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|| News Item: Posted 2003-11-03

Leading Off: Do you … Ah … Luau?
By Robert Hanashiro, Sports Shooter

Photo by Grover Sanschagrin

Photo by Grover Sanschagrin

OK, what looks strange in this photo? Can you spot it? YES!! ONE guy is wearing a COWBOY HAT! From left, Lucas Gilman, Myung Chun, Ronal Taniwaki, and Dave Black.
Merriam-Webster Dictionary:
Word: lu·au
Pronunciation: 'lü-"au
Function: noun
Etymology: Hawaiian lu'au
Date: 1853
: an Hawaiian feast

Sports Shooter Glossary:
Word: Luau
Pronunciation: Loo-Auu!
Function: verb
Etymology: Sports Shooter Workshop & Luau
Date: 2001
: a COOL photography event with lots of learning, lots of great people and lots of fun

We're four days away and I'm not nervous. How could I be? When you're hosting THE coolest event in photography with nearly 500 people participating what's there to be nervous about?

Friends, colleagues and people I hardly even know have been asking me the past few days things like: "Are you doing ok?" or "You getting enough sleep?"

Well, I'm doing fine … but I will admit that juggling my real job as a USA TODAY staff photographer with being a husband and father and also Workshop & Luau Big Kahuna has cut down on my sleep.

But as my good friend Brad Mangin likes to remind me "Hanashiro, you asked for it."

Indeed, I did ask for it.

When we started the Workshop & Luau concept three years ago with 80 people attending at Nikon's Torrance, CA offices, I had no idea we would or could grow to the numbers we're looking at right now.

It has been my privilege to put this event together because in the process I have learned much and made a lot of new friends along the way.

I also know I have disappointed and maddened some of you as well. But to do what we do with all things Sports Shooter, you can't make everyone happy all the time unfortunately.

To bring all of these great photographers together for two days in one place is a tremendous undertaking … but reading the mails and Message Board posts from appreciative students and photographers makes it worthwhile.

One of the things I'm asked often is "why is it called a luau?" Anyone that knows me well knows that having fun and keeping things upbeat is what I'm about. So when we decided to hold a workshop we talked a lot about how we could set this kind of tone for the event … and what better way than to call it "Luau". As the dictionary defines it, "luau" is a feast … and for this workshop it is a feast of knowledge, good photography, good friends, inspiration and enthusiasm.

This is the reason we ask everyone that participates to come wearing a Hawaiian shirt and a smile.

(Last year we did think about changing the name to something else to reflect our theme of learning with good times and "Jamaican Beach Party" was considered. But I felt that Peter Read Miller and Brad Mangin would look pretty weird in dreadlocks.)

We have a fabulous weekend planned for Nov. 7 - 8 in Manhattan Beach … I wish all of you could be there to learn and laugh, grow and share.

I'd like to share some comments from some of the participants coming together this weekend:

"My one and only goal for the weekend, aside from trying to snag one of Jean Finley's world-famous cookies, is to buy a beer for Mongo Johnson and the Photodude-if someone would ever point them out to me."
Rod Mar, Seattle Times Staff Photographer (and breakout leader)

Photo by Jay Drowns

Photo by Jay Drowns

Portfolio review? Ha! They were reading the latest from the Photo Dude. Willie Allen, Jr, left, and Alan Greth have a portfolio chat at the 2002 Luau.
"Sports Shooter Workshop participants should be prepared to 'learn the things that that were never taught in college'. The workshop delivers 'news you can use' when you return to work on Monday. This workshop makes some "other" annual events look like preschool."
Alan Greth, Contra Costa Times Director of Photography (and portfolio review coordinator)

"Your level of photography makes no difference at the Sports Shooter Workshop and Luau where seasoned pros to the student photographer walk away with real tricks of the trade."
Michael Treola, Asbury Park Press

"The Luau & are UCLA's School of Photojournalism
---and we LOVE the tuition. The fact that USC photogs would never be caught dead in a Hawaiian shirt guarantees they'll never make it to the coolest photography event of the year."
Tyson Evans, UCLA Student

"I am so excited about the Luau. Never before have this many talented and cool photojournalists ever been assembled under one roof to share their knowledge! AND that roof is next to the beach!"
Brad Mangin, Bay Area Freelance Photographer (and Kahuna Confidante)

"The ability to walk up to a top-notch photographer such as Miller, Seale, Hanashiro, Mar and to tap them on the shoulder to pick their brains on business, lighting conditions, image capture, editing or anything else related to photography in a friendly setting without restrictions or hang ups is unprecedented and I hope that the knowledge sharing will continue for a long time to come."
Dirk Dewachter, Southern California freelance photographer

"This is without a doubt, the best workshop going in the country. The enthusiasm of the staff and participants is infectious. It's a kick in the pants!"
Barry Wong, Staff Photographer Seattle Times (and mail-in contest chairman)

"I have been excited and energized for my craft as I have watch the past several months go by. I have watched the incredible list of events and speakers announced and then even more events, contest, prizes and speakers added to make up the 2003 Sports Shooter Luau. The positive spirit that surrounds this event is very hard to miss and is nothing short of fantastic!"
Tom Braid, Chief Photographer Edmonton Sun

"This weekend should be a blast - first of all - it's turning out to be one of the biggest photo conferences of the year! Over 400 people! Wow! Two things are guaranteed - a lot of fun, and very little sleep."
Vincent Laforet, Staff Photographer New York Times (and Luau featured speaker)

"With so many great photo minds gathering in one place cocked and ready to data dump, share and mentor event participants, it will be impossible to walk away from the 2003 Workshop and Luau and not be a better, smarter, more motivated photographer."
Matt Hevezi, Gunnery Sergeant U.S. Marine Corp

Photo by Jeff Gritchen

Photo by Jeff Gritchen

Oh, the funny caption potential here is huge. So go ahead and make up your own - that's Andy Hayt on the left and Bert on the right.
"Students do not be intimidated, we have all had alcohol problems at one time or another, that is why we wear the Hawaiian shirts, it is to hide our jaundice issues. And by the way, nice Moo Moo Ronal!"
Andy Hayt, Photography Legend

"The speakers are leaders in the field, and continually inspire and inform all of us that attend. When I'm on the sideline, I often remember a small piece from the luau that allows me to go beyond the ordinary solutions. When I'm in the classroom, I drive my students CRAZY with web links to daily. Where else can they see the BEST out there doing the BEST work!
Dave Burman, teacher Hawkeye College

"Not since I attended the Eddie Adams Workshop have I seen any other organization offer such a great line-up of heavy hitters in the world of photography. Where else can students get to mingle with the likes of Mark Terrill, Vincent Laforet and Jack Gruber --- FOR FREE!!!"
Justin Sullivan, Getty Images

"The Sports Shooter Workshop and Luau is the most fun I've had with my clothes on ... well, almost."
Myung J. Chun, Staff Photographer Los Angeles Times (and Luau volunteer)

* * *

For our "Pre-Luau" edition of The Newsletter, we feature:
- A look at the World Series by Brad Mangin.
- Darren Carroll has his own World Series memories, photographing "some kid named Beckett" and "George" Posada.
- Vincent Laforet starts a two-part article on putting together a digital darkroom.
- Dan MacMedan gives us a first-hand look at the frenzy of Laker Media Day.
- Photodude returns (but Mongo doesn't!)
- Justin Sullivan tells about a ride on the "Arnold Bus"
- And Eric Risberg continues his quest to educate readers on the wine. This installment: pinot noirs.

So pack that Hawaiian shirt … sit back, adjust the contrast on your monitor, turn down the volume on that Hiromi CD and enjoy Sports Shooter Newsletter v.60.

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Robert Hanashiro:

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