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|| News Item: Posted 2007-04-24

Leading Off: #100 … And Counting
By Robert Hanashiro, Sports Shooter

Photo by Robert Hanashiro / Fresno Guide

Photo by Robert Hanashiro / Fresno Guide

Fresno City College soccer shot in 1978 with a 500mm f/8 mirror lens.
Love what you do.
Do What you love.

Ray Bradbury
April 15, 2007

I've been doing this for a long time.

No … not the Sports Shooter Newsletter. Photography.

I remember at my first job at the old Fresno Guide, a five-day-a-week alternative newspaper where I was the "kid" on the staff. Now mind you, The Guide had a staff of a bunch of young, recent journalism grads, but at 21 I was still out of my league.

The year was 1977.

I learned more in the two years I worked there … starting at $200 a week … than anywhere else. Like a lot of small newspapers in towns with a dominant competitor (for us the Fresno Bee) the Fresno Guide was always on the verge of collapse. Redesigns. Reductions. Redirection. Retrenching. They were all things that were part of the job. At one time to make room on the staff for my buddy Barry Wong … who was a MUCH better photographer than me … I moved to the sports department.

We shot four or five assignments a day, sometimes six. Rushing around from press conference to press conference. Business page headshots at noon to afternoon soccer games at Fresno City College. At nights, it was prep sports.

Then back to the lab to soup the our film … I can still remember the smell of old D-76, Acufine and fixer to this day (and have the stained T-shirts as proof!) … and crank out prints on an Ektamatic processor.

I worked 12 hours a day. Six days a week. Minimum.

Even though I was majoring in journalism and had been taking photos since high school, The Guide is where I fell in love with photography.

We survived on the $3.99 daily specials at the old Eagle Café down the street from the office (pork chops smothered in brown gravy with lumpy mashed potatoes) or the Victory Café in Chinatown (Wednesdays was short ribs and two scoops of rice!). I drove a black Pinto hatchback that had tape over the odometer … take a guess why.

I used a Nikon F2 with a motordrive that I had to pay for in installments at a very cool local camera store, Photo Synthesis. I shot sports with a Nikon 500mm mirror lens (f/8!!!), a 300mm 4.5 and a 180mm 2.8.

And this is where I developed what is now a long-lost art: Follow Focus.

After two glorious years at The Guide … which by this time had changed its name to the Fresno County Reporter … I graduated to the Visalia Times-Delta to become its chief photographer. For $235 a week. (I actually took a pay cut to take the job, I was making $248 at The Guide when I left.)

And as they say: The rest is history.

While we are acknowledging the 100th edition of this newsletter --- thank you very much! --- it is also the 30th anniversary of my falling in love with photography.

Once in a great while I don't totally love my job. Sometimes, I have to admit, I don't love --- like when I read something objectionable in the Message Board. Sometimes my love for photography is challenged --- for instance reading about manipulated photos in newspapers.

I recently had the privilege to hear author Ray Bradbury talk about his life and his love for writing. Listening to the man behind some of my favorite books "The Martian Chronicles," "The Illustrated Man," "Dandelion Wine" and "Fahrenheit 451" was an amazing experience. But the thing that I took away from his talk was his love for what he does, writing.

Bradbury told us of making $25 here and $50 there for his short stories and essays at one time early in his career. But added "I never write for money. Never! I write for love!"

I know Darren Carroll and Rick Rickman would have me strung up by my thumbs for saying this but … after spending Sunday at the ballpark covering a crappy, early-season game between the Dodgers and Pirates, under cloudy skies with drizzling rain … I would have done it for FREE.

I am not the most talented photographer out there. But I've always taken pride in working hard, being prepared, enjoyed the company of my fellow Sports Shooters and having a love for what I do.

Thanks to all of you for letting me share some of this through Sports Shooter!

* * *

After a brief hiatus to put on Sports Shooter Academy IV early this month, we finally get to issue #100!

I pondered a lot on how to celebrate this milestone. But after much thought I decided the thing I should do is put out the best issue I can. One concession to #100 I made was to ask my friends to write something for the issue on their views about photography within the context of the newsletter and the past 8 years.

Darrell Miho, Trent Nelson, Chip Litherland and Zach Honig each contributed articles centered on #100.

Bryan Moss ponders one of the biggest (photographic) cultural phenomenon to originate during the past 8 years … Chimping.

Robert Beck, Mike Blake and Keith Birmingham contributed observations on sports events, recent and past.

Sports photographers and pj's are all waiting breathlessly for the arrival of Canon's new top-of-the-line digital SRL, the EOS-1 Mark III … me included. Regular contributor Vincent Laforet writes a hands-on users report on the Mark III, highlighting one of its very cool features "Live View".

Reed Hoffmann asks "Aperture and Lightroom - What's the Fuss?" in Pushing Pixels and Paul Myers contributes his regular Preaching To The Choir column.

We announce the winners of the Sports Shooter Annual Contest.

Mark Stallings writes a fun piece about a Texas rattlesnake hunt. Honest.

Thanks to everyone that has helped with this newsletter the past 8 years and 100 issues. Special thanks to Brad, Grover, Burf, Joe and Tree for taking this idea for a monthly newsletter on sports photography and photojournalism and bringing us

Thanks to the friends that helped me with all of my educational programs: the Sports Shooter Newsletter Annual Contest judging, the Workshop & Luau, the Commuter Short Course , The Academy and coming up next … The Boot Camp.

I could not do this without the support of USA TODAY and the wonderful people I work with … Richard Curtis, Frank Folwell, Mick Cochran and Julia Schmalz.

My sanity, what's left of it, is the responsibility of my rabbi Bob Deutsch and my swing coach Jack Gruber.

I lean on many friends here in LA for advice and support --- to rant at and go out for noodles and BBQ --- thanks Myung, Matt, DMac and Wally.

And I would not do this without the love, support and blessing of Deanna and Emma … the loves of my life!

So sit back, adjust the contrast on your monitor, turn up the volume on "You're Still A Young Man" by Tower of Power … and enjoy Sports Shooter v.100!

As always, thanks to Special Advisors & Contributors: Deanna & Emma Hanashiro, Brad Mangin, Rod Mar, Trent Nelson, Jason Burfield, Grover Sanschagrin, Joe Gosen, The Photodude, Reed Hoffmann, Paul Myers, Darren Carroll, Zach Honig and Bob Deutsch.

Thanks this month to: Robert Beck, Darrell Miho, Mike Blake, Keith Birmingham, Vincent Laforet, Mark Stallings, Bryan Moss and Chip Litherland.

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