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2007/09/27

Ceramic Trail



A row of ceramics stretches more than 66-feet long inside of the Route 66 Gallery and Cibola Arts Council offices on Santa Fe Avenue in Grants, NM. The display is for an exhibit of a variety of artists that opened last week and will be hosting an open house on Saturday afternoon.

Small Acheivements

Victor Caballero, principal of Sanders Elementary School, sits at his desk with a copy of the academic standards for second grade students in Arizona public schools in front of him as he talks about all of the different standards that are imposed by the state and the federal governments. The school celebrated meeting all of the required guidelines and achieving satisfactory AYP during the previous academic year.





Students in Molly Ferriter's class raise their hands in response to a question Thursday while reading together at Sanders Elementary School in Arizona.


Nicole Brodie calls on a student Thursday during class at Sanders Elementary School in Sanders, Ariz. After several years of failing to meet the standards of the government for Adequate Yearly Progress the students and staff met AYP requirements for the 2006-2007 school year.

2007/09/26

Weather Forecasting?


A grasshopper clings to the stucco wall of a house in Gallup Wednesday afternoon while seeking out a warm place to sit. With the beginning of fall the area weather is forecast to include cooler temperatures and wind gusts exceeding 45 MPH this weekend.

2007/09/25

Disasters: Real and Imagined

After the pick-up truck they were riding in collided with a car Tuesday evening, Syixes Bennett and Jonathan Casamero settle down on a pair of hay bales while tow-truck operators and sheriff's deputies complete their clean-up of the crash scene along US491, north of Gallup. The accident caused traffic slow-downs in both directions on the highway, and resulted in two people being taken to hospital with minor injuries.

Jonathan Casamero and Clarence Alonzo wait for a ride Tuesday evening as a tow truck removes the car that collided with their pick-up truck along US-491 north of Gallup

Emergency response personnel use the hood of a vehicle as a planning table Tuesday morning during a joint agency disaster training drill at Red Rock State Park.

A technician adjusts a remote camera mounted to a radio controlled vehicle on Tuesday during a mock disaster training exercise at Red Rock State Park.

2007/09/22

Focus on Football

Santa Fe Indian School Brave Donovan Begay knocks the ball away from Wingate Bear Marcus Hosteen (22) in the end-zone Friday night as he tries to score a touchdown at Wingate High School.

Wingate Bear Marcus Hosteen (22) runs between a pair of Santa Fe Indian School Braves defenders Friday evening at Wingate High School.

This bottom photo was a pre-game warm-up image, set to run only one-column in width as a front page teaser to get readers to know that we have football coverage inside. Being on tight deadline I was looking for a teaser image fast. The sun was not hiding behind the clouds or the hills, and I needed something that would read well as a small image, so it had to be relatively tight and clean. Even before the kick-off I was on the phone with the Managing Editor to tell him that the teaser shot owuld be vertical, facing left.

I had troubles with this game last night. Almost all of my images seemed soft and out of focus. I tried working with the faithful "Unsharp Mask" tools in Photoshop, but still could not clean up the images. So today I grabbed my sensor cleaning swabs (again). I cleaned the sensors on both of my cameras a few days ago, and I suspected that the prior cleaning had left a chemical residue on the sensors. So this round of cleanings I used only a single drop of fluid applied to the middle of the swab, instead of the tip, and scrubbed more than swiped the CMOS sensor. A couple of blasts of air from a blower bulb to make sure things were clean and it was time to fire some test shots. Razor sharp.

2007/09/21

Water pipe Blues

The planners of the Navajo-Gallup Water Supply Project have decided not to extend a spur of the pipeline from US491 to the Red Valley area near Shiprock, leaving residents and ranchers in the area to continue to fend for themselves.

A sign posted in front of the Red Rock Day School in Red Valley, Ariz. declares No Water Hauling. The residents of the valley are upset because the routing of the Navajo-Gallup water supply project along US 491will not include a spur to bring water to them.
This assignment did not go anywhere near as planned. Being a Friday we have an early deadline to get the paper laid out so we can get the weekend edition out to the racks earlier. I was on a tight time-line, not only because of the deadline, but also needing to cover a football game after that. I should have known better...

I relied on information from the reporter passed on to me by the managing editor. I had another assignment in Shiprock and I was not sure of the exact time I would arrive. My thinking was that I would simply take care of the assignment in Shiprock and then go to Red Valley and call the contacts once I had arrived. MY Shiprock assignment fell through (he was at a meeting during the time I was supposed to meet him).

On the way to Red Valley I had a coyote run across the road in front of me. I was deep into the Navajo reservation at this point, and in Navajo tradition if a coyote crosses your path you should turn back from your journey. But being the educated Anglo that I am I decided I knew better and kept going. When I arrived I was faced with a locked and deserted chapter house and absolutely no cell service to call my contacts. Instead I settled on a couple of images that focused on water in the area. It was all I could manage on deadline.

2007/09/20

Sweet without Guilt

I enjoy getting to photograph people who are actively making things, using their hands and showing me a process that is visually apparent to the reader. So when one of our reporters told me he was writing a business feature story about a restaurant owner who makes sugar-free pies I was glad to cover the assignment.

I ran into one little problem with the assignment. The reporter did not list an address or contact information for the owner. I figured that it would not be all that hard. After all, Second Street in Grants is not terribly long, and it should not be hard to find a restaurant (they want customers to find them!) So after driving the entire length of Second Street I tried to reach the reporter and was able to get him on his cell phone. No, the cafe is not on Second Street, but rather three miles farther west on Santa Fe Avenue... it was on Second for the first six months of business, but then they outgrew their location and moved to a bigger space.

Rochelle McKoewn rolls out the top portion of a pie crust Thursday while making a sugar-free cherry pie. McKoewn is the owner of the First Street Cafe on Santa Fe in Grants.

Rochelle McKoewn folds the top and bottom sections of pie crust together as she prepares a sugar free cherry pie.

Rochelle McKoewn displays one of her sugar-free cherry pies inside the dining room of her restaurant, First Street Cafe (on Santa Fe) in Grants, NM.

2007/09/19

Fall of the Chilis

Strings of Chili Ristas from Espanola Valley hangs in front of the Holiday Nursery in Gallup on Wednesday. The chili season runs from August to September, with the red colored chilis grown by leaving them to grow longer before harversting in the second half of the season.

When I first arrived to start taking the photos I thought I was going to be in trouble. The lighting was harsh and high overhead. The colors were washed out and contrasty at the same time. I took three test frames and knew that no amount of post work in Photoshop would make the images look good. So it was time for the circular polarizing filter. Suddenly the blue sky was rich, the peppers were not muddy in color and the highlights still sparkled to give some three dimensional aspects for them.

2007/09/18

Bobby Unser comes to Town

Legendary race car driver and three time Indy 500 winner Bobby Unser talks with UNM-Gallup auto-technician instructor John Gonzales about the Dyno Power Performance Analyzer that he donated to the program as he visits the University of New Mexico-Gallup campus.

Legendary race car driver and three time Indy 500 winner Bobby Unser signs autographs Tuesday as he visits the University of New Mexico-Gallup campus and tours the auto-tech department where several pieces of equipment he has donated for use by students.

2007/09/15

Soccer Stars and Hooligans

Members of the Gallup Bengals boys soccer team show their support for the Lady Bengals as they play against the Rehoboth Lady Lynx on Saturday at Public School Stadium in Gallup

Gallup Lady Bengal Denisse Teran (16) and Rehoboth Lady Lynx Alex Carlisle (19) get up into the air while battling for control of the ball Saturday morning during the girl's varsity soccer match-up at Public School Stadium. The Lady Lynx shut-out the Bengals 2-0.

Gallup Lady Bengal Denisse Teran (16) and Rehoboth Lady Lynx Alex Carlisle (19) get shoulder to shoulder while battling for control of the ball.

Gallup Lady Bengal Jackie Apodaca (14) collides with Rehoboth Lady Lynx Madison Cherney (4) as they both go after the ball Saturday during the girls varsity soccer game at Public School Stadium.

Rehoboth Lady Lynx Dierdra Bia (1) gets ahead of Gallup Lady Bengals Denisse Teran (16) and Deana Johnson (5) as she moves to score a goal.

Gallup Lady Bengal Jackie Apodaca (14) and Rehoboth Lady Lynx Madison Cherney (4) go after the ball during the girls varsity soccer game at Public School Stadium.

2007/09/13

Smash and Grab - and Video

When I got the call from our cops reporter that a convenience store had been vandalized overnight I thought to myself, "No people, its over. I am likely going to have some pretty boring images." Of course I went there and found multiple shattered windows to photograph. When I went inside to speak to the manager she and I talked for a few minutes before she mentioned that the one vandal's face was very clearly visible on the security video, even though she did not know who he was. Suddenly I knew I would be able to make crime in progress photos; after a fashion.

I asked if I could see the video, and she readily agreed. Then I set my camera to a slow enough sutter speed to not have the obnoxious flicker/scan lines from the monitor show up on my images and started taking photos of the video screen. Although not the best image in the world, it should certainly give readers a solid idea of who was involved in this crime.

Employees and customers of the 7 to 11 convenience store on Maloney Avenue were greeted by shattered windows Thursday morning after the store was robbed around 3 am by a pair of unknown men who threw large chunks of concrete through the windows and stole lottery tickets and cigarettes.

In this photograph taken from the store video surveillance system, a man is seen looking through the front window of the 7 to 11 convenience store on Maloney Avenue moments before breaking windows and entering the store. The store was robbed around 3 am Thursday by a pair of unknown men who threw large chunks of concrete through the windows and stole lottery tickets and cigarettes. This was the third break-in at the store in less than one month.

2007/09/12

Cancer Treatment

Since the opening of the New Mexico Cancer Center offices in January, radiation oncologist Jeffrey Long, MD., and clinic supervisor Ann Bruhn have seen their patient load increase, and have recently added IHS to their client list. The clinic will be adding medical oncologist Robert Oldham MD to its staff next month to help meet the variety of needs of their patients.

McKinley County officials are in negotiations to buy the former Mother Goose Learning Center building on Wyatt Avenue in Gallup to establish a place for cancer patients who travel great distances to stay overnight during treatment. The funding for the purchase is from a State grant of $400,000.

2007/09/09

American Profile work

I have been slow in looking for my own images and how they are being used by some of my clients. I had seen the print versions of my work through tear sheets that were sent to me, but I just tonight decided to take a look at the on-line use of my work.

So the following are a couple of links to some of my other work that was not done for the newspaper here in Gallup.

American Profile

Navajo weaver - D.Y. Begay

Recreating the Pony Express

New Mexico Magazine article on the Keshi/Zuni Connection web site

Zuni fetish carver Hayes Leekya (published Aug 2004)


2007/09/07

Window Rock Cross Country Invitational

The varsity girls cross country runners take to the course Friday during the Window Rock Invitational meet at the Window Rock High School campus in Fort Defiance, Ariz. Chinle Lady Wildcat defending state champion Charnelle Curley finished in first place at Friday's event.

Chinle Lady Wildcat Charnelle Curley, a sophomore and defending 3A cross country champion, sets her sights on the finish line Friday during the varsity girls race of the Window Rock Invitational cross country meet in Fort Defiance, Ariz.

Shiprock high school's Vangelyn Lee gets support from her father, Elliott Lee, and Laura Cohoe, another runner's mother, after pushing her body to its limits while competing in the varsity girls cross country race.

Chinle Wildcat runner Tyler Logg approaches the finish line in first place Friday during the varsity boys cross country race.

Window Rock Scout Leo "Bizhy" Antonio passes teammate Charlson Claw as they approach the finish line Friday during the varsity boys race.

2007/09/06

Cactus or Cacti?

A cholla cactus stands against the dark, rain filled skies between Mt. Taylor and Sakalares Boulevard in Grants. Afternoon monsoon rains are common this time of year as hurricanes blow into the United States, causing shifts in weather patterns. La Nina is developing in the Pacific Ocean, and that cooling of waters generally brings a more active Atlantic hurricane season, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said Thursday.


I shot these images a few days ago, but there is not a major time peg on them. The skies still cloud up nearly every afternoon and bring us the monsoon rains, and our M.E. said that he could use them for an inside page.

Creating the dramatic look of the images was actually pretty easy. I set my camera to expose for the background then I used my SB-800 strobe on an off-camera cord and positioned it just slightly outside of the frame and to the side. This created directional light and got the plants to show up against the muddy background.

2007/09/05

An Action-Packed Afternoon in Grants, NM

Following their shut-out loss yesterday at Rehoboth, I was not expecting much in the way of excitement from the Grants soccer team today. They are a 4A category school and were beaten by a 2A school. There is a reason that I don't bet on anything. The Pirates took to the field and played some solid soccer, though it did get a little more full-contact then it probably should have...
Grants Pirate forward Martin O'Keefe (36) puts pressure on Bernalillo goalie Michael Griego as he shoots for the goal Wednesday during the boys varsity soccer game at Grants High School. The Pirates bested Bernalillo 6-2.

Grants Pirate Martin O'Keefe (36) gets a hand onto Bernalillo's Jacob Guittierez (5) while chasing the ball Wedesday at Grants High School. O'Keefe was reprimanded with a yellow card for his move, but it did not keep the Pirates from winning.

Bernalillo high school's Esteban Fierro (13) tries to get in front of Grants Pirate Cesar Soria (11) as he takes a shot at the goal.
There was a bit of a mix-up in the schedule for the soccer game, and I ended up arriving an hour early (always better early than late for a photojournalist). During the down time I had I went over to take care of a group portrait at the library. When I pulled into the parking lot the skies opened and it poured rain for more than 10 minutes. When it was over the roads were flooding as water came down from the hills. I set up to get some cars splashing through the water and suddenly there was a cyclist coming down the road. Stand-alone weather photo for tomorrow's paper.

After getting the weather image it was time to make a photo of the reading group. Of more than 70 children that were part of the program I ended up with only 9 of them coming for the photo. I wish that we would get the word out in the community better that calling the paper when everything is finished makes for far less interesting photographs. I would much rather have made some images of the children as they were reading a week or two ago instead of having to do a staged image.

On the plus side, the photo was fairly easy to shoot as the library has an open bank of north-facing windows that let in plenty of light for this group photo.

Some of the participants of the Grants library Summer Reading Program gather for a group photo Wednesday inside the Mother Whiteside Memorial Library. More than 70 children participated in the program which allowed them to read at their own pace and appropriate grade levels.

2007/09/04

Soccer Double Shut-Out

A soccer double-header this afternoon and evening. Most of the time I was looking at the sky as much as at the action on the field. Dark clouds kept rolling through, and there were even some lightning flashes in the distance. Somehow we made it through both games with only the lightest of sprinkles, nothing to worry about in terms of keeping my cameras protected.

Rehoboth Lady Lynx Madison Cherney (4) moves the ball while keeping Grants Lady Pirate Camye Barker (15) at bay Tuesday during the girls varsity soccer game at Rehoboth High School's new field. The Lady Lynx won 7-0.


Rehoboth Lady Lynx Brooke Hamilton (17) keeps Grants Lady Pirate Dawn Gonzales (12) from kicking the ball out of bounds.
Once the girls game ended the clouds really rolled in and the light that was good for shooting action suddenly became very dim. I turned up the sensitivity on my cameras to 800 ISO equivalent and went on covering the game. Overall the images held up really well at the higher sensitivity setting, though running the Noise Ninja filter through Photoshop didn't hurt anything either.
Rehoboth Lynx Russell Kamps (18) uses his head Tuesday to win control of the ball over Grants Pirate Nick Black (2) during the boys varsity soccer game at Rehoboth High School's new field. The Lynx shut out the Pirates 6-0.

Rehoboth Lynx Michael Bayless (6) finds himself surrounded by Grants Pirates Taylor Allen (13) and Aaron Cruz (17) during Tuesday evening's varsity boys soccer game.