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|| News Item: Posted 2007-12-17

Leading Off: Ho! Ho! Ho!
By Robert Hanashiro, Sports Shooter

Photo by Robert Hanashiro / USA TODAY

Photo by Robert Hanashiro / USA TODAY

Jerry Mathers (Beaver) and Tony Dow (Wally) with USA TODAY's Robert Hanashiro.
Chestnuts roasting on an open fire
Jack Frost nipping at your nose
Yuletide carols being sung by a choir
And folks dressed up like Eskimos???

Dude! This is SoCal ... it's sunny and 65!

In keeping with the Holiday spirit, I wanted to use this space to recognize some highlights (or maybe some are lowlights?), offer some props, mention some cool people I meet during the year ... and most of all thank some people.

So here goes:

Cool people I met this year on assignment:
• "Beaver and Wally Cleaver" --- Jerry Mathers and Tony Dow --- showed me that after all of these years, maybe they really are brothers. During a portrait shoot, for a story on the 50th anniversary of the "Leave It To Beaver" (50 years!!!???), if I closed my eyes, listened to the two of them talk, I thought I was back in my family's home in Fresno, the old back & white TV on and my sister Sharon sitting next to me.

• Kevin Love, UCLA's super frosh basketball player. He apologized endlessly for being 5 minutes late for a portrait shoot. Dude … 5 minutes late in LA is EARLY!

• O.J. Mayo, USC super frosh basketball player. He referred to me as "sir" throughout a portrait shoot, never complaining once that I was making him late for a class. And the class? Beginning violin.

• Pitcher David Wells who didn't mind having his portrait made astride a Harley ... unlike his then teammate Greg Maddox.

• Inspirational MacKinzie Kline, the 15-year-old golfer who is trying to overcome a congenital heart to defect to live her dream of playing on the LPGA Tour. (

• All USA Teachers Margaret "Peg" Cagle (Lawrence Gifted/Highly Gifted Magnet School) and Gregory Fisher (California Academy of Math and Science) showed me that there is hope and promise in our schools … and that cool people are still going into teaching. (

Photo by Robert Hanashiro / USA TODAY

Photo by Robert Hanashiro / USA TODAY

O.J. Mayo, USC's super frosh basketball player.
• Golden State Warriors' forward Matt Barnes was the most unassuming, easy-going NBA player I have easy dealt with. (Heck, he's not a Laker so what did I expect?) Not many players would invite me to their home so I could photograph them packing, ironing clothes and getting ready to leave for training camp ... and never once say "Dude! Don't shoot me doing that!" (

• University of San Diego quarterback Josh Johnson --- nice kid with a great attitude. And a great smile! All college athletes should be like him. I hope an NFL team takes a chance on him. They wouldn't go wrong.

• Volleyball player Logan Tom who was so patient, funny and easy to work with --- even though she wasn't wearing much. (

• Thanks to US PW for providing fodder for the message board.

• Thanks to John Harrington, Darren Carroll, Robert Seale, et al for helping lift the Sports Shooter Community with their campaign, which I've dubbed, "Friends don't let friends work for free."

• Thanks to Rachael Yamagata your words and music. When's the next album coming out???!!!

• Best movie I saw this year: "Once". (Go see it!)

• Websites I check each morning and can't do without:
What's happening in LA

For my daily dose of Mac news

When I need a laugh after reading the message board:

I queue up a concert from 60s or 70s at the old Fillmore West or Winterland

Yes, I do play "small ball" lighting once in a while and actually love it!

When I need some inspiration --- multimedia style

Photo by Robert Hanashiro / USA TODAY

Photo by Robert Hanashiro / USA TODAY

Logan Tom
Check out other newspaper sports pages

For a laugh at sports and ---cough, cough---more

Check the scores, play by plays, stats and more

* Thanks to Rod Mar for his words, insight, inspiration, humor and perspective.

* Cool/fun assignment #1: Or maybe not so cool…cruising around Death Valley in search of cararazzis --- the automotive industry's equivalent to the celeb paparazzi. These photographers chase --- actually stalk is a more accurate word --- vehicles being tested in the desert, using tactics that any Hollywood photo roach would be envious of. Watching test drivers manhandle one of the cararazzi (or "spy photographers as they are also known as) was more fun than a Jell-O wrestling match. Well, maybe not that much fun… (

• Cool/fun assignment #2: Going shopping at Toys R Us with "Heroes" star Noah Gray-Cabey, who was looking for play things to take with him to the Emmy Awards Show. It was nice to see that at 12 he still has a good perspective on life. (

• Coolest/weirdest scene: Seeing the Warriors Stephen Jackson pull up his jersey to show off his new tattoos to sports writers at media day.

• Best luck of the draw: Covering the Warriors media day for a story we did on the first 24-hours of the NBA season … and MISSING the Lakers circus of a media day. I guess going to Hawaii with the Warriors for this assignment helped as well. (

• Thanks to Rabbi Bob for keeping me centered and (semi) sane.

• Thanks to actor Kevin Costner who reaffirmed that I CAN shoot two portrait set-ups in less than 5 minutes!

• Extra - Special Thanks to all of my crew at the Sports Shooter Academy. This workshop would not be THE COOLEST (and the best) sports photography educational program out there without all of these wonderful friends:
- Myung Chun for his talents behind the scenes and behind the video camera
- Faculty members: Wally Skalij, Mike Goulding, Don Miralle, Sean Haffey, Jack Gruber, Scott Varley and Eugene Tanner
- The best staff anyone could ask for --- dedicated, hardworking and fun: Jordan Murph and Crystal Chatham
- And Extra-Extra Thanks to Matt Brown for being a great guy, dedicated … and putting up with my "eccentricities".

• Also Kudos and much gratitude to the guys who put together and make sure that it is always THE COOLEST place on the Internet for sports photography and photojournalism: Brad Mangin, Grover Sanschagrin, Jason Burfield, Joe Gosen and Mike Treola. Nobody has a clue to the amount of work, dedication and good humor it takes to keep this operation going. I owe these guys everything ...

Photo by Robert Hanashiro / USA TODAY

Photo by Robert Hanashiro / USA TODAY

Automotive "spy photographer" Simon Avenia has his path blocked as he tries to photograph a vehicle being tested in Death Valley, near Stove Pipe Wells, CA. Auto-makers test as-yet-unreleased new vehicle models in the high heat of the desert.
• And lastly: My late night - insomniac work habits have been tolerated by two of the most patient and understanding people in the world, my wife Deanna and daughter Emma. This has been a very trying, stress-filled year ... but the highlight has been becoming a "Band Dad", working with Emma's school marching band The Hart High Regiment. Being involved with the Regiment has (re)taught me several lessons in the past few months and given me much more than I put into it. Plus my involvement with The Regiment has taken me to more high school football games this fall than I have been to in the past 18 years ... and that has been a good thing.

* * *

This special Holiday edition of the Sports Shooter Newsletter features so much COOL content, it was very difficult to put the stories in an order but … we lead off with the LA Times' Rob Gauthier recounting his journey this summer, following Lord Stanley's Cup as members of the Anaheim Ducks took the NHL's championship trophy throughout Europe and Canada.

Robert Beck gives us his list of 50 reasons to love this time of year. Ron Vesely bemoans the demise of a long-time sports tradition: The media pin. Mike Blake contributes this month's "In The Bag" feature and Walter Calahan tells us what he thinks is the "ultimate stocking stuffer" in our regular "Photographer's Toy Box" column.

Kim Komenich talks tech about using an old/new tool of ours to color-correct video; Trent Nelson writes a thought provoking piece about the newspaper industry; Dan Powers tells us about bringing a little bit of Sports Shooter to his newspaper and we start a new regular feature: "Ask Sports Shooter" with Shawn Cullen explaining flash duration.

Because it's That Time Of Year, Tiffany Brown writes about a fun Holiday assignment and Darrell Miho reminds us to keep our perspective.

It's the Holiday Season! So this month's iTunes playlist is a rotation of great, fun and classic Holiday music: "Snowfall: The Tony Bennett Christmas Album"; Darlene Love's "It's Christmas of Course"; The Vince Guaraldi Trio, "A Charlie Brown Christmas"; Dion's "Rock 'N Roll Christmas" and "The Ventures' Christmas Album".

As always, thanks to Special Advisors & Contributors: Deanna & Emma Hanashiro, Brad Mangin, Rod Mar, Trent Nelson, Jason Burfield, Grover Sanschagrin, Joe Gosen, Paul Myers, Nick Layman and Bob Deutsch.

Thanks this month to: Robert Gauthier, Ron Vesely, Mike Blake, Shawn Cullen, Walter Calahan, Tiffany Brown, Darrell Miho, Dan Powers, Kim Komenich and Robert Beck.

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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