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Manteca in 2009 thru eyes of our photographer
Swimmers jumped off the Mossdale Crossing railroad trestle on the San Joaquin River in July to keep cool. - photo by HIME ROMERO
Seeing Manteca and the rest of South County through the eyes of Hime Romero is a treat for the Manteca Bulletin staff and we hope for our readers as well.

We asked Hime to give us his favorite photos of 2009.

His favorite that you’ll find inside is that of the Dell’Osso family surveying preparations for the Pumpkin Maze at sunset while atop the snow mountain they were creating in late September. He said he likes it for the color and the composition.

Hime has a knack for getting people relaxed while filling most of his photos with energy. Two of my favorites are on the front page of today’s Bulletin. The top one shows Adam Galindo, 7, trying out the new playground equipment at Baccilieri Park. It is a prime example of how Hime can take a pedestrian subject – the opening of a new playground – and create a photo that not just draws you into it but makes you think about the subject in a whole different light.

My other favorite is Medal of Honor recipient Sammy Davis touching the hand of “The Soldier in the Wall” during Memorial Day Weekend festivities at The Place of Refuge. It is an example of Hime’s ability to catch the peak of people’s emotions.

You can send Hime to an assignment that you’ve shot dozens of times and of times he’s probably shot hundreds and he can still come back with a photo that stands out. Such was the case when he caught Calla’s Kenneth Bragg (see photo on page 2) calming his pre-graduation ceremony nerves by swinging on a playground set complete with cap and gown.

The story of how Hime came to make a living as a photographer and breaking into the business is something that every young person should take note.

He approached me while still at East Union High – he is a 1991 graduate – with the desire to work as a stringer. He was persistent, polite, and had the right attitude in dealing with people.

He eventually became a weekend photographer and then took a job at Food-4-Less as a butcher to make more money.

That decision reflects how he has his priorities in order. It was more important that his wife and family were taken care of – Deanna and Hime have four children. When the chance came for him to return to his second love – his wife and family are his first – he did so with the Tracy Press.

He’s been back at the Manteca Bulletin now for a few years.

The other thing about Hime is he understands that perseverance and learning on your own are important qualities. If he had listened to his East Union High photography instructor, he would have been flipping hamburger patties today.

The instructor didn’t think much of his ability. Hime barely got a “C”.

One wonders what that instructor would think of Hime’s work today.