31 Flavors for 31-cents each

I know. This was nothing more than a publicity stunt on a national level. Very cheap ice cream. Yet it was still somewhat news worthy as the event drew hundreds (thousands?) of people to get their ice cream, and best of all the money from the event is for charity - helping fire fighters and their families.

The place was crowded, and the employees nearly stepped on each other's toes with each movement. I got permission from the manager to make my way behind the counter, then made use of a ladder that was already in the corner.

Gallup fire fighter Jeremy Padilla dishes up a serving of ice cream for himself at the Baskin Robbins Ice Cream Parlor on Historic Route 66 in Gallup. The national ice cream chain had its second annual 31-cent Scoop Night, and is donating $100,000 to the National Fallen Fire
fighters Foundation.

Adrian Escamilla, 4, prepares to take a lick of his ice cream cone while sitting with his sister, Alyssa Benally, 9, outside of the Baskin Robbins Ice Cream store on Historic Route 66 in Gallup.

Working with a Bunch of Wild Animals

Days like today are simply fun. Yes, the wind was blowing like mad and I ended up with sand in my teeth and in my cameras and in my hair and... Still, what other job lets you spend your day hanging out at the zoo and talking with the new curator. Plus, since I was from "the paper" I had free access to things. Although I declined, the curator even offered to take me inside the bear's enclosure. (All of these images were shot from outside of the fence. I don't understand the science behind it, but basically a long lens wide open can focus past the links of a fence)

A sandhill crane displays its long and flexible neck Wednesday at the Window Rock Zoo. The zoo is the site of Zoofest 2008 on Saturday, May 3, which will feature games, refreshments, photos with some of the animals an much more. Admission to the zoo is always free.

A red fox rest on top of the small hut in its enclosure at the Zoo and botanical gardens in Window Rock, Arizona.

Navajo Nation zoo curator Matthew Holdgate has been in charge of the zoo in Window Rock for the past seven months, and is working to bring more visitors and some big changes to the facility.

A bobcat sits by itself in its enclosure at the Navajo Nation Zoo in Window Rock, Ariz. The cat has been at the zoo for about a month, after it was struck by a car and blinded as a result of the accident.

A black bear nestles into a out cropping of rocks to find shelter from the strong winds (note the ruffled fur on the neck and back of the head) at the Window Rock Zoo and botanical gardens.


Birds and Houses

A common grackle (Quiscalus quiscula) calls out while sitting in a tree Tuesday morning on the West edge of Gallup.

The rest of the photos for today involve bird houses, decorated for charity. The basic birdhouses were purchased for cheap at a craft store, then given to various people in town to decorate them however they wished. Now they are gearing up to auction the houses off and the money will benefit the American Cancer Society.

A birdhouse depicts a scene from the classic movie, The Wizard of Oz, where the wicked witch is crushed by Dorothy's house falling back to the ground after being picked up by a twister. This is just one of more than 80 bird houses for sale to raise money for the Relay for Life program to benefit the American Cancer Society.

While loading up more than 85 hand-decorated birdhouses, Relay for Life chair person Linda Shelton and Paul Graves pause Tuesday to examine one of the houses that is a replica of the Octavia Felin Library in Gallup. The birdhouses are up on display at various businesses around town, as well as on the internet at

This lion is actually a hand-decorated birdhouse and is part of the Relay for Life birdhouse auction to raise money for the American Cancer Society.

Linda Shelton, the 2008 Relay for Life chairperson, left, and Jeanneen Underwood, share a laugh together Tuesday while preparing to distribute more than 80 custom decorated birdhouses to place on display at Gallup area businesses.

A variety of designs and colors adorn the roofs of hand-designed birdhouses that are part of the auction for Relay for Life


Portrait Time

This image of Gallup mayor Harry Mendoza is a virtual copy of the one I made of him the last time we were at his office. I didn't want to repeat myself, but it was what he requested that I do. Below is my other option so that if the editor decides he needs a vertical for the page he is set.

Former Gallupian Bill Lee has returned to town and is the new director of Adventure Gallup. Lee has wasted little time getting back into the thick of things and is working to organize a balloon rally in May.

Bill is a pretty easy going guy. He was the coach of the Gallup Bengals girls soccer team, and he also was heavily involved in the annual Red Rock Balloon Rally (first weekend in December every year). He had business to attend to downtown, and was not available to go out to one of the trails that Adventure Gallup is in charge of, so instead I suggested we just make an outside portrait in open shade, giving nice and even lighting on his face, with some side light to model it into a 3D shape.


Hot Rod Pizza Delivery

Featured on The Learning Channel (TLC) show "Rides" this 1929 roadster pick-up came to town to promote the welding equipment that was used in building it.

For information on the custom truck visit here.

After looking at the truck, my editor sent me to cover a pizza party that a bus driver was giving to his riders for their behavior. Not all that much visually interesting, but I think I made out okay with what I came up with.

Lukachukai Community School students Angelica Davis, left, and Tyrone
Yazzie offer pizza to Demetria Gloniiziinii as Demartrius Gloniiziinii watches
the fun Friday afternoon at the Gallup Pizza Hut on US 491. Demetria received
recognition from school bus driver Dave Tsosie for following bus rules and
reading 10 books during the hour and a half commute each direction on his bus.

Lukachukai Community Schools bus driver Dave Tsosie dishes up some pizza for
students that ride his bus during a reward trip Friday to Pizza Hut in Gallup on
US 491. Tsosie says that students who ride his bus travel for 90 minutes each
direction, and if they follow the bus rules and work on reading during the
commutes they get to travel to Gallup to watch a movie and have pizza for


Smoke Screen // Sew What

Quilters Guild members Anita Geike, left to right, Anne Wooden, Carol Patterson and Veronica Bayang work on a quilt together Thursday morning at the Larry Brian Mitchell Recreation Center. The guild will host a show and sale on May 3rd at the center.

McKinley County Quilters Guild members Anita Geike, left, and Anne Wooden socialize Thursday while working on a quilt at the Larry Brian Mitchell Recreation Center in Gallup.

Nimble fingers and attention to detail added on top of a measure of patience are all requirements for quilting.

Gallup fire fighter Carey McDonald drags a hose to the edge of a ditch he prepares to extinguish a brush fire near the Ed Corley Auto Complex on US 491 in Gallup.

Softball - Thoreau Hawks vs. Sandia Prep Sun Devils

Thoreau Lady Hawk infielder Yolanda Henio (24) puts the glove on Sandia Prep Sundevil base runner Madison Ries (3) but ends up dropping the ball, allowing Ries to safely reach second base at the Ford Canyon Park softball field.

Thoreau Hawks third base player Serina Yazzie (10) tags out Sandi Prep Sundevils runner Carmen McClelland (9) as she tries to steal third base at the Ford Canyon Park softball field. It took the Sundevils less than 40 minutes to end the game, winning 15-0.

Thoreau Hawks catcher Philean Yazzie (17) loses control of the ball Thursday while Sandi Prep Sundevils runner slides into home plate to score a run at the Ford Canyon Park softball field.


School Drama: James and the Giant Peach

The cast and crew of the Miyamura High School drama society production of "James and the Giant Peach" gather for a group photo Wednesday before rehearsal at JFK middle school auditorium. The Play performances are Thursday through Saturday at 7:30 each evening.

Cast members of the Miyamura High School drama society production of James and the Giant Peach Anna DeLong, Ellie Langston, Sara Maynerich, Isaiah Gjeltema, LaZandra Tabatha and Emily Moore, rehearse a scene Wednesday at JFK middle school auditorium.

Both of these images were made using three SB-800 flash units and PocketWizard radios to trigger them. I placed two units on light stands with white umbrellas in front of the cast, one on each side of the camera. A third flash behind the actors gave a little bit of separation f't blend into oblivion.rom the dark background so the kids in back wouldn't blend into oblivion.


Fore! Grants Invitational

After teeing off on the second hole, Laguna Acoma's Corey Douma watches the flight of his golf ball Monday at the Coyote del Malpais golf course in Grants, NM. Grants Pirate Jeffrey Trujillo is in the background, also watching the ball's trajectory.

A clump of grass flies up as Grants Pirate Jeffrey Trujillo hits the ball from the middle of the fairway Monday on the second hole at the Coyote del Malpais golf course in Grants, NM.

These final two images are also of Jeffrey Trujillo, as he tees off and as he reacts to sinking a putt. The tee shot (above) was carefully planned. I knew that the sun was going to reflect off his club in that exact way... well, umm, maybe I knew that the club was shiny metal...?


Horse Relic

After my assignment in San Fidel a few days ago I stopped on the school road to make some personal images. A car lot had dozens of old relics (those are for another time and post) and there was also a very interesting old horseshoe fastened to a fence post with barbed wire. This soon turned into a little photo package when a few hundred feet down the roadI encountered this horse standing in the way, not caring about the cars around it.


Kit Carson - an Author's Views

Author Hampton Sides visited Gallup tonight to read from his book and talk about the process of writing it. Titled Blood and Thunder, the book is an historical account of Kit Carson. The title itself comes from the genre of original westerns written while Carson was alive. They were sensationalistic works of fiction, more pulp than anything else. These books were referred to as "blood and thunders".

After his presentation, Sides took a number of questions from the audience, and then ended the evening signing copies of his books.

Unpaid People

An unhappy employee of the home health care business based in Thoreau, NM called our office and said there were dozens of people angrily waiting for their paychecks and the company was refusing to release them. People of all ages were standing and sitting in the parking lot and in their vehicles, waiting for their paychecks and wondering what to do. Some had driven long distances to get paid, and needed the checks to have gas money to drive home. While talking to the employees and some of the clients I heard speculation about embezzlement, reports of the managers playing "games" by sending them from one place to another, and a general dislike for the new directors.

When I returned to the office I submitted the following images, and was chastised by the managing editor for making him need to redesign the front page because of the news photos (he was, of course, joking).

Martha Bennett, of Mariano Lake, sits inside a car Friday as she waits with dozens of care providers and clients for information on when they will receive their checks from Compassion Personal Health in Thoreau. When workers went to
the office for their checks they were instead met with a sign informing them that checks will be mailed to them.

Michael Vandever holds his son, Kaylem, as he and dozens of other care providers working for Compassion Personal Care gather outside of the business' office Friday in Thoreau.

A sign in the window stating that checks will be mailed contradicts other information that employees had that said checks would be issued at 3 pm.

More than 50 vehicles fill the parking lot and surrounding areas Friday of Compassion Personal Care's office in Thoreau, NM as care providers and clients wait for information on their checks from the company.

Newly appointed director Willie Antone secures the front door to Compassion Personal Care in Thoreau on Friday while dozens of employees and clients sit in their vehicles and stand nearby, waiting for their paychecks. Some of the people travelled from considerable distances to get their checks, and were stranded with insufficient money to buy gas to drive home.


Baseball - Window Rock vs. Ganado

Window Rock Scout batter Terrance Thompson (17) hits the ball for a single and gets an RBI Thursday while playing against the Ganado Hornets in Fort Defiance, Ariz. The Scouts won the double-header 12-2 and 22-6.

Ganado Hornet first baseman Ty Torivio (15) catches the ball for a forced out while Window Rock Scout Aaron John (7) approaches the base.

Ganado Hornet Landon Beverly (9) brushes off his shirt after sliding into home plate to score a run.

Window Rock Scout Jason Yazzie (3) tags out Ganado Hornets runner Dalvin Gorman (20) as he slides into second base Thursday during the second game of a double-header in Fort Defiance, Ariz.

Window Rock Scout Daniel Billy (18) pitches the ball as a Ganado Hornet batter stands at the plate during game two of a double-header.