Fire Aftermath; Spelling Bee

I had a typical photojournalists day - shooting different topics and shifting emotional gears. This first image is a family portrait taken at the famous El Rancho Hotel in Gallup. The entire family is existing in two adjoining motel rooms after a fire destroyed their home this past weekend. In practice I got what I needed - the family inside their cramped rooms - to go with the follow up story. I feel I could have made a better image had I been allowed more time with the family. Having a reporter along as a shadow almost never seems to help with these things.

Displaced by a fire that destroyed their home, the Todd family is currently living at the El Rancho Hotel in Gallup, and say that as soon as the weather allows, they will begin the process of rebuilding their home.

Changing gears, I also covered the annual spelling bee. I have come to expect things to be subtle. Photographic opportunities are not abundant, so I really focused on the winner as she spelled her final word correctly. Her expression never changed. She never smiled. She never straightened up her posture. The audience applauded and still no reaction. There's not much to do in that situation other than make the best image that is presented and move on.

After being the only contestant to correctly spell her word in the fourth round, Indian Hills Elementary school fifth-grader Kaylay Begay awaits a second word to spell from the pronouncer during the 37th annual Gallip-McKinley County district spelling bee at Indian Hills Elementary School. Begay won the event, and Thoreau's Christina Sandoval earned a spot as the alternate.

Seventh grader Kelsey Pittman stands at the microphone and spells her assigned word for the judges Wednesday while Dominic Dakai and Kaylay Begay await their turns during the 37th annual Gallip-McKinley County district spelling bee.
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