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|| News Item: Posted 2003-12-31

Leading Off: Traditions
By Robert Hanashiro, Sports Shooter

Photo by Ronal Taniwaki

Photo by Ronal Taniwaki

The crowd gathers for Dim Sum at Ocean Seafood in December of 2003.
'Tis the season …

The Holidays mean --- crowded stores. Holiday cheer turns to Holidayangst. Late nights wrapping presents. Time with the family and friends. Tony Bennett singing "My Favorite Things." The smiles on the faces of your kids as the wrapping paper litters the living room floor …

To me, the Holidays are all of the above. And most important of all, the Holidays mean tradition. Call me an old softy at heart.

In addition to going home to Fresno for the Holidays and spending time with my family, here are some of my favorite (holiday) things:

Makin' Mochi
During December, the Japanese community gathers in churches, homes and community centers to make mochi, small round rice cakes filled with sweet beans. While we all enjoy eating these little treats, what makes this a memorable tradition for me is watching young and old come together to steam the rice, pound it into a sticky mess and pat them into little balls. Seeing my daughter and her friends covered in the white powdery rice flour along with the Issei (1st generation Japanese-Americans) and Nisei (2nd generation Japanese-Americans) is what the Holidays are all about.

Gathering With Fiends
Several years ago Ron Taniwaki and I started gathering with friends in LA, trying out new restaurants, from small dumpling shops to Brazilian bar-b-ques to cool noodle joints. While food is important it's the company and the conversation that brings us together on a semi-regular basis. (For those of you that have heard "Bert's Top 10 Tips for Better Sports Shooting" … this is #13: have a life outside of photography). Around Christmas we come together for a fun time and a small gift exchange … this year I'm not sure which was better, the Dim Sum at Ocean Seafood or watching the AP's Nicky Ut getting 3 gifts "stolen" by the rest of us! (For the record Nick had a 1) laser pointer 2) pocket tool kit and 3) an "Austin Powers" sumo action figure "stolen".)

Best of Photojournalism book … Ooops!
Another tradition of sorts I look(ed) forward to at the end of the year is (was) the arrival of the NPPA's collection of the previous year's best photography, the "Best of Photojournalism" book … OOOPS! I guess I won't be getting THAT this year!

The Rose Bowl Game
Photo by Ronal Taniwaki

Photo by Ronal Taniwaki

Robert Hanashiro at the 2001 Rose Bowl.
January 1 always means sitting in the end zone of the Rose Bowl, with Peter Read Miller on one side and Ron Taniwaki on the other. Tradition also should be that the game features the winner of the Pac - 10 against its counterpart in the Big - 10. And LOW AND BEHOLD the game this time around is just that! BCS - Be Damned! (Where else but in Southern California can you cover a football game in shorts and a T-shit … in JANUARY!)

And speaking of tradition ---

It was wonderful to read that the Anaheim Angels will again be playing in "The Big A" instead of "Edison International Field of Anaheim." (Officially it was renamed "Angel Stadium".)

It seems the Edison Company has invoked an escape clause in its $3 million a year contract for naming rights … I wonder if they'll lower my electric bill?

I have always shuddered when I have to use corporate names for sports venues, whether it's "Staples Center" or "Enron Field" (another opps!).

To me the CLASSY names were The Polo Grounds, Riverfront Stadium, Ebbetts Field and yes, even Candlestick Park.

When the days of dollar-grabbing cities and team owners stripped away the names ballpark were given --- usually for a good reason --- was the day sports began it's gentle slide from being a game to just a business (Pop quiz: Who is Jack Murphy and Joe Robbie?)

It's sad to read the sports pages and see headlines and story leads that are basically advertisements for Comerica, Minute Maid, Coors, SBC Telecommunications and coming up … a doggone pet store chain (the new Petco Park in San Diego)!

Deep down inside I am hoping that a desperate city with an aging stadium in need of a "name sponsor" and quick cash will hook up with Larry Flint. Here's to "Hustler Stadium"!

* * *

Photo by Robert Hanashiro

Photo by Robert Hanashiro

Hanashiro's bookshelf.
I've hinted for a month about it … and I will confirm it here and now: mark your calendars for next November for the Sports Shooter Workshop & Luau 2004.

To be perfectly honest, I was ready to end the Workshop & Luau after this year. The late nights (I have a day job after all!) and headaches of planning and hosting this year's Luau had me pretty convinced that it was time for me to move on and scale back my activities with Sports Shooter.

But it was the response from all of you that participated in this year's fabulous weekend in Manhattan Beach that gave me pause … and then a change of heart. With the help of my wife Deanna and daughter Emma … and that large cast of friends within the Sports Shooter Family we will plan an even more inspiration, informative and entertaining Luau next year.

I have lots of ideas … including possibly an additional workshop, with longer classes, more hands-on, maybe involving shooting by the participants … Sports Shooter University. I hope to do a trial run of SSU sometime in '04, with a more extensive version in the future?

Have any ideas? Questions? Let me know … just email me at:

* * *

Photo by Robert Hanashiro

Photo by Robert Hanashiro

Emma Hanashiro at a mochi-making celebration.
Sports Shooter v.62 features a story about the controversial new professional digital camera from Nikon, the D2H. How do you solve the post-game craziness at the conclusion of the Super Bowl? We ask several veteran football shooters their ideas on what to do about the "Super Bowl Scrum".

I have a couple of exciting new regular contributors to the Sports Shooter Newsletter debuting in this issue. Scott Sommerdorf, a staff photographer with the San Francisco will write a regular column giving us his unique view on issues affecting photographers, journalism, sports, music, movies … and the world.

Reed Hoffmann, a freelance photographer and digital consultant, will team up with his colleagues in Blue Pixel to answer questions Sports Shooter readers may have about digital work flow and related issues. In this first installment, Reed writes about the good, the bad and the ugly of our old friend … Photoshop.

We also announce the details for the annual Sports Shooter Newsletter Contest … the deadline is Super Bowl Sunday.

We also have Mongo's take on the TSA's new guidelines for photographers and carry-on bags … while the Photodude takes a well-deserved vacation.

So sit back, relax, turn up the volume on that Willie Bobo CD and enjoy Sports Shooter v. 62!

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