Photos in a Gallery + Being On TV

I was on local TV twice in November, and for different reasons!

1st, as a photographer:                                                                                                   Six of my photographs were on display from November 3rd through the 12th at the Vision Gallery – an art gallery located at City Hall in downtown Chandler, Arizona. The majority of the photos displayed there (20 of them) were taken by my friend John Power. He passed away on the 4th of July this year. I was asked to continue a very special photography project he had been working on.

The project will make more sense if I first tell you about I-HELP (Interfaith Homeless Emergency Lodging Program). You can’t take a snap shot of all the service rendered through this program, but please imagine for a moment this scene: Every night of the week in Chandler, one of now 18 different churches offers a place to sleep to several of the city’s homeless people. In addition, volunteers from one of about 15 other organizations – churches, businesses, etc. – plus individuals and families not affiliated with a particular group, prepare a hot meal for them and deliver it to them at the church whose turn it is to host. But that’s still not all. After serving the meal, volunteers sit down and eat along with these homeless souls. Chatting and getting to know each other, they enjoy the meal together. To me, that is beautiful living art.

Now we finally get to the photos. To bring further realization of self worth to those experiencing a rather desperate situation, John (and then I) photographed them individually, creating black and white portraits of all who wanted to be photographed.

Channel 10 news interviewed me at the gallery and ran a story about it on November 6th. Here’s the link to an article by KTAR News about the exhibit. They used a portion of one of my photos to accompany the article. That’s why my name (Robin Finlinson) is under it.

The above photos are 5 of my 6 that were exhibited. The one I’m not showing here is of a gentleman who worked for I-HELP.

Below, you’ll see photos I took that were not displayed. Only one photo of each person was used for the exhibit. Since John Power had already photographed a few of the I-HELP clients that I later photographed, his photos were rightly shared with the public.

Several times, this fellow put his hands together as if in prayer as he told me of his gratitude for the Savior. I had to get a shot of him like that.

I told this fellow with the smoldering look that I think he should be a model!

Through the opportunity of photographing these people–each incredibly and beautifully unique–I came to really see them and to know them a little bit. That’s all it took to love them. If you have the opportunity to help your homeless–those in your area–I hope you will. The best way to do that is through donating specifically needed items or money or your time as a volunteer to an agency that works with the homeless and is helping with their immediate and long-term needs. You can find opportunities posted at

2nd, as a Community Service Specialist for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints:                                                                                                                                 I work with people from various churches, non-profit charities, senior and youth centers and other organizations to get them set up on, a website that helps them find more volunteers for the many good things they are doing. The website is a free gift from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to the community. One of the organizations I posted a service project for is FANS Across America in Chandler. Here’s the link to the news story about volunteerism that was filmed there by Arizona State University’s Cronkite School of Journalism. It ran on PBS (Channel 8 in Arizona) on November 23rd. The story begins about 4 minutes and 30 seconds into the broadcast.

I had been asked to simply greet the news crew and make sure they had the information they needed about JustServe. Jesse, the very nice young reporter/cameraman, wanted to interview me too, since he is supposed to interview three people if possible.

Interestingly, the person who taught me most of what I know about public affairs and how to post projects for organizations on was… John Power.

Have a beautiful day!


Happy Halloween 2016

At Halloween, why not slip over to your neighborhood park for a photo shoot?

I didn’t get Tanner’s face quite in focus, but this photo must be shared anyway.

Harry Hambone.

I had a blast photographing Sydney and Tanner as they got into character as Harry and Hermione. They chased each other around, casting spells. They chose all the poses. I merely said, “Yeah! Hold that for a moment!” This pose was Sydney’s idea. Tanner didn’t mind. They have their occasional argumentative moments, but they truly are great friends. Tissue, please!

Happy Halloween!


Harry Potter – Hogwarts Castle


As we approached Universal Studios in Orlando (yes, back in December), I caught a glimpse of Hogwarts Castle. I thought it was probably just a facade, like a huge cardboard cutout.  I was so utterly delighted to find that not only is it a real building, we could go inside! It’s home to a great ride. I was as pleased by the line waiting for the ride as I was for the ride itself.  The line weaves through rooms and hallways of Hogwarts. Pictures on the walls speak to you.

I had fun enhancing my photos of the castle.

Have a delightful day!


More Harry Potter!

A cozy booth at The Three Broomsticks restaurant.

Sydney, enjoying a butterbeer (cream soda, butterscotch and a few other ingredients). Yummy!

I could spend all day simply existing at the two Ollivanders wand shops. The stark differences in their charming architecture make it well worth a long visit to both.

Whether you like the character of Narcissa Malfoy or not, you must admit that she has a wonderful wand.

Harry Potter-Universal Studios Orlando

Happy birthday, J.K. Rowling and Harry Potter!  We are big fans.  Here are photos of our mind-blowingly wonderful trip to Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida in December.  My favorite part of our week in Florida was spending time in Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley.  I never wanted to leave.  

The Three Broomsticks is now my favorite restaurant in the world.  We spent two whole days at Universal Studios and happily lunched there both days.

Honeydukes candy shop put an even bigger smile on our faces.

Vintage Birthday Card

Happy Birthday to everyone with a birthday this month!  I made this card for my mom. The inspiration came after she, my daughter and I watched an episode of one of my all-time favorite shows – Fixer Upper, on HGTV.  My mom was quite sad to find out that demo day of a home built rather early in the last century would include removing the floral wallpaper.  She did like Joanna’s and Chip’s finished product, but I wanted to give her a floral card that nobody will ever remodel.


Busy, Busy, Busy

Me (left) and Dr. Shadow Asgari, holding the award she had just received (in January) for our Legislative District’s Republican Committee.  She is the Chairman of the Executive Board, and I am the Corresponding Secretary.

So many family activities lately!  So many photo and writing projects!  Political and community meetings galore! Lots of fun, but I’ve been so busy I actually didn’t post anything last month.  I was about to fall asleep just now, but I remembered that I hadn’t posted anything this month either!  I looked at the clock and saw that it’s still about 15 minutes til April. Yay!  I’ll get something posted after all.

In fact, I simply posted the above paragraph and then added to it the next day.

Here are some of the things I’ve been up to.

POLITICS: I would definitely say that the award for best Legislative District (see above photos) was given primarily because of Shadow’s endless hours of hard work, but the other Board members dedicate long hours of service too.

As a Precinct Committeeman, I help inform the people who live in my precinct of the candidates running for office and of current ballot issues. I encourage them to vote in all the elections!

I was elected to the Executive Board by other Precinct Committeemen (PCs) within Legislative District 17 partly because I often write in local newspapers, particularly The Arizona Republic, defending Conservative principles.

As the Board’s Corresponding Secretary since November of 2014, I gather information that our PCs need to know (info about upcoming meetings, events and elections, for example) and email it to them.  Fortunately, Shadow emails or texts me most of the info that I need to share with everyone else.  We use Constant Contact for sending emails to over 200 people. So, I take the time to make some info extra large, bold, italicized, red, blue, etc., hoping that it will be easy and quick to understand. That’s fun for me, but it can take a long time.  It takes time to attach forms and flyers too.

I also take photographs at many Republican events and share them on our LD’s Facebook page.

As a Precinct Committeeman, I get to know the people running for local and state elected office and those who then serve the public.  I encourage any citizen of the United States of America who cares about our country and their local community to get involved in that way, or to at least help with the campaign of a particular candidate or proposition that their conscience endorses.

BLOOD DRIVES and FOR OUR CITY: Since February, 2012, I have been a blood drive coordinator for my stake (local area) of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (also known as the LDS or Mormon church because the name is long.)  I love that calling. (A calling is a position in which we are asked or “called” to serve.)

Because I also serve on my stake’s public affairs/JustServe committee, I often attend “For Our City” meetings at which leaders of the community representing various churches, businesses, non-profit service organizations, etc. get together to help figure out the best ways to solve problems in Chandler, Arizona.  I’ve met wonderful people at those meetings, and decided to reach out to their organizations to hold blood drives together.

In February, I organized a blood drive and Pam (see photo below) hosted it. It was our second drive together.  Latif and I have also held two drives together so far.  When I told him about the February drive with Pam, he wanted to join in.  All three of us gathered donors from our groups and welcomed the general blood-donating public too.

It obviously doesn’t matter that we have different religious views. As people respect (and find fascinating instead of strange) our uniqueness, and embrace each other as fellow human beings, more lives can be saved. A blood transfusion is needed somewhere in the U.S. about every 2 seconds.

Left to right: Pam Morris of the East Valley Jewish Community Center; me, the Mormon; and Latif Ahmed of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community. We are all blood drive coordinators for our faith groups in Chandler.

I’m also a blood donor!  Beside me is my friend Janet who donates too. Notice the red badge of courage on our arms.

Honestly, donating doesn’t even bother me.  Sure, there’s a little poke at first, but I bet you feel pain of that small magnitude almost every day. I do… a tag on a new shirt scratches my neck, or my knee hits a table… The knee hit is so much worse than the typical blood donation!  If you work up the courage to overcome any anxiety you feel, you will likely find that it’s a piece of cake.

About 60% of the U.S. population is eligible to give blood, and in any given year, only about 5% of those eligible actually donate. Each donation can save up to 3 lives!

THE BEEHIVE NEWSPAPER: For the past year, I’ve been writing articles for The Beehive (just 1 – 3 articles every 2 – 3 months).  It’s fun to interview people (and often photograph them), and tell the story of something incredible they’ve done or promote their great business.  To see the articles I’ve written so far, follow the simple instructions below.

Go to Click on the magnifying glass and search for my name (Robin Finlinson). Only some of my articles will come up.  I have no idea why.  So, click on one of them.  Then, click on my name  —  right under the article’s title. All of my articles will magically appear!

Last month, I took photos at the Maricopa County Elections Office for an article I wrote, encouraging readers to vote.  Modern and vintage voting equipment is there on display. I photographed the modern election table divider and ballot machine for the newspaper.  I also took several photos of the vintage machine on display.  I think you’ll see why.

I don’t recommend being as busy as I have been with volunteerism and work outside of one’s home.  I’ve spent a lot of time photographing city, school and political events (that I don’t get paid for).  Much more time after those events is spent choosing photos, then cropping them and manipulating them in Lightroom, the photofinishing software I love.

I hope you will become educated about political matters and vote.  The people we elect and the laws we bind ourselves to follow make enormous differences in our lives… every day.

I hope you will also take some time to serve others in ways of your choosing.  But try not to over-extend yourself like I have lately!  Our families are our most important responsibility!   If we as spouses and parents would put our family’s needs first, many of the social problems in the country would not exist at such a critical level.

Have a wonderful day!