Whew, tough picking my top 10 favorite photographs of 2011. But before I get going, I have to include a moment that was very special for me – grandaughter Naomi taking over the controls of a nuclear reactor on our Tour de Heartland trip last August.
This photograph has two special meanings for me. First, it showcases Naomi having fun, doing a little Vanna wave. This was one of those “why are we stopping here” stops. But Naomi dug right in. We were in the middle of nowhere in the Idaho desert, visiting a 60-year-old nuclear reactor. Naomi was drawn immediately to the control room and took charge, just as if she were working the panel of ERB-1 back in 1951.
The other important element of the photograph is it drew me back to my days as a young ham radio operator – Naomi’s age. The dials, switches and meters triggered nostalgia of a different electronic era.
This particular nuclear reactor is ERB-1 at the Idaho National Laboratory near Arco, Idaho. The reactor was the first atomic power generating station in the world when it was switched on back in 1951.
The smile and the dials all add up to one of my top 10 favorite photographs for 2011.