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It's our 10th annual Focus on Nevada photo issue! PLUS: My Dry Lakebed Race | The Spicy Chicken Sandwich 'Splosion | Five Years of Legal Weed | Zen and the Art of BirdwatchingRead the digital editionDownload the full issue as a pdf

Made Us Look: Funny Focus Photos

The Desert Companion staff’s favorite part of the photo contest is culling photos for the judges. We turn out the office lights, gather around a large(ish) flat-screen TV, and Art Director Chris Smith digitally flips through the pictures in each category, one by one. We react to and discuss them, spontaneously at first, then with increasing discernment. And inevitably, some that elicit spontaneous Ooohs and Ahhhs don’t make the final cut.

Here are a few of this year’s that made us smile — in the best possible way — at a time when smiles were hard to come by. Thanks, photographers!

Desert Companion welcomed Heidi Kyser as staff writer in January 2014. In 2018, she was promoted to senior writer and producer, working for both DC and State of Nevada. She produced KNPR’s first podcast, the Edward R. Murrow Regional Award-winning Native Nevada, in 2020. The following year, she returned her focus full-time to Desert Companion, becoming Deputy Editor, which meant she was next in line to take over when longtime editor Andrew Kiraly left in July 2022.