2016 a look back

In short, 2016 was a roller coaster.

Many of us will remember 2016 as a tumultuous one. Donald Trump was elected president. Great Britain left the European Union. The deadliest massacre in United States history took place. The world slowly began to open its eyes toward the war in Syria. Arnold Palmer, Prince, Alan Rickman, Antonin Scalia, Gwen Ifill and Carrie Fisher, amongst dozens of others, passed away. But the Cubs won the World Series for the first time in 108 years. The National Parks Service turned 100. Team USA took home 121 medals from the Rio Olympics, 46 of them gold. Harriet Tubman will replace Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill. The Giant Panda is no longer endangered. Hillary Clinton became the first ever woman to the presidential nominee for a major party. I truly believe that more good happened than bad.

As for myself, 2016 was one of the best years of my life. It was a year of firsts. My first time covering a Trump rally. My first Bernie rally. My first Hillary rally. My first time riding in a hot air balloon. My first time breaking two bones at once. I photographed my first (and second and third) wedding.

I met some incredible people and was given opportunities that I could've only dreamed of.

Here's a glimpse into some of the major moments of my 2016, the year that will go down as the fastest, most rewarding, yet most challenging year of my life.


Photo adventures with my friends were something that I looked forward to. They gave me a much-needed break from the stresses of school and work. For this particular adventure, we decided to drive out to rural Iowa and stand underneath wind turbines in 10-degree temperatures.
My first time experiencing a Donald Trump rally was certainly a memorable one. Being confined to a small "media pen" amongst dozens of other journalists, I was able to get a good sense of what the majority of the people there thought of us, including Trump himself. Here, Trump is mocking the national media, and shielding his eyes from the lights to get a good look at us. I still believe to this day that he was looking right at me.
Sen. Bernie Sanders came to speak at Stephens Auditorium in Ames Jan. 25. I was able to get somewhat close, and ended up with shots that really showed the emotions of not only him, but the students that sat behind him.


Caucus night was certainly one to remember. Armed with several cameras, I drove down to Des Moines with a reporter to cover the Hillary Clinton rally at Drake University. At the time of her speech, the results of who won were too close to call, but the Clintons spoke as if it were a victory. Later that night, Hillary was indeed declared the winner.
Georges Niang. That is all.


I found my love for gymnastics again in 2016, this time however I found myself behind the lens, not in front of it. Pictured here is Kelsey Paz, Haylee Young and Meaghan Sievers as they found out they defeated the Iowa Hawkeyes by a .025 margin.
I found my passion of storytelling in 2016, first with Brittni. After reading her story in the Des Moines Register, I decided to tell it myself strictly through video. Brittni was born with Larsen syndrome, a condition that affects the development of bones in the body. Her positive attitude and sense of humor inspired me to seek out other students at Iowa State who live with disabilities, in hopes of sharing their stories.
My first time to Vegas! While we only actually spent one evening walking around the city, I was fascinated by the amount of lights, sounds and the diversity of shows that filled the city.
Zion National Park. My favorite national park that I've visited. This was also the park that I broke my foot while hiking. I usually tell people that I fell off a cliff to make me sound like a badass. However, that's not the full story. I was actually hiking with my dad, where I decided to climb up a ledge to get a better angle for a photo opportunity that I'd had my eye on. Being the clumsiest person alive, I stumbled off the ledge and landed on my foot pretty bad, but decided to keep hiking, in hopes that I had just rolled my ankle. Turns out that I had actually broken not one, but two bones in my foot, the first from the initial fall and the second from the mile-long hike down back to the road.
Badwater Basin, 282 feet below sea level. Fun fact: Jacob was so eager to get back into the van and escape the heat that he forgot to grab the keys and as a result set off the car alarm. I swear, all of Death Valley could hear it.


Laura was the second girl I got in touch with for my series on students living with disabilities. Laura has Dysautonomia, a condition that causes malfunction to the Central Nervous System.
Covering the Drake Relays marked my first time back to the blue oval since I ran track in high school. Pictured is Jhoanmy Luque competing in the long jump.
And of course, what's the Drake Relays without a 45-degree, rainy day?


May was the month that I turned 19. It was also the month that I began my internship at Iowa Public Television. I was given so many incredible opportunities, some of which included live-tweeting the Democratic US Senate Debate, assembling cameras and platforms for the IGHSAU State Soccer Tournament, photographing shots from a "behind-the-scenes" perspective at the Iowa State Fair, working with Kellie Kramer and Scott Siepker for Iowa Outdoors shoots, and producing my own feature for Iowa Outdoors. (Photo credit to Patty Foster.)


One of my favorite photos from the summer. Location: top secret only because it's one of my favorite places in Iowa, partially because of how little people know about it.
Also one of my favorite places in Iowa: the High Trestle Trail bridge. This was my first time that I've seen it with the lights on. 10/10 would recommend going.


I continued taking senior photos in 2016, and began to challenge my creativity and stray away from what you think of as the typical senior photo shot. I still think that Hope has the prettiest eyes I have ever seen.
My family returned to the Jacks Fork river in Missouri in 2016. I always look forward to this particular vacation for several reasons. I don't have any cell service, so I'm given the rare opportunity to live life secluded from the reality for a bit. I love kayaking, and I love being able to see the bottom of the river, something I'm not able to do here in Iowa. I also love spending quality time with family members I don't get to see very often.
Jake truly is a trooper when it comes to me taking photos of him. But I think it makes it a little less painful when he's doing something that he loves.


My third (and last) time photographing Hillary Clinton was at Lincoln High School in Des Moines.
One of the opportunities I was given as an intern at IPTV was to go up in a hot air balloon to serve as the second shooter for a feature on a hot air balloonist.
Is it even the Iowa State Fair without the Big Boar Contest? (Answer: no.)


2016 was also the year that I started taking photos of weddings. This is one of my favorite photos from Will and Paige's wedding in Mt. Vernon, Iowa.
By now, I've covered a dozen or more political events. I learned that typical podium shots were very boring, so I started looking for new angles. This one is of Tim Kaine, Hillary Clinton's running mate. Framing him is a cameraman with his arm on his hip.
I was lucky enough to photograph one of the few games that the Iowa State football team won. Pictured here is Cole Netten (1) surrounded by teammates after completing a field goal during their game against San Jose State.
One of my favorite stories I was given the opportunity to share was Lauren's. Born with oculocutaneous albinism, Lauren is legally blind. However, a common misconception is that those who are blind cannot see at all. Lauren can see certain shapes and outlines, and enjoys taking photos. Her guide dog Sheba is by her side.
Another of my favorite stories is Paige's. She's also blind (and Lauren's roommate.) Paige has Bardet-Biedl syndrome, a condition that causes her retinas to gradually deteriorate. She enjoys horseback riding, and is a member of Iowa State's equestrian club.
I started working as a photographer for Cyclone Hockey this year, and have taken photos of nearly every home game from the vantage point 10 feet above the ice on a ladder. I'm slowly beginning to learn the sport in between dodging flying pucks.
One of my favorite photos of Beardshear Hall. I took this at 8 am one morning on my way to class, and got so caught up in its beauty that I was late to class.


My friend Alex and I were given the opportunity to follow around Iowa State President Steven Leath for a day. We attended many meetings, ate lunch, and toured the new residence hall with him.
Combat Water Survival Training is one of my favorite events to cover each year.

One of my favorite videos of the year was one that I made of the cheerleading team.

One of my favorite trips in 2016 was the one I took with Alex to Washington D.C. on behalf of the Newseum.


I continued covering Iowa State basketball games in 2016. Pictured here is Matt Thomas (21) looking at Deonte Burton (30).

And that's been my year! I'm very excited to see what 2017 has in store for me.


Emily Blobaum

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