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|| News Item: Posted 2004-05-02

Leading Off: The BIG Time
By Robert Hanashiro, Sports Shooter

Photo by Robert Hanashiro / Sports Shooter

Photo by Robert Hanashiro / Sports Shooter

Looking at the bench for some feature photo possibilities at a Little League field in San Diego.
I was having lunch with some photographers at a game last week when talked turned to the topic of a local LA Daily (not the Times!) that still allows the photo department secretary to use credentials to shoot local professional and college events.

While I consider it a huge joke and as unprofessional as it gets (how can we expect to receive respect from these teams when a publication allows this conduct?) ... it brought to mind something Rod Mar said at the first Sports Shooter Workshop & Luau: "Make the Big Time where you are."

The Message Board is filled with threads where people ask: "how do I get credentials for this pro team" or "look at my new gallery with this major college team" or "need advice how to shoot this sport ..."

I think it's time for us to rid ourselves of the notion that good photography is only made at major professional, college or Olympic events ... or for that matter award-winning news photographs are only made in some war zone or exotic - sounding country.

Reading the Message Board it sounds like NOBODY is satisfied with where they are or what they are shooting!

"Back up. Take a breath. And just look around ..." to borrow another line, this one from Jack Gruber at the Workshop & Luau 2003, maybe we should all step back a bit and look around at where we are for ideas and good photographs.

Check out the great work by members Francis Gardler and Keith Birmingham to see that high-impact, story-telling photographs can and are shot at the preps.

The day when a punk photographer at the little Visalia Times-Delta can call up the 49ers and get a sideline credential are long gone. So get over it dam it!

Times have changed and so to credential policies and access. For instance the Angels won't issue me a season credential because they say their policy is season passes go only to organizations that cover all home games. However at the Dodgers, they issue me a season pass gladly and without hesitation.

Go figure.

Photo by Robert Hanashiro / Sports Shooter

Photo by Robert Hanashiro / Sports Shooter

A Little Leaguer does his El Duque impression.
As I write this I just returned from covering the Senior National Judo Championships held on the campus of U.C. San Diego ... besides the event's photographer, I was THE ONLY shooter there! This event had UNBELIEVABLE photographs all day long and all of them could have been shot even from the stands. So for 10 bucks (18 for two days) you could have made some great photographs ... from your seat.

As I drove to U.C. San Diego around 6:30, I passed a small field along the freeway where kids were playing ball in screaming, gorgeous light. As Brad Mangin said throughout the Annual Sports Shooter Contest judging a couple of years ago: "Nobody uses light anymore. Everything is shot in shitty light"

Those of you that don't have a major college or pro team or you're a student yearning to be the next Neil Leifer ... do yourself a favor: look for that dusty Little League field in the late afternoon light ...

* * *

And speaking of the Message Board ...

I started Sports Shooter almost 6 years ago with the selfish idea that I could share information, thoughts, rants and raves with friends and colleagues in a time when so much was changing in our profession ... digital cameras, new sideline and credential policies, travel alerts...

From those rambling emails a community was formed. For better or worse, whether I wanted to be the "mayor" of this community or not, Sports Shooter took on a life of its own. The mailing list for this newsletter has grown to over 7,200 people worldwide and the Workshop & Luau will have over 450 people participating this year.

And with the help of some talented and fabulous people like Brad Mangin, Grover Sanschagrin and Jason Burfield, was born.

A week does not go by without a friend (usually Bob Deutsch or Rod Mar) asking why I continue to spend all the time and energy I do on the Sports Shooter "Community" (mostly between the hours of 10 pm and 2 am!) ... with a family, a job and other interests, I wonder myself.

The reason? Wonderful people like Tom Braid, Robert Caplin, Max Morse, Jenna Isaacson, Keith Birmingham, Dianna Russell, Justin Sullivan, Walt Calahan, Rod Mar, Rick Rickman ... people who use the great information available here and who also help and share their experiences.

Simply, that is the reason why I continue.

People whose only motivation is to try to bring attention to themselves and enter into our community with the idea that it's all about themselves ... should not be tolerated and should be ignored. They will go away.

Photo by Robert Hanashiro / Sports Shooter

Photo by Robert Hanashiro / Sports Shooter

Little League second base action: shooting from over a fence, looking for a clean background.
People wonder why Sports Shooter "regulars" like Vince Laforet, Bob Rosato, Peter Read Miller, Robert Seale, Bob Deutsch, Darren Carroll, Ron Taniwaki, Mark J. Terrill, Jack Gruber, Robert Beck, et al aren't as visible on the website's Message Board as they once were. Truthfully, they got tired of reading the garbage these self-promoting, egotistical losers were polluting the Message Board with.

Honestly, when Brad and Grover approached me with the idea of adding a Message Board feature to one of the first prototypes of, I was *very* skeptical. I had seen how NPPA-L, the Forums and sites like the photojournalism board on CompuServe had disintegrated under the shear weight of the inappropriate and self-serving material that was being posted.

But after some soul-searching I thought we could be different and that it could be a great vehicle for Sports Shooter members to also be an important part of "the community".

By in large, it has been successful. People have gotten jobs and internships through the Message Board. Useful information on copyright, credential use agreements, carry-on baggage changes, new equipment, picture usage and manipulation has been shared and intelligently discussed.

I have tried to keep the level of the Message Board high and have encouraged my friends and colleagues who had given up posting to "get back in there" because I felt that the best way to keep the level high is to increase the participation of the top photographers and editors in this business.

Photo by Robert Hanashiro / Sports Shooter

Photo by Robert Hanashiro / Sports Shooter

Shooting tight: A player doesn't keep his eye on the ball as he tries to field a pop up.
I don't want to dwell on the people who seem to pride themselves on making idiotic and provocative statements on our Message Board just for the sake of hearing themselves talk. Because like I wrote above, let's just ignore them. The one thing I will say is that not everyone works for Sports Illustrated or the Los Angeles Times or the Associated Press or the Madera Tribune or the Visalia Times-Delta, but we're all in this community together and share a common interest: Improving, learning, meeting other cool people, looking at great photography and having a little fun while we're doing it.

Don't get caught up in what the very small minority of losers want to try to jam down our throats ... take the high road, keep your faith in the people that helped form this community with you and continue to enjoy this while we still have it.

Hey Grover and Burf ... when we building a community pool and golf course?

* * *

Sports Shooter v.66 features Scott Sommerdorf reflecting on a word we are hearing a lot lately. Anne Ryan went out to shoot a prep basketball superstar and wound in the middle of a tornado. Vincent Laforet debates size ... of your laptop. And Reed Hoffman has two things that is bothering him: sharpening and resampling.

So sit back, adjust the contrast on that computer monitor, turn down that Vienna Teng CD and enjoy Sports Shooter v.66.

Contents copyright 2020, Do not republish without permission.
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