When Jake Armstrong grabbed his reporter's notebook and a Valley Sun camera to cover a fatal, single car accident on Angeles Crest Highway last February, he didn't think it would be any different than any other task.
One of many times Armstrong took photos of crashes on the crest, this was just a routine assignment.
Routine until the picture won second place in the spot news category of the California Newspaper Publisher's Association's Better Newspaper Contest. The picture, which ran in the February 26, 2004 issue of the La Cañada Valley Sun, competed against others from weekly newspapers the size of the Valley Sun.
"I usually tell the stories with writing, but I try to do it with photos, too. Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn't. That one apparently worked," said Armstrong.
The picture is of a mangled car that crashed on the crest on a rainy day. It was made more dramatic because of the rain and clouds in the background, Armstrong said.
The rain made it the picture dramatic but also more difficult to take, he said.
"It was kind of drizzling. I couldn't see the viewfinder. I was getting drops of water on my glasses, too," said Armstrong, who has won junior college association awards for writing and photography. This is the first professional award he has won.