Westland Tai Poutini National Park on the West Coast, New Zealand. Sunday, Dec. 4, 2016. Portra 160+1, Pentax 6×7.

© 2016. Fox Glacier / Te Moeka o Tuawe in Westland Tai Poutini National Park on the West Coast, New Zealand. Sunday, Dec. 4, 2016. Portra 160+1, Pentax 6×7.

© 2016. Fox Glacier / Te Moeka o Tuawe in Westland Tai Poutini National Park on the West Coast, New Zealand. Sunday, Dec. 4, 2016. Portra 160+1, Pentax 6×7.

© 2016. Fox Glacier / Te Moeka o Tuawe in Westland Tai Poutini National Park on the West Coast, New Zealand. Sunday, Dec. 4, 2016. Portra 160+1, Pentax 6×7.

© 2016. Fox Glacier / Te Moeka o Tuawe in Westland Tai Poutini National Park on the West Coast, New Zealand. Sunday, Dec. 4, 2016. Portra 160+1, Pentax 6×7.

© 2016. Fox Glacier / Te Moeka o Tuawe in Westland Tai Poutini National Park on the West Coast, New Zealand. Sunday, Dec. 4, 2016. Portra 160+1, Pentax 6×7.

© 2016. Fox Glacier / Te Moeka o Tuawe in Westland Tai Poutini National Park on the West Coast, New Zealand. Sunday, Dec. 4, 2016. Portra 160+1, Pentax 6×7.

© 2016. Fox Glacier / Te Moeka o Tuawe in Westland Tai Poutini National Park on the West Coast, New Zealand. Sunday, Dec. 4, 2016. Portra 160+1, Pentax 6×7.

The glacier hike was far and away the most expensive single experience we had in New Zealand, but we agreed it was absolutely worth it. Seeing the terminal face from the pedestrian track was awe-inspiring by itself, but it’s impossible to get a good sense of the glacier’s vastness until you’re flying over it or are exploring it on foot.

 


A selection of these photos can be purchased as prints at prints.christhedunn.com.

On the second day of New Zealand summer, Jeff and I took a ferry across the Cook Strait, tasted wine at a Blenheim winery and drove halfway down the entire South Island on the West Coast, surviving some hairpin turns on the Great Coast Road, making spontaneous stops at Tasman Sea beaches and famous rock formations and then hurtling south past a glorious sunset and under a brilliant canopy of crystal-clear constellations on the clearest night we’d had yet.

It was a long, glorious day from Wellington to Franz Josef Glacier.

© 2016. Fox River Beach on the West Coast, New Zealand. Friday, Dec. 2, 2016. Ektar +2, Pentax 6×7.

New Zealand, we found, has nicknames for its major highways — Highway 5 south out of Rotorua is the “Thermal Explorer Highway” — and the Great Coast Road lives up to its name. After enduring mostly cloudy skies for much of our North Island escapade, we were overjoyed to see beautiful, golden sunshine as we drove down the South Island’s beautiful West Coast.

The Great Coast Road offers access to a number of small Tasman Sea beaches. We happened to pull off at the Fox River Beach, where we discovered the tide was low enough for us to cross the rock-lined river mouth…

© 2016. Fox River Beach on the West Coast, New Zealand. Friday, Dec. 2, 2016. Ektar +2, Pentax 6×7.

© 2016. Fox River Beach on the West Coast, New Zealand. Friday, Dec. 2, 2016. Ektar +2, Pentax 6×7.

© 2016. Fox River Beach on the West Coast, New Zealand. Friday, Dec. 2, 2016. Ektar +2, Pentax 6×7.

…to access a really pleasant sandy beach with towering rock formations.

© 2016. Fox River Beach on the West Coast, New Zealand. Friday, Dec. 2, 2016. Ektar +2, Pentax 6×7.

Oh, and a beach cave:

© 2016. Fox River Beach on the West Coast, New Zealand. Friday, Dec. 2, 2016. Ektar +2, Pentax 6×7.

We also took one of my favorite photos of us together on the trip at this beach:

© 2016 by Jeff Lautenberger. Self-timer on a DSLR camera.

After brushing the sand off our feet, we got back in the car and continued racing southward, trying to see as much of the West Coast for as long as we could before the sun set.

© 2016. Paparoa National Park in the West Coast, New Zealand. Friday, Dec. 2, 2016. Ektar +2, Pentax 6×7.

Fortunately, we arrived at Punakaiki at just the right time.

© 2016. Punakaiki Pancake Rocks and Blowholes in Paparoa National Park in the West Coast, New Zealand. Friday, Dec. 2, 2016. Ektar +2, Pentax 6×7.

© 2016. Punakaiki Pancake Rocks and Blowholes in Paparoa National Park in the West Coast, New Zealand. Friday, Dec. 2, 2016. Ektar +2, Pentax 6×7.

Punakaiki itself is a “blink and you’ll miss it” community on the West Coast Road. To access the Pancake Rocks (which are limestone formations 30 million years in the making), you park in a car park on the east side of the highway, cross the highway and start walking on a paved trail. It couldn’t be simpler.

© 2016. Punakaiki Pancake Rocks and Blowholes in Paparoa National Park in the West Coast, New Zealand. Friday, Dec. 2, 2016. Ektar +2, Pentax 6×7.

© 2016. Punakaiki Pancake Rocks and Blowholes in Paparoa National Park in the West Coast, New Zealand. Friday, Dec. 2, 2016. Ektar +2, Pentax 6×7.

As for the “Blowholes” part? The tide was too low for us to experience the sea waters roiling and bursting about the limestone formations. I was happy enough that we got to enjoy the view on such a fine evening.

© 2016. Punakaiki Pancake Rocks and Blowholes in Paparoa National Park in the West Coast, New Zealand. Friday, Dec. 2, 2016. Ektar +2, Pentax 6×7.

After we’d walked the entire trail and relished the sunlight, we got a small pizza at Pancake Rocks Cafe and then continued our drive southward under what would be the only night sky clear enough for us to see the stars. Ironically — because our trip hashtag was #wherethestarsarestrange, in reference to being in the southern hemisphere — I couldn’t find a safe spot in the utter darkness to pull off the highway so we could enjoy the stars.

I guess we’ll just have to go back.

 


A selection of these photos can be purchased as prints at prints.christhedunn.com.

The day after we toured the Hobbiton Movie Set, we hiked a short ways on New Zealand’s largest active volcano. It was very cold and windy, but I guess that’s the better alternative to violently erupting.

© 2016. Tongariro National Park in Ruapehu District, New Zealand. Thursday, Dec. 1, 2016. Portra 400, Pentax 6×7.

Before driving halfway up Mount Ruapehu, which also happens to be the highest point on the North Island, we hiked the ridge track. In retrospect, one of the waterfalls tracks might have been better — plus, the Forbidden Pool scene from The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers was filmed at one of those waterfalls.

But, after enjoying the lush rolling hills of the Shire, it was nice to get back into real mountains.

© 2016. Tongariro National Park in Ruapehu District, New Zealand. Thursday, Dec. 1, 2016. Portra 400, Pentax 6×7.

© 2016. Tongariro National Park in Ruapehu District, New Zealand. Thursday, Dec. 1, 2016. Portra 400, Pentax 6×7.

© 2016. Tongariro National Park in Ruapehu District, New Zealand. Thursday, Dec. 1, 2016. Portra 400, Pentax 6×7.

© 2016. Tongariro National Park in Ruapehu District, New Zealand. Thursday, Dec. 1, 2016. Portra 400, Pentax 6×7.

Of course, as soon as we were driving south outside the park, the clouds parted over us and so we pulled over for this quintessential New Zealand scene:

© 2016. Outside Tongariro National Park in Ruapehu District, New Zealand. Thursday, Dec. 1, 2016. Portra 400, Pentax 6×7.

We then drove on to Wellington, where we would stay the night before boarding the ferry for our South Island adventures. Before turning in for the night, we visited the Weta Cave and then, on a whim, went to Mount Victoria.

© 2016. Mount Victoria in Wellington, New Zealand. Thursday, Dec. 1, 2016. Ektar +2, Pentax 6×7.

Mount Victoria is a hill in the middle of Wellington that offers excellent views of the city and of Cook Strait. There are some residential areas on the slopes of the hill, plus a tunnel runs underneath to connect the sides of the city.

© 2016. Mount Victoria in Wellington, New Zealand. Thursday, Dec. 1, 2016. Ektar +2, Pentax 6×7.

© 2016. Mount Victoria in Wellington, New Zealand. Thursday, Dec. 1, 2016. Ektar +2, Pentax 6×7.

A couple of scenes from The Lord of the Rings were filmed on Mount Victoria as well (the hobbits hiding from the Ringwraiths, plus Dunharrow), which only deepened our appreciation for talented film location scouts. But the web of trails, with many variations in grade, is excellent for anyone looking for exercise. We shared the trail with bikers and runners alike, as well as two women walking their dogs and cat.

© 2016. Mount Victoria in Wellington, New Zealand. Thursday, Dec. 1, 2016. Ektar +2, Pentax 6×7.

© 2016. Mount Victoria in Wellington, New Zealand. Thursday, Dec. 1, 2016. Ektar +2, Pentax 6×7.

© 2016. Mount Victoria in Wellington, New Zealand. Thursday, Dec. 1, 2016. Ektar +2, Pentax 6×7.

© 2016. Mount Victoria in Wellington, New Zealand. Thursday, Dec. 1, 2016. Ektar +2, Pentax 6×7.

 


A selection of these photos can be purchased as prints at prints.christhedunn.com.

There are no hobbits in Hobbiton.

© 2016. Hobbiton Movie Set in Matamata, New Zealand. Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2016. Ektar +2, Pentax 6×7.

Before we left for our New Zealand honeymoon, I joked that the whole trip would be a failure if we didn’t find hobbits at the Hobbiton Movie Set. We spent several hours there and saw nary a hobbit, but our evening banquet tour was nevertheless one of the most delightful things I’ve ever experienced.

© 2016. Hobbiton Movie Set in Matamata, New Zealand. Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2016. Ektar +2, Pentax 6×7.

We booked the evening banquet tour, which was a solid choice because:

  • Our tour group was the last on the property, so there were no groups crowding behind us and the hardcore fans among us could lag behind the more casual tourists;
  • We ate to our hearts’ delight during the hearty, rich and plentiful banquet at the Green Dragon Inn, which was especially welcome after a couple days of light eating;
  • We had a second, twilight tour of the movie set after the banquet, so we got to see the hobbit holes lit up and had the entire set to ourselves.

© 2016. Hobbiton Movie Set in Matamata, New Zealand. Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2016. Ektar +2, Pentax 6×7.

© 2016. Hobbiton Movie Set in Matamata, New Zealand. Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2016. Ektar +2, Pentax 6×7.

© 2016. Hobbiton Movie Set in Matamata, New Zealand. Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2016. Ektar +2, Pentax 6×7.

The actual movie set is not super large — when we watched The Fellowship of the Ring recently, I could see how economical the cinematographers were in utilizing every angle of the set to make it seem like Hobbiton was a bucolic sprawl when in fact the entire walking paths could easily be trod inside of an hour. But this just added to the magic of getting to see the set in person. Even Jeff, a cynic, was enchanted by the evening’s end.

© 2016. Hobbiton Movie Set in Matamata, New Zealand. Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2016. Ektar +2, Pentax 6×7.

© 2016. Hobbiton Movie Set in Matamata, New Zealand. Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2016. Ektar +2, Pentax 6×7.

© 2016. Hobbiton Movie Set in Matamata, New Zealand. Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2016. Ektar +2, Pentax 6×7.

© 2016. Hobbiton Movie Set in Matamata, New Zealand. Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2016. Ektar +2, Pentax 6×7.

© 2016. Hobbiton Movie Set in Matamata, New Zealand. Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2016. Ektar +2, Pentax 6×7.

© 2016. Hobbiton Movie Set in Matamata, New Zealand. Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2016. Ektar +2, Pentax 6×7.

© 2016. Hobbiton Movie Set in Matamata, New Zealand. Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2016. Ektar +2, Pentax 6×7.

© 2016. Hobbiton Movie Set in Matamata, New Zealand. Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2016. Ektar +2, Pentax 6×7.

© 2016. Hobbiton Movie Set in Matamata, New Zealand. Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2016. Portra 400+3, Pentax 6×7.

© 2016. Hobbiton Movie Set in Matamata, New Zealand. Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2016. Portra 400+3, Pentax 6×7.

© 2016. Hobbiton Movie Set in Matamata, New Zealand. Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2016. Portra 400+3, Pentax 6×7.

© 2016. Hobbiton Movie Set in Matamata, New Zealand. Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2016. Portra 400+3, Pentax 6×7.

 


Due to trademark law, prints of the Hobbiton Movie Set are not available for purchase.

When we found ourselves with some free time between cave tours and our Hobbiton Movie Set evening banquet tour, we found ourselves at the Hamilton Gardens.

© 2016. English Flower Garden in Hamilton Gardens in Hamilton, New Zealand. Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2016. Portra 160+1, Pentax 6×7.

© 2016. Modernist Garden in Hamilton Gardens in Hamilton, New Zealand. Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2016. Portra 160+1, Pentax 6×7.

Built on the remains of a rubbish dump, the Hamilton Gardens is a collection of 21 gardens themed by different varieties of architectures, lifestyles and traditions. It’s technically not a botanical garden, but it might just be one of my favorite gardens I’ve ever visited. Each garden led to another, or sometimes several. After spending a couple hours underground touring the Waitomo Glowworm Caves and the Ruakuri Cave, it was lovely to explore this maze of green growth.

© 2016. Modernist Garden in Hamilton Gardens in Hamilton, New Zealand. Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2016. Portra 160+1, Pentax 6×7.

© 2016. English Flower Garden in Hamilton Gardens in Hamilton, New Zealand. Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2016. Portra 160+1, Pentax 6×7.

© 2016. Chinese Scholar’s Garden in Hamilton Gardens in Hamilton, New Zealand. Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2016. Portra 160+1, Pentax 6×7.

© 2016. Chinese Scholar’s Garden in Hamilton Gardens in Hamilton, New Zealand. Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2016. Portra 160+1, Pentax 6×7.

© 2016. Indian Char Bagh Garden in Hamilton Gardens in Hamilton, New Zealand. Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2016. Portra 160+1, Pentax 6×7.

© 2016. Indian Char Bagh Garden in Hamilton Gardens in Hamilton, New Zealand. Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2016. Portra 160+1, Pentax 6×7.

© 2016. Indian Char Bagh Garden in Hamilton Gardens in Hamilton, New Zealand. Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2016. Portra 160+1, Pentax 6×7.

© 2016. Italian Renaissance Garden in Hamilton Gardens in Hamilton, New Zealand. Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2016. Portra 160+1, Pentax 6×7.

© 2016. Italian Renaissance Garden in Hamilton Gardens in Hamilton, New Zealand. Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2016. Portra 160+1, Pentax 6×7.

© 2016. Kitchen Garden in Hamilton Gardens in Hamilton, New Zealand. Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2016. Portra 160+1, Pentax 6×7.

© 2016. Kitchen Garden in Hamilton Gardens in Hamilton, New Zealand. Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2016. Portra 160+1, Pentax 6×7.

© 2016. Tropical Garden in Hamilton Gardens in Hamilton, New Zealand. Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2016. Portra 160+1, Pentax 6×7.

© 2016. Tropical Garden in Hamilton Gardens in Hamilton, New Zealand. Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2016. Portra 160+1, Pentax 6×7.

© 2016. Hamilton Gardens in Hamilton, New Zealand. Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2016. Portra 160+1, Pentax 6×7.

© 2016. Hamilton Gardens in Hamilton, New Zealand. Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2016. Portra 160+1, Pentax 6×7.

© 2016. Hamilton Gardens in Hamilton, New Zealand. Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2016. Portra 160+1, Pentax 6×7.

© 2016. Hamilton Gardens in Hamilton, New Zealand. Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2016. Portra 160+1, Pentax 6×7.

 


A selection of these photos can be purchased as prints at prints.christhedunn.com.

Growing up, I took only a mild interest in my family’s history. As second-generation Chinese-Americans, my brothers and I knew the basics of how our parents’ parents had carved out their space in the U.S., but we weren’t pressured too hard to go into engineering, finance or law. (There was some pressure, but I did become a journalist and my parents still love me.) We didn’t speak Chinese at home, but my mom passed on the important lessons — remove your shoes when you enter a home, top off others’ teacups before refilling your own, education comes first — and we still got red envelopes on Lunar New Year.

But over the past couple of years, I’ve begun asserting my identity as a Chinese-American. Maybe it’s because I see my young niece and nephew and I wonder how I’ll pass on my heritage to my rhetorical children. Maybe it’s because I regret the error of my flippant childhood/adolescent/young adult attempts at pretending — or hoping — I wasn’t any different than the people I went to school with. Maybe it’s because I know my parents, uncles and one remaining grandparent aren’t getting any younger and there remain untold stories that I want to hear, but I don’t know enough to ask.

Perhaps it’s because I have a belatedly newfound appreciation for the challenges and struggles immigrants face, no matter when they came to the U.S., and I am proud of what my family has accomplished in spite of the obstacles that were strewn across their paths.

So, lately, I’ve taken a greater interest in my family’s history. A couple months ago, I got to join my grandmother on the most personal, once-in-a-lifetime trip I can imagine taking. When I haven’t been working on my print shop or moving across town or traveling once again, I’ve been culling and editing the film I shot in China with my grandmother. I finally finished going through it last night. And I apologize if this just makes me a massive jerk, but there are a few more things I need to do before I can share the film here or anywhere.

But I’m really excited.

So, in the meantime, I’m just going to share a couple photos I took in May of my dad’s home in San Francisco Chinatown, where he and my grandparents and uncle lived when they first came to the States in the 1960s.

© 2016. Near San Francisco Chinatown. Saturday, May 6, 2017. Portra 400, Pentax 6×7.

I’m sorry I’m a jerk.

The film will come.

© 2016. Near San Francisco Chinatown. Saturday, May 6, 2017. Portra 400, Pentax 6×7.

When we travel abroad, we’re fascinated by the familiar. For Jeff, this often means fast food chains with a “local” twist; for me, plant life that I didn’t expect to encounter on another continent.

Such as California redwood trees.

© 2016. Whakarewarewa Forest in Rotorua, New Zealand. Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2016. Portra 400+2, Pentax 6×7.

If you drive about 5-10 minutes out of the city of Rotorua in New Zealand’s South Island, past some homes and warehouses and auto shops, you’ll come to Whakarewarewa Forest. There’s a visitors center, an extensive web of trails in constant use by runners, walkers, cyclists and horseback riders… and a stand of California redwoods.

Among other native and exotic plant life, as well.

We visited Whakarewarewa in the late afternoon, as the trails swelled with after-work users. But no matter how long we had to wait, on occasion, for the trails to clear enough for us to get people-less photos, the forest never felt crowded.

What a beautiful, and priceless, resource.

© 2016. Whakarewarewa Forest in Rotorua, New Zealand. Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2016. Portra 400+2, Pentax 6×7.

© 2016. Whakarewarewa Forest in Rotorua, New Zealand. Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2016. Portra 400+2, Pentax 6×7.

© 2016. Whakarewarewa Forest in Rotorua, New Zealand. Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2016. Portra 400+2, Pentax 6×7.

© 2016. Whakarewarewa Forest in Rotorua, New Zealand. Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2016. Portra 400+2, Pentax 6×7.

© 2016. Whakarewarewa Forest in Rotorua, New Zealand. Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2016. Portra 400+2, Pentax 6×7.

© 2016. Whakarewarewa Forest in Rotorua, New Zealand. Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2016. Portra 400+2, Pentax 6×7.

 


A selection of these photos can be purchased as prints at prints.christhedunn.com.

We live in a very strange, very beautiful world. Take, for instance, Waimangu Volcanic Rift Valley.

© 2016. Frying Pan Lake in Waimangu Volcanic Rift Valley in Rotorua, New Zealand. Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2016. Ektar +2, Pentax 6×7.

The valley, formed in 1886 after a volcanic eruption outside of Rotorua, is now a tourist attraction that markets itself as the world’s youngest geothermal system. Frying Pan Lake, one of the more famous features, averages a temperature of 131° Fahrenheit, resulting in a steaming surface, and has a pH of 3.5. But amid the geysers and hot springs and extremely acidic waters is an abundance of vegetation and microorganisms that repopulated the valley after the eruption.

© 2016. Frying Pan Lake in Waimangu Volcanic Rift Valley in Rotorua, New Zealand. Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2016. Ektar +2, Pentax 6×7.

© 2016. Waimangu Volcanic Rift Valley in Rotorua, New Zealand. Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2016. Portra 400, Pentax 6×7.

© 2016. Frying Pan Lake in Waimangu Volcanic Rift Valley in Rotorua, New Zealand. Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2016. Ektar +2, Pentax 6×7.

© 2016. Waimangu Volcanic Rift Valley in Rotorua, New Zealand. Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2016. Ektar +2, Pentax 6×7.

© 2016. Hot Water Creek and Springs in Waimangu Volcanic Rift Valley in Rotorua, New Zealand. Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2016. Ektar +2, Pentax 6×7.

© 2016. Cathedral Rocks and Frying Pan Lake in Waimangu Volcanic Rift Valley in Rotorua, New Zealand. Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2016. Ektar +2, Pentax 6×7.

© 2016. Hot Water Creek and Springs in Waimangu Volcanic Rift Valley in Rotorua, New Zealand. Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2016. Ektar +2, Pentax 6×7.

© 2016. Hot Water Creek and Springs in Waimangu Volcanic Rift Valley in Rotorua, New Zealand. Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2016. Ektar +2, Pentax 6×7.

© 2016. Bird’s Nest Spring in Waimangu Volcanic Rift Valley in Rotorua, New Zealand. Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2016. Ektar +2, Pentax 6×7.

© 2016. Inferno Crater Lake in Waimangu Volcanic Rift Valley in Rotorua, New Zealand. Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2016. Ektar +2, Pentax 6×7.

© 2016. Waimangu Volcanic Rift Valley in Rotorua, New Zealand. Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2016. Ektar +2, Pentax 6×7.

© 2016. Mt Haszard hiking trail in Waimangu Volcanic Rift Valley in Rotorua, New Zealand. Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2016. Ektar +2, Pentax 6×7.

© 2016. Warbrick Terrace in Waimangu Volcanic Rift Valley in Rotorua, New Zealand. Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2016. Ektar +2, Pentax 6×7.

© 2016. Warbrick Terrace in Waimangu Volcanic Rift Valley in Rotorua, New Zealand. Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2016. Ektar +2, Pentax 6×7.

© 2016. Warbrick Terrace in Waimangu Volcanic Rift Valley in Rotorua, New Zealand. Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2016. Ektar +2, Pentax 6×7.

 


A selection of these photos can be purchased as prints at prints.christhedunn.com.

Our first morning in New Zealand, we got to be the early bird who were handed lemons and made lemonade.

© 2016. Te Whanganui-A-Hei / Cathedral Cove Marine Preserve in the Coromandel Peninsula in New Zealand. Monday, Nov. 28, 2016. Ektar +2, Pentax 6×7.

Our first day in New Zealand gave us a good preview in the temperamental weather patterns we’d experience for the rest of the trip: Widespread cloud cover would give way to brilliant sunshine, only for a quick and cold rain shower to emerge out of nowhere, and vice-versa.

Our second day was much of the same. We left Auckland early enough to laugh at the morning radio hosts fretting over why Angelina didn’t invite Brad for Thanksgiving and arrived at Hahei Beach for an 8:45 a.m. sea kayak tour to Cathedral Cove. The sky was blue, the water was clear and we were ready to go.

But the winds were unusually strong, so the tour guide canceled the tour for safety. Undeterred, we drove to a half-full public access lot and hiked to Cathedral Cove instead.

© 2016. Te Whanganui-A-Hei / Cathedral Cove Marine Preserve in the Coromandel Peninsula in New Zealand. Monday, Nov. 28, 2016. Ektar +2, Pentax 6×7.

© 2016. Te Whanganui-A-Hei / Cathedral Cove Marine Preserve in the Coromandel Peninsula in New Zealand. Monday, Nov. 28, 2016. Ektar +2, Pentax 6×7.

When we arrived, there were maybe a dozen other people on the entire beach, and it almost felt like we had the place to ourselves. We left our sandals on a tree trunk near the trail and began exploring. It was a gorgeous morning, and life was good.

© 2016. Te Whanganui-A-Hei / Cathedral Cove Marine Preserve in the Coromandel Peninsula in New Zealand. Monday, Nov. 28, 2016. Ektar +2, Pentax 6×7.

© 2016. Te Whanganui-A-Hei / Cathedral Cove Marine Preserve in the Coromandel Peninsula in New Zealand. Monday, Nov. 28, 2016. Ektar +2, Pentax 6×7.

© 2016. Te Whanganui-A-Hei / Cathedral Cove Marine Preserve in the Coromandel Peninsula in New Zealand. Monday, Nov. 28, 2016. Ektar +2, Pentax 6×7.

By the time we left, an hour later, the beach was fuller and we encountered more people on the trail that took us back to the now-full parking lot. I’m not sure when we would have arrived at the beach had we kayaked from Hahei, but as disappointing as it was to have that tour canceled, I’m pretty okay with the way things worked out.

© 2016. Te Whanganui-A-Hei / Cathedral Cove Marine Preserve in the Coromandel Peninsula in New Zealand. Monday, Nov. 28, 2016. Ektar +2, Pentax 6×7.

© 2016. Te Whanganui-A-Hei / Cathedral Cove Marine Preserve in the Coromandel Peninsula in New Zealand. Monday, Nov. 28, 2016. Ektar +2, Pentax 6×7.

 


A selection of these photos can be purchased as prints at prints.christhedunn.com.

“I have crossed many mountains and many rivers, and trodden many plains, even into the far countries of Rhûn and Harad where the stars are strange.”
— Aragorn, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien

For our much-belated honeymoon, Jeff and I crossed the equator for the first time and spent two weeks in New Zealand, where we hiked a glacier, walked through a redwood forest, explored the world’s youngest geothermal system, cruised a fiord Rudyard Kipling called the eighth Wonder of the World and, of course visited the Hobbiton Movie Set.

It was all Jeff’s fault.

When we were floating ideas for a honeymoon, I wasn’t sure how big we could or should go. There are plenty of places in the U.S. I’d love to see for the first time or revisit. But when he suggested Middle-earth, there was no looking back.

So, a year and a half after our wedding, we found ourselves in Auckland, jet-lagged but high on adrenaline, as we navigated highways, roundabouts and Christmas parade road closures while driving on the “wrong” side of the road. Once we unloaded bags and took a quick shower at the hotel, we immediately went out again, eager to explore and not waste a minute of our long-expected journey.

© 2016. St Kevin’s Arcade, at the start of a self-guided walking tour through Auckland, New Zealand. Sunday, Nov. 27, 2016. Ektar +2, Pentax 6×7.

© 2016. St Kevin’s Arcade, at the start of a self-guided walking tour through Auckland, New Zealand. Sunday, Nov. 27, 2016. Ektar +2, Pentax 6×7.

© 2016. St Kevin’s Arcade, at the start of a self-guided walking tour through Auckland, New Zealand. Sunday, Nov. 27, 2016. Ektar +2, Pentax 6×7.

© 2016. The walk to Myers Park from St Kevin’s Arcade, part of a self-guided walking tour through Auckland, New Zealand. Sunday, Nov. 27, 2016. Ektar +2, Pentax 6×7.

© 2016. The walk to Myers Park from St Kevin’s Arcade, part of a self-guided walking tour through Auckland, New Zealand. Sunday, Nov. 27, 2016. Ektar +2, Pentax 6×7.

© 2016. The Edwardian-era Queen Street Shops, dating to 1909, part of a self-guided walking tour through Auckland, New Zealand. Sunday, Nov. 27, 2016. Ektar +2, Pentax 6×7.

© 2016. Women’s Suffrage Memorial mural, depicting Amey Daldy, Anne Ward, Lizzie Frost, Matilda Allsopp, Elisabeth Yates, Annie Jane Schnackenberg, Fanny Brown and Ida B. Wells, in Te Hā o Hine / Khartoum Place, as seen on a self-guided walking tour through Auckland, New Zealand. Sunday, Nov. 27, 2016. Ektar +2, Pentax 6×7.

© 2016. Vulcan Lane, as seen on a self-guided walking tour through Auckland, New Zealand. Sunday, Nov. 27, 2016. Portra 160+1, Pentax 6×7.

© 2016. Auckland harbor, as seen on a self-guided walking tour through Auckland, New Zealand. Sunday, Nov. 27, 2016. Portra 160+1, Pentax 6×7.

© 2016. Sheep and the Auckland cityscape, as seen from One Tree Hill Domain in Auckland, New Zealand. Sunday, Nov. 27, 2016. Portra 160+1, Pentax 6×7.

© 2016. Cornwall Park in Auckland, New Zealand. Sunday, Nov. 27, 2016. Portra 160+1, Pentax 6×7.

© 2016. Sheep graze in Cornwall Park in Auckland, New Zealand. Sunday, Nov. 27, 2016. Portra 160+1, Pentax 6×7.

© 2016. Cornwall Park, as seen from One Tree Hill Domain in Auckland, New Zealand. Sunday, Nov. 27, 2016. Portra 160+1, Pentax 6×7.

 


A selection of these photos can be purchased as prints at prints.christhedunn.com.

I’m pleased to announce I have opened an online storefront for my travel film photography!

I work full-time as a newspaper photographer, but keep things fresh by shooting film. Film isn’t “just” a novelty — thanks to a beloved mentor and friend, it’s how I fell in love with photography and why I switched my journalism school emphasis from reporting to photojournalism. It’s what I shoot when I travel, stateside or abroad. It forces me to slow down, makes me consider everything that goes into a single frame, gives me a physical, tangible thing. It brings me joy.

Over the past two years, in large part thanks to an online workshop I joined, I’ve been shooting more film that I’ve shared here and on Instagram. Friends and strangers have asked how they can purchase prints. For a long time, I had no good answer.

Now, I’m excited to have an answer and to share my joy. A selection of the film photography I’ve shared on my blog is available for purchase at http://prints.christhedunn.com. More photos from more adventures will be made available as they are ready.

Photographs are meant to be seen and shared. They were never meant to sit in a hard drive, on a smartphone or even in a binder, seen only if someone knows they’re already there or stumbles upon them by accident. When displayed, photographs instantly bring walls to life, brighten up shelves and tell viewers a story. When printed and treated with care, photographs can last more than a lifetime.

Please take a few moments to browse my print shop, and don’t forget to check back every now and again! I have so much more film, and so much more joy, to share in the months to come.

I am proud to partner with Musea Lab, a Tennessee small business dedicated to ensuring the highest-quality photographic prints possible.

I’d like to thank my friends and family who’ve encouraged and advised me through the months of getting everything ready, as well as my FIND in a Box family for cheering me on the entire time. Special thanks to Jeff, who of course has been there every step of the way.

© 2016 by Jeff Lautenberger.

This week, y’all.

More specifically, last week. Last week ticked off almost all the boxes, many of the scenarios, for which journalism professors try to prepare their students.

“Last week” began like this: I was asleep for one hour after covering Friday night football when I was called to a 1 a.m. fatal crash involving a bus of high school football players. Eleven hours later, I reported on a local veteran’s homecoming. After my weekend, I returned to: cover a mayoral candidate debate, preview a local Christmas attraction, photograph a highway median for a follow-up of the earlier bus crash, interview an ex-con who’d served 9 years for attempted murder, report on the unveiling of a new public mural, cover a fender-bender involving another school bus, cover a multiple-casualty interstate accident, shoot high school football and livestream/photograph Vice President Mike Pence’s visit to a local plant.

The variety of stories I covered last week is precisely why local journalism matters. People outside our coverage area may not be affected by or care about the three crashes I covered or the new mural or the football games, but York Countians may wonder why they were stuck in traffic for hours or be interested in the city’s public art or want to know if their alma mater won — and local journalists are the ones who work to provide those answers.

Pence’s visit and interactions with local business owners may resonate with business owners in other areas. Every year, the local Christmas attraction brings people from outside the county’s borders, who may want to know what to expect this year. The ex-con’s story about his working to redeem himself in his own way may help shift perceptions for folks in and out of York County.

York County isn’t the center of the universe. No one place is. But for the people who live here, and for many others who don’t, what happens here matters.

Local journalism matters.

Photos from every single assignment and spot news event I covered last week:

© 2017 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Kennard-Dale and Susquehannock football players warm up before playing a YAIAA football game Friday, Oct. 27, 2017, at Kennard-Dale. Susquehannock defeated Kennard-Dale 49-21.

© 2017 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Denis Moyer Jr., far left, watches as his son Denis Moyer III is greeted by American Legion Rider Wade Melvin of Red Lion and other riders Saturday, Oct. 28, 2017, at the Interstate 83 welcome center in Shrewsbury Township. Denis Moyer Jr., a member of the Raised & Square Chapter of the Pennsylvania Widows Sons Masonic Riders Association, organized a bike ride to greet his son Denis Moyer III upon his arrival in Pennsylvania and to escort him back home in the Reading area. Denis Moyer III completed a tour in Iraq with the U.S. Army’s 82nd Airborne Division and will ship out to Fort Carson, Colorado, in a month.

© 2017 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. The remains of a charter bus sit in the eastbound lanes of U.S. 30 just west of the Wrightsville exit early Saturday, Oct. 28, 2017. Hellam Fire Company chief Eric Strittmatter said a 1:02 a.m. call reported a westbound Ford Explorer crossed the median and collided with a charter bus transporting the Eastern York varsity football team back to the school after they played against Central High School in Martinsburg, Pa. Strittmatter said the driver of the Ford Explorer was killed, while two coaches and the bus driver were transported to York Hospital and Lancaster General Hospital. No students were transported for medical care.

© 2017 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Eastern York football players wait for their parents to retrieve them from the scene of a crash in the eastbound lanes of U.S. 30 just west of the Wrightsville exit early Saturday, Oct. 28, 2017. Hellam Fire Company chief Eric Strittmatter said a 1:02 a.m. call reported a westbound Ford Explorer crossed the median and collided with a charter bus transporting the Eastern York varsity football team back to the school after they played against Central High School in Martinsburg, Pa. Strittmatter said the driver of the Ford Explorer was killed, while two coaches and the bus driver were transported to York Hospital and Lancaster General Hospital. No students were transported for medical care.

© 2017 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Emergency personnel work the scene of a crash in the eastbound lanes of U.S. 30 just west of the Wrightsville exit early Saturday, Oct. 28, 2017. Hellam Fire Company chief Eric Strittmatter said a 1:02 a.m. call reported a westbound Ford Explorer crossed the median and collided with a charter bus transporting the Eastern York varsity football team back to the school after they played against Central High School in Martinsburg, Pa. Strittmatter said the driver of the Ford Explorer was killed, while two coaches and the bus driver were transported to York Hospital and Lancaster General Hospital. No students were transported for medical care.

© 2017 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Kim Bracey, Dave Moser and Michael Helfrich are introduced during a York mayoral candidate debate hosted by the Rotary Club of York Wednesday, Nov. 1, 2017, at the Country Club of York. The three candidates — Democratic incumbent Kim Bracey, Republican candidate Michael Helfrich and Libertarian candidate Dave Moser — are running for mayor of York in the Nov. 7 election.

© 2017 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. About 80 percent of decorations for Christmas Magic: A Festival of Lights are set up, as of Wednesday, Nov. 1, 2017, at Rocky Ridge County Park in Springettsbury Township. York County Parks’ Christmas Magic: A Festival of Lights will open for its 34th year Nov. 24.

© 2017 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. From left, York County Parks group leader Rick Detter and volunteer Derek Straub install fixtures for Christmas Magic: A Festival of Lights Wednesday, Nov. 1, 2017, at Rocky Ridge County Park in Springettsbury Township. York County Parks’ Christmas Magic: A Festival of Lights will open for its 34th year Nov. 24.

© 2017 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. The grass median of U.S. 30 is seen from Shoe House Road in Hellam Township Thursday, Nov. 2, 2017.

© 2017 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Budhi Blair relaxes with his dogs Ryder, left, and Layla, right, Thursday, Nov. 2, 2017, outside Blair’s Windsor Township home. While serving 9 years in state prison, Blair joined a veterans’ program where he learned to train rescue dogs. Blair, who said he endured childhood abuse and has PTSD from his service in Iraq, said working with dogs in the prison program helped him sleep at night and gain a new outlook on life after prison.

© 2017 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Local artist Ophelia Chambliss, left, laughs during the unveiling of the “York Community of Color” mural on the side of the Voni B. Grimes Gym in York Thursday, Nov. 2, 2017. Chambliss designed the six panels of the mural, which just under 200 members of the York community painted over a period of three months. “It’s rough, but kids painted it,” Chambliss said. “People in the community painted it.”

© 2017 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. A Red Lion Area School District bus was involved in a crash Thursday, Nov. 2, 2017, at Short Street and Freysville Road in Windsor Township. No students were aboard the bus, according to Red Lion Supt. Scott Deisley. One person was transported from the scene with minor injuries.

© 2017 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Emergency responders work the scene of a single-vehicle crash on I-83 South, north of the North George Street exit in Manchester Township, Friday, Nov. 3, 2017. Patients were transported by ambulance and a medical helicopter, while southbound traffic was restricted to a single lane.

© 2017 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Pennsylvania State Police officers comb the field near the scene of a single-vehicle crash on I-83 South, north of the North George Street exit in Manchester Township, Friday, Nov. 3, 2017. Patients were transported by ambulance and a medical helicopter, while southbound traffic was restricted to a single lane.

© 2017 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. I-83’s southbound lanes, left, are congested as vehicles merge to a single lane ahead of the scene of a single-vehicle crash on I-83 South, north of the North George Street exit in Manchester Township, Friday, Nov. 3, 2017. Patients were transported by ambulance and a medical helicopter, while southbound traffic was restricted to a single lane.

© 2017 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Dallastown students cheer as the team enters the stadium for a YAIAA football game Friday, Nov. 3, 2017, at Dallastown. Dallastown defeated Red Lion 40-27.

© 2017 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Dallastown’s Nyzair Smith leaps over Red Lion’s Zachary Crossland on his way to a touchdown in the second half of a YAIAA football game Friday, Nov. 3, 2017, at Dallastown. Dallastown defeated Red Lion 40-27.

© 2017 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Dallastown’s Raymond Christas kisses the Football for Freedom trophy after the Wildcats won a YAIAA football game Friday, Nov. 3, 2017, at Dallastown. Dallastown defeated Red Lion 40-27.

© 2017 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. U.S. Vice President Mike Pence takes a tour with Military & Commercial Fasteners Corp. operations manager Jason Siewert Saturday, Nov. 4, 2017, at the plant in Manchester Township, York County, Pennsylvania. U.S. Vice President Mike Pence visited the plant with U.S. Secretary of Labor Alex Acosta and U.S. Rep. Scott Perry, R-York County, to promote President Donald Trump’s tax reform plan.

© 2017 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Maple Donuts owner Charlie Burnside smiles at his wife as other business owners applaud during a round table discussion with U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, U.S. Secretary of Labor Alex Acosta and U.S. Rep. Scott Perry, R-York County, Saturday, Nov. 4, 2017, at Military & Commercial Fasteners Corp. in Manchester Township, York County, Pennsylvania. Pence visited the plant with Acosta and Perry, R-York County, to promote President Donald Trump’s tax reform plan.

© 2017 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. From left, U.S. Secretary of Labor Alex Acosta and U.S. Vice President Mike Pence consult each other while U.S. Rep. Scott Perry, R-York County, greets a small crowd before a round table discussion featuring local business leaders Saturday, Nov. 4, 2017, at Military & Commercial Fasteners Corp. in Manchester Township, York County, Pennsylvania. Pence visited the plant with Acosta and Perry, R-York County, to promote President Donald Trump’s tax reform plan.

Best of 2016

© 2016 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Barbara Milligan sits for a portrait in her York home Friday, Jan. 8, 2016. Milligan had applied for a temporary protection from abuse (PFA) order against her husband, whom she said abused her, and was ultimately denied a full PFA because her husband failed to appear at court hearings. Milligan now lives in a different York home than the one she shared with her husband, and said she keeps the blinds closed and the doors locked and rarely leaves because she fears for her safety.

© 2016 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Bren Taylor, 14 of Hallam, walks on East Market Street to visit his grandmother, who also lives in Hallam, Saturday, Jan. 23, 2016. A snow storm affecting much of the East Coast is expected to bring up to 3 feet of snow to York County, Pa., through Saturday evening.

© 2016 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Central York’s Dylan Chatterton is embraced by his father and assistant coach, William Chatterton, before the 145-pound medal ceremony during the PIAA Class AAA wrestling finals Saturday, March 12, 2016, at the Giant Center in Hershey.

© 2016 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Yolequi Tejada holds her son Yaniel Calderon, 3, as she and others pray with the Rev. Jonathan Sawicki before a Good Friday street procession held by the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church Friday, March 25, 2016, in York. The street procession followed the first nine of the 14-step Stations of the Cross, from Jesus’s being condemned to death through his falling with the cross for the third time, with the remaining stations taking place inside the church. The procession was performed almost entirely in Spanish, and was followed by a Spanish-language Good Friday service.

© 2016 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. A York City police officer searches for shell casings at the scene of a shooting on the 100 block of Stevens Avenue in York Wednesday, March 30, 2016. One female victim, whose injuries were reportedly not life-threatening, was taken to York Hospital.

© 2016 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. York Suburban’s Ian Firestone, center, tips the ball during practice Thursday, April 7, 2016. The York Suburban boys volleyball team is off to a 2-0 start in the season.

© 2016 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Members of Susquehanna Pipes and Drums perform outside Red Lion Fire Department’s social hall during York County’s third annual St. Baldrick’s Foundation shaving fundraiser Saturday, April 23, 2016. The event benefited pediatric cancer research, and featured two local boys who have undergone or are undergoing cancer treatments. Scot Becker, 15 of Jefferson, was diagnosed with medulla blastoma in July 2013 and has been in remission for two years, while Kai Sanborn of Springfield Township was diagnosed with leukemia in Sept. 2012 and will undergo treatment for another 1.5 years.

© 2016 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Kelley Haslam, 20, leads horses Cinder, Gypsy and Lightning back to pasture Sunday, May 15, 2015, in Windsor Township. Karen Greene keeps three therapy horses on the five-acre property she and her family have rented since Dec. 2014. After a neighbor complained, the township notified Greene of an ordinance that limits one animal per two acres of land if that animal weighs more than 125 pounds. Greene, who uses the horses for therapy for her adopted, foster and biological children and for clients at Crosswind Farm Horse Riding Program in Cross Roads, said she would have to get rid of the three horses, who cannot be separated.

© 2016 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Kennard-Dale sophomore Gavin Hill, left, chats with senior Travis McFatridge, center, as other seniors prepare to leave on their tractors Thursday, May 19, 2016, outside the school in Fawn Grove. Seniors got to drive farm tractors to and from school.

© 2016 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Seniors gather in the gym before Red Lion’s graduation Friday, June 3, 2016. Red Lion graduated just over 300 seniors in its commencement ceremony.

© 2016 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Aaron Dalton of Manchester Township carries his daughter Lily, 5, through the finish line at Heritage Hills’ second annual Color Me Free 5k Color Run Saturday, July 2, 2016, in York Township. About 100 participants ran or walked the race, which benefits Habitat for Humanity Veterans Build.

© 2016 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Callyn Lee, 6, center, laughs as brother Aidan, 11, tries to guess his “Hedbanz” card during the Lees’ “family fun night” Friday, July 29, 2016, in their York Township home. Heather and Robert Lee dedicate every Friday evening to family-friendly activities like a backyard bonfire or board games to get electronics-free face time with their three children.

© 2016 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. From left, Hanover running back ReSean Williams, York Suburban lineman Gavin Barclay and Northeastern quarterback Shannon Valenti stand for a portrait at Northeastern High School Wednesday, Aug. 3, 2016.

© 2016 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. A duck hitches a ride on the back of a kayak paddled by David Leppo of York Township on Lake Williams near the boat launch in Springfield Township Saturday, Aug. 13, 2016. York County Parks ranger Kevin Clouser said the duck, whose species or gender is unknown, has been following and getting rides from kayakers on the lake for at least several weeks.

© 2016 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Gov. Tom Wolf, left, departs Ferguson K-8 accompanied by York City School District superintendent Eric Holmes and other officials Wednesday, Sept. 4, 2016, in York. The governor visited Ferguson K-8 to highlight the funding he’s put toward education.

© 2016 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Penn State’s John Reid catches an interception in the second half of an NCAA Division I college football game Saturday, Sept. 17, 2016, at Penn State. Penn State defeated Temple 34-27, and celebrated the 50th anniversary of former head coach Joe Paterno’s first game by honoring members of the 1966 football team and showing video tributes on the scoreboard.

© 2016 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Firefighters work a fire at a gun range in West York Friday, Sept. 30, 2016. Emergency personnel responded to a working fire at West York Sporting Goods, a shooting range, in West York.

© 2016 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. A bald eagle carries a branch over the Codorus Creek and the York County Heritage Rail Trail in Manchester Township north of U.S. 30 on Friday, Oct. 7, 2016.

© 2016 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Ace Looks, 9 of Dover Township, watches Dover alumni football players prepare for an alumni football game Saturday, Oct. 15, 2016, at Dover. The teams of alumni football players featured graduate years ranging from 1977 to 2015. The game, organized by Alumni Football USA, was full-contact and benefited several local charities and organizations.

© 2016 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Sitting on the comforter that’s been her bed for the past month, Morgan Washington-Henry says grace over a take-out container of food a friend bought for her in her York apartment Thursday, Oct. 20, 2016. She plans to get a bed and mattress in the next week. Washington-Henry, 19, and her four older siblings lived with their grandmother in Harford County, Maryland, until she died when Washington-Henry was 12. Washington-Henry spent the next five years living with a relative, in foster care and a group home until she aged out of the state’s system. After couch-surfing with friends and working at a York County summer camp, Washington-Henry was referred to Bell Family Shelter in York, where she stayed for 27 days before finally moving into an apartment of her own for the first time.

© 2016 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Penn State cheerleaders greet the crowd for the team’s arrival before an NCAA Division I college football game Saturday, Oct. 22, 2016, at Beaver Stadium. Penn State is hosting Ohio State.

© 2016 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Penn State head coach James Franklin, accompanied by daughters Addy and Shola, greets stadium employees before an NCAA Division I college football game Saturday, Nov. 5, 2016, at Beaver Stadium. Penn State hosts Iowa.

© 2016 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Standing, from left, Larry and Michelle Walthour of York, Ellen Hockman of Towson, Md., and Jess Hagden of Fairview Township watch election analysis Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2016, at the Democratic Party of York County’s election watch party at the Roosevelt Tavern in York, Pa.

© 2016 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Northeastern football players embrace each other after losing a PIAA District 3 Class 5A first-round football game Friday, Nov. 11, 2016, at Northeastern. Cocalico defeated Northeastern 25-24 to advance to the next round.

© 2016 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. The Penn State football team enters Beaver Stadium before an NCAA Division I college football game Saturday, Oct. 22, 2016. Penn State is hosting Ohio State.

When reporter Brett began working on a story about Bell Family Shelter, he envisioned featuring several clients representing different ways the shelter helped them get back on their feet.

When we learned more about Morgan Washington-Henry — who spent her childhood living with relatives, in foster care and in group homes, who had never had her own place til now, who slept and ate on a thick comforter on the floor of her first apartment, who smiled brightly in spite of it all — the story became hers.

After we ran Morgan’s story at the end of October, donations poured in for her and for the shelter. Even as recently as last week, I received a voicemail from someone wanting to donate furniture to her. From the beginning, we’ve been referring readers to the Bell Family Shelter, in order to protect Morgan’s privacy, but it’s heartening to see the compassion and generosity generated by her story.

You can view the complete photo gallery here, read Brett’s story here and watch my video here.

© 2016 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Morgan Washington-Henry loads up a cart with items to bring to her new apartment from Bell Family Shelter in York Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2016.

© 2016 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Morgan Washington-Henry loads up a cart with items to bring to her new apartment from Bell Family Shelter in York Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2016. Washington-Henry, 19, and her four older siblings lived with their grandmother in Harford County, Maryland, until she died when Washington-Henry was 12. Washington-Henry spent the next five years living with a relative, in foster care and a group home until she aged out of the state’s system. After couch-surfing with friends and working at a York County summer camp, Washington-Henry was referred to Bell Family Shelter in York, where she stayed for 27 days before finally moving into an apartment of her own for the first time.

© 2016 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Morgan Washington-Henry glances at her reflection on her new apartment's bathroom mirror as she unpacks Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2016, in York.

© 2016 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Morgan Washington-Henry glances at her reflection on her new apartment’s bathroom mirror as she unpacks Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2016, in York.

© 2016 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Morgan Washington-Henry removes her shoes after returning home from work Thursday, Oct. 20, 2016 in York.

© 2016 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Morgan Washington-Henry removes her shoes after returning home from work Thursday, Oct. 20, 2016 in York.

© 2016 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. A collection of dolls and stuffed animals given to Morgan Washington-Henry over the years is nestled inside a mantel in her York apartment Thursday, Oct. 20, 2016.

© 2016 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. A collection of dolls and stuffed animals given to Morgan Washington-Henry over the years is nestled inside a mantel in her York apartment Thursday, Oct. 20, 2016.

© 2016 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Sitting on the comforter that's been her bed for the past month, Morgan Washington-Henry says grace over a take-out container of food a friend bought for her in her York apartment Thursday, Oct. 20, 2016. She plans to get a bed and mattress in the next week.

© 2016 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Sitting on the comforter that’s been her bed for the past month, Morgan Washington-Henry says grace over a take-out container of food a friend bought for her in her York apartment Thursday, Oct. 20, 2016. She plans to get a bed and mattress in the next week.

© 2016 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Morgan Washington-Henry reflects on her day at work between bites of dinner in her York apartment Thursday, Oct. 20, 2016.

© 2016 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Morgan Washington-Henry reflects on her day at work between bites of dinner in her York apartment Thursday, Oct. 20, 2016.

After two adult men were shot in the parking lot outside William Penn’s first home football game last season, the school district moved the Bearcats’ remaining home games from Friday nights to noon on Saturdays.

The first Saturday day game, I could only stay until the end of halftime. But I made sure to arrive early to show how the Bearcats prepared for this home game.

You can view the complete photo gallery here.

© 2016 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. From left, Willam Penn football players Marcus Dorsey, Kahliek Savery, Brandon Vargas and Tobee Stokes prepare for a YAIAA football game Saturday, Sept. 24, 2016, at Small Field in York. Red Lion defeated William Penn 49-7 in what was the Bearcats' first Saturday noon home game after two adults were shot outside the stadium during the fourth quarter of a game Sept. 9. York City School District Supt. Eric Holmes made an executive decision to move the rest of the season's home games to Saturdays out of an abundance of caution.

© 2016 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. From left, Willam Penn football players Marcus Dorsey, Kahliek Savery, Brandon Vargas and Tobee Stokes prepare for a YAIAA football game Saturday, Sept. 24, 2016, at Small Field in York. Red Lion defeated William Penn 49-7 in what was the Bearcats’ first Saturday noon home game after two adults were shot outside the stadium during the fourth quarter of a game Sept. 9. York City School District Supt. Eric Holmes made an executive decision to move the rest of the season’s home games to Saturdays out of an abundance of caution.

© 2016 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. William Penn staff carry a metal detector gate to the entrance of Small Field before a YAIAA football game Saturday, Sept. 24, 2016, in York.

© 2016 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. William Penn staff carry a metal detector gate to the entrance of Small Field before a YAIAA football game Saturday, Sept. 24, 2016, in York.

© 2016 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. William Penn's Tobee Stokes ties a tie on track and field coach Tony Jones before a YAIAA football game Saturday, Sept. 24, 2016, at Small Field in York.

© 2016 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. William Penn’s Tobee Stokes ties a tie on track and field coach Tony Jones before a YAIAA football game Saturday, Sept. 24, 2016, at Small Field in York.

© 2016 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Red Lion football players warm up on the field before a YAIAA football game Saturday, Sept. 24, 2016, at Small Field in York.

© 2016 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Red Lion football players warm up on the field before a YAIAA football game Saturday, Sept. 24, 2016, at Small Field in York.

© 2016 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Red Lion head football coach Jesse Shay and William Penn head football coach Russ Stoner meet on the field before a YAIAA football game Saturday, Sept. 24, 2016, at Small Field in York.

© 2016 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Red Lion head football coach Jesse Shay and William Penn head football coach Russ Stoner meet on the field before a YAIAA football game Saturday, Sept. 24, 2016, at Small Field in York.

© 2016 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Red Lion cheerleaders -- including, from left, Olivia Riggs, Evelyn Adams and Brooklyn Bogdany -- join William Penn cheerleaders, including Darryanna Moore, second from right, in a cheer before a YAIAA football game Saturday, Sept. 24, 2016, at Small Field in York.

© 2016 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Red Lion cheerleaders — including, from left, Olivia Riggs, Evelyn Adams and Brooklyn Bogdany — join William Penn cheerleaders, including Darryanna Moore, second from right, in a cheer before a YAIAA football game Saturday, Sept. 24, 2016, at Small Field in York.

© 2016 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Red Lion cheerleader Dawson Kling holds up a phone on a selfie stick to take a selfie with mascot Leo the Lion and the Red Lion and William Penn cheer squads holding hands while performing pyramids before a YAIAA football game Saturday, Sept. 24, 2016, at Small Field in York.

© 2016 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Red Lion cheerleader Dawson Kling holds up a phone on a selfie stick to take a selfie with mascot Leo the Lion and the Red Lion and William Penn cheer squads holding hands while performing pyramids before a YAIAA football game Saturday, Sept. 24, 2016, at Small Field in York.

© 2016 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. William Penn football players leave the locker room before a YAIAA football game Saturday, Sept. 24, 2016, at Small Field in York.

© 2016 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. William Penn football players leave the locker room before a YAIAA football game Saturday, Sept. 24, 2016, at Small Field in York.

© 2016 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. William Penn football players enter the field for a YAIAA football game Saturday, Sept. 24, 2016, at Small Field in York.

© 2016 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. William Penn football players enter the field for a YAIAA football game Saturday, Sept. 24, 2016, at Small Field in York.

© 2016 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. William Penn football players hold hands during the national anthem before a YAIAA football game Saturday, Sept. 24, 2016, at Small Field in York.

© 2016 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. William Penn football players hold hands during the national anthem before a YAIAA football game Saturday, Sept. 24, 2016, at Small Field in York.

© 2016 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Red Lion's Dylan Gurreri carries the ball in the first half of a YAIAA football game Saturday, Sept. 24, 2016, at Small Field in York.

© 2016 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Red Lion’s Dylan Gurreri carries the ball in the first half of a YAIAA football game Saturday, Sept. 24, 2016, at Small Field in York.

© 2016 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. William Penn's Nigel Williams carries the ball in the first half of a YAIAA football game Saturday, Sept. 24, 2016, at Small Field in York.

© 2016 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. William Penn’s Nigel Williams carries the ball in the first half of a YAIAA football game Saturday, Sept. 24, 2016, at Small Field in York.

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Like many projects, this one began with a simple assignment.

I was working the morning shift last January for another photographer when I headed out to a recovery house with city reporter Mark Walters. We sat down and talked with the man who owned and managed the house, which serves as a temporary home for recovering addicts, for at least an hour. We were introduced to a friendly resident who was instructed by the recovery house owner to talk to us, but “tell [us] the truth.” I never took my camera out of my bag.

When we left, I knew this was not just a one-off assignment and that this story — about how addiction recovery houses, sometimes called “sober homes,” are unregulated and flourishing in the city of York — was much bigger than we could know. I told Mark I wanted to own this project with him.

For a large chunk of the next three months, we pounded the pavement to investigate how and why York, a city of 5.25 square miles, became host to 81 recovery houses where addicts stay sober and gain control over their lives. We knocked on countless doors to talk to managers and residents, got turned away by some and were cautiously welcomed inside by others. Every day of reporting brought a new twist that would either slow us down or help us propel forward in learning more about the stakeholders in this thriving, essentially underground community.

Special thanks to Jeff for his support as the project took over my weekends last winter, to Mark for letting me co-pilot, to my editors and coworkers for allowing me so much time on this and to the nearly 20 recovering addicts who trusted us, shared their stories and permitted us to show their faces.

You can read Mark’s articles here and here, and view a complete photo gallery here.

© 2016 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Dave Dunkel, owner of Sees-the-Day, center, shares a cigarette break with, from left, Zachary Moser, 21, of Montgomery County, Pa.; Nathan Embry, 27, of Lancaster; and Roman Fissel, 22, of Manchester Township, all of whom live in a Sees-the-Day recovery house on Linden Avenue, on Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2016. Many recovering addicts are smokers, as cigarettes and nicotine replace the addictions from which they are recovering. York is home to a figuratively underground community of about 80 recovery homes that house drug and alcohol addicts. Many recovering addicts are sent to the houses by York County's probation department as an alternative to jail or homelessness, while other addicts come to York on referral from other treatment facilities or of their own volition. The houses, which are not designed as treatment programs and which can each house 5-12 recovering addicts, are not subject to state or county regulations . While owners of many recovery houses in York refused comment, other owners said their homes are structured to provide a system of support and accountability by requiring residents to attend 12-step meetings and gain employment, with the ultimate goal of graduating sober after a residency of about six months.

© 2016 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Dave Dunkel, owner of Sees-the-Day, center, shares a cigarette break with, from left, Zachary Moser, 21, of Montgomery County, Pa.; Nathan Embry, 27, of Lancaster; and Roman Fissel, 22, of Manchester Township, all of whom live in a Sees-the-Day recovery house on Linden Avenue, on Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2016. Many recovering addicts are smokers, as cigarettes and nicotine replace the addictions from which they are recovering. York is home to a figuratively underground community of about 80 recovery homes that house drug and alcohol addicts. Many recovering addicts are sent to the houses by York County’s probation department as an alternative to jail or homelessness, while other addicts come to York on referral from other treatment facilities or of their own volition. The houses, which are not designed as treatment programs and which can each house 5-12 recovering addicts, are not subject to state or county regulations . While owners of many recovery houses in York refused comment, other owners said their homes are structured to provide a system of support and accountability by requiring residents to attend 12-step meetings and gain employment, with the ultimate goal of graduating sober after a residency of about six months.

© 2016 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Nicole Anderson, 27, of Fairfax, Va., left, gets ready to go to work as Jenna Weaver, 24, of Carlisle, helps prepare dinner in a Pennsylvania Avenue home operated by Choices Recovery House, on Thursday, Jan. 28, 2016. The home is one of three female recovery houses operated by Choices, which also runs two male houses.

© 2016 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Nicole Anderson, 27, of Fairfax, Va., left, gets ready to go to work as Jenna Weaver, 24, of Carlisle, helps prepare dinner in a Pennsylvania Avenue home operated by Choices Recovery House, on Thursday, Jan. 28, 2016. The home is one of three female recovery houses operated by Choices, which also runs two male houses.

© 2016 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Kathy Sorandes, center, helps run a

© 2016 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Kathy Sorandes, center, helps run a “house meeting” at a Pennsylvania Avenue house operated by Choices Recovery House, on Sunday, Jan. 31, 2016. Sorandes owns Choices, which operates eight recovery houses in York. Each of Choices’ houses, as well as others run by other companies, requires residents to attend a weekly house meeting during which chores are assigned, dinner duty is delegated, grievances are aired and encouragement and support are offered. Residents are also often required to show signed sheets indicating they have been attending daily 12-step meetings.

© 2016 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Anthony McClair, 50, brings groceries to the back porch for Will Howard, 54, to carry into the Linden Avenue recovery house where they live and which is operated by Sees-the-Day, on Sunday, Feb. 28, 2016.

© 2016 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Anthony McClair, 50, brings groceries to the back porch for Will Howard, 54, to carry into the Linden Avenue recovery house where they live and which is operated by Sees-the-Day, on Sunday, Feb. 28, 2016.

© 2016 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Christina Whelan, 27, of New Jersey, makes chicken parmesan with help from Allison Foust, 36, of Havre de Grace, Md., at the Pennsylvania Avenue house where they live and which is operated by Choices Recovery House, on Monday, March 7, 2016. Similarly to many other York recovery houses, residents at Choices are largely responsible for their own meals except for several weekly communal dinners.

© 2016 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Christina Whelan, 27, of New Jersey, makes chicken parmesan with help from Allison Foust, 36, of Havre de Grace, Md., at the Pennsylvania Avenue house where they live and which is operated by Choices Recovery House, on Monday, March 7, 2016. Similarly to many other York recovery houses, residents at Choices are largely responsible for their own meals except for several weekly communal dinners.

© 2016 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Kailyn Brown, 24, of York Township, cleans the downstairs bathroom of a Pennsylvania Avenue home operated by Choices Recovery House on Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2016.

© 2016 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Kailyn Brown, 24, of York Township, cleans the downstairs bathroom of a Pennsylvania Avenue home operated by Choices Recovery House on Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2016.

© 2016 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Fred Way, executive director of the Pennsylvania Alliance of Recovery Residences (PARR), ticks off a checklist while inspecting a resident's bathroom in a West Market Street recovery house operated by Safe Haven Transitional Living on Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2016. Way founded PARR in Jan. 2011 as a nonprofit that inspects and certifies qualified recovery houses that seek certification to distinguish themselves from scores of other houses. Each certified house is inspected annually.

© 2016 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Fred Way, executive director of the Pennsylvania Alliance of Recovery Residences (PARR), ticks off a checklist while inspecting a resident’s bathroom in a West Market Street recovery house operated by Safe Haven Transitional Living on Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2016. Way founded PARR in Jan. 2011 as a nonprofit that inspects and certifies qualified recovery houses that seek certification to distinguish themselves from scores of other houses. Each certified house is inspected annually.

© 2016 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Fred Way, executive director of the Pennsylvania Alliance of Recovery Residences (PARR), uses his flashlight as he inspects a shared bedroom in a West Market Street recovery house operated by Safe Haven Transitional Living on Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2016. Two recovery house companies in York city are certified by PARR, which annually inspects each house as part of the certification process.

© 2016 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Fred Way, executive director of the Pennsylvania Alliance of Recovery Residences (PARR), uses his flashlight as he inspects a shared bedroom in a West Market Street recovery house operated by Safe Haven Transitional Living on Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2016. Two recovery house companies in York city are certified by PARR, which annually inspects each house as part of the certification process.

© 2016 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Two doses of naloxone, a drug that effectively reverses an opioid overdose, are encased next to the living room thermostat of a Linden Avenue recovery house operated by Sees-the-Day, as seen Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2016.

© 2016 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Two doses of naloxone, a drug that effectively reverses an opioid overdose, are encased next to the living room thermostat of a Linden Avenue recovery house operated by Sees-the-Day, as seen Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2016.

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For almost a full year, I’ve shared mostly travel and personal film on this blog. So, you’d be forgiven if you forgot or didn’t know that I’m a full-time newspaper photographer.

In my next few blog posts, starting with this one, I’ll share some of my favorite stories and work from 2016. First up is my first-ever Good Friday street procession:

© 2016 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Yolequi Tejada holds her son Yaniel Calderon, 3, as she and others pray with the Rev. Jonathan Sawicki before a Good Friday street procession held by the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church Friday, March 25, 2016, in York. The street procession followed the first nine of the 14-step Stations of the Cross, from Jesus's being condemned to death through his falling with the cross for the third time, with the remaining stations taking place inside the church. The procession was performed almost entirely in Spanish, and was followed by a Spanish-language Good Friday service.

© 2016 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Yolequi Tejada holds her son Yaniel Calderon, 3, as she and others pray with the Rev. Jonathan Sawicki before a Good Friday street procession held by the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church Friday, March 25, 2016, in York. The street procession followed the first nine of the 14-step Stations of the Cross, from Jesus’s being condemned to death through his falling with the cross for the third time, with the remaining stations taking place inside the church. The procession was performed almost entirely in Spanish, and was followed by a Spanish-language Good Friday service.

© 2016 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Jesús Solorio performs as Jesus Christ as he and others performing as Roman guards begin Good Friday street procession held by the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church Friday, March 25, 2016, in York.

© 2016 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Jesús Solorio performs as Jesus Christ as he and others performing as Roman guards begin Good Friday street procession held by the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church Friday, March 25, 2016, in York.

© 2016 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Carrying a cross of 2x4 planks, Jesús Solorio performs as Jesus Christ as he and others walk down East South Street during a Good Friday street procession held by the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church Friday, March 25, 2016, in York.

© 2016 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Carrying a cross of 2×4 planks, Jesús Solorio performs as Jesus Christ as he and others walk down East South Street during a Good Friday street procession held by the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church Friday, March 25, 2016, in York.

© 2016 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Myriam Valencia, performing as Veronica, holds up the cloth she used to wipe Jesus Christ's face during a Good Friday street procession held by the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church Friday, March 25, 2016, in York.

© 2016 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Myriam Valencia, performing as Veronica, holds up the cloth she used to wipe Jesus Christ’s face during a Good Friday street procession held by the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church Friday, March 25, 2016, in York.

© 2016 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Carrying a cross of 2x4 planks, Jesús Solorio performs as Jesus Christ as he and others walk down East South Street during a Good Friday street procession held by the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church Friday, March 25, 2016, in York.

© 2016 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Carrying a cross of 2×4 planks, Jesús Solorio performs as Jesus Christ as he and others walk down East South Street during a Good Friday street procession held by the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church Friday, March 25, 2016, in York.

© 2016 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Fabiola García, 2, walks down East College Avenue behind men performing as Jesus Christ and Roman guards during a Good Friday street procession held by the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church Friday, March 25, 2016, in York.

© 2016 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Fabiola García, 2, walks down East College Avenue behind men performing as Jesus Christ and Roman guards during a Good Friday street procession held by the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church Friday, March 25, 2016, in York.

© 2016 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Carrying a cross of 2x4 planks, Jesús Solorio performs as Jesus Christ as he and others walk down South Queen Street during a Good Friday street procession held by the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church Friday, March 25, 2016, in York.

© 2016 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Carrying a cross of 2×4 planks, Jesús Solorio performs as Jesus Christ as he and others walk down South Queen Street during a Good Friday street procession held by the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church Friday, March 25, 2016, in York.

© 2016 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Lidia Monegro holds a tissue to her face as she and others perform as women of Jerusalem meeting Jesus Christ during a Good Friday street procession held by the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church Friday, March 25, 2016, in York.

© 2016 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Lidia Monegro holds a tissue to her face as she and others perform as women of Jerusalem meeting Jesus Christ during a Good Friday street procession held by the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church Friday, March 25, 2016, in York.

© 2016 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Jesús Solorio, performing as Jesus Christ, falls for the third time at South George Street and College Avenue during a Good Friday street procession held by the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church Friday, March 25, 2016, in York.

© 2016 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Jesús Solorio, performing as Jesus Christ, falls for the third time at South George Street and College Avenue during a Good Friday street procession held by the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church Friday, March 25, 2016, in York.

© 2016 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. People enter the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church after a Good Friday street procession Friday, March 25, 2016, in York.

© 2016 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. People enter the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church after a Good Friday street procession Friday, March 25, 2016, in York.