Often, the first thing people see when they pick up a copy of The Nugget is a photograph by Jerry Baldock.

The freelance photographer seems to be everywhere, all the time, camera clicking and whirring. And at age 76, he shows no sign of slowing down.

"My family thinks I'm crazy," he acknowledges with his trademark chuckle. "My wife keeps asking me when I'm going to graduate."

Baldock does spend a lot of time at school - shooting sporting events and assisting with the Sisters High School yearbook program. Shooting sports is how he got his start in photography.

"My interest in photography started shortly after my youngest son passed away in 2005," he explained. "My son Brian was a coach and trainer at Marshfield High School, but more than that, he was a mentor for Marshfield's athletes. He was truly a gift from God in the way he mentored young people and encouraged them to challenge themselves. I found that through photography, I could make a difference in the lives of young people by capturing their greatest or most memorable moments in a picture... That's how I started; then I came here."

Baldock recalled that he was originally looking at moving to Tumalo, but shadowing then-Americana Project and drama teacher Gary Bowne convinced him that Sisters was the place to be. Nugget freelancer Peggy Chesser told him she was going to give up her sports beat, and Baldock was interested.

"He started about 10 years ago," recalls editor Jim Cornelius. "And I couldn't stop him if I wanted to. Jerry is amazing. He is always ready, always eager, to go out and get the shot - whether it's a Habitat wall-raising or a football game or a politician holding a town hall meeting. I don't think he knows how to go at any speed but full bore."

"I'm passionate about pretty much everything that happens in this community," Jerry says.

For someone who got started in his life's passion later in life, Baldock has made tremendous strides.

"Everybody's got a gift," he says. "I wondered my whole life what mine is. I'm good at capturing (a moment). I've always liked challenges, and I think capturing a moment is a challenge."

He knows that he's investing a huge amount of time and effort into his work and he acknowledged the backing of his wife, who operates their alpaca ranch while Jerry is out recording the life of the community.

"I'm really fortunate that Marlene supports me the way she has," he says.

He's appreciated at The Nugget.

"Jerry's work, combined with Jess Draper's design is what makes The Nugget look so distinctive," says Cornelius. "He's a storyteller, and those photographs make me proud to put the paper on the news stand every Tuesday night."

For his part, Baldock is happy to be where he is, doing what he does. He may not be entirely content - after all, there is, somewhere, a shot waiting for him, one more moment in the life of Sisters that he just has to capture - but he's pretty well satisfied.

"Every day I feel like I died and went to heaven," he says. "It's awesome living here."