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|| News Item: Posted 2009-04-02

Leading Off: Old Advice, Best Advice
By Robert Hanashiro, Sports Shooter

Photo by Robert Hanashio / Sports Shooter

Photo by Robert Hanashio / Sports Shooter

Emma Hanashiro
Sometimes the best advice is old advice ... even if it's your own.

In getting ready for the upcoming Sports Shooter Academy VI workshop, I was looking for something to use as an appendix for the close of the handout for the participants (a whopping 54 pages!). I was digging around my files and I found notes for a presentation I made several times about 8 years ago at several workshops and college lectures. It was appropriately (or inappropriately depending on your level of experience) titled "Bert's Top 10 List of Ways to Improve Your Sports Photography".

It contains the usual, basic stuff ... "Get to the Yard Early" and "Clean Up Those Shitty Backgrounds" and this gem "Faces and Emotion Make Or Break an image".

This "Top 10 List" actually contained 13 items and as I was reading it --- for the first time in many years --- the last item struck me over the head like that wide receiver that bowled over Matt Brown at the Chargers - Indy game early this year.

Number 13 on my list simply says:
It's very important to have balance in your life and have FUN in what you do. "

To illustrate this point in the presentation I used a photograph I made of my then 7-year-old daughter Emma at her ballet class, which I always took great pains to try to go to.

The first three months of the year is what I call my "Hell Days" ... several major entertainment awards show (including THE pressure cooker: working backstage at the Oscars), the Pac-10 Tournament, several days in Arizona for Spring Training and this year the World Figure Skating Championships.

Add to this, the routine daily assignments, producing the Sports Shooter Newsletter late at night, Sports Shooter Academy VI ... and what seems like non-stop worry over whether I will have a job tomorrow (or next week, next moth or next year).

The last weeks of March were about as busy as I can remember. One week I shot 8 basketball games over 4 days. The following week was 7 days working the World Figure Skating Championships, something I had been looking forward to for six months.

The days were long --- sometimes 12 or 13 hours --- and because of our web gallery on the event, deadlines seemed to be after each skater left the ice.

My daughter, now 16, is part of the award-winning Hart High Regiment Drumline and it seems their competitions are always on the outer reaches of Riverside County (about a 90-minute drive from where we live).

I was sitting up in the press tribune at the World's, thinking about the drumline playing at an important competition that was the same days as the Lady's Short Program and Free Skate … when I remember one of my most cherished family memories.

Growing up in Fresno in the 60's, my dad held down two full-time jobs. He edited and did the production work on the California Courier, an English language Armenian weekly newspaper. He also was a full-time clerk at the Post Office.

But every Sunday hours before we went to church, he would wake me up early so we could drive to Chinatown to get a haircut together at the Nisei Barber Shop. After getting my flat top (hey it was the 60's!) we would drive over to the Greyhound bus station where dad would get coffee and I would have hot chocolate. Before going home, we'd hit the newsstand so I could buy a comic book (probably a "Fantastic Four") and he'd look for the Sporting News.

Great times.

Memories I still think about, 45 years later.

Needless to say after thinking about my dad and the Nisei Barber Shop, the 180 miles driving back and forth for the Hart Drumline performance was not that big a deal. I yelled and cursed at the So Cal traffic, but I made it back in time for the skaters I needed and made my deadlines.

I don't have to tell anyone that times are tough. I don't read the Romenesko media rumors site anymore and I quit listening to NPR (for now). Sometime we are so busy and wrapped in what we're doing, we forget the best advice, even if it's our own.

I hope that I don't have to find some old notes to remind me about #13 ever again.

* * *

Photo by
We're a week away from THE coolest sports photography event of the year! Sports Shooter Academy VI is next week and I just wanted to share some numbers with everyone:
• 54 participants (41 college and university students and 12 working professionals)
• 207 applications
• 16 faculty and staff members
• 11 classes and staff presentations
• 24 shooting events
• 9 different sports (including two new to the workshop velodrome cycling and lacrosse)

This is by far the biggest Academy but it doesn't happen without the support of the Sports Shooter Family and many, many other people, especially the faculty and staff of the workshop. Without their help and time this would not be possible.

The Sports Shooter Academy was tuition-free for college and university students and this was only possible though the vision and generosity of Nikon, USA, particularly Bill Pekala and Ron Taniwaki. We are also getting support from two companies that have been a part of this workshop since its beginnings, Think Tank Photo and Samy's Camera.

We hope to have updates throughout the week posted on this site, so please take a look at what's going on down in Orange County during The Academy.

* * *

This issue features a very personal "My Great Gig" column written by Trevor Brown on recent the birth of his first child.

Baseball season starts next week and we have two different pieces, one by Scott Rovak about covering the World Baseball Classic and Jared Dort ties in baseball expressions to photographers' jargon.

Doing things different are the central themes for two cool stories, one by Sports Illustrated's Robert Beck and the other by the Kansas City Star's David Eulitt.

Rod Mar gives us the lowdown on the new team in Seattle, the Major League Soccer Storm. We also have In The Bag by boxing/MMA photographer Ed Mulholland; VJ For PJs columnist Myung Chun explains how using a two-camera setup can clean up an interview; In the Photographers Toy Box is a lens case from Lightware, written by Jordan Murph; and Shawn Cullen answers this month's Ask Sports Shooter question. Darrell Miho ponders and rants about being a professional.

This month my reading list includes a Lee Child's Jack Reacher book Killing Floor and Alex Delaware novel Bones by Jonathan Kellerman. On heavy rotation on iTunes this week is The Fireman by Electric Arguments and Flight of the Surf Guitar by the Atlantics.



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

Thanks this month to: Trevor Brown, Scott Rovak, Robert Beck, David Eulitt, Darrell Miho, Ed Mulholland, Jordan Murph and Shawn Cullen.

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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