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|| SportsShooter.com: News Item: Posted 2011-01-05

Kent Nishimura's Favorite Image of 2010
"Oh my god they're gonna have to scrape me off of the freeway with a putty knife!"

By KENT NISHIMURA, University of Hawaii

Editor's Note: For this issue of the Sports Shooter Newsletter I asked students that are members of ss.com or had attended one of the Academy workshops to submit their favorite photo of 2010 and write a short piece about it. This image could be from a favorite assignment, show something they had learned or is something of a personal nature. The one requirement was, the image had to have special significance to them.

Photo by Kent Nishimura

Photo by Kent Nishimura
Photojournalism has given me opportunities and experiences I would never have dreamed of, I've been so fortunate to meet people, make connections and relationships and experience new things each and every day because of it. To top it all off I get to tell stories.

Freelance work was harder to come by with the shutdown of the Honolulu Advertiser since there isn't a ton of interesting news happening in Hawaii. I was fortunate to be hired to shoot the Honolulu Marathon by the event's photographer Ronen Zilberman --- along with Jay Metzger, Greg Yamamoto and Norman Shapiro. We each had our own assignments: Ronen and Jay covered the lead runners for the men’s and women’s race, Norm covered Waikiki and the finish line while Greg and I covered the rest of the course. For two photographers to cover the majority of a marathon course Greg and I had a lot of ground to cover.

We were assigned motorcycle riders to take use wherever we needed to go. I had never ridden on the back of a motorcycle and I was a nervous because the seat was backless and there was nothing to hold on to. After the start of the race the driver Timmy asked where I needed to go. We headed to City Hall where Christmas decorations were up and shone brightly in the early morning light, I made a couple of photographs, but nothing spoke to me, there was no "iconic hawaii" in it. At that instant I had an idea: There is one point on this course where you could look down a hill and see hundreds upon hundreds of runners along the course with palm trees and the ocean in the background and most importantly, the sun rising. Problem was, it was 6:40am, and sunrise was at 7:00. How was I supposed to get to Kaimuki-Kahala area from city hall? Tim had the answer: "Kent, we're gonna need to use the freeway."

A we headed from city hall onto the freeway on-ramp it hit me: "Wait! Freeway? Did you say freeway?" A thousand and one different things ran through my head as we flew down the the interstate towards Kapiolani Community College, "Oh my god they're gonna have to scrape me off of the freeway with a putty knife!" "Holy heck I don't have a helmet! Why don't I have a helmet?" and "Why don't I have anything to hold on to?"

Seven miles later we got off of the freeway and I made it to the location where you could see the run rising, fired off a couple of frames, ran down the street, fired off more frames. My favorite is actually an outtake, not the frame I had wanted to make, but the light was very beautiful, it was rare to see this kind of light in December. I felt truly blessed.

Jogging along side a group of runners I asked them what their most memorable moments from the course in previous years and they told me it was this area at this time. Running down the hill with the sun rising, rejuvenating them they said. With that, I stopped jogging and sat on the side of the road, slightly frazzled from my ordeal on the bike, but still smiling. Happy that I had made it. I thought to myself, "Only photojournalism could have given me this experience, and I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world."

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