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|| News Item: Posted 2009-04-23

Wickerham, Foslien Top Winners At Sports Shooter Academy VI
Jared Wickerham and Hannah Foslien won cool prizes for their great work at Southern California workshop.

By Robert Hanashiro, Sports Shooter

Photo by Hannah Foslien

Photo by Hannah Foslien

DAY 1 PHOTO OF THE DAY: Austin Gudino (red) and Salvador Gudino Jr. spar in the ring at La Habra Boxing Club in La Habra, Calif., on Thursday, April 9, 2009.
Jared Wickerham and Hannah Foslien were selected as the top winners at the recent Sports Shooter Academy workshop held April 8 - 12, 2009 in Southern California.

A student at the Pittsburgh Art Academy, Wickerham's images made during the workshop was named the "Best Portfolio". A multi-layered photograph made at the La Harba Boxing Club by Foslien, a Minneapolis freelance photographer, was named the "Best Single Photo" made at SSA VI.

Wickerham was rewarded with a full set of speedlite lighting control accessories from Dave Honl and Foslien was awarded a camera bag and laptop case from Samy's Camera.

The daily "Best Photo" winners were:
Day 1 - Hannah Foslien
Day 2 - Matthew Cavanah
Day 3 - Jared Wickerham

The workshop staff gave out several other awards during the awards brunch:
Chris Detrick Hustle Award - Diego James Robles (Ohio University)
Good Guy/ SSA Spirit Award - Andrew Villa (San Jose State); Kelley Cox (University of California)
Special Recognition Award (overcoming obstacles) - Megan Sullivan (Montana State University)

Samy's Cameras sponsored all of the daily and recognition awards.

Rod Mar, formerly a staff photographer with the Seattle Times and recently started freelancing was the workshop's "Kick Off" speaker.

"There's no better time to be a photographer than right now," Mar told the 52 workshop participants before heading off to their first day of shooting, " The world has never been a more sophisticated place than it is right now. The stuff we see in print, the chances people take, and the images that are getting published were not being done twenty years ago."

Part of Mar's presentation were several slide shows, including one with images from last summer's Beijing Olympic Games, which he called a "dream come true".

"You communicate visually." Mar said, "You have to use whatever tools possible. Some people are telling you this is a bad time to be a photojournalist. I'm telling you this is the best time. You have so many opportunities to communicate right now. You have to be a visualist."

Mar also gave the workshop attendees his Top Ten Tips To Help You Through The Workshop:

1. If you're shooting a sport, understand where the action is.

2. Action is one thing. REACTION is another.
• Whether you got it or whether you didn't get it has already been decided. The pictures are still on the flash card. When you look is when you miss the reaction picture. That's when you miss the human element of the sports picture.

3. Don't forget the losers.
• Sometimes we forget there are two teams.

Photo by Matthew Cavanah

Photo by Matthew Cavanah

DAY 2 PHOTO OF THE DAY: Cuesta College freshman Samuel Sampson reacts to knocking the bar off on his last vault during the Orange Coast Classic. Despite the miss, Sampson still won the men's pole vault.
4. Weather is your best friend.
• It's gonna be great if it pours. You didn't come here to shoot in the same 75˚ weather with nice sunny skies.

5. Have a Game Plan
• What is your plan for the shoot? What do you want to accomplish. Have a plan --- but be flexible enough to deviate from that plan when you need to.

6. Mix Up Your Pitches
• Take people where they can't go.

7. See the entire field
• Shoot fans. If you get weather, shoot the weather. Keep your eyes open, you never know what you're going to see.

8. Practice Makes Perfect
• When you have remotes. Practice them; fire them; get used to them. Test-fire them on each other before the game starts.

9. You can't win them all
• Don't go out shooting with the goal of not messing up. Be fearless. Take Chances.
• Don't shoot in fear. Don't shoot the safety shots all day. Get it. Get it done. Move on. You're going to screw up. We all do.

10. Make the Big Time where you are
• Don't spend you're time at your community paper wishing you were at the daily paper. Don't spend your time at the big daily wishing you were at Sports Illustrated.
• If you're not present with it and you're not focusing your energy on it then you won't make the pictures you CAN make.
• If you make great pictures where you are, people will notice and you will get to where you want to go.

The 3 keys to success:
You have to have a little talent. Work hard. And be a good person.

• It's Just a Game
If you miss a picture it's not the end of the world. There will be another game tomorrow. If you make the greatest picture --- there's still another game tomorrow.

Sports Shooter Academy VI was sponsored by Nikon, USA whose funding enabled 42 college and university students to attend tuition-free. Nikon also provided free equipment clean and check in addition to bringing a wide variety of their professional digital SRL cameras, lenses and speedlites.

Photo by Jared Wickerham

Photo by Jared Wickerham

DAY 3 PHOTO OF THE DAY: A young boxer takes lessons at LaHabra boxing club in LaHabra, CA.
Also supporting the workshop were Think Tank Photo and Samy's Camera.

Sports Shooter Academy VI had 53 total participants, the largest ever for the workshop. Included on the shooting schedule were: NCAA Division I baseball, track & field and men's volleyball.

"I made a ton of frames. I was shooting the end of men's pole vault and wanted to hang around to shoot a portrait of Sam, one of the vaulters," Cavanah said about his daily winner made at a track meet, "Then the guys in the competition got into a community competition to just raise the bar up to 17 feet and see if they could jump it. They were all having fun and just messing around."

Participants also had the opportunity to shoot horse racing at historic Santa Anita Park, Olympic - caliber cycling at the Velodrome at Home Depot Center, boxing at the La Harba Boxing Club and pro beach volleyball with players from the AVP Tour.

"You can get so many more angles at beach volleyball. You don't have the gym with the stands around," said Chris McGuire a San Francisco State student, "The session was real relaxed and we were able to just go wherever and shoot. There were some nice clouds overhead with nice soft light."

Other members of the faculty of Sports Shooter Academy VI included: Matt Brown (Southern California freelance photographer), Wally Skalij and Myung J. Chun (Los Angeles Times), Michael Goulding (Orange County Register), Dave Honl (freelance photographer), Dave Back and Lucas Gilman (Colorado - based freelance photographers) and Sports Shooter founder Robert Hanashiro (USA TODAY staff photographer). The workshop staff included Jordan Murph, Crystal Chatham, Susanica Tam and Jared Dort.

The Sports Shooter Academy was created by Brown and Hanashiro to give students and working photographers the opportunity to shoot real sports in an environment of education, inspiration and fun.

Said Wickerham about the workshop, "At my school we have very few photojournalism students and sports people. Here (at the workshop) you're around people who know what they're looking at and have seen these kinds of photos before."

About the faculty Cavanah said, "There are no barriers. Nothing you can't ask them about. Everyone's really cool, laid back … one of the greatest things though is that everyone jokes about getting their work torn up during critiques but that's really not the case. Rod, Mike, Paul (Peregrine) from Lightware, all went through stuff with me on the first night. They're all real nice --- honest, but nice --- they'd point things out that you did wrong but it was all constructive."

(Crystal Chatham contributed to this story.)

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