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|| News Item: Posted 2003-11-03

Photodude: Luau Do's and Don'ts
By Photodude

The Photodude returns from a two-month hiatus where his schedule and finances were abruptly changed by the cancellation of Ben and J-Lo's wedding where the 'Dude was to serve as official photographer.

Okay, not the official "wedding" photographer, but the official "reception" photographer. Okay, not that either, but the "after-party" photographer. Okay, okay, I admit, the Photodude was hired as the second assistant to the woman shooting the red carpet arrivals at the VIP room of the after-party which took place following the reception that followed the wedding that never took place. Can you say "kill fee?" I thought you could.

Now, on to the mailbag!


Dear Photodude,

Okay, I'm headed to the Luau. I've secured cheap plane fare, and crammed into a hotel room with three other students, have my portfolio ready and a pretty cool Hawaiian shirt. But I've got to admit that I'm nervous. There's been so much build-up on the message boards, and now as the date approaches I'm feeling a little panicked. Any advice?


Luau'er in Louisville.


Dear Luau'er,

Never fear, the Photodude is here with a list of Do's and Don'ts for a successful weekend at this year's Workshop and Luau.

Do: Come with an open mind.

The pros in attendance think you're no better or no worse than anyone else. Check your ego at the double-doors of the Manhattan Beach Marriott, and learn as much as you can. Pros shooters, and especially photo editors in attendance will instantly "sniff out" the students who show up thinking they're the next Iooss. Trust me, you're not. A double-truck that once appeared as an opener in Sports Illustrated does not a career make.

Don't: Be intimidated.

Robert Hanashiro, Ronal Taniwaki, and the rest of the gang have assembled a group of instructors who aren't only the tops in their fields, but who are world class PERSONS as well. If you see someone you'd like to meet, don't hesitate to step up, wait until they're not otherwise engaged, and say hi. No one will bite you. Not even Grover.

Do: Meet others.

Not only is there a top-notch faculty at these gatherings, but there's a whole world of other students to meet. Not just the hot ones, either! One of the coolest things about the photojournalism profession, and especially about Sports Shooter, is the sense of community and camaraderie that exists. Match up faces to names, exchange email address and Instant Messenger nicknames. You'll never know who you'll meet, what you'll learn, and heck, that face in the crowd could be an intern with you next summer. Or, I guess she could be the one who beats you out of an internship, but hey, all's fair in love and war.

Don't: Just hang out with "your crowd".

The Workshop and Luau is a great opportunity to meet others. You hang out with your school friends all year anyway.

Photo by Brad Mangin

Photo by Brad Mangin

Too bad Robert Beck won't be at the Luau. The Photodude really wanted to drool on him.
Do: Suck up the right way.

What is the "right way" of "sucking up", you ask? Introduce yourself to your heroes. Thank them for their presentation. If you have a question, think about how to phrase it beforehand. Nothing's worse than the drooling student who asks, "So, Mr. Villegas, how do you like California? (Hint -- he works in Sacramento). First impressions are important. Try not to stand there and drool when you meet Vince Laforet or Deanne Fitzmaurice. They'll appreciate it.

Don't: Be a stalker.

There are documented cases of this happening in year's past. Don't become "the story" of the Luau that will be told and retold by the pros in photo workrooms from the World Series to the Opening Ceremonies in Athens. Oh, and already, the pros have established "that cute Jack Gruber from USA Today" as the odds-on favorite to be the stalking victim this year.

Do: Act like you've been to a hotel before.

There are myriad stories of students attending the Luau who mistook the Manhattan Beach Marriott for their college dorm, fraternity or sorority. That older person walking down the hallway as you and your friends have a water fight in the middle of the night might be someone who could someday have a say in your career. Heck, it might even be Alan Greth.

Don't: Be "that kid".

You know the one. The one who drank too much, who was the fool in the hotel lobby, who was the one who showed up to the morning session looking like they just came in from a big night out. We've all partied hard -- how does that commercial go? "Know your limits."

Do: Be an active participant in your breakout session. Your instructors will appreciate intelligent questions. Especially Robert Seale.

Don't: Stare too blatantly at Robert Seale's models.

Do: Thank your hosts (and anyone else you feel has helped you by looking at your portfolio, bought you some pizza, whatever...).

Robert Hanashiro (aka "The Big Kahuna") and Ronal Taniwaki (aka "Mr. Nikon"), along with many volunteers, have put in countless hours of unpaid work to make this event happen. They don't need thank you letters, but I'd bet a quick "thank you" during the weekend would be much appreciated by any of them.

Don't: Forget to have fun.

It's a luau, dammit.


Finally, the Top Ten List:

10. The end of baseball season. It once used to marked by the final game of the World Series, but now it's acknowledged to begin when Rich Pilling and Jonathan Daniel begin posting to the message boards every day.

9. Funky photo vests worn by shooters at pro and college games. The ones in Oakland are ugly, the ones in Seattle look like garbage sacks. Only a matter of time until someone suggests that Joe Gosen and Brad Mangin have them made up with a "Sports Shooter Logo".

8. threads asking Sports Illustrated shooters how they do things. I'll stop reading when someone asks Robert Beck whether he wears boxers or briefs. (He's a surfer. Don't they go commando?).

7. The Kobe Trial. It's bad enough to have to read about it -- aren't you glad you don't have to shoot it?

6. The new Canon SD-10. Smaller than the S400 popularized by San Francisco Giants team shooter Andy Kuno. Comes in designer colors too. (No, the Photodude doesn't work for Canon - but he saw the camera and thinks it's tight. Fixed focal length lens (with optical zoom) but who zooms their point-and-shoot's anyway?)

5. LeBron James or Carmelo Anthony? The 'Dude likes 'Melo.

4. Athens 2004. Take your Visa. And your Kevlar.

3. The reemergence of "Little Pedro". Inquiring minds want to know -- which will occur first? Little Pedro become a Tiger Woods fan and write Darren Carroll a letter? Or Darren Carroll becomes team photographer for the Cleveland Cavaliers?

2. Jonathan Daniel (again). Did a kick-ass job of covering the Cubs playoff run, and when the beloved Cubbies broke his heart in Game 7, he did what they couldn't do -- he performed at the top of his game. Had every important picture to be had. And, they ran all over the world.

1. It's Luau time, baby!!!!


That's it for the 'Dude this month. As usual, send those rants, raves, questions to me at


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