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|| News Item: Posted 2006-05-29

Leading Off: How About A Sports Shooter Holiday?
By Robert Hanashiro, Sports Shooter

Photo by Robert Hanashiro / Sports Shooter

Photo by Robert Hanashiro / Sports Shooter

Photographers look away from the action on the court to Chimp during beach volleyball action at the AVP Hermosa Beach Open.
Memorial Day means many things. To me Memorial Day brings back thoughts of my dad, family gatherings, good times with friends, ball games, the Indianapolis 500 and yes, the most important, an extra day off from work.

Internet lists contain up to 200 different holidays and "celebrations" --- those days the government and business don't shutdown but recognize to some degree or another.

These "celebrations" range from the ethnic (Cinco de Mayo) to religious (Rosh Hashanah) to some that are just there for obvious political correctness.

Of course there are those "celebrations" that are purely commercial in nature like Mother's Day, Father's Day, Grandparent's Day and Administrative Assistants' Day (which once upon a time was Secretaries' Day). Greeting card companies, florists and restaurateurs all LOVE these holidays because we spend money ... well, I don't have an administrative assistant, so my wife and daughter get another night out instead.

There are other days (and often weeks) set aside to bring awareness to a particular cause or illness like Earth Day, Cancer Awareness Week and National Helen Keller Deaf-Blind Awareness Week.

Photo by Robert Hanashiro / Sports Shooter

Photo by Robert Hanashiro / Sports Shooter

No chimping!
Reading these lists of holidays, celebrations and awareness days got me thinking: Why can't Sports Shooter have its own special day? What would we celebrate? Or better yet, what would we want to bring to photographers' attention? If we designated a special day ... what would it be?

Shoot Only Sports Day?

Or Put Away The Wide Angle and Shoot Only Telephoto Day?

How about National Nikon Versus Canon Day?

I spent the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend covering the AVP Hermosa Beach Open, figuring it's the kick off to summer so why not shoot a little beach volleyball? (Of course the sunshine, water and swimsuit-wearing women athletes might have also been a consideration?)

While covering a match on the stadium court, I noticed a congregation of photographers sitting along one of the advertising boards on one of the sidelines. After each rally they would all bow their heads in unison, not in prayer but to squint into the LCD screens on the backs of their digital cameras.

Right then and there I knew what our Sports Shooter holiday would be: National No Chimping Day.

I have always had a love/hate relationship with Chimping. While it is often useful to be able to see whether I had a certain play sharp or to confirm color balance and exposure, it had become a crutch.

(For the uninitiated, Chimping is using the camera's LCD screen to see what has been shot. You can see a video about Chimping at:

Too many photographers, especially those not "raised on film" use (or abuse) Chimping. Chimping has become a substitute for a light meter and the whole concept can breed laziness.

I also notice that many of these Chimpaholics get so enamored with their own work that they stare at the screen so long they miss what's going on around them.

(I played a little game a couple of years ago at an NCAA Regional. Whenever I saw an unnamed wire service photographer sitting next to me Chimping, I shot a photo of one of the coaches. These photos ended up running in my paper as a small picture story.)

I think my buddy Matt Mendelsohn said it best to me the other day: "For me, Chimping is confirmation that just about every one of my exposures was better back in the days when I used a hand-held meter and my brain. Matrix, schmatrix."

Admittedly I am a recovering Chimpaholic, even taking my treatment so far as to putting a piece of black tape over my camera LCD screen. I have found my treatment has forced me to stay more focused on what I am shooting and I have even noticed my composition has improved.

I asked some of my friends about Chimping the other day and at least I know that I have company, as my USA TODAY colleague wrote me "... I love Chimping. I'm a confirmed Chimpaholic." Bob was not alone in his admission ... several other friends said basically the same thing.

So as the founder of Sports Shooter, I am declaring June 9 from hereon to be "National No Chimping Day".

So on June 9 get a small piece of gaffer's tape and cover your digital camera's LCD screen. And if you're like me, you will find that you're concentrating more on the action, keeping your eye on the subject longer composing better and (re)discovering that reviewing your work AFTER the assignment is completed isn't all that bad.

(Please note that we are hoping to fund a foundation that will find a cure for Chimping and a support group, Chimpaholics Anonymous. Donations are gladly accepted. No PayPal please.)

* * *

Photo by Melissa Miller

Photo by Melissa Miller

Sports Shooter Academy faculty member Robert Hanashiro, (left) leads a portrait class during a session with pro beach volleyball players at Sports Shooter Academy II in April of 2006.
I have some good news and bad news concerning Sports Shooter educational events. I am sad to officially announce that I have cancelled plans for the Sports Shooter Workshop & Shindig, which was scheduled for September. Differences with the primary sponsor over my plans forced me to rethink holding the event, and rather than make changes, I felt it best to cancel this workshop.

However, the huge success of Sports Shooter Academy II this past April has prompted me to hold another Academy this coming November. Details on Sports Shooter Academy III and application information are in a separate story below. (For highlights from SSA II, check the videos on my member page:

But I want to use this space to thank and apologize to the several photographers and editors who committed to helping with the Workshop & Shindig.

Alex Brandon and the staff of the New Orleans Times-Picayune, the Chicago Tribune's Pete Souza and Gale Fisher and the staff of the Los Angeles Times all agreed to help me as the featured presenters. Also the Sacramento Bee's Kevin German, USA TODAY's Bob Deutsch and Dan MacMedan, the Salt Lake Tribune's Trent Nelson and Scott Sommerdorf and Brooks Institute of Photography instructor Rick Rickman all volunteered to put together breakout presentations. Thanks to all of you for offering your valuable time, knowledge and experiences to help me with this event. I owe each of you a debt of gratitude. I am truly sorry we won't all be able to be together in September at the Shindig.

* * *

Sports Shooter v.91 celebrates the start of summer with an insightful story from A.J. Mast on covering the events leading up to the Indianapolis 500.

Chicago White Sox team photographer Ron Vesely recounts covering the team's march to winning the World Series and the personal side of a life-long fan seeing his team win it all.

The Photodude returns with a Sports Shooter quiz and freelance outdoor adventure photographer Lucas Gilman writes in the regular In The Bag series how remotes make him more money.

So sit back, adjust the contrast on your monitor, tune in to KCDX 103.1 classic rock (on the net at: and enjoy Sports Shooter v.91!

As always, thanks to Special Advisors & Contributors: Deanna & Emma Hanashiro, Brad Mangin, Rick Rickman, Rod Mar, Vincent Laforet, Trent Nelson, Jason Burfield, Grover Sanschagrin, Joe Gosen, The Photodude, Reed Hoffmann, Anne Ryan, Darren Carroll and Bob Deutsch.

Thanks this month to: A.J. Mast, Ron Vesely and Lucas Gilman.

I welcome any comments, corrections, suggestions and contributions. Please e-mail me at

The Sports Shooter Archives as well as tons of cool resources and information can be accessed through the Internet at

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Opinions, rants, raves, insults and praise whether intend or not, are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Sports Shooter and public sensibilities.

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