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|| News Item: Posted 2010-12-07

‘Tis The Season (of lists)

By Robert Hanashiro, Sports Shooter Newsletter

Photo by
It's the end of the year so it's the season for lists.

Most entertaining team to cover: University of Oregon football team
It's not just the no-huddle offense. And it's not just their speed and athleticism (hate when TV talking heads use that expression but...). It's the sheer joy and emotion that they display. They look like they are having FUN ... and they make fun photographs.

My favorite gear website I check out regularly:
When I came up with the idea of the new Sports Shooter feature Pimp My Rig, I had no idea this website existed. There are hundreds of sites devoted to DSLR video shooting and gear, but this is the one that I go to almost every night. While it's not a cool design, it makes up for that in the cool gear that it features. From the high-end to DIY, CheesyCam has write-ups on all of the gear a DSLR video shooter would want to know about ... and buy.

The best thing I learned from a photo shoot this year: Don't work with feather boas
Well, don't work with feather boas unless you want to have small bits of colored fuzz over EVERYTHING! I had a shoot with the cast of the movie "Burlesque" (including star Christina Aguilera and last minute addition ... Cher). When coming up with ideas for this group shot ... what the heck can you do with six people in a small meeting room? ... I figured with a film titled "Burlesque" why not feather boas for props? Big mistake! When the 15 boas arrived at the house a few days before the shoot, I opened the sealed plastic bag they were stuffed in and POOF ... as soon as the bag filled with air a huge cloud of colored fuzz filled my garage. No way a publicist is going to let these things get near the "talent" or they'd be coated in purple, red, green and blur feather particles.

Best photographer stunt of the year: Jordan Murph dressing up as SI's John McDonough
Before game 2 of the NBA Finals, Jordan planned for days this elaborate trick down to getting one of John's spare Domke vests and an actual neck brace like the one John had been wearing since a collision he had with a Phoenix Suns player in an earlier round of the playoffs. The look on John's face when he confronted the "photographer" sitting in his baseline photo position was worth the price of a Staples Center courtside seat.

Player worth the wait: LA Clipper forward Blake Griffin
Sitting out last season due to a preseason knee injury, Griffin has become a mini "Human Highlight Reel". I don't think I've seen a player play as "vertical" since, well, the original Human Highlight Reel Dominique Wilkins. Griffin’s leaping ability and super-human dunks are about the only highlights in yet another dismal season by the Clips.

Bert's Nice Guy Awards for the year: Tom Seleck and Steve Fisher
When a reporter was over an hour late to an interview on location, Seleck was as affable and funny as his most famous character Thomas Magnum. Seleck chatted about one of my favorite crime novel characters Jesse Stone, who he plays on a series of made-for-TV movie. No looking at his watch. No asking when the interview would start. Just a chat with a regular guy… When San Diego State head coach Fisher was just 5-minutes tardy for a recent portrait shoot, he pulled up in his Ford Edge, rolled down the window and apologized profusely. Heck, 5 minutes late is actually EARLY in some circles! During a quick video interview after the portrait shoot, Fisher didn't attempt to dodge tough questions about his time at Michigan, which eventually cost him his job and landed the school on NCAA probation. Very classy guy all around.

Photo by Robert Hanashiro

Photo by Robert Hanashiro

Pink sings "Glitter in the Air" while hanging up side down, spinning in mid air during the Grammy Awards.
Bert's not-like-he-seems-nice-guy-award: Danny Trejo
You've seen him play a gang banger in seemingly every movie and TV series in the past 20 years, Trejo finally had a featured role in the recent film "Machete". I meet up with Trejo in a little diner in Burbank for a portrait shoot… he has a stare that could scare the hell out of Al Capone... but when he cracks a smile and lets out a laugh, you know that he is one really nice dude. When I set up the Orbis ring flash to shoot his portrait, he was honestly intrigued by it, asking me several questions about the odd-looking lighting device and why I had decided to use it on him. When I literally bumped into him at a Beverly Hills hotel the following day during the studio junket for "Machete" he threw open his arms with a huge grin to greet me.

Surreal moment after a photo shoot: Talking to Leonardo DiCaprio in his skives
After a portrait shoot with DiCaprio and director Martin Scorsese in a closed hotel bar I found myself alone with the actor as I was packing up... Scorsese off to a meeting and the publicists beating the traffic back to their office. DiCaprio said he had ordered a quick lunch as I rolled up cords and loaded my Lightware cases. We chatted a bit about the Lakers and when I turned around, he was standing about 20 feet away stripped down to his skives, changing from his suit to more comfortable jeans and sweatshirt. "How about that Kobe," I said. You'll have to guess for yourself if he's a briefs or boxers guy...

The most athletic move I saw in 2010: Pink's performance at the Grammy Awards
It wasn't Kobe Bryant hanging in the air for a dunk. It wasn't running back Mark Ingram steamrolling down the Rose Bowl turf as Alabama won the BCS Championship. And it wasn't Todd Rogers going horizontal to dig out a spike on the beach. It was Pink hanging up side down, spinning in mid air, dripping wet singing "Glitter in the Air". Unbelievable performance and NOT lip-synced.

Notable passing: The AVP
R.I.P. … I will miss it.

Quick notes on the scorecard from the Vancouver Olympics
- Tim Horton's donuts kicks Krispy Creme's ass
- Poutine is the perfect food ... once
- I love covering ice hockey ... every four years
- My buddy Bob Deutsch is still afraid of heights
- My other buddy Jack Gruber is definitely not afraid of heights
- Costco in Canada kicks the American Costco's ass
- Japa Dog kicks Pink's Hotdogs ass (and not just because of the names)
- Covering ice dancing is pretty cool no matter what the figure skating aficionados say

* * *

I have another wonderful edition this month featuring a behind-the-scenes look at Deanne Fitzmaurice's behind-the-scenes project on San Francisco pitcher Tim Lincecum.

What's it like to go from shooter to the working the desk? Trent Nelson writes about his experiences sitting in the management chair.

Eric Seals writes about being a judge at the recent College Pictures of the Year competition.

Photo by
Carlos Gonzalez and Tim Mantoani dissect recent cool assignments of theirs. University of Kentucky graduate Ed Matthews gives us his insight into business practices … from personal experiences.

Crystal Chatham writes this issue's "Pimp My Rig" column and I give you a list of some fun toys ... err ... tools I've played with this year.

And there are a couple of cool additions to the faculty of the Sports Shooter Academy Lighting Luau.

* * *

On this month's Reading List are a couple of leftover items recognizing John Lennon on what would have been his 70th birthday: "Corn Flakes with John Lennon: And Other Tales from a Rock 'n' Roll Life" by long-time LA Times music writer Robert Hilburn and "Starting Over: The Making of John Lennon and Yoko Ono's Double Fantasy" by Ken Sharp.

It's almost Christmas, so the Worth-A-Listen recommendation is the new holiday-themed release from an old fav, Dan Hicks and the Hot Licks: "Crazy For Christmas" (Thanks Darr!)

As always, special thanks to: Deanna & Emma Hanashiro, Brad Mangin, Jason Burfield, Grover Sanschagrin and Joe Gosen.

Thanks this month to contributors: Trent Nelson, Deanne Fitzmaurice, Carlos Gonzalez, Crystal Chatham, Eric Seals, Tim Mantoani and Ed Matthews.

The comments, opinions and other perceived nutty statements that the writers may have expressed, implied, imagined or made up are theirs and theirs alone. Sports Shooter, Inc. and published these articles in good faith with the purpose of education and inspiration.

Permission in writing must be obtained from Sports Shooter, Inc. and the author of the article before being reprinted.

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

For information on the Sports Shooter Academy workshop, go to the newly redesigned site at:

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