(Jonathan Newton/The Washington Post)

Hard as it is to remember now, the 2013 Redskins season began with incredible optimism and joy. The 2012 division winners were back and mostly intact, Robert Griffin III was starting, the weak Eagles were in town for “Monday Night Football” and everything seemed swell.

Here’s that moment, captured perfectly by The Post’s award-winning photographer Jonathan Newton. Takes you back, right?

Come to find out that photo earned Newton first place in the White House News Photographers Association 2014 Eyes of History Sports Feature/Reaction category

I asked Newton — who recently shot that incredible gallery of the Caps and their fathers, and who was responsible for the unforgettable picture of Stephen Strasburg’s debut — what he remembered about getting this image of Griffin.

“I  set up near the entrance of the Redskins helmet  to get a complete look at the scene,” he wrote in an e-mail. “The return of RGIII was one of the most reported sports stories of the year, and my goal was to get one storytelling picture of all the hype and promise of the day. So I raised my camera as high as I could to capture the scene. I think it worked.”

“I am honored to have one of my pictures win in the White House News Photographers Association annual contest,” he also wrote on Facebook. “Congrats to all the other winners and to all my fellow photographers, editors, writers and page designers who walk the walk every day. I appreciate you all. We can’t do this alone. Oh yeah, and thanks to the judges and RGIII.”

Here’s another picture Newton took of the moment.

(Jonathan Newton/The Washington Post)