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|| News Item: Posted 2001-08-29

Leading Off: The WNBA is Here to Stay
WNBA, WWF and the Sports Shooter Workshop

By Robert Hanashiro, Sports Shooter

Photo by Robert Hanashiro/USA Today

Photo by Robert Hanashiro/USA Today
A few notes on the Sports Shooter score card.

It's the fodder of radio sports talk and relegated to the inside pages of your newspaper's sports pages, but the WNBA is here to stay. For better or worse. During the recent playoff series involving the LA Sparks at Staples Center photographers assigned to cover the games sheepishly admitted that there were better things to cover but I say: "Like what?" Where else can you cover professional basketball that's like shooting something in slow motion and has a lot of floor action? Where else does the team assign the teen-aged "cheer leaders" premium spots on the court and put the photographers on the wrong side of the basket? And where else is the average age of the fans around 14? The WNBA It's Fantastic!

I had to photograph the WWF's chief business honcho the other day. No, not Vince McMahon, but his wife Linda. After the interview with Linda and Vince McMahon ended I asked if I could take 5 minutes to make a nice portrait of the two of them. After a few frames of them smiling into the camera I asked Vince, "Do you mind if Linda gets you in a headlock for a photo?" No sooner did the "Sure, why not" leave Vince's lips, Linda all 5 feet of her, leaped in the air a "put the hammer down" on Vince. I'm not sure the yelling out of Vince was real or not what the hell am I thinking? It's the WWF.

I spent a few days shooting beach volleyball legend Sinjin Smith as he prepared for the final tournament of his long career. While he was busy and certainly occupied with many thoughts and emotions, Sinjin was generous with his time and good-natured about having a camera around him. I know it's "just beach volleyball" but I wondered during those three days why other sports couldn't be as accessible.

* * *

It maybe something out of an episode of the old "Dick Van Dyke Show" where Rob, Buddy, Sally and Laura all decide at the spur of the moment "let's put on a show!"

Well, Brad, Ron and Bert decided to "put on a show" and the result is the first Sports Shooter event will be held Saturday, Nov. 3 in Southern California. In keeping with the light-hearted tone of Sports Shooter, we've decided to call it "The Sports Shooter Workshop and Luau." This event is being hosted by Ronal Taniwaki and Nikon and it is only through their generosity that we can have our Workshop and Luau.

Photo by V.J. Lovero

Photo by V.J. Lovero
We're happy to announce that Sports Illustrated's V.J. Lovero and the LA Times' Wally Skalij will be the featured speakers. But, as we like to say at Sports Shooter we have much, much more!

We have several breakout sessions planned, including Robert Seale from the Sporting News leading a group on portrait lighting and working with athletes. Mark J. Terrill from the Associated Press will conduct a session on how to use remote cameras from using the Pocket Wizard to uses of Macintosh's AirPort.

Regular contributor Rick Rickman will share his knowledge and experience on the business of photography covering contracts, working with clients, developing a business plan and protecting your copyrights.

Other sessions we'll be offering are Photoshop and printing, putting together that first portfolio and editing for impact and covering high school sports.

But that's not all! We will have a panel entitled "You've gotta have balls: Essential baseball, basketball and football" that will feature Brad Mangin, Peter Read Miller and Robert Seale.

"So Bert, is that all?" you ask? No that's not all we will have one-on-one portfolio reviews, Nikon will be providing free clean and checks of equipment and a Hawaiian lunch will be provided.

So what's the catch? Our first Sports Shooter event will be for students and interns only. And it's FREE! (As long as you wear a Hawaiian print shirt. If you don't, it's $100 to register.)

When we had preliminary talks about hosting an event, we wanted to do something small but still significant. After the success of the student portfolio category in this year's Sports Shooter Contest, it was a natural that we have a workshop for students.

When I sent out e-mails to friends and colleagues seeking help, I was overwhelmed by the positive responses. Almost everyone I contacted wanted to help in one way or another. While some of the breakout leaders are tentative at the moment, we have plenty of backup photographers and editors available to fill in.

So if you're a student or intern and want to get the best sports photography training possible, register for the workshop/luau and come on down to Torrance, CA. on November 3 and be a part of a very special day.

A registration form is now available on the Sports Shooter Archive Site. Just follow the Workshop and Luau link at

* * *

We didn't set out to do a "theme" issue of Sports Shooter, but it just turned out that we are heavy in the tech area for this issue. Trent Nelson checks in with an article on life after Ricochet and the Denver Post is the first paper in the USA to covert their entire staff to Nikon's D1H and staffer John Leyba gives us the lowdown. Vince Laforet writes about that one area of digital photography that is often ignored or neglected archiving.

Our top story has nothing to do with the geek aspect of photography as Carlos Gonzalez of the Minneapolis Star Tribune relates his experience after his image of Korey Stringer created a firestorm of controversy after Stringer died following a Vikings' practice.

So sit back, adjust the brightness on your monitor, turn down the volume on that Tower of Power CD and enjoy Sports Shooter v. 34!

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